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Grand celebrates Swiss double at Border Championship

20 Feb 2017

Border Stroke Play Championship winner Cloe Grande with Border Ladies Golf Union President Louise van Niekerk; credit BLGU.

The Border Championship trophy remained in Swiss hands after Cloe Grand followed compatriot Azelia Meichtry into the winner’s circle on Sunday.

The 17-year-old KeNako Academy student came from behind to beat local favourite Zethu Myeki by one shot for victory on seven under 226 at East London Golf Club.

Strong wind tested the golfers’ resolve at the Buffalo City championship layout in Saturday’ opening round, but Brittney-Fay Berger from KwaZulu-Natal showed her touch to set the first round target with a 73.

Border’s Millie Ruby Zim-Dondashe moved into second with a 76, while Myeki carded an 80 and Grand signed for an 82 to finish a further two shots adrift.

The wind still blew a gale on Sunday morning, but a steady downpour added to already tough conditions in the second round.

Chante van Zyl from Free State set the 36-hole mark at 151 with rounds of 75 and 76, but Myeki from the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation was back to form to form at her home course and produced an even-par 72 to finish one shot off the pace.

Gauteng’s Woo Ju Son moved into third at 153 with rounds of 76 and 77, while Grand also made strides with a 75 to finish in fourth place.

The wind died down and the skies cleared just before the final round.

Van Zyl and Son both slipped from contention early on, but Myeki notched a birdie at the third and completed a flawless front nine to hit the front. The Swiss amateur overcame a bogey start with a birdie at the seventh to stay in touch.

When Myeki surrendered shots at 10 and 14, Grand made her move. She lost the advantage of a birdie at 11 with a three-putt bogey at the par four 12th but rallied with a birdie at 15 to push to the front of the field.

“I tried to reach the green in two, but I left it short,” Grand said.

“I hit a great chip to eight feet and holed the putt to lead Zethu by one shot. At 17, I hit eight iron from 128 meters and nearly holed out for an ace. The ball pitched in the hole and jumped out and I had a short birdie putt to take a two shot lead.”

Grand closed with a par for a 71 and Zethu boxed her birdie chance for a 73 to seal a second place.

“The wind was a real challenge in the first and second rounds,” said Grande. “I’ve learned to play the wind in George, but this was far more brutal. Competing in the Eastern Province Championship in Port Elizabeth definitely helped me to cope better with the conditions.”

This is the second year running that Grand came out to the KeNako Academy in George to prepare for the start of the European season.

“I really enjoy the experience of playing here in South Africa because I experience conditions and courses that are very different to what we experience back home,” she said. “It helps me to build more shots and improve my overall game. I look forward to my next event, the Curro SA Junior International in March and I am also going to compete in the Western Province Amateur before I head back to Switzerland at the end of March.”

FINAL RESULT (top 10)
226 Chloe Grande 80 75 71
227 Zethu Myeki 82 72 73
228 Woo-Ju Son 76 77 75
230 Chante Van Zyl 76 75 79
231 Sarah Bouch 78 80 73
231 Brittney-Fay Berger 73 83 75
234 Crystal Beukes 80 80 74
235 Demi Flanagan 77 81 77
238 Ladina Semadeni 77 80 81
240 Millie Ruby Zim-Dondashe 76 82 82

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Golf RSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.

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