KAMPALA, Uganda (17 April 2015) – South Africa’s eight man team enjoyed a solid start to their title defence in the Africa Zone VI Golf Championship in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday.
Following a delayed start due to heavy rain, Tristen Strydom, Teaghan Gauche, Jade Buitendag, Jason Smith, Hendrikus Stoop and Jovan Rebula stormed out of the blocks at Kampala Golf Club to reel in six victories for South Africa.
Rookie Aubrey Beckley lost to Zimbabwe number one Stuart Krog, who came into the event on the back of a 67th place finish in the Sunshine Tour’s Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, but Matthew Spacey halved against Uganda’s captain Adolf Muhumuza.
The South Africans top the standings with 6.5 points alongside the host nation, while Zimbabwe finished third on 5.5 points.
Ronald Bukenya, Robert Oluba, Martin Ochaya, Happy Robert and Ronald Otile claimed five points for Uganda, while Gideon Kagyenzi also squared his match.
Strydom set the tone for South Africa with an 8 & 6 victory against Namibia.
“Tristen, Hendrikus, Jason and Teaghan were all in sublime form,” said national coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen.
“Matthew was one under par through 12 holes, but 2-down to Muhumuza. He rallied with a birdie at the 13th and pars at 14, 15, 16 and 17 to lead 1-up going down the last. Matthew hit his approach to six feet, but missed the birdie putt.
“Adolf drew thunderous applause from the large crowd following when he boxed a 20-footer for birdie to square the match. He showed amazing guts and determination and the match was a wonderful exhibition for the Uganda Golf Union and the Africa Zone VI.
“There is a definite improvement in the ball striking of our neighbouring countries and it is really great to see how the R&A investment into developing African country’s elite golfers through bursaries at academic institutions in South Africa is clearly working.”
Van Leeuwen said the team is playing well overall, although some players are struggling a little with the grainy greens at Kampala Golf Club.
“We usually have the advantage with the putter, but the greens are providing a bit of a challenge,” he said. “We are spending a lot of time on the practice putting green and I am sure they will come to grips with the speed and the grain soon.”
The second will see the players compete in foursomes and fourballs.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.