SA takes clean sweep in Scotland
Eight of South Africa’s top amateurs claimed a clean sweep in the Mens and Womens competitions at in the University of St Andrews 600thAnniversary Invitational in Scotland this weekend.
The University of Pretoria’s HPC Mens side claimed a wire-to-wire victory in the invitation-only quadrangle tournament against St Andrews University, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) and the Scandinavian School of Golf, while the HPC Womens’ team successfully held on win the Womens Competition.
Zander Lombard, Werner van Niekerk and Teagan Gauche combined for an opening 209 at the Eden Course in St Andrews to take South Africa to top the leaderboard. Taking a seven shot lead into the second round at Crail Golf Club, the trio braved the brutal North Wind to pool for 229 and a 10 shot lead at the halfway mark.
On day three, Van Niekerk, Lombard and Tokkie van den Berg used a two-club wind at the Torrance course at Fairmont to great effect to put South Africa firmly in the drivers’ seat.
Van Niekerk fired a 68, Van den Berg returned a 69 and Lombard signed for a 70 to give the side a third round 207 and a 30 shot lead over the Scottish Golf Union.
Although the Scots launched a strong attack at Kittocks, Lombard, Van Niekerk and Gauche dealt well with the strong winds and cold weather to produce respective rounds of 73, 75 and 77.
Their final round 225 handed the HPC Mens team a 13 stroke victory on 870.
The Scottish Golf Union finished on 883, the Scandinavian School of Golf took third on 903 and the St Andrews University team brought up the rear with a team total of 949.
Meanwhile Nobuhle Dlamini, Kim Williams and Emma-Jo du Bruyn also put South Africa in the running in the Womens Competition.
The women lagged four shots behind Sweden after an opening 227, but leapfrogged the pacesetters with a fantastic 236 in the brutal weather conditions at the Craighead course at Crail in round two.
Heading into the third round with a six shot lead, South Africa’s number one Dlamini exploded with a 69, while second-ranked Williams contributed a 73 and number three Lara Weinstein signed for an 80 to give the side a total of 222 that extended their advantage over Sweden to 12 shots.
The weather turned very cold in the afternoon but Dlamini navigated the Gene Sarazen-design in 71 strokes, while Du Bruyn’s 78 at Kittochs kept South Africa in the driving seat.
The Swedish team were launching a spirited late challenge, but Weinstein saved her best golf for last.
The 18-year-old was eight over after 15 holes, but fought back with an ace at the tough 16th, and birdies at the final holes for a 78 to give South Africa a four stroke victory with a final round 227.
The HPC Womens side finished on 912, Sweden settled for second on 916, the Scottish Golf Union took third on 954 and the St Andrews University side fourth on 956.
Llewellyn van Leeuwen, head coach and technical director at the Tuksgolf Club and Academies, said it was a privilege to watch the South Africans in action.
“All eight players were fantastic ambassadors for South Africa, both on and off the course,” he said.
“Both teams fought incredibly hard and all the players should great commitment, fighting spirit and a will to win. The two teams made a clean sweep both in the team competitions and we won the individual events. I was incredibly proud of their efforts at the prize giving.”
Van Niekerk won the Mens Individual Competition on 288 with rounds of 68-77-68-75, finishing one shot clear of current number one, Lombard, while Dlamini claimed the Womens Individual Competition. The reigning Sanlam SA Stroke Play champion carded rounds of 77-77-69-71 to beat Sweden’s Emma Westin by one shot on a total score of 294.
“The competition also created the opportunity for the various institutions to share information, knowledge of best practice and for the players to forge new friendships,” said Johan Steyn, TuksGolf General Manager.
“It was very gratifying to hear our players complimented on their positive attitude and their confidence in their abilities under difficult tournament conditions. They really did South Africa proud.”