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Dlamini tackles final round of Ladies Challenge with a four-shot lead
- Updated: February 26, 2016
Rookies Bertine Strauss and Lejan Lewthwaite both launched an assault in round two of the Sun International Ladies Challenge, but the pair couldn’t shake overnight leader Nobuhle Dlamini at the Gary Player Country Club on Thursday.
The big-hitting Swazi pro stayed on track to claim a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour victory at Sun City with a three-under-par 69 and she will start the final round at seven-under-par 137.
Strauss barged into second with a blistering five under 67 and finished four strokes off the pace, while Lewthwaite closed with a two under 70 to take third spot on the leaderboard at one under.
The Benoni rookie actually got within two shots of Dlamini with five birdies on the front nine, but spoiled her charge with a trio of bogeys over the closing holes.
Dlamini’s approach play was superb for a second day running.
‘I just played one shot at a time,’ said the 24-year-old Els Club Copperleaf player, who picked up half-a-dozen birdies at two, nine, 10, 14, 16 and 17 to erase bogeys at six, 12 and 18.
‘I stayed in the moment and I didn’t get ahead of myself. It was important to stay focused, because the pressure was on from Bertine and Lejan.
‘It’s very nice to have a gap for the start of the final round. I am pretty confident at the moment because I am striking the ball really well and the putter is hot, too. I know the swing is there when I trust it and just let it go. That will be very important in the final round.’
Strauss showed no signs of the jetlag that plagued her in the first round as she burst from the blocks with a hat-trick of birdies.
She negated a lone bogey at eight with a birdie at the par five 10th and chipped in from 60 feet at the final hole to finish with back-to-back gains.
‘That was a much better effort,’ smiled Strauss, who claimed a tie for 24th in the Australian Women’s Open at the weekend and only arrived back in the country in time to start the penultimate counting event in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies.
‘I’m well down in 19th place in the points standing and I need to finish in the top three this week and next week to have any hope of making the top 10 for Millvale. I was disappointed with my start, but I felt as if I was 10 steps behind myself all day.
‘I felt a lot fresher this morning and I managed to attack the course – and Nobby’s lead – immediately. Today’s round was more up to my usual standard. I missed just a few greens and fairways, but it was solid.’
Strauss left the driver in the bag and relied on her trusty three-wood to get around the 5 800 metre layout.
‘I hit my three wood nearly as far as the driver, so I used it well,’ she said. ‘The birdies at one and 17 were about 12 feet, but the rest were all inside three feet. I was a little frustrated with the putter, though. It could have been a 64 or 63, because a lot of my putts burned the edges. Hopefully the short stick warms up on Friday and I can give Nobby a run for her money.’
Picture of Dlamini courtesy of Sunshine Ladies Tour
SECOND ROUND SCOREBOARD
137 – Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 68 69
141 – Bertine Strauss 74 67
143 – Lejan Lewthwaite 73 70
144 – Monique Smit 72 72
146 – Carrie Park KOR 74 72, Nicole Garcia 73 73
147 – Agathe Sauzon FRA 77 70, Maria Beautell ESP 71 76
148 – Melissa Eaton 76 72, Kim Williams 72 76
149 – Rebecca Hudson ENG 77 72, Elisabetta Bertini ITA 75 74
150 – Hanna Roos SWE 76 74
151 – Stacy Bregman 75 76
152 – Monja Richards 78 74
153 – Cecilie Lundgreen NOR 79 74, Tandi von Ruben 78 75, Elina Bergvall SWE 74 79, Bonita Bredenhann NAM 74 79
155 – Alana van Greuning 84 71, Eva Steinberger AUT 80 75, Michelle Leigh 80 75, Crystal Cooper (AMA) 79 76
156 – Leanda Schulze 78 78, Alexandra Lennartsson SWE 77 79
158 – Amy Henning 81 77
159 – Emma Goddard ENG 81 78, Chiara Contomathios (AMA) 79 80, Mae Cornforth 79 80
160 – Michelle de Vries 81 79
163 – Casandra Hall (AMA) 85 78, Lauren Blease ENG 82 81
164 – Francesca Cuturi 80 84
165 – Maria Roos SWE 84 81
166 – Kirsty Fisher ENG 86 80
167 – Cindy Dalton (AMA) 81 86
168 – Sarah Blythe-Wood ZIM 87 81, Lynette Pretorius (AMA) 86 82, Tijana Kraljevic 85 83, Marguerite Pienaar 85 83
169 – Kim de Klerk (AMA) 80 89
170 – Natasha Carlsson (AMA) 85 85
172 – Ethel Ruthenberg (AMA) 80 92
175 – Carmia van Wyk 83 92
RTD – Laurette Maritz 75 RTD