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.”
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 /GautengNorth)
Gert Myburgh (23, Benoni CC / Ekurhuleni – NEW CAP)
Shaun Smith (20, Fancourt / Southern Cape)
Drikus Bruyns (19, HexValley GC / Boland)
Musi Nethunzwi (21, SowetoCC /Central Gauteng– NEW CAP)