George - Lejan Lewthwaite slept on the lead for two straight
nights and on Sunday she finished the job - winning the R600 000 Dimension
Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt by eight shots.
It was a second successive triumph for the Benoni golfer,
who claimed a playoff victory against Tandi Cunningham in the SuperSport
Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Gary Player Country
Club last week.
Lewthwaite opened the tournament with a stunning
six-under-par 66 at George Golf Club and produced a four-under 68 on her second
trip around the scenic Parklands layout to carry an eight-shot lead into final
round at the Outeniqua Course.
She got off to a birdie start and briefly gave the
chasing pack a glimmer of hope when she bogeyed five and nine.
Defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini reeled in a trio of
birdies before the turn, but her challenge faded with a bogey at the par five
11th. Emie Peronin from France also gave chase, as did former winner Stacey
Bregman, but it was all too little, too late.
The 28 year old Lewthwaite, who had been remarkably
poised all week, did not let adversity upset her rhythm and she restored her
lead with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11.
Having regained the momentum, the Serengeti member shut
the door on her pursuers with further gains on 13 and 14 and came home with
three solid pars for a one-over 73.
“I can’t describe how happy I am in this moment. For six
days really, I played awesome golf; first at Sun City and then here in George.
I am just so happy right now,” said Lewthwaite, cradling the trophy that comes
with winner’s cheque worth R84 000.
No victory in professional golf comes easy, and
wire-to-wire victories are perhaps even more difficult, as they require a
player to deal with the inevitable thoughts of winning for days on end.
“I’d say I was pretty happy with my position after the
first day, but I don’t allow myself to think too far ahead. I try very hard to
stay in the moment as much as possible. I try to stick to my process and hit
every shot where I plan to and make every putt count.
“I played another great round on the second day, and I
thought to myself, ‘just continue with your strategy, your plan and the way
“I did briefly wonder how it would feel if I won, and
also what my strategy would be if the gap was reduced, but I always made sure I
didn’t let my thoughts drift too far. It would be a fleeting thought, and then
I’d be back in the zone.”
The victory cemented Lewthwaite’s number one spot in the
Investec Order of Merit and she is another step closer to collecting the
R100 000 bonus. She leads on 1 390 points and is nearly 500 points
ahead of Dlamini.
Meanwhile Stacy Bregman carded 71 for a one-under total,
making it a one-two finish of the Investec stable on one-under. Peronnin took
third on level par and Dlamini had to settle for fourth on one-over after
closing with 75.
Lewthwaite now travels to San Lameer Country Club with
the Sunshine Ladies Tour, where she will gun for a hat-trick of titles when she
takes up her title defence in the SA Women’s Masters.
“There will be some celebrations tonight, but probably
not too late,” said Lewthwaite, who will also be celebrating a runner-up finish
with amateur partner Marj Davidson.
The pair posted rounds of 66, 68 and 68 for an impressive
14-under total, but Lewthwaite lost out on an additional R30 000 pay-day
to Sharmila Nicollet. The
Indian golfer and her partner Nicci Taylor fired a superb 64 at the Outeniqua
Course to seal victory on 15-under.
competitors RSA unless otherwise stated and amateurs are indicated AMA)
207 - Lejan
Lewthwaite 66 68 73
215 - Stacy
Bregman 70 74 71
216 - Emie
Peronnin (FRA) 73 74 69
217 - Nobuhle
Dlamini (SWZ) 74 68 75
218 - Monique
Smit 73 71 74, Jordy LaBarbera (USA) 71 73 74
220 - Michaela
Fletcher 76 72 72
221 - Lee-Anne
Pace 72 72 77
222 - Anais
Meyssonnier (FRA) 73 76 73, Casandra Hall 73 72 77, Bonita Bredenhann
(NAM) 77 69 76
223 - Cara
Gorlei 79 71 73, Maria Beautell (ESP) 71 76 76, Lauren Taylor
(ENG) 74 78 71, Bertine Faber 75 70 78
225 - Bianca
Lohbauer (a) 74 76 75, Tara Griebenow 73 76 76, Lindi Coetzee 71
75 79, Kelsey Nicholas 72 74 79
226 - Jane
Turner (SCO) 75 76 75, Jessica Dreesbeimdieke (NAM) 79 72 75,
Sharmila Nicollet (IND) 75 77 74
228 - Flora
Peuch (FRA) 79 73 76, Woo-Ju Son (KOR) 77 72 79
229 - Kyle
Roig (PUR) 78 74 77, Christina Gloor (SUI) 79 73 77, Caroline
Rominger (SUI) 75 75 79, Sophie Lamb (ENG) 75 73 81
231 - Rosie
Davies (ENG) 79 75 77, Leticia Ras-Anderica (GER) 77 77 77
232 - Tandi
McCallum 77 77 78
233 - Anne-Lise
Caudal (FRA) 76 78 79
239 - Shawnelle
de Lange 78 74 87