Mowat helps SA to strong start in Swaziland
Central Gauteng’s Callum Mowat helps South Africa to a solid start in their title defence at the African Amateur Golf Teams Championship (AAGTC) at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club and the team are within striking distance of pacesetters Zimbabwe.
South Africa has won every edition of the AAGTC since the inaugural championship in 2001 and the local quartet are gunning for the country’s seventh consecutive victory in Africa’s premier biennial team’s competition.
Mowat, Zander Lombard and NJ Arnoldi already showed their commitment to keeping the country’s winning record going in the Swazi Open this weekend.
Mowat fired rounds of 68 and 71 to claim the national title by one shot from SA number two Lombard, while Ekurhuleni’s Arnoldi finished third.
Gerlou Roux, the fourth member of the team, helped the Western Province to victory in the SA Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial at Durban Country Club before joining the team in the Ezulweni Valley for the start of the AAGTC.
Riding a wave of confidence, Mowat delivered a flawless performance at the spectacular 18-hole championship layout and clocked in with a seven-under-par 65 to give South Africa an early boost.
SA number five Arnoldi navigated the 6,166m course in one under 71 and third ranked Roux fought back from two under with back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th for an even-par 72.
The team finished on eight-under-par 208 and will begin the 36-hole second round just four off the pace from rivals Zimbabwe.
National coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen expects the players to make a major move today.
“The team is very aware of the fact that South Africa is unbeaten in this championship and they are determined to keep the winning run going,” Van Leeuwen said.
“Callum has definitely found his range on this course and he is very comfortable on the greens. The first two days were extremely wet and rainy and that caused NJ and Zander some problems on the greens, but NJ played great on Monday, despite a late stumble with the double bogey at the 16th.
“Although Gerlou arrived later, he is in good form and showed his grit down the home stretch. I also expect him to improve.”
The TuksGolf Club and Academies head coach and technical director also expects Lombard to shoot some low numbers.
“Zander will want to atone for his non-counting 75 in the first round. He usually performs best under pressure, so I expect him to go low in the second round.”
Newly-crowned Swazi Open champion Mowat said there can be only one result.
“We have a very proud history in this event,” he said. “We are not arrogant; we just want to continue what the first South African team did here in Swaziland in 2001 and we will fight until the last putt drops to bring the trophy home.”
In addition to South Africa, leaders Zimbabwe and hosts Swaziland, the other countries participating include Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, Reunion, Mauritius, Mozambique and Botswana.
FIRST ROUND TEAMS LEADERBOARD
208 South Africa
215 Mauritius; Swaziland