SA triumph against France at St Francis Links
South Africa’s junior team claimed a resounding 14-4 victory in the two-day Test against France at St Francis Links on Wednesday.
The local heroes carried a five point lead into the final day, having won all three opening Foursomes and four out of six Singles games on day one.
A heavy overnight downpour caused a delayed start to the final day’s proceedings, but not even the overcast conditions and light drizzle could dampen the South African team’s fire at the magnificent Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.
The six-pack blasted to a clean sweep in the second round Foursomes and reeled in four points in the Singles to beat the French for a second successive year.
Boland amateur Herman Loubser and JP Cooper from Gauteng North set the tone in the Foursomes when they defeated Antoine Kuoch and Jeong-Weon Ko 6 & 5 in the first game out.
Skipper Jovan Rebula from Southern Cape and Gauteng North’s Keegan de Lange beat Antoine Auboin and Leo Mathard 5 & 4, and Central Gauteng pair Dylan Naidoo and Marco Steyn grinded out a 2 & 1 victory against Victor Veyret and Paul Foulquie.
Former Nomads SA Boys U-15 champion Loubser claimed the first scalp when he whipped Kuoch 4 & 3.
Cooper from Wingate won 2 & 1, reigning Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion Naidoo triumphed 3 & 2 and recent Dr Bam winner De Lange claimed a 4 & 2 victory to take South Africa’s tally to 14 points.
Foulquie, who claimed two prestigious titles in Scotland last year, proved too tough to beat, though, and handed Steyn a 4 & 2 drubbing.
Rebula went head-to-head with Veyret, the only returning member of last year’s French team.
The Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation player struggled to get going but rallied to stay in the game. However, the George junior lost the last two holes to hand Veyret a 1-up victory.
“The French were fantastic adversaries, but some of our players simply blew hotter than theirs,” said South African Golf Association Golf Intergration Manager, Eden Thomson.
“The team’s fighting spirit was really admirable and it was an absolute privilege for me to manage these six young men.
“In the end, though, golf was the winner. All 12 players really enjoyed the Test and the opportunity to challenge at this championship layout. You can’t put a price on international competition and the French players also gained a lot from playing abroad.
“The course was in fantastic shape and tested every aspect of their games. I believe the changing weather conditions enhanced the experience and provided yet another facet to the challenge.”
The dozen players will need every ounce of experience gained over the last two days when they face off against the cream of South Africa and Scotland in the Eastern Province / Border Stroke Play this weekend.
The 54-hole curtain-raiser will be played at Port Elizabeth Golf Club and will serve as the final preparation for the prestigious South African Stroke Play Championship that tees off at the same course on Tuesday, 3 February.
Herman Loubser & JP Cooper beat Antoine Kuoch and Jeong-Weon Ko 6 & 5
Dylan Naidoo & Marco Steyn beat Victor Veyret & Paul Foulquie 2 & 1
Jovan Rebula & Keegan de Lange beat Antoine Auboin & Leo Mathard 5 & 4
JP Cooper beat Jeong-Weon Ko 2 & 1
Herman Loubser beat Antoine Kuoch 4 & 3
Dylan Naidoo beat Leo Mathard 3 & 2
Keegan de Lange beat Antoine Auboin 4 & 2
Marco Steyn lost Paul Foulquie 4 & 2
Jovan Rebula lost Victor Veyret 1-up
PHOTO: The South African and French teams that went head-to-head in a two day Test at St Francis Links; credit Charl Blaauw.
From left to right: Christophe Pottier (French coach), Paul Foulquie, Leo Mathard, Antoine Auboin, Victor Veyret, Antoine Kuoch, Jeong- Weon Ko, JP Cooper, Herman Loubser, Jovan Rebula, Dylan Naidoo, Marco Steyn, Keegan de Lange and Eden Thompson (SA manager).
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association