Province set for success at Indwe SA Senior IPT

Central Gauteng will launch their title defence at the 26th edition of the INDWE SA Senior Amateur Inter-Provincial, but it could be the Western Province that provides the sparks at De Zalze and Erinvale from 7-11 April.

Province claimed both the Senior and Super Seniors titles of the country’s largest national senior golf team competition at Parys Golf Club in 2011.

Both teams retained their titles in Durban a year later, marking the first time that any provincial side won both titles in consecutive years. Last year, the Super Seniors achieved a hat-trick at Euphoria Golf Estate, but Central Gauteng denied the WP Seniors the same honour.

Now the past champions are itching to get back to the winner’s circle this year.

“We had five new members in Parys and it was a “younger” side that won by a resounding 22 strokes in the 72-hole stroke play event,” said Province skipper, Tony Bailey.

“In 2012, the format changed to 36 holes stroke play and 36 holes match play, but we still emerged victorious with just one change to the team. Then the format changed again last year to four rounds of match play with foursomes in the morning and singles in the afternoon.

“We were a little inexperienced in the foursomes, though, and I believe that cost us the trophy.”

The team rallied exceptionally well in the singles, but turned 1-3 down in the foursomes against the stronger unions like Central Gauteng and Gauteng North.

“It came down to a loss and a half respectively in two games and we ended up losing the tournament by one point,” Bailey explained.

The captain returns for duty alongside Andrew Cleophas, Francois le Roux, Brian Mampies, Joseph Skebotha, Julian Visser and new caps, Dirk van der Merwe and Japie Koopman.

“Dirk and Japie both have vast experience at Mid-Amateur level,” the skipper said.

“Dirk claimed the Cape Winelands at De Zalze in February and served on the victorious Western Province team that claimed the SA Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial in 2013, and Japie has represented Boland on various occasions.”

Bailey believes the host province has a strong chance this year.

“We have a well-balanced side, with strong players that have a good mix of match play and foursomes experience,” he said.

“We do have the home course advantage, and those players who are members at De Zalze, have given the rest good advice on how to play specific holes. A lot of the visiting teams will have played De Zalze quite often, though, so we are not taking anything for granted.

“Everyone travelling to the tournament loves the venue, so while the home course advantage is a positive, it is not a deciding factor.”

Bailey and his charges have studied the opposing teams and believe the field is strong.

“We believe the teams in the A-Division are very equal and we will have to play very well to win. I’m confident, though, that we will gel as a team.

“Our foursomes combinations are good. We had a practice session two weeks ago, and I was extremely pleased with how the team performed. Sometimes personalities don’t connect, but I tried a few combinations and they clicked straightaway. I feel we have paired the right players together, but we are keeping some back-up combinations up our sleeves.”

Bailey said the team will finesse their games with a final practice round just before the event.

“I want everyone to feel geared up for the event, but going into the tournament we will concentrate on our own preparations, focus on our strengths and manage what we can control,” Bailey said.

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