In the repeat of last year’s Cup Champions final, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of Pretoria A team will go head-to-head for the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Golf Championship title after both former champions advanced to the final in Thursday’s semi-final round.
The University of Pretoria captured their 10th title at Port Shepstone in 2015, but Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University triumphed at the Humewood Golf Links last year, ending their six year reign in the A-Division.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University made a strong statement with a second place finish in the seeding qualifier and took their title defence a step further when they downed the University of Johannesburg A team 5.5 – 0.5 on Wednesday to make the top eight.
“Varsity College A came at us hard in the semis, but we pulled off a 4 -2 win and this victory really boosted their confidence for the final,” said Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University team manager Karl du Preez.
The 2016 champions won both foursomes games with big margins – 5 & 3 and 4 & 3 – but Varsity College shifted into fifth gear in the singles. Although Altin van der Merwe won 3 & 2, Kyle de Beer lost 2 & 1 to Jason Broomhead and Patric Broughill-Dowling beat Jacques Smith 2 & 1.
With the scores tied at 3-all, it all came down to Hando Brophy,” said Du Preez.
“We needed at least a half point to win and avoid a play-off. Hando was down against Julian Samu, but when the news filtered down, he rallied and won the game 1-up.
“We always knew it would be tough to come and defend up-country, especially playing the University of Pretoria in their own backyard. We set ourselves only one goal and that was to make the final. I’d say that is mission accomplished.
“It always comes down to the strongest two teams in the final and therefore anything can happen; it can go either way. Our boys will simply go out there, do what they do best and try to win as many games as possible.”
The two teams from University of Pretoria had to put friendship aside as the A and B teams faced each other in the final. The B-side edged two points ahead after a clean sweep in the foursomes, but the A-team turned up the heat to win all four singles.
“I must salute the B-team, because they did incredibly well to win the seeding qualifier and to make it this far,” said Llewellyn van Leeuwen, manager of Tuks A. “The guys were tough to beat, but our boys dug their heels in and just kept pushing.”
Jacques Britz beat Adriaan Hamman 4 & 3, Ian Jacobs defeated Brandon Lane 3 & 2, Calvin Ferreira won 4 & 3 against Andrew Plint and David Nortje downed Gregg Gilson 3 & 2.
“We had to win all four singles and we were down in all four games until,” said Van Leeuwen. “Then David went birdie-eagle-birdie from six to eight and up-and-downed from a dust bin at 11. That really fired up the rest of the guys and gave us the push we needed to take it to finish line.
“On paper, NMMU is the stronger team but if paper could play, we might have been in trouble. But this team has a lot of heart and really showed their commitment and potential today. It will be a tightly-fought final, but I have a lot of faith in these boys.”
The final round of the round robin format will decide the B- and C-Section winners.
After two rounds, the University of Stellenbosch B and Rhodes University A both have 8.5 points, but the Stellenbosch team edged Rhodes for the top spot in the B-Section log with 2 games points against 1.5.
Central University of Technology Free State A is third with 8 points and 1.5 games points.
The University of Johannesburg B beat the University of Zululand in a clean sweep to remain in pole position on the C-Division log with 9.5 points.
Rhodes A is second with 8.5 points after beating Varsity College and drawing against the University of Witwatersrand.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the USSA Championship and GolfRSA a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.