Scots triumph in sixth Leopard Trophy
The Scottish Golf Union squad claimed a runaway 15.5 – 8.5 victory in the sixth edition of the annual Leopard Trophy and levelled the Test Series at three-apiece after a full-blown assault against South Africa in the final round at Leopard Creek on Thursday.
Having trailed 3 – 1 after the opening Foursomes, the eight-man team rallied to claim five points in the Singles against South Africa to tie the first round at 6-all.
Starting the final round on even terms, the visitors fashioned the winning combinations in the Foursomes to forge 2.5 – 1.5 ahead.
Needing only four points from the Singles to seal victory, the Scots proved nearly indestructible and scored a near whitewash with seven points.
Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson teamed up with Craig Ross from Kirkhill to win the top match 3 & 2 against Tristen Strydom and Paul Boshoff.
Fife duo Connor Syme and Ben Kinsley combined to beat Stefan Cronje and Gerlou Roux 4 & 3 in the anchor game.
Gauteng North duo Teaghan Gauche and Jason Smith secured South Africa’s only full point when they downed Craigie Hill’s Danny Young and Scott Gibson from Southerness 2 & 1, while Matthew Spacey from Central Gauteng and Gauteng North’s Hendrikus Stoop halved against Thornhill’s Greig Marchbank and Jamie Savage from Cawder.
Ferguson, Ross and Marchbank claimed comprehensive scalps, while the Singles between Smith and Syme, Spacey and Savage, Roux and Gibson and Cronje and Young were fiercely contested, but all the Scots finished in the pound seats.
South Africa’s Gauche impressed in his debut at Leopard Creek, though.
The Wingate Park golfer partnered Smith to victory in both their Foursomes and he scored South Africa’s only point in the final round Singles when he thrashed Kingsley 5 & 4.
South Africa won the first two Tests in 2010 and 2011, but the Scots derailed their bid for a hat-trick in 2012. The host nation rallied for a third victory in 2013 and the visitors win the fifth edition with a 14 – 10 result last year.
It was a commendable effort from the Scottish team, who played without 2014 St Andrews Links winner, Grant Forrest, and reigning Amateur champion Bradley Neil, who is competing in the Sunshine Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt.
The win also made amends for missing out on a Nations Cup defence in Spain this week.
Thanks to the continued support of national team sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management, South African businessman Johann Rupert, the Alfred Dunhill Links Foundation and funding from sportscotland, South Africa’s top amateurs will have the opportunity to continue to test themselves against Scottish Golf Union group in upcoming events.
The group is due to stay in South Africa for a few more weeks as part of their annual winter training programme.
Scotland 15.5 – South Africa 8.5
FOURSOMES RESULT – Final Round
Ewen Ferguson & Craig Ross beat Tristen Strydom & Paul Boshoff 3 & 2
Danny Young & Scott Gibson lost to Teaghan Gauche & Jason Smith 2 & 1
Greig Marchbank & Jamie Savage halved Matthew Spacey & Hendrikus Stoop
Connor Syme & Ben Kinsley beat Gerlou Roux & Stefan Cronje 4 & 3
SINGLES RESULT – Final Round
Ewen Ferguson beat Tristen Strydom 5 & 4
Connor Syme beat Jason Smith 2 & 1
Jamie Savage beat Matthew Spacey 1-Up
Scott Gibson beat Gerlou Roux 1-Up
Ben Kinsley lost to Teaghan Gauche 5 & 4
Greig Marchbank beat Hendrikus Stoop 2 & 1
Danny Young beat Stefan Cronje 2 & 1
Craig Ross beat Paul Boshoff 6 & 5
PHOTO – The victorious Scottish Golf Union team that claimed the sixth annual Leopard Trophy at Leopard Creek; credit Roger Sedres / Image SA.
(Back, left to right – coach David Orr, Scott Gibson, Jamie Savage and Ben Kinsley; front, left to right – Craig Ross, Ewen Ferguson, Connor Syme, Danny Young and Greig Marchbank)
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.
With thanks to Martin Dempster, The Scotsman, for his valuable input.