Gorlei celebrates new LET status with share of lead in Kenya

Feb 8, 2024 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Cara Gorlei celebrated her first start on the Ladies European Tour on Thursday  since her qualifying school heroics with a share of the lead after the first round of the tour’s season-opener, the Magical Kenya Ladies Open at Vipingo Ridge.

Gorlei had a bogey-free four-under-par 69 to join England’s Eleanor Givens and Ireland’s Lauren Walsh at the top of the leaderboard. They were one clear of Olivia Mehaffey of Northern Ireland, Italy’s Alessandra Fanali and Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen of Denmark.

The 27-year-old Gorlei, who secured her full LET status at Lalla Aicha Q-School in December was in the afternoon wave and made her first birdie on the eighth and then added further birdies on 10, 11 and 13 to be in a share of the lead.

“It was a pretty good day,” said Gorlei. “I was solid and just stayed patient the whole day. I didn’t think much went right for me out there, but I just put myself in okay positions.

“I had a bogey-free round, no mess-ups really and could have come in with a few more birdies but it’s okay. I played in Nairobi in 2014 with Team South Africa where we did well, and it’s been a good week so far.”

It was Givens who set the clubhouse lead after teeing it up in the morning wave in Kenya. The Englishwoman got off to an incredibly hot start with six birdies in her first eight holes, she dropped shots on holes five, 15 and 16, but made another birdie on 12 for her round of four-under.

Ireland’s Walsh, who is a rookie this year on the LET, was also in the afternoon wave and had no blemishes on her scorecard. The 23-year-old had a steady first day in Kenya with birdies on the fourth, seventh, 11th and 18th holes to join Givens and Gorlei at the top of the leaderboard.

Nicole Garcia opened with a level-par 73 for a share of 16th, while Lee-Anne Pace was one-over in a share of 34th. The other South African rookie in the field, Danielle du Toit, carded a three-over 76th and was in a share of 54th.

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