Scot Jane Turner produced a stunning display of front running golf as she fired a closing two-under 68 to win the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, by four shots at the Wild Coast Country Club on Thursday.
The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club player ended on a four-under 206 total, four ahead of her nearest challenger and defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini. The three-time Sunshine Tour winner carded rounds of 68 72 and 70, meaning Turner was the only player to finish under par for the week.
In third on her own was fellow Scot Gabrielle Macdonald of Craigelaw Golf Club on two-over after rounds of 72, 70, 70. Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Kelsey Nicholas, who plays out of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, finished a further shot adrift after posting scores of 78, 68, 67.
England’s Kiran Matharu and another Scot Hannah McCook – in her second start as a professional – tied for fifth on four-over with GolfRSA Elite Squad star Kajal Mistry.
The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member, who lost in a play-off in last week’s SA Women’s Masters, won the leading amateur prize for a second week running.
Turner began her round with a birdie three on the second after chipping in for birdie when it looked like a bogey was on the cards. That was just the impetus she needed, as she picked up two more gains before the turn.
On the 10th, she holed a long putt for birdie to get to six-under and open a five-shot lead over Dlamini. Two bogeys in a final three holes ultimately mattered little, as the 29-year-old had done enough to claim an emphatic triumph.
“It feels amazing what I was able to do today,” said Turner. “I can’t even begin to describe what this feels like. I have no control of what anyone else does, so I needed to keep the ball in play and hit greens in regulation and make my birdies.
“Once the putts started dropping, it gave me confidence. I actually holed a great putt on 10 for birdie. Everything just came together.”
The bogeys on 16 and 17, made it a slightly more nervy finish for Turner – but she said her mind-set still remained the same.
“I had my first bogey of the day on 16 and just like nine yesterday, it was because of a bad drive,” she said. ‘I almost managed to save my par, but left the putt short. 17 was just a bad three-putt – my first one of the week.
“The mind-set was the same coming down 18, hit the fairway and hit the green and I almost made my birdie.”
Turner has a category 12 exemption (meaning limited status) on the Ladies European Tour (LET), but has tasted victory once before as a professional at the 2017 Bossey Ladies Championship on the LET Access Series.
“This is my second win and they both sit right up there. It’s a fabulous feeling to know you’re going home with a trophy – although I’m not sure how it’s going to fit on the plane!”
The win at the Wild Coast though, will give Turner a massive confidence boost as she heads to the Cape Town Ladies Open and then the Investec South African Women’s Open in two weeks, where the winner will receive full exemption on the LET for the rest of the season.
“The SA Open will be a great springboard for any player who does well there,” Turner said. “It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I put together a lot of birdies this week, and I just need to keep that going in Cape Town.”
In response to the question why the purple shirts on the final day, Turner responded.
“I was diagnosed with epilepsy almost seven years ago. I do my bit to raise awareness for the condition and I hope to make a tradition of wearing purple in the final round, because purple is the colour for all epilepsy charities. Under Armour give me my clothing, and there are quite a few purple tee shirts. So all my final days are going to be purple, just like Tiger and his red.”