Rory McIlroy would have given anything to match the heroics of Carrie Park and Nobuhle Dlamini at Glendower’s par four 18th hole where he lost in a playoff to England’s Graeme Storm in the men’s South African Open in January.

Park from South Korea and Swaziland’s Dlamini Nobuhle both spectacularly birdied the 18th in regulation play to finish at five-under-par 211 in joint first place in Thursday’s final round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon.

Just as McIlory and Storm went up and down Glendower’s 18th in a sudden-death playoff for the SA Open title before the Northern Irishman bogeyed the third extra hole to hand victory to the Englishman, Park and Dlamini did the same dance.

While Dlamini was targeting a maiden win in the pro ranks, 19-year-old Park was bidding for a second Sunshine Ladies Tour victory after her breakthrough success in the SA Women’s Masters in January.

With pressure mounting, the pair traded pars for the first three trips down 18 before 19-year-old Park boxed a three-footer for birdie to seal victory at the fourth extra hole.

The petite Centurion golfer smashed a drive down the middle of the fairway and hit an eight-iron pin high to about three feet. Dlamini was even longer off the tee, but she left her approach 20-foot short of the hole and could only manage a par.

“It was tough out there with the rain because the course playing long,” said Park, who picked up shots at holes 13, 15 and 18 for a two-under-par 70. “I made some good par putts and some good birdie putts, especially on the back nine to get it to five under.”

Park collected the winner’s cheque worth R28 000 and Dlamini banked R23 000 for second, but the 320 points that came with first place gave Park a boost to third in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies.

“It’s not very easy when someone like ‘Nobby’ is bombing it forty yards past you, but Nobby and I go way back,” said Park with a chuckle, referring to Dlamini who can boom it 290 to 300 metres off the tee. “We both played for Gauteng North and we used to be foursome partners. It was a good scrap between two good friends in the playoff.

“This win comes at the right time, because I’m leaving to compete in Korea next week and I’ll miss the next two tournaments. But I’m third in the points, so I won’t fall out of the top 10 for the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Final while I am away. I’ll keep my spot for Millvale.”

Big-hitting Dlamini – with Killarney’s head professional Warrick Druian guiding her on the bag – produced the day’s best 67, which included an eagle-three at the par five 13th, where she hit the green with a booming drive and a five-iron, before rolling in a 35-foot putt.

Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies leader Kiran Matharu had a 20-footer for birdie at the last which would have moved the English player to six under and given her the title had it dropped. The first attempt rolled six feet past and she missed the return for a 71 to tie for third on 212 with last week’s Dimension Data Challenge winner Nicole Garcia.

France’s Valentine Derrey took fifth on 213 in her Sunshine Ladies Tour debut, while overnight leader Ashleigh Simon closed with a disappointing 74 to finish in sixth place on 214. Centurion’s Kim Williams also closed with a 74 to finish a further shot adrift.

Symone Henriques started with an unhappy 82, but the 15-year-old from Glenvista fired a superb 67 followed by a 75 to win the leading amateur honours on 224.

“Besides being a tour for the top professionals, but thanks to the additional financial support we receive from Investec Property, the Sunshine Ladies Tour is also a development opportunity for the amateurs,” said Women’s PGA of SA executive director Barbara Pestana.

“It is wonderful to see them make the most of the opportunity to compete and to learn at this level and we are extremely pleased to see them coming through so well.”

The first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon was a complete wash-out and Pestana said the tour owed Glendower a debt of gratitude for helping them finish the 54-hole event on schedule.

“Glendower was a wonderful venue as usual and it’s great that were able to get over the finishing line in spite of the deluge of rain on Tuesday when no play was possible,” Pestana said. “Thanks to their efforts, the players will have a couple of days to rest up before the Sun International Ladies Challenge at Sun City next week.

FINAL SCORES

211 - Carrie Park (KOR) 72 69 70

211 - Nobuhle Dlamini (SWZ) 71 73 67

212 - Nicole Garcia 72 70 70, Kiran Matharu (ENG) 71 70 71

213 - Valentine Derrey (FRA) 72 70 71

214 - Ashleigh Buhai 70 70 74

215 - Kim Williams 71 70 74

216 - Kylie Henry (SCO) 71 74 71, Ivanna Samu 72 73 71

217 - Stacy Bregman 77 71 69, Sofia Ljungqvist (SWE) 70 72 75, Tandi von Ruben 71 70 76

218 - Bonita Bredenhann (NAM) 71 75 72

219 - Sophie Giquel-Bettan (FRA) 77 69 73

220 - Laurette Maritz 76 71 73

221 - Lauren Taylor (ENG) 73 74 74, Anna Sventrup (SWE) 71 74 76

222 - Bertine Strauss 76 77 69, Rachel Raastad (NOR) 74 71 77

223 - Monja Richards 77 75 71, Cecilie Lundgreen (NOR) 76 76 71, Hanna Roos (SWE) 75 72 76

224 - Melissa Eaton 76 77 71, Symone Henriques AMA 82 67 75

225 - Morgana Robbertze 77 74 74, Eleonora Galletti AMA 73 77 75, Sarah Bouch AMA 75 75 75

226 - Lejan Lewthwaite 78 74 74, Alana van Greuning 73 79 74, Michelle Leigh 72 75 79, Johanna Bjork (SWE) 75 79 72

227 - Laura Sedda (ITA) 76 75 76, Kajal Mistry AMA 80 73 74

228 - Lindi Coetzee AMA 79 74 75, Rebecca Hudson (ENG) 72 75 81

230 - Flavia Namakula (UGA) 77 77 76

231 - Catherine Lau AMA 79 75 77, Caitlyn Macnab AMA 78 78 75

233 - Casandra Hall AMA 77 75 81, Alexandra Lennartsson (SWE) 78 75 80, Clara Pietri (SUI) 76 80 77

234 - Maria Roos (SWE) 79 75 80, Emma Westin (SWE) 81 78 75

235 - Siviwe Duma 75 81 79, Mae Cornforth 77 83 75

236 - Chiara Contomathios AMA 80 78 78

238 - Frankie Bosman AMA 81 73 84, Ethel Ruthenberg AMA 80 74 84, Nicole Becker 75 82 81

240 - Kelsey Nicholas AMA 81 80 79

241 - Tijana Kraljevic 84 73 84, Lynette Fourie AMA 83 80 78

244 - Kirsty Fisher (SCO) 82 81 81

246 - Yolanda Duma 82 81 83

254 - Marguerite Pienaar 77 85 92

WDN - Lora Assad 76 75 WDN

 

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