Quintin van Jaarsveld
Lizzie Currie showed her champion spirit while Beryl Olden was crowned bronze division champion at the KwaZulu-Natal Ladies Golf Association (KZNLGA) Amateur Matchplay Championship at Victoria Country Club in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.
The Port Shepstone Country Club duo entered the competition with contrasting goals, Currie determined to retain her A division crown and Olden merely out to enjoy her maiden matchplay tournament.
Currie fell just short of her goal, losing out in the championship final, while Olden came out of nowhere to bag the bronze title.
“It was very unexpected and an experience I really enjoyed,” Olden, who won the KZNLGA South Coast Region Amateur Strokeplay Bronze Division Championship on her home course in December, told eHowzit.
The deck was stacked against Olden; she’d played betterball stableford before but never one-on-one matchplay and came up against Wendy Slabbert, playing on her home course, in the final.
They went tit-for-tat throughout the tense decider before Olden was confronted with another first – a play-off for the championship. Again, she defied the odds, winning the high-stakes play-off and the silverware.
“I had to fight right through to the end…it was my day I suppose. It’s a very difficult course with fast greens and rough you don’t want to find yourself in, so it was anything but easy.”
She feels the fact that she flew under the radar as a matchplay rookie aided her but modestly maintains she had good fortune.
“I think it being my first one-on-one matchplay competition was actually an advantage. I enjoyed format and I learned a lot. I was lucky though…the golf gods were on my side.”
Currie, conversely, wasn’t at her best and had to shake off some rust during the tournament.
The 2015 KZNLGA Order of Merit winner came through her two opening matches on Monday and edged Demi Flanagan in a last-hole semi-final thriller in misty morning conditions on Tuesday to set up a showdown with Brittany-Fey Berger.
She was in it at the turn but it wasn’t to be as Berger pulled away and prevailed 5 & 3.
“I’m a little bleak about it. I really wanted to defend my title, but I lost to a very good player and she beat me on eagles and birdies, so it wasn’t an easy match,” Currie told eHowzit.
“I was quite surprised I made it through the semi-finals. My confidence wasn’t where it needed to be, so when I was in a position where I could win it I buckled down, but I made too many mistakes in the final – my putting got the best of me.
“I learned from the experience though. I’ve put it behind me and I’m focusing on the next one.”
Currie and Berger will join forces together with Michaela Fletcher in the KwaZulu-Natal A team in the 72-hole showpiece in May.