Lau crowned Rose Bowl champion
It was only after Catherine Lau battled her way to a final round 76 in wet and windy conditions at Selborne Golf Club on Wednesday that the 12-year-old Woodhill golfer discovered she was in the running for the SA Nomads Rose Bowl 54-Hole Girls Championship title.
Earlier rounds of 69 and 76 left Lau in a tie for third with Centurion’s Magda Kruger, one shot behind Ji Sun Kang from Atlantic Beach and two shots adrift of overnight leader, defending champion Kelly Erasmus.
Lau had set the clubhouse target at five-over-par 221 with her final round 76, but she had a tense wait in the clubhouse to see if one of the three leading players would match or beat her score.
The Woodhill golfer was convinced that she had spoiled her chances after bogeys at the 10th, 14th, 15th and 16th and a double at the 17th, but the Gauteng North golfer was still in the title chase when it became apparent that the leading pack was also struggling with the inclement weather conditions.
Erasmus from Durbanville dropped out of contention after a triple bogey at the ninth, but Kruger and Kang turned in level par and could still challenge for glory.
Kruger fell out of the title race with a double bogey at 13 and three successive bogeys from the 14th to the 16th, but Kang began her back nine with a double, a bogey and a birdie to take a three shot lead on two over.
However, she pulled level with Lau after a triple bogey at the par-five 14th and, unable to convert for birdies at the next three holes, handed the victory to Lau when she dropped two shots at the closing par-four 18th.
Although no-one was more surprised than Lau to win the prestigious junior title, her podium finish has been coming for a few years now.
Lau has mainly competed in Little Kids Golf tournaments over the last eight years. In 2009 she won both the US Kids Golf European Championship and US Kids World Championship at the age of eight and for the last two years, she placed fourth in the World Championships.
This year, Lau finished third at the HSBC China Junior Open in January, was crowned the Woodhill Junior Club Champion and came second in the Pecanwood College High School Championship in February. Last month she won Best Nett in the Woodhill Ladies Club Championships at her home course and placed second in the gross competition.
Other final round highlights included holes in one Katia Shaff and Minette Olivier, who aced the 13th and fourth holes respectively and a two-under-par 70 from Eleanor Galletti, who posted the low round of the day.
In the B-Division, 11-year-old Caitlyn MacNab from Ekurhuleni beat Kaiyuree Moodley by three shots, while local favourite Courtney Sykes won the C Division on 65 stableford points.
TOP 10 SCORES – Girls A-Division
221 Catherine Lau (Woodhill) 69 76 76
223 Bianca Lohbauer (Paarl) 72 76 75
223 Magda Kruger (Centurion) 72 73 78
223 Ji Sun Kang (Atlantic Beach) 72 72 79
224 Bianca Theron (Devonvale) 71 79 74
225 Michaela Fletcher (Maritzburg) 73 75 77
231 Eleonora Galletti (Royal JHB&K) 85-76-70
233 Mae Cornforth (Potchefstroom) 78-76-79
234 Imkeleen Meyer (Port Elizabeth) 79-80-75
235 Kayleigh Telfer (Bryanston) 82-75-78; Nicole Hannah (Pretoria) 75-77-83
236 Ivanna Samu (Roodepoort) 79-75-82
237 Michelle Swanepoel (Rustenburg) 85-75-77
238 Kim Daniels (Uitenhage) 78-81-79; Samantha Barber (Mowbray) 76-82-80
240 Brittney-Fay Berger (Mount Edgecombe) 79-83-79; Kristen Campbell (Royal JHB&K) 80-80-82