Macnab on the march in Jabra Ladies Classic

15 Apr 2021

Caitlyn Macnab

Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab will look to resist rising star Lindi Coetzee and seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace as she bids for the Jabra Ladies Classic title in Friday’s final round at Glendower Golf Club.

The 19-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player fired a sparkling four-under-par 68 on a cool, but windless conditions to charge to a one-shot lead, ending the day on seven-under. She leads Coetzee by one shot, and finished three shots ahead of Pace.

Macnab began the second round one shot behind early leader Kyra van Kan and superb approach play saw her notch four birdies in the first five holes. She sandwiched a birdie between bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes and interrupted a string of pars on the homeward loop with a lone birdie on the par-five 13th.

But Macnab was quick to state that she hadn’t been at her best.

“I hit it long on seven and had a very difficult chip, and I hit a bad approach shot into nine that resulted in another bogey, but it was a pretty solid run over the first nine holes,” said Macnab. “After the turn I struggled to get the putts to drop and I had to scramble for pars on 16 and 17, but all in all, a decent round.”

Macnab will stick to the same winning game plan in Friday’s final round that won her the Champions of Champions title at Glendower in 2019 and the Open, Closed and Junior honours in the Ekurhuleni Women’s Open in October last year.

“The course is in beautiful condition, but it is set up quite a bit tougher than I am used to playing it on the amateur circuit. But I won’t adjust my game plan; I’ll just try to limit the mistakes and avoid the errant shots that cost me some shots today.”

Coetzee, who lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club, racked up five birdies and was level with Macnab with one hole to play, but an untimely bogey on the closing hole for a 68 cost her a share of the lead.

“It was a good round; I kept it in the fairways, hit the greens and kept it bogey free right up to the 18th hole,” she said. “I struggled with the driver all day and on the last hole, I pulled my tee shot into the trees. I had a shot, but I didn’t execute it well and clipped a branch. I got a lucky break and had a decent lie. I hit my third on the green and two-putted, but the way I see it, it was a solid drop and it could have been much worse.”

The 21-year-old Magalies Park golfer is excited at the prospect of joining Macnab and Pace in the leading match on Friday.

“Caitlyn and I go way back and she is always a pleasure to play with, but I am really looking forward to playing with Lee-Anne. We have so much to learn from her and I’ve always admired her swing and her demeanour on the course. Anything I can learn from her will help me to level up.”

Pace once again made a slow start, but the nine-time Ladies European Tour winner kicked it up a gear coming home. She made three birdies on the bounce from the par-four 11th and picked up another shot on the par-five 15th, before also letting one slip on the par-four 18th.

“It was slow at the start, but I made a very good up-and-down for bogey on the ninth and that got me going,” she said after successive rounds of 70. “I managed to get the putts to the hole on the back nine and made some birdies, so I’m very happy with the round.

“I won’t change much going into the final round. I’ll try to take advantage of the par-fives; they are playing a little easier and you can reach them. Those are definitely the scoring holes. I am pretty aggressive with my irons, but it is vital that you drive the fairways at this course. I’ll aim for the fairways first, and work out my strategy from there.”

The outcome on Friday would be significant for all three leading players as they try to take their games to the next level.

For Pace, a 14th Sunshine Ladies Tour title and 24th professional career victory will be a big shot of confidence as she prepares for the 2021 Ladies European season. For Coetzee, a maiden win in the R600 000 showpiece would mean a major leg up in the 2021 Investec Order of Merit race and the chance to compete in the Jabra Ladies Open.

There is no financial incentive for Macnab, but to become the first amateur to win on the local professional circuit since Ashleigh Buhai won her second South African Women’s Open title in 2007, will be reward enough.

Unfortunately it was the end of the road for first round leader Kyra van Kan.

The Glendower amateur followed an opening 68 with a round of 76 to tie seasoned professionals Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Monique Smit for fourth on level-par. However, she forgot to sign her scorecard and was disqualified from the tournament. A tough lesson for Ekurhuleni junior but at 15, she has many years ahead and she will surely bounce back from the disappointment.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

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