Central Gauteng set course for title defence at SA IPT
Central Gauteng got their title defence off to a solid start, while Southern Cape emerged as the B-Section pacesetter in Monday’s first round of the 52nd South African Interprovincial, sponsored by Tempest Car Hire, at Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
After turning at 2-all after the morning foursomes, Central dominated in most of their singles matches to beat Limpopo 8-4 and give manager Jock Wellington the kind of start he wished for.
“After we turned at 2-all this morning, the boys knew they had to step it up,” said Wellington.
“I think Limpopo caught the boys off guard and were a lot tougher than they expected. But the boys rallied very well in the singles and pulled it through for us. I think the Limpopo side punched well above their weight and they could still surprise a few people this week.”
Michael Dixon led the way for Central when he downed Hilton Hughes 3&2 and new cap Sipho Bujela kept the momentum going with a 4&3 result over Hennie du Plessis. Then Otto van Greunen did well to square his match against Paul de Beer for a half point and Musi Nethunzwi added to their tally when he wrapped up his match against Jannie Bronkhorst 2&1.
The team took just one knock when Callum Mowat was beaten 2&1 by Tiaan Diedericks.
“I don’t usually single out a player, but Louis Taylor really impressed me in his debut,” said Wellington after Taylor beat Nico Myburgh 7&6.
“He didn’t take unnecessary chances, got himself out of trouble and played solid match play. But the rest of the team did themselves proud, especially the new caps. The outcome today was worth all the hard work that went into the training sessions and the preparation we put in.”
Boland showed the kind of form that saw them clinch the title in 2008 when they took a 2½ – 1½ lead into the singles and proceeded to outplay arch rivals and neighbours, Western Province, for a 7-5 win.
“Now that’s what we call a great day at the office,” joked skipper Phillip Spies.
“But seriously, this was a huge step for us. Western Province has been a thorn in our side for the last few years. We took a mindset this year of not putting any team on a pedestal. Golf isn’t played on paper, it’s played on grass and we are just going to let our clubs do the talking.”
KwaZulu-Natal will also go into the second round with some serious confidence.
The coastal side squared their foursomes matches against Gauteng North and kept the pressure up in the windy conditions to finish the match six-all.
“We are often underrated, so it’s nice to surprise every now and then,” said captain Gavin Sole.
“The conditions were really tough with the wind blowing so strong, but I guess that played to our strengths. They were starting to take command but we were able to pull the matches back and force a draw. There are no stars in our team, just eight guys who play solidly, both as individuals and as a unit.”
Southern Cape enjoyed a near white wash in their B-Sections foursomes, beating local favourites Eastern Province 4-0 and Free State & Northern Cape 3-1.
The Garden Route side continued their winning march in the singles, handing the hosts a 7½ – 4½ beating and drumming the Free State side 8-4.
Southern Cape manager John Mitchell said the victories will set the tone for the week ahead.
“The guys are well aware that this is only the first round, but even so, this gives the boys, especially the new caps, some confidence going into Tuesday’s round against Ekurhuleni.”
After turning 1-3 down, Eastern Province managed to comeback strong against Free State & Northern Cape in the singles and win 7½ – 4½, while Mpumalanga also cleaned up with an 8-4 result over Ekurhuleni and a 7½ – 4½ win over North West Province and Ekurhuleni beat North West Province 7-5.
For the A-Section scores and tee times, click here
For the B-Section scores and tee times, click here