South Africa narrowly wins the RAACT from Zimbabwe

The South African team of Nicole Garcia, Nicole Becker and Alana van Greuning won the third Regional All Africa Challenge Trophy by two strokes from Zimbabwe when it was played in Harare last week.

So near yet so far aptly describes how local lady golfers and enthusiast felt when Team Zimbabwe painfully came second best to South Africa by two shots in the Regional All Africa Challenge Trophy (RAACT) that was played from Friday 1 to 3 July 2011 at Royal Harare Golf Club.

Zimbabwe had a one point lead going into the final round but was overtaken and lost by two shots to the pre-tournament favourites South Africa.

The girls from Mzanzi scored 456 to Zimbabwe’s 458. Namibia was third on 467 while Botswana and Angola were placed fourth and fifth on 557 and 680 respectively.

Team Zimbabwe made up of Claire Minter, Rumbi Masamvu and young Batsirai Tilowakuti gave it their all but could not better the recovery of South Africa.

Claire Minter consoled herself for the loss in the RAACT team event by collecting the much coveted 2011 ZLGU Open Strokeplay Championship on a superb score of 224, two ahead of Bonita Brednhann of Namibia.

The inaugural Southern Africa, Regional All Africa Challenge Trophy was held in Botswana in 2007 at the Phakalane Golf Estate, during which five countries took part in the Challenge being South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Swaziland and Botswana. East/Central Africa followed in 2009 in Kampala, and finally Northern Africa in Morocco in 2010.

From the beginning of the satellite events, the Regions were allowed to vary their event to suit their circumstances, within certain mandatory parameters, such as tournament format of strokeplay – gross scoring and 54 holes over three days. The National teams of three, play 54 holes of stroke play over three days, counting the scores of the best two players in each round to make the total.

Countries represented at the Southern region tournament are: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. It is hoped that other Southern African countries such as Mozambique, Lesotho, Madagascar and Mauritius will eventually be able to participate in this regional event, as their golfing infrastructures develop.

Scores not available today.

Report from Alana van Greuning

We arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday afternoon (28 June 2011). The tournament was held in Harare, the Capital of Zimbabwe. We did not know what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised with their friendliness and hospitality.

We stayed at The Rainbow Towers hotel and the Staff was helpful and friendly. The South African A, Australia A and Zimbabwean cricket teams also stayed at the same hotel. We got to meet the Australian Management team and some players, awesome…

We also got to watch some cricket as the Cricket field was right next to the Royal Harare golf course.

We played at the Royal Harare Golf Club. The course was in fantastic condition and although the course was short, the holes were tricky and the greens were very fast and sometimes difficult to read.

The first round of the RAACT started on Friday 1 July 2011. Nicole Garcia and I returned 78s and Plasie finished with a 76. (With the two best scores to count.)

On Saturday 2 July 2011 Nicole carded an 83, Plasie a 79 and I made 76. We were still one shot behind Zimbabwe with one day to go.

We knew that Sunday was very important and Claire and her team made it difficult. We were extremely focused and determent to win. I shot a 76, Plasie a 79 and luckily Nicole dug deep to shoot a 71. It was close, but we managed to win by two shots and defend our title.

Zimbabwe came second and Namibia third. What a performance Ladies!!!I am very proud of both of you.

Thanks to Thembi and the Organizers of the RAACT. We had great fun and the tournament was well organized and ran smoothly.

I would like to thank WGSA for the fantastic opportunity to represent South Africa and to defend our title. It is always an honor!!!

Alana van Greuning

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