OMIPSA National Finals
Following 8 months of club qualifying events in which over 8500 golfers took part around the country, 460 players participated in six Regional Final events to compete for a place in the National Finals of the Old Mutual International Pairs SA. On the 25th August, forty eight golfers assembled at Zebula CC for three days of intense golf in the African bush on a golf course that was in superb condition – especially considering the time of the year. The competition was intense and after the first round there were 9 pairs within four shots of the lead with all to play for. The overnight leaders were James Heuer and David Evatt on 43 points together with Dave Mills and Schalk Coetzee – ranked 6th and 7th respectively in the field of 24 pairs. A single point behind were Philip Michaux and Henry Liffman from Germiston Golf Club along with Stevan Prost and Donovan Ritchie, colleagues of Heuer and Evatt from Silver Lakes. Lurking a further point behind were the father and son pair from Bosch Hoek in KZN, Carel and Jaques Swarts.
Day two dawned bright and sunny with a fresh breeze just to keep the players honest and the battle commenced. The Leopard Park Pair of Mills and Coetzee suffered an early setback when Schalk Coetzee damaged his back playing an awkward bunker shot but the duo fought on gamely to ultimately finish just a point off qualifying in joint third place. This they shared with Philip Michaux and Henry Liffman who put up a great challenge to Heuer and Evatt who were defending their overnight lead with determination. With three holes to play Prost and Ritchie had an unfortunate blackout that effectively put paid to their challenge but all the while the 20th ranked pair from KZN were moving through the field. Carel and Jacques Swarts ultimately finished in second place on 83 points – a single point behind the winners and Club Pairs Handicap Champions of South Africa – James Heuer and David Evatt from Silver Lakes.
The top two pairs will travel to Scotland on the 19th September where they will represent South Africa at the International Pairs World Finals on the Dukes course in St Andrews. Last year both the South African pairs finished in joint fourth place out of 27 countries and we wish our two pairs of James Heuer (5 handicap) and Dave Evatt (9 handicap) along with Carel Swarts (16 handicap) and his son Jacques (11 handicap) all the best as they mount their Scottish challenge!