SA makes it seven in a row at AAGTC
South Africa extended the country’s dominance at the African Amateur Golf Teams Championship by put the finishing touches to an impressive week in Swaziland on Wednesday.
A South African team has won every edition of the prestigious biennial event since the first event in 2001 and, with the country’s pride on the line, this year proved no different.
Callum Mowat, Zander Lombard, NJ Arnoldi and Gerlou combined to claim South Africa’s seventh successive triumph at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club with a total score of 34-under-par 830, finishing 26 strokes clear of Zimbabwe.
Although the Zimbabweans took the first round lead, South Africa matched their opening 12-under-par 204 in the second round to wipe out a four shot deficit. The local heroes carried a 13 shot lead into the final round after a superb third round 202 and rallied for victory with a final round 216.
Lombard from Gauteng North fired a 69 while the Western Province’s Roux returned a 73 and Arnoldi from Ekurhuleni carded a 74. Central Gauteng’s Mowat closed with a non-counting 75.
“Overall, the scores were much higher than in the first three rounds, because the tees were all set at the back,” said national coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen. “They also stuck the pins on slopes and all the hard to reach places, which made it tough to attack, especially in the wind.”
The TuksGolf Club and Academies head coach and technical director said he was really impressed by the team’s performance.
“This team had great spirit; they respected each other and really played for each other and they were professionals, on and off the course,” he said. “Probably the best team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, both in their commitment and their conduct.”
Mowat clinched the Swazi Open title by two shots from Lombard on Sunday and edged out his team mate again to win the Individual Competition with rounds of 67-67-71-75.
The Modderfontein golfer said it was a much tougher day at the office, but he was delighted that the team backed him up in the final round.
“I struggled, but the team pulled through and that is what this championship is all about,” he said.
“I have to thank the team, Llewellyn and the SAGA for this opportunity and for what has undoubtedly been the best week of my golfing career. To win the Swazi Open and the AAGTC and the individual competition was more than I dreamed of doing. And I have to say thanks to my coach, Robbie Stewart, my family and friends for their support and for believing in me.”
Zimbabwe carded a final round 229 to finish in second on 856, while hosts Swaziland rallied with a four-over-par 220 to finish in third on 877.
FINAL TEAMS LEADERBOARD
830 South Africa 208-204-202-216
856 Zimbabwe 204-215-208-229
877 Swaziland 215-223-219-220
892 Kenya 217-227-219-229
895 Reunion 219-226-216-236
897 Mauritius 215-222-225-235
901 Zambia 228-220-220-233
905 Uganda 226-213-232-234
928 Namibia 234-223-232-239
958 Botswana 239-242-232-245
PHOTO CAPTION – from left to right: NJ Arnoldi, Callum Mowat, Gerhard Conradie (SAGA Vice President), Zander Lombard, Gerlou Roux and Llewellyn van Leeuwen (SAGA national coach).