SA Team named for AAGTC

Leading amateurs Zander Lombard, Gerlou Roux, Callum Mowat and NJ Arnoldi have been tasked to keep South Africa’s unbeaten record alive in the 2013 African Amateur Golf Teams Championship (AAGTC) from 18-25 October in Swaziland.

The local quartet will be gunning for South Africa’s seventh consecutive victory in the biennial tournament at the Royal Swazi Sun Country Club, site of the inaugural championship in 2001.

South Africa has since dominated the tournament with victories in Botswana in 2003, Uganda in 2005, Namibia in 2007, Egypt in 2009 and at home in 2011, when Graham van der Merwe, CJ du Plessis, Riekus Nortje and Daniel Hammond combined for South Africa’s six consecutive triumph at the Lake Club Benoni.

“The AAGTC is well supported and partially sponsored by the Royal and Ancient and with the support from the African nations, has grown exponentially over the last decade,” said South African Golf Association president Andre Pieterse.

“From that first tournament Swaziland a dozen years ago, the AAGTC has grown into the Major of amateur golf in Africa.

“South Africa has a very proud history in this championship, however, one should point out that there have been some close finishes where difference between the top teams came down to a shot of two.

“I have no doubt, though, that the four players we have selected to represent South Africa at this year’s championship will relish the chance to continue our winning run in this event.”

Lombard from Woodhill Country Club in Pretoria consolidated his status as the country’s top amateur when he won KwaZulu-Natal Amateur Championship after finishing second in the stroke play qualifier. The 18-year-old also claimed a third place finish in the Cape Province Open in April and a runner-up finish at the Boland Amateur a month later.

Former professional Roux from Bellville has vaulted to third in the rankings this season with a slew of top 10 and top five finishes, including seconds in the Border Stroke Play and Free State Open.

Modderfontein’s Mowat broke through for his maiden win when he captured the North West Amateur Open in March and added a second trophy to his mantle at the Southern Cape Championship in August.

Respectively ranked third and fifth, Roux and Mowat made their debut for South Africa alongside Lombard in the Leopard Trophy test against Scotland in February, but it will be the first time Arnoldi from Ekurhuleni dons the green and gold.

The country’s number six has enjoyed a great run of form this season with eight top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at the Western Province Amateur and thirds in the Limpopo Open, KwaZulu-Natal Stroke Play and Western Province Stroke Play.

In addition to South Africa and hosts Swaziland, the other countries expected to participate in this year’s African Amateur Golf Teams Championship include Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Reunion Island, Mauritius and Botswana.

The championship is contested over four rounds of stroke play. Each team consists of four players, but only the best three scores per round will count toward the team total. The country with the lowest gross score at the end of the championship will be crowned the AAGTC champion and there is also a prize for the overall individual winner.

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