Strauss makes it two in a row as she wins Ladies Challenge | TeamSA - TeamSA

Strauss makes it two in a row as she wins Ladies Challenge

Bertine Strauss put up a supreme show of composure and mental fortitude to capture a wire-to-wire victory in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, while Maria Beautell from Spain shattered local rookie Lejan Lewthwaite’s dreams to make the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Final with a superb final round performance at Huddle Park Golf Course on Friday.
Strauss carried a four-stroke lead into the final round and produced a grandstand finish with a perfectly executed birdie at the par four final hole to send the crowd into raptures.
She closed with a three-under 69 to triumph with a winning aggregate of 14-under-par 202.
Just a week ago, a maiden breakthrough on home soil in the Sun International Ladies Challenge at Sun City sent the 24-year-old rookie soaring from 19th to 10th in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Points Standing.
She vaulted to fifth courtesy of a five-shot triumph in the final counting tournament.
Strauss was ecstatic to be heading to Millvale Private Retreat as one of the 10 leading professionals who will challenge for the R1-million Bonus Pool and the winner-takes-all R100 000 prize in the Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece from 10-12 March.
‘I was under the gun to get into the top 10 at Sun City and just put my head down to get the job done, but this week the pressure was off and I really enjoyed the tournament,’ the LPGA Tour novice said.
‘I made a great start with the 64 in the first round and I knew I just had to limit my mistakes and make some birdies to get the win. It’s almost overwhelming to realise that I played my way into the final event with back-to-back victories, but I’m very happy and proud of the way that I handled the pressure to fight my way into the field.’
Strauss boxed a 25-footer at the third to get some momentum going and notched further gains at nine, 12 and 14 to negate a three-putt bogey at seven and another drop at 15.
‘When I was walking to the 18th green, I knew I had won but I didn’t really think about it,’ she said.
‘I wanted to finish the hole and it was an amazing feeling to make that 12-footer for birdie with all the golfers and my management company around the green.’
Strauss moved to 972.50 points and still lags 627.50 points behind Lee-Anne Pace, who will be gunning for her third consecutive Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies title.
‘I haven’t really thought about winning the rankings, but it’s a possibility now, providing Lee-Anne doesn’t play immaculate golf,’ Strauss said.
‘She has had an incredible season with three victories in three starts. It will be a huge task to beat her, but anything is possible. I love Millvale and it has been my home course for about 10 years, so I feel really confident going to the final.’
Meanwhile Beautell was seven shots off the pace at the start of the final round, but six birdies changed her plans for next week.
The 34-year-old from Tenerife fired a determined five under 67 to finish sole second.
Beautell pocketed 250 valuable points that propelled her into the number 10 spot in the Points Rankings and guaranteed her start at Millvale at the expense of Lewthwaite, who slipped from ninth to 11 after a tie for 29th.
‘I really, really wanted to make the field for Millvale, so I gave it everything in the final round,’ said Beautell, who started the event ranked 13th.
‘I drove the ball really well and missed only one fairway and I hit my irons so beautifully. I missed a few chances, but I got enough birdies to make my goal. I have had a really great time here in South Africa and I love the Sunshine Ladies Tour. I’m really excited to play the final.’

Picture of Strauss courtesy of Sunshine Ladies Tour

202 – Bertine Strauss 64 69 69
207 – Maria Beautell ESP 71 69 67
208 – Ashleigh Simon 67 70 71
209 – Carrie Park KOR 68 71 70
211 – Melissa Eaton 69 70 72
212 – Cecilie Lundgreen NOR 70 70 72
213 – Emma Goddard ENG 71 73 69, Monique Smit 73 71 69, Nicole Garcia 69 71 73
214 – Stacy Bregman 73 68 73
217 – Kim Williams 71 77 69, Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 73 72 72, Agathe Sauzon FRA 74 71 72
218 – Michelle Leigh 76 71 71
219 – Rebecca Hudson ENG 75 72 72
220 – Bonita Bredenhann NAM 70 76 74, Monja Richards 75 69 76
221 – Alexandra Lennartsson SWE 74 72 75
222 – Elisabetta Bertini ITA 72 75 75, Kelsey Nicholas (AMA) 70 76 76
223 – Tandi von Ruben 77 70 76, Lauren Blease ENG 76 73 74, Francesca Cuturi 73 77 73, Hanna Roos SWE 73 77 73, Mae Cornforth 77 73 73
224 – Tijana Kraljevic 79 73 72, Laurette Maritz 74 72 78, Carmia van Wyk 74 79 71
225 – Amy Henning 74 75 76, Chiara Contomathios (AMA) 74 73 78, Maria Roos SWE 74 78 73, Crizelda van Niekerk 72 74 79, Sarah Blythe-Wood ZIM 77 75 73, Larissa du Preez (AMA) 78 74 73, Lejan Lewthwaite 79 73 73
228 – Elina Bergvall SWE 79 77 72
229 – Alana van Greuning 77 77 75
230 – Kirsty Fisher ENG 76 77 77
232 – Caitlyn Macnab (AMA) 79 81 72
236 – Leanda Schulze 81 82 73
237 – Marguerite Pienaar 82 79 76
252 – Kim de Klerk (AMA) 81 89 82
RTD – Michelle de Vries 79 75 RTD