Bouch and Traut give SA edge at RAACT
GolfRSA Elite Squad member Sarah Bouch and team captain Vicki Traut got South Africa’s title defence underway with a solid opening round in the Regional All-Africa Challenge Trophy (RAACT) in Lesotho on Wednesday.
The pair combined for a score of three-under-par 141 to open up a four shot lead on Zimbabwe at the Maseru Golf Club.
Bouch from Ekurhuleni opened the batting for the team and reeled two birdies and an eagle for a one under 71.
“I was really happy with my long game and I stuck my wedges close to six or seven feet at most holes, but I battled with pace of the greens,” said the 19-year-old from Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate.
“I started bogey-bogey, but hit back with a good drive at four. I stuck it four feet from the hole and made the birdie putt. The ninth is a reachable par five and I hit a good nine-iron it and two-putted for birdie to get it back to level.”
Bouch was disappointed to start the back nine with two bogeys.
“It’s a nine-hole course and I started the back nine with two bogeys again,” she said. “Once again I could get the pace right and three-putted the first hole for a second time and I had to chip into the second after getting the distance wrong again.
“I hit a really good drive at 12 and had 103 in and hit a soft gap-wedge to 15 foot and drained the putt for eagle. I stuck my wedges close at 13, 14 and 15 but just couldn’t convert, but the birdie at 16 from four foot got me under par. Overall I’m pleased with the score, but I just need to come to grips with the pace of the greens and get some rhythm going so the putts can drop.”
Traut from Western Province hit 12 fairways and 14 greens in regulation and needed only 29 putts for the low round of the day, a two-under-par 70.
“The weather conditions were perfect although a slight wind brought in the clouds over the last couple of holes,” Traut said. “According to the weather forecast there is the possibly of rain today and on Friday, which will be very testing considering the challenges the course holds.
“We are having a blast here in Lesotho. We were pleasantly surprised with the wonderful way we were welcomed in Lesotho. The people are very friendly and go out if their way to help you. The improvements they made to the course look great and we enjoyed our opening round.
“We’ve made a good start and I have confidence in our ability to build on our lead and bring home the trophy for a sixth successive time.”
The remaining team members, Zethu Myeki from Border and Lumien Orton from Free State, returned respective rounds of 78 and 73.
Myeki will be looking to bounce back after an unlucky break at the 16th cost her plenty shots.
“I played very well and I had two birdies on my card and made four solid up-and-downs to save par, but it all went south at 16,” said the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member. “I was level par coming up to 16 and my tee shot hit a tree just on the right of the fairway.
“We didn’t see the ball come down and when we couldn’t find it, we had to assume it was stuck in the tree. I ended up making a triple and I let it go at the last two holes. I was pretty disappointed after making a good start, but I’ll fight back today.
“My driver was hot and cold and I struggled with the slow pace of the greens, but I hope to take advantage of the par fives today and put up a good score to help the team.”
Batsirai Tilowaluti led the Zimbabwe team with a 71 and Emily Jones returned 74, while Tsebo Lerotholi and Mphoto Phiri posted a pair of 73s to put Lesotho in third spot at 166.
Namibia is at a disadvantage with only three players on the team, but Abri Pienaar and Brenda Lens made a good fist of it to post rounds of 93 for fourth place at 172. Swaziland’s Theresa Fawcett led the side with an 83 and Goodness Dhlamini shot 93 for an opening 176.
Round One Team Scores
141 South Africa 70 71
145 Zimbabwe 71 74
166 Lesotho 73 73
172 Namibia 86 86
176 Swaziland 83 93