Central Gauteng wins but Presidents Team steals the show at SA Challenge IPT
Central Gauteng claimed a crucial one point final round victory over a SA Junior Golf side to come up trumps in this year’s SA Challenge Inter-Provincial, but it was the eight development players from the Presidents Team who stole the show at Cullinan Golf Club on Friday.
While the bullet-proof Central Gauteng team never conceded a match on their way to a 10 point victory, the Presidents Team saved their best for last,
Captain Cedric Rooi explained that the SA Challenge IPT was launched as a South African Golf Association initiative to groom younger players for the national inter-provincial.
“The Presidents Team comprises players from various golf development programmes but as a team, we had never won a match since the inception of the tournament,” said the former South African Golf Development player from the Riverside Golf Club in Worcester.
“I’ve played for the Presidents Team for the last four years and we’ve come close and even halved matches, but we always came shot against Central Gauteng, Gauteng North, Western Province and, in the last two years, the SA Juniors and SA Universities sides.
“This year was the last chance saloon for me, because at 24 I’ll be too old to play next year. I was really keen for us to do well this year. Our first three losses were very close, but after the SA Universities team gave us a 7½ – 4½ beating in the fourth round, we were pretty downcast.
“Then the SAGA’s Neil Homann walked over and gave us a pep talk. And he told the boys to win one for me. And that’s exactly what the boys did. We won our final match, but we didn’t just, we beat Western Province 8½ – 3½. That’s a huge margin and it shows exactly what the players are capable of. I am so proud of all of them.”
And their overall performance in this year’s tournament should send a message to the other five competing teams.
The team halved the first round against the SA Junior side, lost the second round to Gauteng North by just two points. The third round match against Central Gauteng was another closely fought battle, with Central winning by just a one point, 6½ to 5½.
“I believe that next year’s Presidents Team will be a force to reckon with,” said Rooi. “The only match in which we really got beaten was that 7½ – 4½ loss against the Universities side. Beating Province took the sting out of that loss and showed us what we can do when we really focus.”
While the skipper was full of praise for all the players, he said that Mpho Mafishe, debutant Sipho Bujele and his long-time playing partner, Jacquin Hess, deserved a special mention.
“All three did pretty well in the foursomes, but they excelled in the singles,” said Rooi, who won three of his own singles and combined with Hess for three foursomes victories.
“Jacquin won three singles and halved another, Mpho won all five his singles and Sipho won four singles. Mpho and Jacquin also took ninth and 10th in the Most Valuable Player Rankings.
“(Jacobs) and AB (Price), playing for the second time, Andile (Adam), who also made his debut in the team, Leorin (Pillay) and Wade Jacobs gave 100 percent. The team gelled well, but I think that final round performance against Province says a lot about the depth of talent on the team.
“It should send a warning to all the teams about next year’s tournament.”
Meanwhile Central Gauteng announced their intention at this year’s tournament with a resounding 8-4 win over the SA Universities Team in the opening round.
Central handed the Western Province a 7½ – 4½ trashing in round two, beat the Presidents Team 7-5 in the third and downed Gauteng North 6½ – 5 ½ in the fourth round. In the final round, they managed another hard fought 6½ – 5 ½ win against the juniors to edge out Gauteng North by two points for the title.
Western Province managed to score four points to take third, while the Presidents Team edged out the SA Junior side by two and a half games to take fourth on the final log. The Juniors, also on three points, finished in fifth, leaving the wooden spoon for the SA Universities team on two points.
Over at Polokwane Golf Club, Free State and Northern Cape and Mpumalanga shared top honours in this year’s SA Country Districts tournament.
Both A-Section teams won three and lost one of their four matches to finish on six points and 26.5 games each. Ekurhuleni took third place on four points, with KwaZulu-Natal in fourth on three and Boland fifth on two points.
In the B-Section, North West won all five their matches for 10 points to claim the coveted promotion to the A-Section for 2013. Eastern Province finished second on six points, while Limpopo edged out Southern Cape for third on game points. Karoo finished fourth and Border took last place.
FINAL LOG – SA CHALLENGE INTER-PROVINCIAL
1 Central Gauteng (5, 5, 0, 0, 10,35.0)
2 Gauteng North (5, 4, 0, 1, 8,33.0)
3 Western Province (5, 2, 0, 3, 4,28.0)
4 Presidents Team (5, 1, 1, 3, 3,29.5)
5 SA Junior Golf (5, 1, 1, 3, 3,27.0)
6 USSA (5, 1, 0, 4, 2,27.5)
FINAL LOGS – SA COUNTRY DISTRICTS
1 Free State / Northern Cape (4, 3, 0, 1, 6,26.5)
1 Mpumalanga (4, 3, 0, 1, 6,26.5)
3 Ekurhuleni (4, 2, 0, 2, 4,23.0)
4 KwaZulu-Natal (4, 1, 0, 3, 2,22.5)
5 Boland (4, 1, 0, 3, 2,21.5)
1 North West (5, 5, 0, 0, 10,36.0) – promoted to A-Section
2 Eastern Province (5, 2, 2, 1, 6,32.5)
3 Limpopo (5, 2, 0, 3, 4,31.0)
4 Southern Cape (5, 1, 2, 2, 4,25.0)
5 Karoo (5, 1, 1, 3, 3,30.0)
6 Border (5, 1, 1, 3, 3,25.5)