Showdowns are looming at SA IPT

It was a day of upsets and jostling for position as the Western Province got their groove back, the match between Central Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal ended in a stalemate and Gauteng North drew a bold line under their intention to win this year’s South African Inter-Provincial at Bloemfontein Golf Club.

Western Province began plotting their way back to contention after a loss to Boland and a draw with Gauteng North by handing Southern Cape a comprehensive 11-1 thrashing.

The defending champions, got their groove back with a foursomes whitewash and only Southern Cape’s number one, Riekus Nortje, prevented a clean sweep when he downed his opposite number, Justin Turner, 2&1.

“It’s great to be on the winning end again,” said team manager Henk Smith. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the players want to win and this performance will certainly boost the team’s spirit and should serve as a great inspiration for the rest of the week.”

Gauteng North, too, took great satisfaction from drumming Boland 9½ – 2½ for their second successive win.

The youthful side gave away just a half point in the foursomes and kept the pressure up to win six of their singles, with only Pedrie Oosthuizen and Brandon Stone coming unstuck.

“It was another good day for the team,” said Gauteng North president, Jerry Few. “I’m really proud of their performance so far, but even more so in the way eight strong individuals have come together as a unit, with a united desire to win.”

Central Gauteng scraped through for a 6½ – 5½ win against Boland on Monday, but completely overpowered Southern Cape 9½ – 2½ on Tuesday to shoot to the top of the log.

Their battle for supremacy took a knock though, when their match against KwaZulu-Natal ended in stalemate.

The two teams were 2-all after the foursomes, but Central had the chance to win it in the singles with two games dormie coming up the last. Birdies from Steven van Heerden and Michael Hollick went unanswered, resulting in a 6-all draw and a dip below Gauteng North on the log.

Manager Jock Wellington said it was a tough match and a fair result.

“I think 6-all is a very good reflection of the match,” he said. “Obviously we are disappointed. We were up in two games coming up 18 and lost them both to birdies, but that is the way golf goes. I’m really impressed with the boys, because we were lagging behind most of the afternoon and we still managed to force a draw.”

In the B-Section, the Eastern Cape lost to Ekurhuleni 7½ – 4½ but beat Mpumalanga by the same margin. After an indifferent start to the tournament, Ekurhuleni went two for two, hammering Mpumalanga 9-3.

“I am very pleased with the team’s performance,” said team manager Kobie Koen. “They should have played like this on Monday, but they came back determined and really have showed some grit today.

“Eastern Province is a tough team to tackle in singles and Mpumalanga have come on in leaps and bounds and gave us a really hard time, but my guys showed a lot of heart to pull through.”

Good news for the local supporters was that favourites Free State & Northern Cape got back in the race for promotion with a comprehensive 10½-1½ victory over Border that pushed them back to the top of the log on six points.

“We may have left it too late, but at least we’ve given ourselves a fighting chance,” said captain Josef Fourie. “We still have to play Eastern Province, but who knows, we may just pull off a minor miracle on Friday. At least we are still in the running.”

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