Blue Pride on the line at 53rd Pick n Pay SA Womens IPT

Gauteng North have that September swagger again. It is time for the annual Pick n Pay South African Women’s Inter-Provincial and the defending champions are primed to extend their six year dominance in the country’s most prestigious team championship at Port Elizabeth Golf Club from 24-27 September.

Gauteng North has been emphatic in its supremacy of amateur team competitions over the last six years with half a dozen SA Women IPT titles and seven consecutive conquests in the 72-Hole Teams Championship.

Victory on Friday would further affirm the depth of talented players in the region and Gauteng North are the odds-on favourites with a double helping of Blue Pride this year.

The defending champions have returned with five of the six players from last year’s victorious team but they also have the support from the B-team, who earned promotion at Country Club Johannesburg last year. Gauteng North Golf Union president Dot van Ryneveld said both teams are highly motivated.

“The labels are not important; the only thing that matters is the final result and keeping our winning run alive,” Van Ryneveld said.

“The only thing these 12 players care about is a podium finish, come Friday. We may have entered two teams, but the players are one unit, united in their determination to take the trophy home again.”

The A-side were dealt a crushing blow when Emma-Jo du Bruyn was forced to withdraw on the eve of their departure due to a viral infection, but Van Ryneveld is confident that Marne Clack will step up to the challenge.

“We promoted Marne from the B-Team, but she is more than capable to fill Emma’s shoes,” she said. “Our teams practiced together in preparation for the championship, so the A-side players know Marne well. In addition, her sister, Eugenie, is also in the A-Team and she will help guide Marne at the start of the championship. But Marne is an accomplished golfer in her own right and her inclusion will be an addition to the team.”

Reigning Sanlam SA Amateur Match Play champion and team captain Kim Williams agreed.

“Marne will fit right in with the A-Team and her promotion has opened the door for one of our talented juniors, Danielle du Toit, to join the B-team and compete on national level.”

Williams will captain the B-Team but play for the A-side with the Clacks, South Africa’s top ranked player and reigning Sanlam SA Stroke Play champion, Nobuhle Dlamini, Magda Kruger, and Carrie Park.

Du Toit will tee it up alongside Helena Buitendag, Sylvia Masango, Crystal Cooper, Liedeke de Klerk and Nicole Hannah.

The rest of the A-Division teams include Boland, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng A, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Western Province A.

Eastern Province quartet Imkeleen Meyer, Minette Olivier, Jamie-Lee Daniels and Tara Griebenow will lead the local challenge in the B-Division against Border, Free State & Northern Cape, Gauteng B, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Southern Cape and Western Province B.

The teams will play a qualifying round on Tuesday to determine the top and bottom flights in each division, followed by three days of foursomes in the morning, followed by afternoon singles.

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