San Lameer - Benoni golfer Leján Lewthwaite stepped up to the Sunshine
Ladies Tour winner’s circle at the South African Women’s Masters with a
dramatic playoff victory over young GolfRSA amateur Kajal Mistry at San Lameer
Country Club on Saturday.
The pair ended
three rounds tied on 1-under, 215, with Lewthwaite closing with a superb
five-under 67 after opening efforts of 75 and 73.
Randpark’s Mistry, meanwhile,
signed for a one-under 71 to go with her earlier rounds of 75 and 69.
The duo crossed
irons as they headed back to the short par four 18th for a sudden death
playoff. The 18-year-old Mistry went first and split the fairway, while
Lewthwaite found a decent lie in the rough on the right.
Lewthwaite was first to hit her approach, which nested near the back of the
green some 35 feet from the pin and it was advantage Mistry, who stuck her
second to 12 feet.
But it would be the
true masterstroke of Lewthwaite that would have the final say as she rolled a
monster putt straight into the hole for a birdie three. Mistry’s makeable
birdie came up short and the title duly went to Lewthwaite.
“I was a little
quick off the tee and my ball went a little right,” said the Investec golfer,
who became the third successive maiden winner of the SA Women’s Masters
following Korea’s Carrie Park in 2017 and last year’s success by German golfer
“I hit a great
second, but the pin was sitting on a little bit of a slope and the ball just
kept going. Luckily I had that exact same putt during regulation play. I
thought I needed to hit it a little bit left and a little bit harder and it
just went in!
“It’s a huge
confidence booster. Teaching yourself to win takes time and it’s really a good
thing to have in your back pocket.”
The 28-year-old Lewthwaite had been knocking on the door the
last few weeks with third at the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at the
beginning of the month, before a second place at the Dimension Data Ladies
Pro-Am last week in George.
She’s worn the
bridesmaid tag twice at San Lameer Country Club.
First in 2015, when
she chased Lee-Anne Pace to the finish line in the SA Women’s Open and won the
Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur and again last year, when she tied
“A couple people
were saying 3-2-1 this week because I was third at Irene, second at DiData... so
I’m happy to complete that sequence,” Lewthwaite said.
“I always come
through in my final round. That’s where it matters most. So maybe if I can just
get the first round nerves out a little quicker, maybe it won’t be as
Though it is a
first win on the Sunshine Ladies Tour for Lewthwaite, she has tasted success in
the paid ranks before with two playoff victories on the IGT Challenge Tour
means a lot. It’s weird because I thought I would have been crying after my
first victory. I kind of set myself up last year by winning on the IGT Tour and
that’s kind of taught me a lot.”
Kim Williams (75, 66,
76) had led for most of the day, but a disastrous triple bogey six on the par
three 16th dropped her out of contention. The Centurion Golf Club member went
on to tie for third alongside Scotland’s Hannah McCook (72, 74, 71) on one-over.
It would have been
another frustrating result for Williams, who was pipped at the post last week
by the fast-finishing Nobuhle Dlamini.
special mention of her performance post round and who knows, perhaps Williams
will get her just rewards in next week’s SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented
by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
“I saw Kim was in the
lead there. It’s the second week in a row she’s come up a bit short. I feel
really bad for her. She’s a very talented player and she’ll do well in the
For Mistry, though,
the agony of defeat was clear for all to see, but Lewthwaite believes the
youngster is destined for a long career in the game.
“Kajal is a fantastic
player,” said Lewthwaite.
“She’s going to do so well in the future.”