Kim Williams rebounded from three winless years to march to victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour's 2017 season-opening SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Huddle Park Golf Club on Friday.
Williams posted 3-under 69 at Huddle Parks' Linksfield course to close with of 7-under 209 total that enabled here to capture her first Tour title since her maiden triumph in her pro debut in 2014.
And this won't be the last, promised an over-the-moon Williams afterwards. "There is more to come.
"It all came as a bit of a surprise to be honest, because my last competitive outing was 10 months ago.
"But this was way, way overdue and now that the monkey is off my back, I'm eager to see what I can do during the rest of the season. We'll be heading to Cape Town for the South African Women's Masters in just over a week and then on to KZN for the SA Women's Open.
"It's awesome to take this momentum into the two national championships and to start the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies on a winning note. I was gutted when I missed the (Investec Cup) final last year, so this bodes well for my chances this year," she added.
Williams, a 30-year-old from Pretoria, was trailing three-time Sunshine Tour winner Monique Smit by three strokes and was one clear of England's Kiran Matharu when she teed off on Friday, but she quickly reduced the Smit's lead and edged into tie at the top with birdies at the second and third holes as against a Smit bogey at three.
Williams edged into the outright lead with her fourth birdie at the 8th and when Smit dropped out of the picture with a double bogey at 10, it was Matharu who took up the role of challenger in chief after posting birdies at birdies at the 1st, 6th and 9th holes.
"Monique battled off the tees, which gave Kiran and me a chance to catch up," said Williams.
"Kiran showed all the experience of a decade on the Ladies European Tour and made almost no mistakes. I was relieved when she also dropped 10, but she stayed with me, though."
Williams final notched another birdie at 14 and back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 saw her head to the final hole with a two-shot lead.
"This is one of the toughest holes on the course, so having a two shot cushion gave me some comfort," she said. "I hit my second a little too long, but I had a pretty easy putt. I quit on it, though, and left myself a testing five-footer for par. I wasn't going to get aggressive over that putt so I was happy to three-putt and take the win."
Williams said her last three years had been tough ones, but added that she had "always felt that if I could get in the mix, I could win again.
"Working again at the pro shop at Centurion Country Club has given me security and the chance to play golf, so this one is for the management, staff and members at Centurion."
While Williams was battling it out with Matharu, Melissa Eaton was closing with a 4-under 68 to capture the runner-up spot at six under. Matharu's 70 was good enough for third place.
TOP 10 FINAL SCORES
(Par 72 RSA unless stated)
209 - Kim Williams 70 70 69
210 - Melissa Eaton 73 69 68
211 - Kiran Matharu (Eng) 74 67 70
214 - Michaela Fletcher 73 72 69
215 - Carrie Park 73 73 69, Nobuhle Dlamini 71 72 72, Ivanna Samu 72 70 73
216 - Bertine Strauss 69 75 72, Lejan Lewthwaite 71 72 73, Monique Smit 69 68 79.
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