SA pair ready to do battle in Argentina

Top ranked amateur golfers Drikus Bruyns and CJ du Plessis will attempt to extend South Africa’s fine record in the event when they represent the South African Golf Association (SAGA) in the 17th Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup from 8-11 November at Los Lagartos Country Club.

The annual 72-hole stroke play championship, in which the aggregate scores of both players count, has seen a number of South African players taking the honours.

Ulrich van den Berg and Trevor Immelman won in 1997 and were succeeded by Ryan Dreyer and JG Claassen in 2008.

Bruyns from Boland has finished in the top 10 five times this year, including third place finishes at the SA Stroke Play Championship, Boland Open and Southern Cape Open. He is ranked fourth on the current South African Golf Association rankings, one spot higher than Limpopo’s Du Plessis, who has enjoyed eight top 10s, including a third place at the North West Open.

SA president, Andre Pieterse, said both players well equipped for task ahead.

“Drikus and CJ have performed very well this season and should do well in terms of the individual competition, but they also have a strong chance to win the team competition,” he said.

“They were both selected to the Protea side that played a test against a team from the Scottish Golf Union Men’s National Squad at Leopard Creek in February. They were part of the victorious team that secured South Africa’s 12th Africa Zone VI Golf Championships victory in Malawi in April and they gained a lot of experience as part of the six-man team that toured Scotland in May and June.

“We believe that we are sending a very strong and capable side to this year’s event.”

Last year’s South African team, Jared Harvey and Graham van der Merwe, rallied for a third place finish, but Bruyns hopes he and Du Plessis can go the distance.

“We are very honoured to have been selected for the Tailhade this year,” the Boland player said.

“CJ and I have both represented South Africa in team over the last two years, so the format is familiar, we are used to coping with the pressure, and overall, I think we dovetail well.

“I also think the recent South African Inter-Provincial and the Ekurhuleni Open has also sharpened our skills in terms of team work and individual performances, and that should serve us well in Argentina.”

Du Plessis wants to leave the amateur circuit on a winning note before he joins the pro ranks.

“Drikus and I are both looking to finish the season on a high,” the Limpopo amateur said. “We will both go all out to bring home South Africa’s third trophy in this event.”

The Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup annually draws entries from countries including Canada, Holland, England, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, the United States and Uruguay while at least 70 local golfers also compete in the Individual Competition alongside the selected Argentinean team.

Ranked as one of the top amateur team competition in the world, some of the notable winners include 2008 Masters champion Immelman, Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, Eduardo Molinari, Gonzalo Fernández Castaño, Alvaro Quirós, Scott Strange and Nick Dougherty.

After the Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup, Bruyns and Du Plessis will also tee it up in the 117th Argentina Amateur Championship at the Pilar Golf Club from 13-18 November.

Following a 36-hole qualifier over two days, the leading sixty four players will go through to the match play stages to determine the amateur champion for 2012.

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