Tuks team primed for USSA Championship

Skipper Tertius van den Berg declared the University of Pretoria team primed for battle ahead of the annual USSA (University Sport South Africa) Championships in Limpopo next week.

Van den Berg hopes to steer the eight-man team to their fourth victory in five years, but expects a tough battle at the challenging par-72 layout at the Koro Creek Golf Estate from 1-5 July.

“The University of Pretoria has a proud record in the recent history in this event,” he said. “Tuks won the championship in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and we were the runners-up in 2010 and last year.

“The team has worked hard in preparation for this year’s event, both on and off the golf course. It’s always a tough tournament, because it draws the best golfers from institutions across the country. We are positive and determined to give it our best effort.”

The USSA Championship launched in 1961 and has seen tremendous growth in the last decade.

This year’s tournament has drawn 16 teams. Although defending champions Northlink College, who also won in 2004 and 2006, failed to enter a team this year, Van der Berg said that the line-up still ensures a high standard of golf and a tough challenge ahead.

“Stellenbosch University, the winners in 2005, Centurion Academy and Varsity College have each entered two teams,” he explained.

“We have entered one team and so has the North West University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Rhodes University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg and the Golf Schools of Excellence Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“All these teams boast some of the top players in the country and every team competing will want to walk away the champions, so there is a tough battle ahead.”

Van der Berg and team mate Werner Ferreira earned national colours in their debut for South Africa in the annual Leopard Trophy test against Scotland in March. The pair also shared in South Africa’s successful title defence at the Africa Zone VI Golf Championships at Windhoek Golf and Country Club in Namibia a month later.

The skipper is currently ranked 16th on the South Africa Golf Association rankings, while Ferreira ranks 14th, while Werner van Niekerk ranks eighth. The rest of the team includes Central Gauteng’s Matthew Spacey and Ryan Lane, as well as Gauteng North players Marco Loubser, Regard Neethling and Andrew van der Knaap.

The championship kicks off with a 36-hole stroke play qualifier on 1 and 2 July. The best five scores per team in each round of the qualifier determines the teams’ position for the match play from 3-5 July. The match play format is foursomes and singles.

Although the championship is primarily a team event, the individual winner of the stroke play qualifier will be crowned the National Student Stroke Play champion, with the winner and runner-up automatically qualifying for the 2014 USSA Golf Team that will compete in the Challenge Cup.

PAST WINNERS – 2003 to 2012

2012 – Northlink College

2011 – University of Pretoria

2010 – Tshwane University of Technology

2009 – University of Pretoria

2008 – University of Pretoria

2007 – Tshwane University of Technology

2006 – Northlink College

2005 – University of Stellenbosch

2004 – Norhtlink College

2003 – Technikon Pretoria

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