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Record 29th IPT victory for Central Gauteng

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Central Gauteng proved that there are two ways to silence the critics when they claimed a record 29th victory in the 58th South African Inter-Provincial Tournament, sponsored by Tempest Car Hire, at Oubaai Golf Club on Thursday.

The Lions not only defended the title with a round to spare, but they did it with two bankers and six new caps.

‘Not many people thought we could do it,’ said a beaming Jaco du Plessis after his charges wrapped up the victory with a 6.5-5.5 result against KwaZulu-Natal in the fourth round.

‘We were probably third or fourth on the list of favourites against the coastal teams, but our players definitely validated their selection. Our results so far this week testify to the incredible spirit of this team, their commitment to perform for each other and it is proof positive that the system we have in Central Gauteng breeds success.

‘But it’s not quite over just yet. We have one more match left against Southern Cape and we’d like to leave Oubaai with the trophy and an unbeaten record. ‘

Central Gauteng sounded a loud warning to the rest of the A Section title contenders when they handed Free State a 9.5-2.5 drubbing in the opening round.

On day two, the Lions mowed down Gauteng North 8.5-3.5 and the youthful side showed great determination and a lot of heart to grind out a hard-fought for 7-5 victory over Ekurhuleni in the freezing cold, sweeping rain and gale force winds on day three.

After beating Central Gauteng, the team had to wait for the outcome of the match between Southern Cape and Gauteng North.

When the Daisies won 6.5-5.5, the early celebrations could begin.

‘We are obviously very proud and super stoked, because we didn’t expect this when we teed it up this morning,’ said Du Plessis.

‘Southern Cape were only a point behind us in the standings and we knew they were going to try and make a proper game out of it against Gauteng North after getting back in the game on day three.

‘Our match against KZN was an absolute dog fight. We were looking good in the foursomes at one stage, 3-1 up, but then Clayton Mansfield and Malcolm Mitchell played unbelievable golf to pull their match back and halve against Reece Haikney and Ruan Botha.

‘We were a bit on the back foot starting the singles, but I told my guys we just needed four points to win and they knew what they needed to do. Our team demographic has really changed since Rustenburg in 2013. We try to get every guy to understand what their roles are within the team and the way our order is set up, every guy has a certain job to do.’

Cole Stevens, out at No8, lost 1-up to Jason Broomhead and Keelan van Wyk beat veteran campaigner Gavin Sole 1-up. Haikney downed Byron Coetzee 3 & 2, Darin de Smidt lost to Gregory McKay 2 & 1 and skipper Ryan Dreyer beat Luke Mayo 2Up.

New cap Sam Mckenzie beat reigning SA Mid-Amateur champion and number one ranked Derek Scullard 2 & 1, while Karabo Mokoena lost 1-down to Clayton Mansfield and KwaZulu-Natal number one Malcolm Mitchell beat Botha 1-up.

‘There isn’t an easy match out here, especially not against KZN, but the guys went out there and batted really well,’ said Du Plessis.

‘Most of the matches were extremely close. Cole and Keelan had two really tough matches. Keelan got a win on 18 and Cole lost on the last. Reece was just phenomenal the way he came back against Byron to win 3 & 2.

‘Darin de Smidt didn’t have a great week, but he is such a stalwart and an incredibly positive guy to have in the side. And our experienced banker and captain Ryan Dreyer was just absolutely ice again. He played unbelievable under the gun all week and birdied the last to win his match.

‘Sam McKenzie…what a revelation he has been for us this week. He played unbelievable golf against Derek, who is so good he can make the main South African side. They had a humdinger of a match.  Sam was 1-up playing the last and he played it perfectly to get us the win and the 6.5 we needed.

‘It’s never nice to see another team lose and hand us a win, but we did the hard yards first. You win the matches, you win the trophy. You do the basics right and you don’t rely on anybody else to do the work for you. You get the job done yourself.’

Du Plessis applauded the support from Central Gauteng Golf Union, which he stated is key to the team’s success.

‘Doing the hard work before the time pays off,’ he said. ‘The guys play together, they get match play fit. The guys operate as a team before we even get to the SA IPT.

‘There have been a lot of changes at the union; a bunch on really supportive guys on a whole new executive and a great president in place that is there for the good of golf. I think it’s starting to show in our teams that if you do things right, you will start seeing the results.’

Southern Cape retained the number two spot in the log with five points, while Gauteng North-with five points, but with 1.5 games points less than the home union-moved into third. KwaZulu-Natal is fourth with four points.

Ekurhuleni, who hammered Free State 8.5-3.5 sit in fifth on 2 points and Free State, still hunting their first victory of the week, hold the last spot.

A SECTION RESULTS
ROUND 4
Central Gauteng 6.5-KwaZulu-Natal 5.5
Ekurhuleni 8.5-Free State 3.5
Southern Cape 5.5-Gauteng North 6.5

A SECTION LOG
(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Central Gauteng (4, 4, 0, 0, 8, 31.5)
2 Southern Cape (4, 2, 1, 1, 5, 26)
3 Gauteng North (4, 2, 1, 1, 5, 24.5)
4 KwaZulu-Natal (4, 1, 2, 1, 4, 24.5)
5 Ekurhuleni (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 23.5)
6 Free State (4, 0, 0, 4, 0, 14)

Meanwhile Boland went hammer and nail into day four of the 58th South African Inter-Provincial Tournament to get back in the B Section battle for promotion against log leaders Western Province on Thursday.

Boland headed into the fourth round of the country’s premier team’s event, sponsored by Tempest Car Hire, with four points and 22 games points after two wins and an 8-4 loss to Western Province in the opening round.

The log leaders had 10 points and 46 games points after five straight wins.

Coming into day four manager Jaco Spies rallied his troops. The message was simple: ‘Win both matches today and win big.’

What followed were two decisive victories. The team pummelled Mpumalanga 8-4 and scored a clean sweep against Limpopo to boost Boland’s tally to eight points and 42 games points.

‘We were obviously very lucky that we had our bye on Wednesday when the other teams had to play in gale forces winds and rain,’ said Spies.

‘We followed the live scoring and saw Province move to 10 points. To have any sort of chance, we knew we needed to make a killing. We’re still two points behind, so we will have to beat Border and we need North West to do us a favour against Western Province, but anything is possible.

‘That’s why we went into today’s fight with no thoughts of the log. We simply played to win. We started really strong and went 4-up in the foursomes against both teams. That gave us some really great momentum for the afternoon session.’

LB Boshoff, Tyron Davidowitz, Phillip Swanepoel and Luan Boshoff reeled in the points against Mpumalanga and Limpopo, the rest of the squad-Ethan Smith, Karl Ochse, Teaghan Thomas and Len O’Kennedy-also came through for the 12-0 result against Limpopo.

‘The team spirit on this team has been incredible, and definitely sparked today’s performance,’ said Spies.

‘These guys play for each other, but no-one waits for someone else to perform. They are not scared of making mistakes. They play their own games and they play to win.

‘I must mention Tyron, who is unbeaten so far this week and Luan Boshoff, who were both down in their matches and turned both around. Tyron was 1-down and 2-down in his two games and ended up beating Stephen Morrison from Mpumalanga 5 & 4 and Peter Masehela from Limpopo 7 & 6.

‘Luan was down against both opponents after five holes. He beat Mpumalanga number one Ivan Mare 1-up and Limpopo’s Stephan de Beer 4 & 2. Phillip and LB also played some incredible golf to win their matches against Mpumalanga.

‘These guys have done everything I’ve asked of them and I know they’ll bring everything to the final showdown. We are out first against Border and all we want is another very strong start.’

Mpumalanga also put Limpopo through the grinder to win 11-1, while Eastern Province defeated neighbours Border 8.5-3.5 to move to fourth in the log behind North West.

B SECTION RESULTS
ROUND 4
Boland 8-Mpumalanga 4
Mpumalanga 11-Limpopo 1
Boland 12-Limpopo 0
Eastern Province 8.5-Border 3.5

B SECTION LOG
(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Western Province (5, 5, 0, 0, 10, 46)
2 Boland (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 42)
3 North West (5, 3, 1, 1, 7, 31.5)
4 Eastern Province (5, 2, 1, 2, 5, 30.5)
5 Mpumalanga (5, 2, 0, 3, 4, 33)
6 Border (5, 1, 0, 4, 2, 19.5)
7 Limpopo (6, 0, 0, 6, 0, 13.5)

PHOTOS: The victorious Central Gauteng (main picture) and Boland teams, by GolfRSA


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