SA retains Africa Zone VI crown
Christiaan Bezuidenhout put the seal on South Africa’s successful title defence at the Africa Zone VI Golf Tournament on Thursday.
The country’s number one ranked amateur belted Adel Balala from Kenya 9 & 7 in the final round singles at Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate to put an exclamation mark on another clean sweep for the country in Africa’s most prestigious team event.
South Africa retained their title with 23 points, finishing four points ahead of Zimbabwe, with Namibia taking third on 15.5 points in the final standings.
Swaziland took fourth with 14.5 points, while Kenya finished in fifth place on 13 points.
South Africa got their title defence underway with a clean sweep in the first round singles and won all four points on offer in the second round foursomes.
However, their momentum took a knock when Zimbabwe’s Stuart Krogg and Jack Allard defeated Zander Lombard and Louis Taylor 3 & 2.
Rather than lament the loss, the players rallied to deliver another commanding performance in the final round singles to secure South Africa’s 19th victory since 1995.
Lombard led the way with an 8 & 6 win against John Fakudze from Swaziland.
New cap Stefan Cronje dispatched Rasheed Osman from Lesotho 8 & 7 and fellow debutant Jason Smith downed Fernando Manhica from Mozambique 6 & 5 to score the side’s third point.
NJ Arnoldi took their tally to four points with a 6 & 5 result against Mukuka Mwango from Zambia and Taylor made it five out of five when he defeated Ludovic Bax from Mauritius 3 & 2.
Gerlou Roux emerged from an epic battle against 18-year-old Ketshephaone Madikane from Botswana with a 2 & 1 victory and two-time Sanlam SA Amateur champion Thriston Lawrence kept up the winning run when he thumped Uganda’s Lawrence Muhenda 5 & 3.
Bezuidenhout tidied up the clean sweep, prompting South African Golf Association president, Andre Pieterse, to praise the team’s commitment to bring the victory home.
“It is tough to compete at this level and remain unbeaten, but our team did an outstanding job to collect 23 out of a possible 24 points,” Pieterse said.
“A lot of games were a lot closer than the results indicate and this signifies just how much the standard of this competition has improved in the last few years.
“The South African team were determined to score a full house after the fourball loss and their determination was outstanding. Every member of the team stood up to be counted.
“South Africa has a proud history in this tournament, and we are very pleased with the way this year’s team conducted themselves and played the game with great sportsmanship and commitment.”
National coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen was equally impressed with the talent on show.
“The Africa Zone VI Golf Tournament goes a long way in giving these players a platform to compete on, to showcase their talent and to gain fantastic competitive experience against players from the different countries,” the Tuksgolf Club and Academies head coach and technical director said.
“The talent on show here this week has been impressive and we really should find a way to tap into this and develop these players, along with the coaches.
“I am very proud of our team and the way they rallied, especially in the final round. We have dominated this event, but we know the standard increases each year and this year it was especially tough. The team did an outstanding job of flying the flag for our country.”
FINAL LOG STANDINGS
23 South Africa
9 Zambia; Uganda
8.5 Lesotho; Botswana