Kiran Matharu was in imperious form in South Africa as she marched to a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour victory with a commanding performance in the Ladies Tshwane Open.
The Englishwoman fired four birdies on the back nine to post a four-under-par 67 for a winning score of nine over 209, beating defending champion Monique Smit and fellow South African Ashleigh Buhai by an emphatic five strokes.
“This is what I’ve been working towards since the start of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and to finally lift the trophy is just a fantastic feeling,” said Matharu.
The 27-year-old took third place in her debut at the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, shared second with Buhai at the South African Women’s Masters and closed out a top five finish in the South African Women’s Open last weekend.
The victory catapulted Matharu to the top of the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies standings, while Buhai leapfrogged SA Women’s Masters champion Carrie Park for second place.
Matharu opened with a 68 and edged three shots clear of Buhai with a 69 in round two. She made a stumbling start on the last day, but managed to offset a brace of bogeys to keep ahead of the field on the front nine.
“I didn’t play the first nine holes well in any of the rounds, so I knew I needed to stay patient and just protect my lead until we reached the turn,” said Matharu.
Once she hit the back nine, though, the putter caught fire.''
She notched a pair of birdies 13 and 14 and picked up two more gains at 16 and 17. Heading down the final hole, Matharu held a four shot lead over Buhai, but the South African three-putted 18, handing the Englishwomen a five shot celebration.
Four-time Ladies European Tour winner Rebecca Hudson became the first international champion on the Sunshine Ladies Tour last season and Matharu’s victory takes the foreign champions' tally to three, coming just two weeks after Park from South Korea triumphed at Rondebosch Golf Club.
Now Matharu hopes to put her hands on another trophy as the Sunshine Ladies Tour heads back to the Mother City for Cape Town Ladies Open next week.
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