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Randpark Blog

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Kajal Mistry is Randpark’s birdie machine in US college golf

by | Aug 7, 2023

After enjoying huge success in South Africa as a teenager, rising to number one in both the junior and senior national rankings, Randpark’s Kajal Mistry has now well and truly made a name for herself in American college golf.

Our club’s talented birdie machine returns this week to Arkansas State University for her graduate year. She has in the last four years there completed a marketing degree, majoring in operations management, and has also been named a Scholar All-American.

But, as good as she is with her studies, her real passion has been golf with the university’s Razorbacks team, where she has made a big impact. Highlights have included winning the Mountain View Collegiate with a superb 10-under-par 206 (one of the best 54-hole returns in Razorbacks history) following rounds of 68, 67 and 71, and a 208 aggregate in the Moon Golf Invitational. Not surprising, she was over the moon about that!

“I’m having the best experience of my life,” says the 22-year-old who earned a full Razorbacks scholarship following her many wins back at home, most notably an impressive Match Play and Stroke Play double in the 2019 South African Amateur (“that’s how they recognise you and give you a scholarship, by winning a bunch of events in your own country,” she explains). She also won the 2017 SA Stroke Play, as well as a long list of provincial opens and national level events in the years leading up to 2019 which saw her soar to No 1 at both junior and senior levels.

“My Razorbacks coaches – Shauna Taylor and Mike Adams – are amazing, not only with regard to honing our golf skills, but they’re like family, like parents away from home, and they’ve dedicated their lives to the 10 of us on the college team. We work really hard in the classroom, on the golf course and in the gym. The university does so much for us and it’s just great.”

Golfing-wise Kajal has clearly been a good investment for Arkansas and is No 1 on the team. In her Senior year (which ended mid-year this year) she led the team with 83 birdies in 10 tournaments and 29 rounds. And in her Junior year prior to this, she rolled in 102 birdies in 11 events. Not all 10 Razorbacks get into the tournaments, only the top five make the grade but Kajal has always cracked a spot. As a Sophomore, she once carded a brilliant 67.

Being No 1 on the Razorbacks team, with the lowest stroke average and best national ranking, earns that player a coveted spot in the annual LPGA event held in this American state – the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and Kajal has been that player for the past two years. So she has already had a taste of the big time, nearly making the cuts and getting a chance to have a 20-minute chat with SA star Ashleigh Buhai at the Walmark.

Her goals in golf? “Well short term, and this is very important, is to help get the Razorbacks (who play in America’s South-East Conference) to the Nationals and winning the Nationals.

We’ve got a really good team and I honestly believe we can do extremely well. Longer term, I want to turn pro, go to tour school and ultimately make my way onto the LPGA tour.”

If Kajal has two “awesome” coaches at Arkansas, she also has an amazing teacher right here at Randpark – Darren Witter. She has been with this swing guru since the word go and while back home in the college break, the last while has spent time with him on the range, honing her skills under his watchful eye. Has she got talent, Darren? “You bet she does,” he smiles. The LPGA Tour? “It’s there for her if she wants it enough…” And she certainly wants it!

When Kajal was just three years old, her parents dropped her and her 5-year-old brother Nikhil at Randpark and they’ve been at the club ever since, spending many happy years playing and practising here together. Nikhil doesn’t play much these days but at 24 he can still hit a mean ball.

Kajal, South Africa’s Player of the Year as an amateur, has already twice represented the country at the Espirito Santo Women’s World Amateur Team Championships, in Dublin in 2018 and then Paris in 2022 (the latter appearance in between making a bunch of birdies with Razorbacks!). And she’s also in the side for the 2023 tournament in Abu Dhabi in October.

No doubt about it, Randpark can be very proud of Kajal Mistry.

Written by Randpark member Grant Winter

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Jyoti Diar

    Such an inspiration, you make us so proud Kajal.

    Reply

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