KALEIGH IS NEW NO 1

Bryanston teenager fin­ishes top of Women’s Golf SA rank­ings.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Amateur Scene -

An ex­cit­ing ri­valry has de­vel­oped be­tween the top four play­ers in women’s am­a­teur golf which is set to con­tinue into 2016.

Kaleigh Telfer, Ivanna Samu, Cara Gor­lei and Car­rie Park won 14 ti­tles be­tween them in 2015, and it was 17-year-old Telfer, from Bryanston Coun­try Club, who took the No 1 po­si­tion on the rank­ings at the end of the sea­son, by 13 points from Samu.

The No 1 spot was up for grabs in the last week of the sea­son. Telfer chose to play in the Mpumalanga Open at White River, while 17-year-old Samu (Ruim­sig) con­tested the Women’s SA Open at San Lameer. The de­ci­sion to miss the SA Open paid off for Telfer, as a third place fin­ish was enough to edge her Gaut­eng team­mate.

In 13 events, Telfer fin­ished out of the top-10 just once. Her first of four vic­to­ries in 2015 came at the Free State Champs in April. Af­ter trav­el­ling over­seas three times to rep­re­sent South Africa, she re­turned with re­newed con­fi­dence af­ter be­ing ex­posed to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, and won three con­sec­u­tive tour­na­ments – the

Ekurhe­leni South­ern Cape and Boland Opens – in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

Telfer also teamed up twice with Samu for Gaut­eng. They led the prov­ince to its first In­ter­provin­cial vic­tory in 10 years, and also claimed the 72-Hole Teams Champs.

“Play­ing over­seas was an eye-opener for me and made me re­alise how good you have to be to be in con­tention over there,” said Telfer, who will com­plete her ma­tric year in 2016 at Ed­u­ca­tion In­cor­po­rated, a pri­vate school in Four­ways. “I’ll play fewer events this year be­cause of school work, con­cen­trat­ing on the na­tional events and my goal of rep­re­sent­ing SA in the Espir­ito Santo Tro­phy at the World Am­a­teur champs in Septem­ber.” Telfer has been ap­proached by sev­eral US col­leges for a po­ten­tial golf schol­ar­ship in 2017.

Samu had another im­pres­sive sea­son, adding four wins in 2015 to the five she had in 2014. Three of her ti­tles were no­table ones – the SA Stroke­play at Glen­dower, the 72-Hole Teams Champs at East Lon­don (in­di­vid­ual joint-win­ner with Eleonora Gal­letti), and SA Girls at Orkney – but she failed to win in the sec­ond half of the year.

Gor­lei (Mil­ner­ton) also won four times, three of them be­ing match­play ti­tles, while Park (Cen­tu­rion), the No 1 ranked player in 2014, had three wins, in­clud­ing the SA Am­a­teur to add to her 2014 SA Stroke­play suc­cess.

Benoni Lake golfer Lejan Lewth­waite, 24, claimed the Jackie Mercer Tro­phy in her last event as an am­a­teur, when she fin­ished sec­ond to Lee-Anne Pace in the Women’s SA Open at San Lameer. She will em­bark on a pro ca­reer in 2016.

Kaleigh Telfer.

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