Ladies European Tour
May 15th, 2021
Garcia leads South African Women’s Open
South African takes advantage of an early start to lead by one
Photography: Petri Oeschger
On a difficult day at Westlake Golf Club, Garcia had an early start and used it to her advantage as she set the clubhouse lead at level-par with three birdies on her card.
Windy conditions, which saw gusts of up to 35km per hour in the afternoon, meant the late starters faced a tougher draw and yesterday’s leaders Lee-Anne Pace and Lydia Hall were unable to beat Garcia’s score.
“We started with some really good weather this morning so I was hoping it would hold up, but through the back nine the wind started to pump,” said Garcia, who recorded her best finish on the LET last season with fifth at the Saudi Ladies Team International.
“I think I had a good draw today, the front nine was a little bit easier with the wind. I was hoping to play a little bit better, but I got a bit unlucky on some holes. I will take that score especially with where I started. I’m happy I didn’t blow out with this wind and I kept it together.”
Three-time SA Women’s Open winner Pace carded a round of 75 with one birdie to sit one-shot back from the leader.
Alongside her is Germany’s Leonie Harm, who also made the most of a late start, and clinched back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 for a round of 72.
“I’m super happy sitting in second place, one-shot off the lead. You always drop a couple of shots here and there, but in these conditions, I think that’s forgivable,” said Harm, who made her LET debut last season.
“The birdies on 16 and 17 were fun and surprising because on 16 I was nowhere near having a shot at the green, but I had a birdie putt from 10-feet. Every birdie out there is huge. My birdie on the second hole got me off to a good start and that was really important to get me going in a good direction.”
Scotland’s Kylie Henry, who made an eagle on the par-five 13th, is a shot further back at two-over-par in fourth place after carding a 72.
“I started on 10, holed a good putt on 12 and then had a tap-in eagle on 13 which was really nice,” said Henry. “From there I made a few mistakes, it was a bit up and down. Overall, it was a good solid round.”
Four players sit tied in fifth including yesterday’s joint-leader Hall, Tandi McCallum, Elia Folch and Pia Babnik; while Spain’s Silvia Banon – who carded the only under-par round of the day – is tied ninth alongside Sanna Nuutinen, Karolin Lampert and Agathe Sauzon.
The halfway cut fell at +12, with 66 payers advancing to the weekend.