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Rising young stars join battle for Jackie Mercer Trophy
- Updated: November 25, 2015
Two of South Africa’s brightest amateur talents in the shape of Ivanna Samu and Woo-Ju Son are heading to the Hibiscus Coast to join the battle for the Jackie Mercer Trophy in the 2015 South African Women’s Open.
Samu and Son will be among a cast of rising stars, primed to test themselves on golf’s biggest stage at San Lameer Country Club from 29 November to 1 December.
‘When I enter an event, I play to win, but I am also being realistic about my chances with the likes of Lee-Anne Pace, Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit, Nobuhle Dlamini, Melissa Eaton and Kim Williams in this year’s field,’ said Samu, reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play champion.
‘To finish as the leading amateur in South Africa’s flagship women’s golf championship has always been a huge goal for me. I’m definitely going all out to win the Jackie Mercer Trophy.’
Samu, pictured above, underlined her status as one of South Africa’s future champions when she lifted the 2014 Sanlam SA Amateur Championship title at the age of 15.
Much was expected of the Ruimsig teenager, who duly delivered with a slew of provincial triumphs over the last 18 months and four fine victories in the 2015.
She followed podium finishes in the North West and Gauteng North Junior Championships with a three-stroke victory in the SA Stroke Play in April and lifted the Nomads SA Girls Championship title in June.
Remarkably, over the course of nearly 20 starts, the 17-year-old protégé only finished outside the top four twice.
The GFG Academy golfer carried this vein of form to a second and a fourth place on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and also made a considerable impression on the international stage.
In January, she helped South Africa to fourth in the prestigious Astor Trophy in Australia and was the banker for the home team in the Junior Golf World Cup in Japan in June.
Samu tied for 21 in the Annika Invitational Europe and became the first South African to reach the quarter-finals of the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship in Scotland in August.
A month later, the Gauteng junior claimed a runner-up finish in the Girls Competition and finished ninth overall in the esteemed Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
Samu represented South Africa in the highly acclaimed Spirit International in October and it was during the stint in Texas that she missed on her title defence in the Ackerman Championship.
This ultimately toppled her from the No1 spot in the rankings she held for more than a year.
Her absence also opened the door for Son, who rose to number one in the Junior Rankings following a tie for fourth at Royal Cape.
Son won the World Amateur Golf Audi Reunion in April, but although she never reached the winner’s circle at home, the 14-year-old Eagle Canyon golfer has had a similarly eye-catching year.
In addition to runner-up finishes in the recent Boland and Ekurhuleni Championships, Son also reeled in five third-place finishes and six top fives to rise to fifth in the WGSA Senior Rankings.
The number one junior also led the amateurs in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Open in March.
‘I think the competition between the amateurs in this year’s SA Women’s Open will be incredibly stiff, because Ivanna and I will be going toe-to-toe at San Lameer with a bunch of champions who broke through this year and who won’t back down an inch,’ Son said.
Top ranked Swiss amateur Azelia Meichtry, who won the Curro SA World International Junior and the Nomads SA WP Junior Championship, leads the list of champions that include KwaZulu-Natal Match Play winner Lizzie Currie, Ackerman Championship winner Danielle du Toit, Nomads SA Rose Bowl champion Chiara Contomathios and Lejan Lewthwte, who lifted the Gauteng Stroke Play Championship title in August.
Pictures of Samu and Son, courtesy of Justin Klusener