Tamburlini powers to maiden victory in SA as Walsh consolidates mid-field finish

Kevin Kent

Chiara Tamburlini of Switzerland with her trophy. Credit: Tristan Jones / LET

Kevin Kent

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Swiss clockwork was the secret to unlocking Modderfontein Golf Course as overnight leader Chiara Tamburlini powered her way around to secure victory by seven strokes while Lauren Walsh remained stuck in the middle of the pack.

Walsh’s hopes of a Sunday push were scuppered early as the Castlewarden woman saw her first bogey of the day on the 11th – her second hole. The back-nine of this course had been fiery all week and today was to be no exception. She would go on to trade two more bogeys for two birdies on her way out to turn at one-over for the day, minimising the damage.

Bogeys on the par-3 3rd and again on the 4th were cancelled out by Walsh’s birdies, again on the par-5 1st and the 6th. She would par her way home to finish her week on three-over-par. A tie for 41st sees Walsh drop five spots to 40th on the Order of Merit but she can take heart in her performance this week and easier challenges are to come.

Today, once more, belonged to the Swiss rookie Tamburlini. Another stellar round saw her sail off into the distance as the pack could not make a dent in her charge. On a course that has proved such a challenge to seasoned, salty tour professionals, the 24-year-old was composure personified in the early stages.

With seven birdies through her first 13 holes, and clear blue sky between her and Aunchisa Utama, she can be forgiven for a late wobble. Bogey on 17 followed by double on the last hole did little to take the shine off a formidable performance.

Finishing on -17 and seven shots clear of Utama, Tamburlini, who has three top-10 finishes in her seven LET starts, will look to continue her red-hot form with the quick turnaround in South Africa. India’s Diksha Dager would finish one further back on -9 on a tie for third with Luna Sabron, while a group of three would finish on -8 to take a tie for fifth spot this week.

Speaking after her victory, just the third Swiss winner on the LET was elated: “This obviously means a lot,” she said. “Being able to win on the LET in like my seventh start or so this year is really special. It just feels like all the hard work has paid off. I am honestly speechless at the moment and beyond grateful to be here and be able to win this tournament today.

“I had always dreamed about it but I didn’t know that I was actually capable of doing it, so to be standing here now is just very, very nice. I just tried to go lower and lower and keep pushing until the end really. I think that is what kept me in it. I just set myself small little goals during the round, so I didn’t get comfortable, and I think that worked out really well.”

The Tour stays in the Rainbow Nation as next up we see the Investec South African Women’s Open on the Erinvale Country and Golf Estate. From the 18th to the 21st of April, Ashleigh Buhai heads into the week looking to retain her title on the Gary Player designed course.

The field will be hoping for a more sedate journey around Erinvale following the rain disruption in Australia and the feisty Modderfontein. Both Walsh and Olivia Mehaffey take part next week with hopes of kinder conditions. Mehaffey must look to banish her experience this week and two consecutive missed cuts from the memory and reset as we go into the second leg of the Tour’s South African Swing.


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