JOHANNESBURG (17 May 2013) – The SAGA Juniors lifted this year’s SA Challenge Inter-Provincial with a spectacular performance as defending champions Central Gauteng wilted under pressure from Gauteng North at Maccauvlei Golf Club.
The eight-man junior side trailed the defending champions by two points going into Friday’s final round, but South Africa’s top emerging talent rallied with a sensational 9-3 victory against the Presidents Team to stump a flabbergasted Central Gauteng side for the glory.
However, the SAGA Juniors had some help though from a very determined Gauteng North team.
Needing just a draw to win the title for a second successive year, the defending champions came completely unstuck under a gritty attack from their neighbours, who stunned them into a 9.5 – 2.5 defeat.
Although Central Gauteng and the juniors tied on seven points, the delighted SAGA Juniors celebrated victory after beating their log rivals by five game points.
Manager Eden Thompson said the players were absolutely elated to win one of the country’s most prestigious national team competitions.
“The guys are absolutely elated with this victory,” said Thompson. “We had a team meeting last night and although we hoped Gauteng North would do us a favour and keep Central Gauteng on their toes, we were not counting on their results.
“Every player on the team committed to stand up and put the points on the board and, as they have done all week, they really played for each other and pulled off a fantastic final round result.
“I have been impressed with the talent, determination and commitment from the players in this team, but overall, the talent on show at Maccauvlei this week really underlines the healthy state of amateur golf in South Africa. This event has grown in stature over the past couple of years. Talking to players that have competed in this event a few times, it is clear that this year’s event had the highest competitive standard in its history and I am sure it will only evolve in the future.”
Gauteng North’s stupendous final round siege pushed their total to six points to seal the third spot on the final log.
Meanwhile the SA University side avoided the wooded spoon with an equally impressive 10-2 victory against the Western Province.
The landslide win propelled the USSA team past both the Presidents Team and their final round opponents into fourth spot in the log. Province, who also earned four points in the competition, had to settle for fifth spot on a games point count-out while the Presidents Team settled at the bottom of the log on two points.
Gauteng North’s Hendrikus Stoop claimed the Most Valuable Player honour after winning three foursomes, four singles and halving one singles match.
His team mate Russell Franz took second, while Jason Viljoen from Central Gauteng finished in third. Drew Denyer from the Western Province finished fourth and Ekurhuleni’s Jason Froneman, who represented South Africa at the recent All-Africa Junior Challenge, rounded out the top five.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS
Presidents Team 3 vs SAGA Juniors 9
Western Province 2 vs USSA 10
Gauteng North 9.5 vs Central Gauteng 2.5
(Position – Union – Played – Win – Draw – Loss – Points – Games)
1 SAGA Juniors (5- 3- 1- 1- 7-35.5)
2 Central Gauteng (5- 3- 1- 1- 7-30.5)
3 Gauteng North (5- 3- 0- 2- 6-37)
4 USSA (5- 2- 0- 3- 4-28)
5 Western Province (5- 2- 0- 3- 4-24)
6 Presidents Team (5- 1- 0- 4- 2-25)