Gauteng North, Province hit comeback trail at SA IPT

Central Gauteng may still be in command, but the dynamics of the South African Interprovincial Tournament changed dramatically after Gauteng North and Western Province staged spirited comebacks in the second round at Port Elizabeth Golf Club on Tuesday.

Down 3-1 after the morning foursomes, the Blue Bulls refused to back down to Boland and piled on the pressure in the afternoon singles.

Aubrey Barnard set the tone for Gauteng North when the new cap took the first scalp. Philip Kruse and Zander Lombard both went down 5&4, but the rest of the side stuck in to deliver four more victories before Hendre Cilliers picked up their last point for a 7-5 result in their favour.

“We needed all the boys to be at their best this afternoon, because a five and a half point result was a huge ask,” said Gauteng North president, Jerry Few.

“They really went to town. To win six games as we did today, just proves that we deserve to be here.”

After their 6-all draw with Gauteng North on Monday, the Western Province took full advantage of the gusting south-westerly wind to get back into the tournament.
The 2010 champions added to a 3-1 foursomes lead with six singles wins to hammer Limpopo 9-3.

“After a disappointing result on Monday, we needed to get our campaign back on track,” said captain Werner Theart. “From this moment forward, every day is D-Day, so winning today and doing it well was important for our focus and confidence. Now we need to keep that momentum going.”

Meanwhile Central Gauteng strengthened their grip on their title defence with a solid showing against KwaZulu-Natal.

The defending champions took a 3-1 foursomes cushion into the singles and shut out the 2009 champions with five and a halve points for an 8½ – 3½ result.

“But it was actually a lot tighter than it looks on paper,” cautioned team manager Jock Wellington.

“At one stage we were guaranteed two big wins and two big losses. The rest of the games could have gone either way; it was very tight towards the end and KZN put up a hell of a fight ”

Michael Dixon was the first casualty, going down 7&5 to KZN’s Darren Gerhard, new cap Sipho Bujela stepped up again to beat James Elton 3&1 and Otto van Greunen and KZN new cap Leorin Pillay squared their match.

After a shaky first round, Callum Mowat turned in an inspired performance to beat Ryan Birnie 5&4, Louis Taylor handed KZN skipper Gavin Sole a 6&5 drumming and Musi Nethunzwi beat Chris van der Merwe 3&1.

The coastal side managed to win their third point when Gideon Pienaar downed Jaco Mouton 2&1, but Haydn Porteous stitched up Central’s eighth point with a 3&2 result over James Searson.

“The boys are very serious about defending their title,” said Welington. “They will put everything on the line to win it again, but we still have a steep hill to climb.”

After two days and four matches, it is going to take mammoth effort to derail Southern Cape’s bid for promotion in the B-Section.

After back-to-back wins on Monday, henchman Staffie Barnard and Jovan Rebula both won 7&6 to set the side on course for a 10-2 white wash over Border, while their one Shaun Smith downed Gareth Patler 5&3 to drive home a comprehensive 8-4 result against North West Province.

Local favourites Eastern Province kept their bid for promotion alive when they dominated the singles to beat Ekurhuleni 6½ – 5½, but it was the third time the home side failed to show up in the foursomes.

Team manager Richard Hargreaves has ordered some changes to the foursomes line-up and combinations for Thursday.

“We just can’t win off the back-foot; we need to get our noses in front in our remaining matches and that means winning the foursomes,” said Hargreaves. “That means changing the order and the combinations for our next matches and giving ourselves a fighting chance.”

For the A-Section scores, log and tee-times, click here

For the B-Section scores, log and tee-times, click here

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