SA to challenge in Ten Nations Cup
Leading South African amateurs Haydn Porteous, Zander Lombard, Dylan Raubenheimer and Louis Taylor will be flying the flag for the country in the inaugural Ten Nations Cup in George this February.
The international teams event is an amalgamation of the Four Nations Cup and the Southern Cross Trophy and will be staged at the Kingswood Golf Estate from 6-9 February. The tournament has drawn entries from top international teams including England, Scotland, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Colombia.
“We are obviously disappointed that Wales had to withdraw from the inaugural tournament, but nonetheless, we have a very strong line-up and it is a very exciting prospect for us to host the top ranked players from eight visiting nations,” said South African Golf Association (SAGA) president, Andre Pieterse.
While Gauteng’s Porteous and Lombard and the Western Province’s Raubenheimer enjoyed multiple podium finishes in 2012, Taylor from the Free State catapulted into the SAGA top 10 rankings early in the season and maintained his ranking with consistent performances and six top 10 finishes.
Porteous, Lombard and Raubenheimer have represented South Africa at various events on international level, including the World Amateur Team Championships, Africa Zone VI Golf Championships, All-Africa Junior Golf Championships, World Junior Golf Team Championships in Japan and several tests against Scotland and France. Taylor, who is making his international debut for South Africa, was ranked among the most valuable players at the 2012 South African Inter-Provincial.
“All four players have performed well in the last 12 months, both at home and abroad, and they are relishing the chance to test themselves against top ranked opponents,” Pieterse said. We have no doubt that they have the experience to hold their own in the competition. We look forward to four days of world class golf between the nine teams and for our players to gain invaluable international competitive experience.”
The international sides also welcomed the chance to compete in the biennial event and the opportunity for their players to compete in other SAGA tournaments, such as the SA Stroke Play and Sanlam SA Match Play Championship, after the tournament.
“Our team is really looking forward to the Ten Nations Cup at Kingswood,” said Neil Manchip, Golfing Union of Ireland national coach.
“It gives the players a chance to enjoy some early season competition in a very competitive field. The players we have sent to South Africa are all very experienced and they are excited about the upcoming events there.”
Scottish Golf Union national coach Ian Rae has been bringing an Elite Mens Squad to South Africa since 2010 and has seen several of his players enjoy great success in the country during the team’s winter training programme.
“It is the first time we will compete in this event and it’s a great opportunity for the players to compete against some of the best players from around the world,” said Rae.
“We have enjoyed success in South Africa, notably through the wins of Michael Stewart and David Law in 2011 and Brian Soutar and Paul Shields in 2012, and we hope to achieve more.”
Rae also welcomed the format of the Ten Nations Cup, which will see all four players per team compete, while only the top three scores counting towards the overall team score.
“The Eisenhower Trophy format of the Ten Nations Cup will give experience of what’s to come in the future and gel the players ahead of team events throughout the year,” he said.
“There can’t be enough of these events and gives the players a chance to play in a stroke play format, as well as being part of a team.”
Golf Australia High Performance Director Brad James also welcomed the experience for the Australian team members.
“Having nine of the stronger countries competing is great for the tournament and ensures our players will need to put in their best performances to challenge for the Cup,” James said.
“Geoff (Drakeford) finished runner-up at the Australian Amateur Championship and Brady (Watt) goes into the event on the back of strong Australian summer season. Together with Ryan (Ruffels) and Lucas (Herbert) in the team, we’re confident of a great week in South Africa.”