14 September 2023 – Western Province will be targeting a third hat-trick of South African Inter-Provincial Tournament titles in the 62nd edition of GolfRSA’s premier national team event at East London Golf Club from 18-22 September.
The defending champions scored their first three-peat in 1998 and achieved their second with consecutive wins from 2002 to 2004.
Having hoisted the A-Section trophy for a 17th time at San Lameer in 2021, Western Province retained the title with another dominant performance in Limpopo last year, ending the week at Koro Creek Golf Club with an unbeaten record. And history favours Western Province, who captured two of their 18 titles at East London Golf Club in 1989 and 1997.
This year marks the seventh time the iconic course will host the SA IPT, but it’s the first time the event returns to Bunkers Hill since 2006 when Central Gauteng roared to victory in the A-Section and Ekurhuleni prevailed in the promotion battle.
One of the oldest golf clubs in South Africa, the traditional course layout is a delightful roller-coaster with a fantastic combination of parkland and links features. Golfers must navigate the steep climbs up and down dunes, the undulating fairways and elevated greens and more often than not, deal with a strong wind blowing in off the Indian Ocean.
East London Golf Club hosted the South African Open Championship seven times between 1930 and 2001, and it here that a 16-year-old Ernie Els won his only SA Amateur Championship title 1986, a victory that set him on the path the path to greatness.
Since the first SA Inter-Provincial in 1960, this esteemed team competition has served as a stepping stone for almost every South African professional golfer plying their trade on the circuits all over the world, and East London Golf Club will undoubtedly present an exciting test for the field contesting glory this year.
Click HERE to view the A-Section and B-Section teams.
The Western Province line-up will be spearheaded by GolfRSA No 1, Altin van der Merwe – already a five-time provincial winner this season.
Andrew Georgiou, who skippered the side to their last two victories, returns for duty alongside seasoned campaigners Karl Osche, Shaun le Roux, Philip Taberer and Matthew Cooper.
New caps Jack Brugman and Jungwin Lee round out the team.
Ninth-ranked player Simon du Plooy leads Central Gauteng, the 2022 runners-up, while Eastern Province, who surprised with a credible third-place finish last year, will be chasing their first victory since their only success at Humewood in 1961.
Eastern Province will miss their star player from last year, Kyle de Beer, who has since joined the paid ranks, but EP are a battle-hardened team who are always up for a scrap. Their challenge will be headed by 15th-ranked Jean-Pierre van der Watt, the 2022 Champion of Champions, and GolfRSA National Squad member Johndre Ludick, just back from a joint third-place finish in the Egyptian Amateur.
Also challenging in the A-Section this year will be Ekurhuleni, North West and newly promoted Free State, winners of the B-Section in 2022.
Local interest will be in the B-Section, which will be contested by Border, Boland, KwaZulu-Natal, Southern Cape, Mpumalanga and Gauteng North, who were relegated from the A-Section at Koro Creek.
The Southern Cape team is led by Ivan Verster, who is in red-hot form having bagged the Limpopo and the Southern Cape Opens along with a host of top 10 finishes in the last couple of months and is ranked fifth in the country.
Gauteng North have some youth in their team, led by 10th-ranked Keagan Crosbie who shared third place with Ludick at the Egyptian Amateur, while KwaZulu-Natal, narrowly beaten by Free State last year, will definitely pose a challenge at the coast.
Border’s hopes will be pinned on their intimate knowledge of the course and weather conditions and using the home course advantage to win the promotion battle.
They have a combination of youth and experience with the youthful quartet retained from last year’s team headlined by their up-and-coming talisman, 14-year-old Benjamin Weber, the No 1-ranked Under-15 player in the country.
He will come into the tournament in fine form after finishing tied for 12th at the Reply Italian International Under-16 Championships.
Smooth-swinging Kyle van der Bergh has been consistent over the season. The 14-year-old is the only multiple open winner on the local circuit with the Stutterheim and Katberg Opens in the bag. His stellar short game and unflappable demeanour should stand him in good stead.
Big-hitting Burgersdorp golfer Ryan Koekemoer has been campaigning on the U-19 circuit and the 18-year-old found form at the East London layout with a closing round two under par 71 at the recent Border Strokeplay.
The determined and hard-working Luke Moore was Border’s most valuable player at Koro Creek last year with a haul of 7½ points while claiming some big scalps and the 16-year-old will be looking for a repeat performance.
Making up the experienced half of the team is East London club champion Johan du Plessis,, Sean Coetzee and the Pillay brothers.
Du Plessis has represented Border many times over the years and was captain of the team at home in 2006, while Coetzee has also found recent form with a victory at the Olivewood Open in testing conditions and will be looking to ride his consistently hot putter to some memorable wins.
Brothers Sunil and Udesh Pillay have walked the fairways of East London more times than most people would care to count and, if paired together, should be formidable in the foursomes. They know every nuance of the course better than most and will surely use this knowledge to their advantage.
Play will start at 6.45am on Monday with every morning featuring foursomes followed by singles every day from 11am. Spectators are welcome on the course during play.
With thanks to Alvin Reeves & Daily Dispatch for collaborating!