Tuks in early control at USSA Championship
The defending champions got off to a fast start as expected, but unlike last year, it was the University of Pretoria B-team who stole the thunder in the first round of the annual USSA (University Sport South Africa) Championships at Koro Creek Golf Estate on Monday.
Zabastian de Jager and David Nortje opened with a pair of 72s and Ryan Lane contributed a 73 to push the B-side in pole position at 217 in the Teams Stroke Play Qualifier.
Tuks B will take a four stroke lead into the final round from stable mates, University of Pretoria A, and The Golf School of Excellence Johannesburg.
“It was a real team effort out there and the boys are stoked to be leading,” said team manager, TuksGolf Club & Academies elite coach, Bradley Nienaber.
“Ryan was three over at the turn, but fought back to finish one over. That set the tone for the rest of the team. The boys are excited and keen to protect their lead tomorrow.”
Andrew van Knaap, who led the Tuks A-team with a 71, was supported by Reinhardt Blaaw and Marco Loubser, who carded respective rounds of 73 and 77.
Team manager Llewellyn van Leeuwen is confident that both the A and B teams will make the top eight teams to qualify for the Match Play A-Division on Tuesday.
“We always wanted both teams to make the top flight for the Match Play Championship and we are in a strong position to do so,” said the TuksGolf Club & Academies head coach.
“However, it’s pretty tight; the leaderboard is bunched. There is just 12 shots between the leader and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University A in eighth place.
“Everyone will come out fighting in the second round to make the top eight teams, so our guys need to bring their A-game.”
Ludovic Bax carded an even-par 72 to anchor The Golf School of Excellence Johannesburg team, while Vico Kuhn carded a 73 and Allan Jones added a 76 to help the side to share of second.
“The boys stood up and delivered,” said team manager Karl Hassler. “It was a good scoring day, warm and not too much wind. The course is playing nicely and greens are good. They are running fast, but true and they hold the balls nicely. Our boys just need to get off to a solid start and we will be in with a chance in the match play.”
Meanwhile Wynand Potgieter was the first round pacesetter in the Individual Competition.
The North West University A player fired a two-under-par 70 and leads by one from Van der Knaap – a member of the victorious Tuks A team last year – as well as Michael Dixon from the University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Hando Brophy and Zack van der Schyff from Stellenbosch University.
Team Stroke Play Qualifier – First Round Scores
217 – University of Pretoria B
221 – The Golf School of Excellence Johannesburg; University of Pretoria A
222 – Stellenbosch University; North West University
223 – University of Johannesburg A
228 – The Golf School of Excellence Pretoria
229 – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University A
231 – Cape Peninsula University of Technology A
233 – Centurion Academy A; Centurion Academy B; North West University B; Stellenbosch University B; Varsity College A
237 – Central University of Technology A
238 – University of Cape Town A
240 – Rhodes University
241 – Varsity College B
243 – Central University of Technology B
244 – University of Johannesburg B
248 – Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
250 – The Golf School of Excellence Invitational; University of Cape Town B
252 – Central University of Technology A
255 – Rhodes University B
256 – Varsity College C
273 – North West University Vaal
Individual First Round Leaderboard – top 20
70 Wynand Potgieter
71 Hando Brophy; Michael Dixon; Andrew van der Knaap; Zack van der Schyff
72 Ludovic Bax; Zabastian de Jager; David Nortje
73 Reinhardt Blaauw; Neal Hauptfleisch; Jonothan Kaplan; Vico Kuhn; Ryan Lane
74 Bernard Hattingh; Steven Janicki; Steven Owen; ABW van Zyl
75 Dwayne Basson; Collin Campher; Christoff Els; Ian Geringer; Francois Kruger; JB Smit
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the USSA Championship.