Women’s Inter-Provincial celebrates 50 years

The 50th Pick n Pay SA Women’s Inter-Provincial takes place at Irene Country Club from 26 September to 1 October and defending Champions Gauteng North Daisies will not be an easy team to beat on home soil.

The event kicks off on Sunday with Pick n Pay’s sponsored day and with an official practice round on Monday, the tournament proper starts on Tuesday 29 September when the qualifying stroke play rounds will be played.

This the 50th Anniversary of the South African Women’s Inter-Provincial is very special to WGSA President Erica Lefson because both her late mother Loreen Hodson and her step-mother Mary Clemence were members of the Western Province team which defeated the then Transvaal in the first two Inter-Provincial tournaments played at Bloemfontein Golf Club in 1961 and 1962.

In 1961 there were five teams of four competing in the inaugural Inter-Provincial involving 20 players; in 2010, 50 tournaments later, there are 16 teams involving no less that 80 golfers. The tournament has gone from strength to strength and is certainly one of the highlights on the golfing calendar, for some perhaps the highlight. The diverse format – foursomes and singles, stroke play and match play – provides a stern test for the country’s best golfers and gives the aspiring champions the opportunity to show what they can do. The other noticeable change has come in the age group of the teams. Most team members were well in their 30’s with changes starting to happen in the early 70’s when players like Lyn Whitfield (Schultz) Sally Little and Gilly Whitfield (Tebbutt) started bringing down the average age of the teams. Currently about half of the 50 players on the SA Player Ranking are aged under 20 years.

This tournament would not have grown without help and WGSA owes so much to Pick n Pay for sponsoring this prestigious event for the past 13 years. In 1997 when IPT was played at Clovelly, Raymond Ackerman offered to sponsor this major tournament the following year and the rest is history.

The Gauteng North Daisies has won the event in the previous three years and looks likely to defend the title on home turf with a team that includes three of SA’s top four players. Free State and Northern Cape won the B Inter-Provincial at Paarl in 2009 and gains promotion to the A Section.

There are two divisions of the Inter-Provincial – the Championship division includes eight teams of six players each – Boland A, Free State & N Cape, Gauteng Lions (A), Gauteng Tigers (B), Gauteng North Daisies (A), KwaZulu Natal, North West and Western Province A.

The B Division includes eight teams of four players each – Boland B, Border, Eastern Cape, Gauteng North Blommies (B), Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Southern Cape and Western Province B.

After the practice round on Monday 27 September, the tournament commences on Tuesday with the qualifying stroke play – foursomes in the morning and singles in the afternoon. The results will determine the split into two sections within each division. The four teams in each section each play against each other in the match play with the top seeded teams playing each other on the final day Friday 1 October.

The 50th anniversary of the Inter-Provincial will be celebrated at a gala dinner after the final day and some of the players from yesteryear are included in the guest list for the celebration.

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