Kajal Mistry is a household name in women's golf. Photo: Rogan Ward
While Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace head a South African contingent in the US Open at fabled Pebble Beach this week, a much younger South African 
 18-year-old whizz-kid Kajal Mistry  will at the same time take her sweet golf swing to another storied venue, Royal County Down, to seek fame and fortune in the British Women’s Amateur.

Actually, maybe not “fortune” just yet as amateurs don’t get paid for their efforts. But GolfRSA Elite Squad member Mistry, pictured, has made an impact with her golf at home this year, winning a rare strokeplay and matchplay double in the SA Amateur Championship at Woodhill CC last month.

She went wire-to-wire in the stroke play with 70, 67 and 71 for eight-under 208 to win by five from Caitlyn Macnab.

And in the match play she sailed through the first four rounds before finding herself two down though 15 in the 18-hole final against Kaylah Williams. “But then Kaylah bogeyed 16 and I birdied 17 to square the match,” said Mistry at her home club, Randpark, this past week.

“We both parred 18, both birdied the 19th and then I made birdie at the 20th to seal the deal.”

So a birdie, par, birdie, birdie finish. That was pretty cool, she agreed.

Remarkably, Kajal has been under the tutelage of highly rated Randpark professional coach Darren Witter since the age of just three when she started golf, staying loyal to him and, combined with what he describes as her “incredible work ethic”, together they have honed her rich talent to something even richer.

And she’s also loyal to Randpark. “It’s such a fantastic club, two great courses (Firethorn and Bushwillow) and every practice facility imaginable. I’m here six days a week for six to seven hours, including at the gym, which is right next to the driving range. It’s the perfect set-up.”

This birdie queen also won the SA stroke play in 2017, aged 16, and between September 2016 and the end of 2017, amassed no less than 11 victories on home soil.

That success rate dropped a little last year as a result of overseas travel and trying to sandwich her matric studies (she did very well) at Crawford College Lonehill in between rounds of golf. Now she’s landed herself a full four-year scholarship at the University of Arkansas, whose graduates include former world No1 Stacy Lewis.

So a lot is happening for Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Mistry. And first up, starting on Tuesday, is Northern Ireland’s celebrated Royal Country Down.

“The field is 144 and after 36 holes of stroke play, the top 64 make the match play. My dad Nilesh will be with me offering support,” says Kajal. “I feel every part of my game is strong, but he says my putting’s best, so hopefully the putts will be dropping.” Again.

Sunday Tribune 

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