Quintin van Jaarsveld
Port Shepstone Country Club pulled out all the stops for the KwaZulu-Natal Ladies Golf Association (KZNLGA) Interclub Championship, which culminated on Saturday.
This year’s three-day competition was expected to be extra special with the KZNLGA celebrating its centenary year, and it was exactly that.
No less than 242 players from all corners of KwaZulu-Natal participated in a golf gathering that had it all. There was quality play – highlighted by a hole-in-one – and camaraderie of note, which was further fuelled by excellent evening entertainment.
The championship had an Olympic Games theme, with its famous five rings representing each of the five participating regions, who joined KZNLGA delegates and Port Shepstone Country Club committee members for the traditional tree-planting and flag-raising ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.
The betterball competition got off to an exciting start on Thursday morning, with the hosts having 16 players in the mix.
Kim Strauss and former pro Nicola Gutzeit represented ‘Shepbees’ in the Gold Division, Yzelle Greyling and Debi Stewart, along with Anne Baldrey and Jenny Hulley, vied for Silver Division honours while Beryl Olden and Alecia Hilt, Cecelia Verster and Cilla Lindsay, Sue van den Berg and Vicki Nott, Barbara Rousseau and Di Nadauld and Annette Thorold and Marisa Stretch formed part of the Bronze Division.
Umhlali’s Erica Millican produced a moment of magic when she hit an ace on the 17th in front of a large crowd on Saturday.
“It felt like I had just won the Ryder Cup,” commented Millican.
After three days of great golf, the Southbroom/Eshowe pair of Lizzie Currie and Tania Lyon were crowned champions on 244, with local duo Strauss and Gutzeit five strokes back in second place.
Mount Edgecombe’s Bronwyn Rae and Wendy Fouche (227.5) earned the distinction of having the best nett in the Gold Division.
“Winning with Tania really meant a lot to me as I used to be a member at Sheppie,” Currie told eHowzit.
“It’s always lovely winning a tournament in a place close to home with a home crowd and all the Southbroom ladies as well as my mum and family members sitting around the green watching me come in.
“It meant a lot to have those special people there to see us win and it’s a bonus that it falls in the centenary year of the KZNLGA. It was just all very special.”
It was the first time Currie and Lyon joined forces, and the new tandem had a mountain to climb after a slow start.
“Tania had never played at Sheppie before and while we’ve played individual golf together, we’ve actually never played together as a team. The first day we struggled, but after the first 18, we realised what we needed to do to perform better.
“We changed tee boxes and it was most definitely the best thing we could have done. After Day One, we were four shots behind and on Day Two, we jumped five ahead, so the tee box change really worked well for us,” said Currie.
Wendy Frost and Lydia Muhl from Durban dominated the Silver Division, clinching the Florence Harvey trophy by 11 on 264.
Amanzimtoti’s Liz Donald and Brenda Morgan edged Victoria’s Wendy Carruthers and Debbie Fradl via count out for the runners-up spot on 275.
The best nett in this division belonged to Mount Edgecombe’s Barbara Dixon and Annie Mexson (228.5).
The Bronze Division was the most closely-contested – so much so that Margate’s Grace Fourie and Rina Rito shared the silverware with Southbroom’s Irene Schanda and Solange Fox on 101.
The winners received their trophies at a jovial prize-giving attended by 260 golfers, KZNLGA executives and invited guests on Saturday night.
A number of other prestigious awards were also handed out.
Brittney-Fay Berger was acknowledged as the 2018 Order of Merit winner, Natalia Foursomes winners Marie Terblanche and Ro-Juan Hill from Richards Bay received their trophy and Karen Olivant was presented with the Denis Done Good Fellowship Trophy for her contribution to KwaZulu-Natal golf.
The KZNLGA committee surprised everyone with their rendition of a dance number in The First Wives Club movie to Bette Midler’s “You don’t own Me,” as the event ended on a high note.
“It was absolutely fantastic and a huge success. We had perfect weather throughout the tournament, the course was magnificent and everyone played their part,” Jenny Hulley, Interclub convenor from Port Shepstone Country Club, told eHowzit.
“Everything went smoothly…we didn’t have a single hiccup, and most importantly, the players all said they had a great time. It was an absolute honour for us to host the 2018 Interclub,” she said.