SA team keep control at Africa Zone VI
Stuart Krogg and Jack Allard dealt South Africa a crushing blow when they ended South Africa’s unbeaten run at the Africa Zone VI Golf Championships on Wednesday.
After a clean sweep in the foursomes, South Africa looked on track to score full points in the fourballs, but Krogg and Allard had the measure of the greens at Devonvale Golf & Wine Estate and handed the SA pair a 3 & 2 drubbing.
South Africa kept ahead in the log with 15 points, but the local favourites may have to pull out all the stops in the final round singles to secure the country’s 19th title in Africa’s most prestigious team championship.
Looking to go one better than their runner-up spot last year, Zimbabwe pulled within three points of South Africa and sits comfortably in second place.
But Zimbabwe is not the only threat.
Namibia also made a major move with three foursomes’ victories and a clean sweep in the fourballs to finish just a half point behind Zimbabwe.
Swaziland slipped into fourth in the log with 9.5 points alongside Mauritius, while Kenya and Malawi lurk just a half point back in sixth.
The South African challenge was led by new caps, Jason Smith and Stefan Cronje, who shook off the first round nerves and the pair delivered two commanding performances for the side.
The duo whipped from Mozambique 8 & 6 in the foursomes, and mowed down C Kambalame and Ben Wandawanda from Malawi 7 & 6 in the fourballs.
“Stefan and I were both a little nervous when we first donned our national jackets,” said Smith.
“But after a couple of holes, you forget about the occasion and you just focus on the game.”
The reigning SA Stroke Play champion won his opening singles match against Uganda’s Ronald Otile 4 & 3, while Cronje defeated Antonio Tcheco 5 & 4.
“This morning we just wanted to get the job done for South Africa and our team,” said Cronje.
“It was absolutely fantastic out there. The course is in great condition and the greens have speeded up a lot after all that wind on Monday and Tuesday.
“We dovetailed well, and we are stoked that we put two points on the board.”
Ekurhuleni combo Christiaan Bezuidenhout and NJ Arnoldi had an equally fortuitous day.
The pair came through the foursomes with a 6 & 4 result against Swaziland and defeated Kenya’s Tony Omuli and Adel Balala 3 & 2 in the fourballs.
Gerlou Roux and Thriston Lawrence were tested by Eli Mbang and Gabriel Shikodi from Namibia but held on to win the foursomes game 3 & 1.
The duo combined well for a 6 & 4 victory against Zambia’s Sydney Wemba and Kelvin Chibuye in the fourballs.
Although they lost their fourball game after a long and hard battle, Lombard and Taylor did secure a crucial point for the team when they defeated Ki Dube and Sipho Ahueng from Botswana 7 & 6 in the foursomes.
15 South Africa
9.5 Mauritius; Swaziland
9 Kenya; Malawi
4.5 Lesotho; Botswana