Costly finish for Mehaffey on opening day at LET’s Joburg Open

Mark McGowan

Olivia Mehaffey (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)

Olivia Mehaffey’s shot a five-over-par 78 in round one of the LET’s Joburg Ladies Open at Modderfontein Golf Club in South Africa’s ‘City of Gold,’ which sees the Tandragee woman lie provisionally outside the top 100 on the leaderboard as the afternoon wave gets underway.

Having made the cut in the LET’s season-opening Magical Kenya Ladies Open four weeks prior, a rough final round saw Mehaffey finish well down the leaderboard and her search for consistency continues after a costly closing stretch today saw her drop five shots in the final three holes.

Starting her day on the back nine of the elevated par-73 layout, Mehaffey carded bogeys at the 13th and 18th holes to make the turn at +2, but made a vastly improved start to the opening nine, picking up shots at the par-5 first and par-3 third holes to get back to level par.

Another bogey came at the fourth but she immediately got that shot back with a birdie-four at the fifth. The round began to unravel at the lengthy par-4 seventh hole, however, where she’d hole out for a triple bogey seven to negate the good work she’d done to get herself back to even for the day.

A par at eight was then followed by a double-bogey five at the par-3 ninth, signing for a +5 and leaving her with considerable work to do to make the 36-hole cut.

The early pace was set by England’s Alice Hewson and Dane Smilla Tarning Soenderby. Hewson captured her maiden LET victory on her tour debut at the Ladies South African Open in March of 2020, the final event held before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of most of the events slated for the 2020 season.

The Clemson graduate went bogey-free on her way to shooting a five-under 68, aided by an impressive start that saw her birdie the first three and four of the opening five holes.

Soenderby carded one birdie more than Hewson, with a bogey at the sixth the only blemish on her card. She joined Hewson as the early clubhouse leaders with the afternoon wave still out on course.

They’re a shot ahead of Sweden’s Moa Folke and Austrian Christine Wolf at -3.


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