Ekurhuleni seeks SA IPT glory at Glendower

Ekurhuleni is counting on experience, youthful exuberance and home course advantage to hunt down a historic first victory in the South African Inter-Provincial Championship, sponsored by Tempest, from 21-25 September.

The host union secured promotion to the A-Division with a commanding performance at Rustenburg Golf Club in 2013, but for the tournament hosts to win this year’s matches at Glendower Golf Club, the team has to perform convincingly against Central Gauteng, Western Province, Southern Cape, Boland and Eastern Province.

Ekurhuleni will face Western Province in the first round, while defending champions Central Gauteng – seeking a record 27 title – will battle Eastern Province, back in the top draw for the first since 2005.

Southern Cape is also chasing a first A-Division victory and will be looking for a fast start in their opener against Boland, who triumphed in 2007 and shared the title with Province in 2012.

“We will definitely look to exploit our knowledge of the local conditions and the layout at Glendower Golf Club,” said Ekurhuleni team manager Hugo Delport.

“It’s important for us to make our intentions clear from the start and make the first match count.

“Glendower is widely acknowledged as one of the more difficult and demanding courses in South Africa. Accuracy and extreme control is critical to scoring at this course with its narrow fairways, cunningly sited bunkers, water hazards and tricky greens.

“We’ve had four official practice rounds and some of the players even played extra rounds to prepare for this week. We are ready to get our challenge underway.”

Ekurhuleni Golf Union president Martin Saaiman believes the combined experience of Delport, captain Rowan du Press and assistant manager Tristen Strydom will guide the host union to a podium finish on Friday.

“Hugo captained our team to victory in the SA Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial in Middelburg last year and proved himself an extremely capable leader.

“Between Hugo and Rowan, they have many years of experience in this format at all levels and they combine very well in terms of their leadership style.

“Unfortunately Tristen was out with a back injury and was not available for selection, but we pulled him to assist Hugo. Tristen has played inter-provincials at junior, under-23, challenge and premier level for years and he was a key contributor to our promotion in 2013 and last year at Westlake Golf Club. He is a great conduit with the juniors on the team.”

Delport has no doubt that his team can go the distance this year.

“It is always tough to predict how things will go in this format, but I definitely believe my team has the artillery to produce the goods this week,” Delport said.

“I have a lot of faith in Rowan as our skipper. He is a veteran of 12 premier, five mid-amateur and four under-23 inter-provincials and has the experience to guide the team well.

“Ernest also brings experience and age to the side.

“The rest of the team is young and very hungry. Between Paul Boshoff, Dylan Mostert, Sentanio Minnie, Teagan Moore and Angus Ellis-Cole, who recently won the Mpumalanga Open, they have competed in 10 premier, 12 under-23s, 12 junior and four challenge inter-provincials.

“They may lack experience at this level, but they more than make up for it in other areas and in individual achievements.”

In the B-Section, several teams are punching above their weight.

Gauteng North, the champions in 2013, is eager to reverse last year’s relegation and former champions KwaZulu-Natal will also be looking to overturn their 2013 demotion.

Both teams will have to stave off spirited assaults from Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Province to come out tops in the promotion battle on Friday.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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