Ivanna Samu must have experienced a few flashbacks as she powered her way to a six-under-par 68 lead in the opening round of the Cape Town Ladies Open on Tuesday.
The big-hitting 19-year-old Ruimsig golfer made the most of perfect conditions as she birdied all six of the six par-fives at Royal Cape Golf Club to grab a one-stroke lead over England’s Hayley Davis.
Two years ago, Samu upstaged Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Buhai and Monique Smit to lead the event on the same score.
That was before the reigning Sanlam South African Amateur champion joined the paid ranks, and she has since put together a string of good performances on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in the past two seasons.
A maiden win still eludes her, but with this season’s results of tie-fifth in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open and a runner-up finish in the Joburg Ladies Open last week, Samu is trending towards a first visit to the winner’s circle.
‘It’s obviously something that I’m striving for,’ she explained.
‘I won a lot as an amateur and I really want to get that winning feeling back. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself. Last year I found that I slipped up in the first round of tournaments, so now that I’ve put myself into a good position, I just want to stay patient and play one hole at a time and if it is my time, then that win will come.’
Samu bounced back from a three-putt for bogey on the 2nd hole to reel off five birdies in succession from the 3rd hole before a bogey at the par-three 8th ended her run of red numbers.
Three further birdies on the back nine – all on the par fives – saw her sign for the day’s best score.
‘I really love my job,’ Samu said. ‘I love being out here, doing what I do. Every day offers a new challenge and you can’t ask for a better office.’
England’s Davis, a first-time visitor to South Africa, mixed six birdies with a solitary bogey on the 8th.
‘I was a bit wayward off the tee, so that’s something I will work on, but other than that I was very happy with my round,’ she said.
The trio of Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia, South Africa’s Nicole Garcia and Rachel Raastad from Norway finished a further shot adrift.
Former champion Lee-Anne Pace was on track for a comfortable first-round lead when she reached the 16th tee at seven-under, but the LPGA Tour campaigner stumbled to a bogey, bogey, double bogey finish to tie for third with Kim Williams on three-under.
Border golfer Yolanda Duma eagled the par-four closing hole for a seat on the bus at two-under with Canon Ladies Tshwane Open winner Stacy Bregman, Mae Cornforth, Sweden’s Anna Sventrup, Rachael Goodall from England and Mariell Bruun from Norway.
Ekurhuleni amateur Casandra Hall heads up the amateur leaderboard on three-over 75, with former SAGDB player Cassidy Williams from Stellenbosch a further shot back.
First round leaderboard:
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs are indicated as AMA:
68 – Ivanna Samu
69 – Hayley Davis (ENG)
70 – Bonita Bredenhann (NAM), Nicole Garcia, Rachel Raastad (NOR)
71 – Lee-Anne Pace, Kim Williams
72 – Mae Cornforth, Anna Sventrup (SWE), Stacy Bregman, Mariell Bruun (NOR), Rachael Goodall (ENG), Yolanda Duma
73 – Shawnelle de Lange, Emie Peronnin (FRA), Tandi Mc Callum, Lara Weinstein, Valeria Martinoli (SUI)
74 – Lejan Lewthwaite, Maria Beautell (ESP), Kiran Matharu (ENG), Hanna Roos (SWE), Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA), Lauren Taylor (ENG)
75 – Laura Fuenfstueck (GER), Alexandra Lennartsson (SWE), Alana van Greuning, Casandra Hall AMA, Hannah Arnold (USA)
76 – Cassidy Williams AMA, Tijana Kraljevic
77 – Rachel Rossel (SUI), Melissa Eaton, Nobuhle Dlamini (SWZ), Flora Peuch (FRA), Katia Shaff AMA (AUT), Jordan Rothman AMA, Ethel Ruthenberg AMA, Zayb Fredericks AMA
78 – Francesca Cuturi, Clara Pietri (SUI), Jamila Jaxaliyeva (KAZ)
79 – Bertine Strauss, Chiara Contomathios, Lindi Coetzee AMA, Marguerite Pienaar, Dominique Jacobs, Nastja Banovec (SVN), Bianca Wernich AMA
80 – Megan Streicher AMA, Anne Sophie Le Nalio (FRA), Leslie Grandet (MAD), Virginie Roques (FRA)
81 – Siviwe Duma
83 – Lisa Anderson (SWE), Muriel McIntyre (CAN)
85 – Tara Griebenow AMA
90 – Laura Welch (CAN)
Photo: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Ladies Tour
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