Sarah Bouch, Zethu Myeki, Lumien Orton and Vicki Traut arrived home on the weekend buoyed by their combined efforts to promote golf development in Southern Africa while also defending South Africa’s proud record in the Regional All-Africa Challenge Trophy (RAACT) in Lesotho last week.
The South African quartet opened with 141 and edged three strokes clear of Zimbabwe with a second round 145.
GolfRSA Elite Squad members Bouch and Myeki closed with respective rounds of 70 and 72 to combine for 142 to seal South Africa’s sixth consecutive RAACT victory with a 12 shot margin over Zimbabwe on a 54-hole total of 428.
Team captain Traut from Western Province posted scores of 70, 81 and 79 to finish sixth overall in the Individual Competition. Traut said the team felt that they got more out of the championship than they bargained for.
‘Due to three of the top-ranked players competing in the Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl, Womens Golf South Africa decided to send Zethu, Sarah, Lumien and I to Lesotho,’ said Traut. ‘We were fired up to defend South Africa’s title, but when the other competitors approached us, we also saw an opportunity to give back.
‘Zethu helped some of the girls with their putting, we taught some players how to use stroke savers, Sarah showed the ladies how to write up the team scoreboard and she even helped the lady doing the official photos to set up her camera.
‘We are so thankful that we were given this opportunity, because we got so much more out of this experience than simply travelling to Lesotho to defend the title.’
It was a particularly memorable event for Bouch. The second-year teaching student at the University of Pretoria carded rounds of 71, 74 and her final round 70 lifted her to the top of the Individual Leaderboard. She beat Zimbabwean Batsirai Tilowaluti by three shots on one-under-par 215.
‘I was really pleased with the win, especially after struggling with the pace of the greens at the start of the tournament,’ said the 20-year-old HPC Tuks Golf Academy player.
‘They were much slower than what we are used to and the fairways were rock-hard with sandy patches due to the lack of rain in the region. You could hit a great shot, but you had no idea what kind of lie you would get. The conditions were challenging, but it ended up as a great experience. We had to stay patient, get creative and use every shot in the bag.
‘I believe all the teams learned a lot at this championship and we were so impressed with all the hard work the green staff did to present us with a playable course. We applaud the Lesotho women’s amateur golf union for going ahead to host the event.’
Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Myeki finished fourth overall in the Individual standings with rounds of 78, 72 and 72. The Border golfer said chance to meet the other contestants and share their knowledge with the players was very satisfying.
‘We all came through the ranks with people coaching us to help us improve and the chance to help these players with some new skills to improve was very rewarding,’ she said.
‘It was so great to watch them embrace the opportunity to learn and the RAACT will definitely rank among the highlights of my career.’
Reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur champion Orton, who carded three successive 73s to finish third overall, agreed.
‘We met some pretty awesome players in our time in Lesotho and we all came home richer from the experience,’ said Orton. ‘This week wasn’t just about winning. It was about helping everyone to become winners and that was an incredibly rewarding experience for all of us. Thank you to everyone in Lesotho for making us feel so welcome and for hosting an incredible event.’
428 – South Africa 141 145 142
440 – Zimbabwe 145 144 151
507 – Swaziland 176 165 166
510 – Lesotho 166 178 166
518 – Namibia 172 175 171
Final Individual Leaderboard (top five)
215 – Sarah Bouch SA 71 74 70
218 – Batsirai Tilowaluti ZIM 71 69 78
219 – Lumien Orton SA 73 73 73
222 – Zethu Myeki SA 78 72 72
229 – Emily Jones ZIM 74 75 80
Picture of Orton, Myeki, Traut and Bouch courtesy of GolfRSA