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Wednesday, 03 April 2024 12:10

Floyd banking on home course advantage in Absa Ladies Invitational.

By Michael Vlismas.

The talented 19-year-old golfer Kiera Floyd is surely not far from her breakthrough Sunshine Ladies Tour victory given her recent form, and this week's Absa Ladies Invitational being played at her home course of Serengeti Estates may just give her that extra edge that leads to her first professional title.

The R1.2 million tournament tees off on Thursday with a strong field including seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace, Germany's Helen Kreuzer and India's Tvesa Malik, both already winners on Tour this season, South African challengers such as Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Cara Gorlei, and the consistent Alexandra Swayne from the US Virgin Islands who has not finished outside the top-14 this season.

The event will also feature the talented 18-year-old Zubenathi Kroti, a deaf golfer who is one of the rising stars of the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) and is using this tournament as preparation for the start of her own international career.

But most eyes this week will likely be on Floyd who has finished in the top-10 of her last two events, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, while she also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt before shooting 84 in the final round to finish tied 15th.

The good news for her is that the Serengeti layout is just her cup of tea. Floyd’s length and accuracy off the tee should see her prosper on the 5 688-metre course.

"I've been playing Serengeti for many years and I'm really looking forward to this tournament. I'm feeling really confident and I’m playing nicely at the moment,' said Floyd.

"The course is a bit longer which suits me because I am a long hitter. Serengeti has a lot of signature holes which can make it a make-or-break situation. None of the holes are the same. There’s always something different thrown at you and usually a bunker in the way too. It's not a very open course, but it all depends on where you play it off the tee. It’s definitely not the same as the other courses we’ve played this season. I really like the layout. But I still have to play well. I can’t take things for granted just because it is my home course."

The second-year pro has always quickly conquered the different levels of the game and her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win cannot be far away judging by her previous achievements.

Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour's Jabra Classic aged 14, and won the South African Women’s Stroke Play Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already collected six top-10 finishes on tour.

In order to take that next step into the winner's circle, Floyd believes she needs to master staying calm during the inevitable tough times during a round.

"I've struggled a bit in the past events with keeping my head up if I make a bogey or a hole does not go well. I need to be more consistent. You need that consistency so if you start on a roll then you can keep it going. I need to stay patient to get the win and just work my way through the course and whatever happens, happens," Floyd said.

Her contemporary Gabrielle Venter won the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club three weeks ago, giving Floyd a lot of confidence that she can make it back-to-back South African winners when the Absa Ladies Invitational gets underway.