Free State stomps to promotion at SA U-19 IPT

The celebrations could have started much earlier, but Free State put the festivities on hold until they could seal the battle for promotion in the South African U-19 Inter-Provincial with an unbeaten record at Worcester Golf Club on Friday.

Over five days of intense competition, the eight-man team executed a well-laid game plan to perfection.

They defeated Mpumalanga, Eastern Province, North West, Northern Cape and Border and, on the final day, came together with unbelievable spirit to hammer Limpopo 10.5 – 1.5.

“We came here to prove ourselves and to have pulled it off, means the world to every member of the squad,” said skipper Attie van Wyk.

“Although we were pretty much guaranteed promotion after the fourth round, nothing is ever set in stone. We still approached the match against Limpopo exactly the same way as we did every other game this week.

“We did a proper job of winning this year. You can’t argue with six matches and six wins – you just can’t argue with that. Every one of the guys played well and the team spirit was fantastic.”

Free State blitzed Limpopo in the Foursomes to lead 3.5 – 0.5.

Franco Froneman continued their winning march when mowed down Tristen Schwim 8 & 7 and Leander Snyman, Steven le Roux, Attie van Wyk, Ruan Pretorius, Wilco Nienaber and Therion Nel piled on the points for Free State.

However, Johan Stears had the final say for Limpopo when he defeated GeRico Muller 1-up.

Manager Nicky Nel said this promotion was seven years in the making.

“Therion, Attie, Ruan and Franco have been playing together for seven years and Steven and Wilco joined us in 2012,” Nel said.

“These six guys have battled for this victory for four long years and I am so incredibly pleased that they can graduate from the junior ranks having finally pulled it through. Our two rookies, GeRico and Leander, punched well above their weight this week.

“We set our combinations before we arrived and we never once changed the line-up. It added to the sense of continuity this week. As much as golf is an individual game, our team spirit was phenomenal and definitely a huge factor in our victory.

“I am incredibly proud of our team, for their complete commitment and for sticking it out through the hard times. This is an incredible moment for the whole squad. There is no describing what this promotion means to us.”

Mpumalanga secured second in the standings with an 8.5 – 3.5 result against Eastern Province, while North West finished third after thumping Border 11 – 1.

Not surprisingly, a Free State player led the Most Valuable Standings, but Wilco Nienaber had to share the stage with Banele Mavuso from Mpumalanga, who also reeled in 11.5 points.

Both players had five wins and a draw in the Foursomes and six straight victories in the Singles.

Free State 10.5 – Limpopo 1.5
Mpumalanga 8.5 – Eastern Province 3.5
North West 11 – Border 1

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Free State (6, 6, 0, 0, 12, 59.0)
2 Mpumalanga (6, 5, 0, 1, 10, 46.0)
3 North West (6, 4, 0, 2, 8, 42.0)
4 Eastern Province (6, 3, 0, 3, 6, 36.0)
5 Northern Cape (6, 1, 1, 4, 3, 25.5)
6 Border (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 18.0)
7 Limpopo (6, 0, 1, 5, 1, 25.5)

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

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