Gauteng North lifts SA Junior IPT title
Gauteng North thumped the Western Province on Friday to claim the South African Junior Interprovincial at Paarl Golf Club, while Limpopo snatched the B-Section after an epic battle with Mpumalanga to become the first team to claim promotion under the new format of the country’s largest annual junior team event.
Gauteng North, the winners in 2010, underlined their intent to capture the title when they smoked Western Province 4-0 in the foursomes and mowed down the defending champions in the singles to collect their fourth victory in the last decade with a 7.5 - 4.5 result.
Team manager Andre Louw said that although they lost one match, their tournament rolled out almost exactly to plan. “It is never easy to win all five games at the IPT but our guys played magnificent golf this week and they showed a real never-say-die spirit,” said Louw.
“The way they bounced back after losing to Central Gauteng showed their guts and commitment. I think the secret to their success was that they made sure that that they never got ahead of themselves, that they played every game on its own merit and that they played for the team and not for the man.”
With a clean sweep in the foursomes, Gauteng North lost the first three games as Mallick Aslam beat Adriel Poonan 1-up, Luke Trocado downed Keegan de Lange 5&3 and Sean Bradley got past JC Ritchie 3&2.
But Ross Sinclair continued his winning run as the Most Valuable Player with his fifth singles win after thumping Robert Bougas 5&4. Jason Smith put Gauteng North 6-3 ahead when he beat Daniel Mantel 4&3 and Philip Kruse took his undefeated record to five when he defeated Ian Snyman at the final hole.
By the time skipper Dylan Raubenheimer secured Province’s fourth point with a 3&2 victory over Triston Strydom, the writing was already on the wall because the victory was sealed by the half point that James du Preez earned against Meyer Pauw.
“This is an incredible moment for the whole squad,” said Kruse as the elated captain shared a raucous round of high fives with his team around the 18th green.
“We came here to prove ourselves and to have pulled it off, means the world to every member of the squad. I think we made a proper job of winning. Every guy on the team did his bit and the team spirit was fantastic.”
Central Gauteng took a 3-1 lead in the foursomes, but had their job cut out to hold KwaZulu-Natal off in the singles.
The coastal side took the first three singles until Matthew Kiewitz and Dean Martin turned the tide for Central. A 1-up victory from David Meyers and a half point from Calvin Caldeira ensured the 6.5 - 5.5 victory that helped Central Gauteng to a second place finish on the final log.
The Eastern Province claimed a 3.5 point lead over Ekurhuleni in the foursomes. The team raked in four more victories in the singles, and a half point from Wihan Kleyn took their score to 8-4, a result that lifted the side to third on the overall log.
Meanwhile Limpopo snatched the coveted A-Section promotion after an epic battle with Mpumalanga.
Ray Earle’s charges began the final day with nine points and held a slender one point cushion over their opponents, but Mpumalanga turned up the heat to take a 3-1 lead in the foursomes.
The Limpopo lads hit back hard and won five singles to level the score. When Mpumalanga claimed a half point, it was down to Jaco Linde in the final game to win and score a vital half point.
“We need that halve to finish 6-all and Jaco did more than deliver under huge pressure when he holed a hallelujah putt from 15 feet,” ,” said a delighted Earle.
“That gave us the point to beat Mpumalanga and get the promotion. We might have been down, but we proved that the will to win is often enough. If you want me to tell you who the most valuable player in the team was this week, I’ll tell you it was Stefan de Beer, Phosa Kwetepane, Luan Steenkamp, Corne Olivier, Jaco Linde, Franco van Zyl, Hennie du Plessis and MC Burger.”
In the other two matches, Southern Cape went out on a high note with a 10 - 2 victory over Free State & Northern Cape to move to fourth on the final log, while North West secured a 7.5 - 4.5 win against Boland to finish third overall.