SA team geared for French Test

Four of South Africa’s top ranked mid-amateur golfers hope to emulate two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen when they chase success against the French at the Golf Du Medoc Resort near Bordeaux in France over the next two days.

Goosen beat a strong French line up to lift the French Open title at the Chateaux Course in 1999, and the quartet are relishing the chance to follow in his footsteps and beat the French on home soil.

The two-day Test between the two nations will also serve as a curtain-raiser for the prestigious International Team Mid-Amateur Championship from 18-20 July.

South African Golf Association (SAGA) number one Joseph Fourie will spearhead the challenge alongside former and reigning Volvo SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champions, Greg Sheard and Graeme Watson, and fifth ranked David Muller.

The team and their manager, SAGA Assistant Executive Director Neil Homann, arrived at the Medoc Hotel & Spa Golf Club at the weekend and packed in three practice rounds in preparation for the impending battle.

Fourie said the team is relishing the chance to represent South Africa in two world class events.

“We are extremely proud to fly the flag for South Africa here in France,” said the Free State golfer.

“To be given the opportunity to don the national colours and to represent South Africa in an international competition of this calibre, is incredibly exciting. We don’t get a lot of chances at our age to compete on an international platform, and we aim to make the most of this opportunity.

“The practice rounds have gone very well and the team is primed to take on the French.”
The Test will be played over both courses at Golf Du Medoc Resort, while the International Team Mid-Amateur Championship will only be played at the championship Chateaux course.

The two nations will play 36 holes of Foursomes and Betterball at the Vignes Course on day one, and a round of Singles at the Chateaux Course on day two.

Both courses are ranked among the top 15 golf courses in continental Europe.

The Chateaux Course, designed by American golf course architect, Bill Coore, presents a technical challenge that lures golfers into playing inventive strokes.

With its broad fairways lined with heather, gorse and broom and the greens exposed to the ocean winds, the par-71 layout provides a 6,576 meter challenge in the purest Scottish Links tradition.

Coore’s assistant, Canadian Rod Whitman, designed the par-71, 6220 meter Vignes Course with long holes and cleverly placed hazards that forces golfers to put a prime on accuracy and golf course management.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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