Carrie Park Photo: Dale Boyce
JOHANNESBURG (25 February 2014) – Gauteng North teenager Carrie Park is hungry for a top result against the professionals in this week’s Chase to the R100,000 Investec Cup for Ladies after claiming a six stroke victory on the amateur circuit this weekend.
Park underlined her growing stature when she tamed gusting winds at East London Golf Club to claim the Borden Open Championship title on Sunday. Now the 17-year-old hopes to carry that winning form into the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s fourth event at the Glendower Golf Club on 27 and 28 February. “I really feel good about the win at the weekend and I just want to bring that form, and the hot putter, to Glendower this week,” said Park.
The top amateur will be teeing it up at the home of the South African Open Championship with European Ladies Tour champions Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Simon, France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, as well as the champions from the first three Sunshine Ladies Tour events, Monique Smit, Tandi von Ruben and Kim Williams.
Smit won the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, while Von Ruben triumphed in a play-off at the Sun International Challenge and Williams won on her pro debut at the first Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Houghton. “It’s fantastic to play with the professionals, because they really inspire you to lift your game and dig a little deeper,” said the GFG Academy golfer.
Park took the title in East London on a winning score of four-under-par 215 and her second victory in four months followed along the same lines as her runaway nine stroke triumph at the 33rd Ackerman Championship last October. Park carded an opening one-over-par 74 to lag two shots behind the country’s number one ranked junior, Kaleigh Telfer, however, the overnight leader returned a second round 77 that left the door open for Park to pounce with a 73, to take a one stroke lead over Monja Richards at the 36-hole mark.
Once the 17-year-old Irene golfer hit the front, not even winds gusting at 35 kilometers an hour could hold her back. Park collected a pair of birdies at the third and fourth holes, and reeled in a string of four gains from the ninth hole to move to six under. The Irene golfer notched yet another birdie at the par-five 15th, but her own eagerness cost her back-to-back shots at the 16th and 17th. “We were playing into a two to three club wind and the back nine was extremely tough,” Park explained.
“I hit it well from tee to green and had been putting really well all day, especially nailing those 12 to 15 foot putts. I got a little ahead of myself and diverted from my game plan, because I was really pumped and I took the holes and I shouldn’t have. At the 16th, I got stuck in a bunker behind the hill and at the par-three, I took a six-iron off the tee and finished well short of the green. That was two lessons learned, so I took care with the 18th. I hit my driver too high, though, and the tee shot didn’t travel very far. I hit a three-wood for my second and it finished to the left of the green, which left me with a downhill chip.”
Park executed the chip to perfection, though, and knocked in a three-footer for par and victory. “I’m really pleased with this win so early in the season,” Park said. “I am in matric this year and it is going to become increasingly difficult to maintain my WGSA rankings and world amateur rankings with all the preparations for exams. “I have been putting in a lot of long hours with my coach, Graeme Francis, since last year and I’m just really pleased that all the hard work has paid off.”