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Golf | Amateur Golf

Musi Nethunzwi © SuperSport.com

SA Amateur teams seek glory in Africa



Soweto’s Musi Nethunzwi and Gert Myburgh from Benoni will make their debut in South Africa’s title defence at the Africa Zone VI Golf Championships in Malawi while four of the country’s top junior golfers will fly the flag for South Africa at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Botswana this April.

Myburgh and Nethunzwi will be flanked by Brandon Stone, Haydn Porteous, Shaun Smith, Zander Lombard and Drikus Bruyns, as well as CJ du Plessis, the only remaining member from the victorious 2011 side that beat Kenya for the title last year.

The Africa Zone VI Golf Championship attracts countries mainly from East and Southern Africa and, in addition to the defending champions and hosts Malawi, the other teams expected at Lilongwe Golf Club Malawi from 17-19 April include Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia and possibly Mauritius and Rwanda.

“We are quietly confident that our team will bring the trophy home again,” said South African Golf Association president, Colin Burger.

“We took in account strategy, combinations, experience and recent performances and each player in the squad earned their selection based on this criteria, to ensure we take the strongest possible team to Malawi.”

SA No 1 and two, Stone and Porteous, gained top international experience at various tournaments in Europe and New Zealand in 2011, while Porteous also emerged as the mainstay for the SA team at the Spirit International in the USA last year.

A member of the victorious Zone VI team last year, third ranked Du Plessis was also highly instrumental in securing South Africa’s sixth African Amateur Golf Teams Championship in October last year.

“CJ, Haydn and Brandon also teed it up recently with Shaun, Zander and Drikus against a top Scottish Golf Union Men’s Squad side at Leopard Creek in February,” said Burger.

“Zander is just 17, but he has a lot of experience. He represented South Africa at junior level at the International Teams tournament, at an U16 championship in Italy last year and, more recently, in a Junior squad against a Scottish Golf Union side and a top team from the SAGDB.”

Fourth ranked Smith underlined his rising stature with back-to-back top 10 finishes in KwaZulu-Natal in January and by reaching the semifinal at the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship last week.

“Although it will be their first time wearing the green and gold, Gert and Musi also hit the floor running this season,” Burger said. “Gert finished second twice this season and sixth at the SA Stroke Play, while Musi has come an incredibly long way since he debuted for the victorious Central Gauteng at the SA Inter-Provincial last year. He had had an incredible run of form this season, including victory in the Free State and Northern Cape Open, where he held off Gert and Zander.

“I am really excited about this team. I think they compliment each other, they are all in good form and very hungry to win.”

The SA U-19 Junior Team that will launch South Africa’s title defence at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Botswana include Lombard, Ekurhuleni’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Western Province stars Dylan Raubenheimer and Ian Snyman.

Lombard, Snyman and Raubenheimer earned their caps when they combining for a third place finish at the Nation’s Trophy at the fifth Italian Individual U-16 Championship at the Golf Club Biella in Italy last September 2011, while Bezuidenhout made his debut for South Africa last year at the same event in Namibia.

Burger said the quartet are determined to follow in the footsteps of the 2011 team that posted a 72-hole team aggregate of 847 and finish 16 shots clear of their nearest rival, Namibia.

“They are a feisty bunch and will no doubt do their best to emulate the 2011 side,” said Burger. “Zander and Christiaan will bring a lot experience to the side, while Ian and Dylan are known for their tenacity and never-say-die attitudes. We expect them to do very well.”

The other countries expected at the Gaborone Golf Club from 1-5 April are Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia and Mauritius, a first-time participant last year.

SA TEAM

Brandon Stone (18, Els Club Copper Leaf / Gauteng North)
Haydn Porteous (17, Modderfontein GC / Central Gauteng)
CJ du Plessis (21, Polokwane GC / Limpopo)
Zander Lombard (17, Woodhill CC / Gauteng North)
Gert Myburgh (23, Benoni CC / Ekurhuleni – NEW CAP)
Shaun Smith (20, Fancourt / Southern Cape)
Drikus Bruyns (19, Hex Valley GC / Boland)
Musi Nethunzwi (21, Soweto CC / Central Gauteng – NEW CAP)

SA JUNIOR TEAM

Zander Lombard (17, Woodhill CC / Gauteng North)
Dylan Raubenheimer (16, Strand GC / Western Province)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (17, Delmas GC / Ekurhuleni)
Ian Snyman (17, Bellville GC / Western Province)

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