Nadia van der Westhuizen says while she harbours ambitions of winning in the Standard Bank Pro-Am series, she will not put pressure on herself when the third tournament of this series tees off at her home course, Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estates, on Thursday.
The professionals’ competition will be preceded by a pro-am tournament where amateurs will mix it up with the professionals on Wednesday.
“The most important thing for me last season and this season has been hitting greens in regulation,” she says, “I just try to hit as many greens as possible and try to get myself in that position of making birdies and taking it from there.
“There are many opportunities to play well and win but the most important thing for me is to keep playing myself into contention all the time, and just try to stay up there. There’s no need to put pressure on myself because if I keep to my process, the win will come. But I’m really excited for this week and looking forward to a strong competition.”
Excited as she is for the week in familiar territory, the 20-year-old Van der Westhuizen is fully aware of what this course offers and has cautioned against complacency of any form.
“This course is beautiful on the eye but it can get dangerous,” she explained. “Because there aren’t many trees here, the wind becomes a real challenge and the bunkers as well. I know the course well because I started playing golf here, this is where I learned how to play golf. So, I would say the wind is the biggest challenge, together with reading the greens because there are tough greens here. But the wind is mainly what makes it tough.”
Van der Westhuizen did not play in the first tournament of the series this season at Glendower Golf Club. Her only start this season – at Atlantic Beach Links – saw her finish in a share of 15th and now playing in familiar surroundings, she will feel her opportunity to win is close. Having turned pro just last year while she was 19 years old, Van der Westhuizen was the youngest player to tee it up on the Standard Bank Pro-Am series.
The series drives the development of female players at the grassroots level and empowers talented professional female golfers, such as Van der Westhuizen, by creating opportunities for more playing time, which enables them to hone their skills further.
By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)