President’s Team surprise first round leaders
PORT ELIZABETH — The SA President’s team were the surprise leaders after the opening day of the South African Challenge Cup interprovincial played at a pristine Port Elizabeth Golf Club on Tuesday.
The President’s team, who have at times battled to compete in the past, produced a superb performance at The Hill to win six-and-a-half out of a possible eight points on offer for the first round of singles.
They will take a slender half-point lead over Western Province into the second round of competition on Wednesday. The Eastern Cape side are in a tie for third place with Gauteng North on three-and-a-half points.
President’s team manager Neil Champion was understandably thrilled with his side’s performance.
“It was inspiring to these young men play golf like this,” said Champion. “I’m grateful to SAGA’s Neil Homann for the team he chose for me. I’ve got five new guys in my team this year. One or two have played for their provinces and they now seem to be coming through the ranks.”
“This shows that SAGA’s development programme is on the right road. I think the players are starting to prove themselves now. It’s not just a case of making up teams. The guys that are here deserve to be here.”
Champion said his team would now have to deal with the pressure of being the front-runners.
“I’m going to sit with them overnight and motivate them to remain humble and to go out and enjoy it. It’s new curve for most of us. We’ll see how they handle the pressure tomorrow,” added Champion.
There were big wins for Cedric Rooi (4/3), Mike Maile (4/2), Calvin Coelho (6/5) and Mikhail Tewary (4/3), Thabo Maseko (3/2) while Samier Mallick edged the Eastern Cape’s Charl Nortier 1up. Jacquin Hess also picked up a fighting halve.
Central Gauteng, who arrived as one of the favourites for overall honours, had a disappointing day and finished in fifth position on three points.
Johan Vorster (2/1), Justin Meister (4/3) and Chad Evans (4/3) earned victories for host side Eastern Cape.
Wednesday’s foursomes start at 7.20am and the betterball at 11.30am.
The singles scores from day one were:
Makgetha Mazibuko (Pres) lost 4/3 to Elvin Nel (WP); Ray Taverner (EC) lost 4/2 to Danie van Tonder (CG); Wayne Stroebel (EK) halved Francois Coetzee (GN); John McLean (CG) lost 3/2 to Thabo Maseko (Pres); Hendre Cilliers (GN) lost 1dn to Andrew Carris (WP); Gert Myburgh (EK) lost 4/3 to Justin Meier (EC); Cedric Rooi (Pres) bt Maritz Wessels (GN) 4/3; Donovan Pearce (CG) bt Miguel Meyer (EK) 7/6; John Laurie (WP) halved Sean Brock (EC); Jaco Greyling (EK) lost 4/2 to Mike Maile (Pres); Chad Evans (EC) bt Christiaan Jonck (GN) 4/3; Le Riche Ehlers (WP) bt Bryn Flanagan (CG) 4/3; Samier Mallick (Pres) bt Charl Nortier (EC) 1up; Waylon Kukard (EK) lost 1dn to Kevin Hitge (WP); Jacques van Tonder (GN) bt Ruan de Smidt (CG) 3/2; Nelius Swart (WP) halved Jacquin Hess (Pres); Trevor Muggeridge (CG) lost 2/1 to Johan Vorster (EC); Christo Roos (GN) bt Matthew Westner (EK) 2/1; Calvin Coelho (Pres) bt Tyrone Ryan (CG) 6/5; Ryan Strauss (WP) lost 1dn to Herman Minnie (GN); Dario Knock (EC) lost 3/2 to Shaun Reynolds (EK); Tyron McComb (GN) lost 4/3 to Mikhail Tewary (Pres); Hugo Delport (EK) lost 4/3 to Ryan Dreyer (CG); Michael Lotz (EC) lost 5/4 to David Gerhardi (WP).
Standings after day one:
1 President’s 6.5, 2 WP 6, 3 Eastern Cape and Gauteng North 3.5, 5 Central Gauteng 3, 6 Ekurhuleni 1.5.
(Copy courtesy Alvin Reeves, The Herald, Port Elizabeth)