WORCESTER, 17 December 2015 – Southern Cape has an unassailable lead in the South African U-19 Inter-Provincial, but the promotion battle in the B-Section is heading for an epic battle after Mpumalanga narrowed the gap on log leaders Free State in Thursday’s fourth round at Worcester Golf Club.
Western Province moved to the top of the log with seven points on Wednesday, but Southern Cape rushed past the defending champions and stitched up the battle for glory with another commanding exhibition on Thursday.
The eight-man squad got off to a flying start in the Foursomes to lead Gauteng North 3 – 1 and Boland 3.5 – 0.5. They stretched their advantage in both matches to down Gauteng North 8 – 4 and defeat Boland 8.5 – 3.5 and took pole position on 10 points.
Alex van Wyk, Alan Lones, Julien Sale and Cameron Moralee scored the victories for Southern Cape against Gauteng North, while Caylum boon and Martin Vorster added two half points to their tally.
Jovan Rebula and Moralee squared their matches against Boland and Voster, Van Wyk, Lones and Boon delivered the winning blows to give Southern Cape a two for two result.
“The Foursomes definitely laid a great foundation for us,” said manager Roger Wessels.
“These lads came here to win and they attacked when the opportunities presented itself. This was a tremendous team effort and their team spirit is amazing. They are determined to finish the week undefeated and they will fight till the last putt drops against Central Gauteng on Friday.”
Meanwhile KwaZulu-Natal started the Singles on the back foot, but showed their mettle when they rallied from 3 – 1 down to defeat Central Gauteng 6.5 – 5.5.
“It was a magnificent effort from all the players, especially after the Foursomes, and they are committed to giving the final round another great effort to try and finish in the top four” said manager Joseph Kunene.
Liam McIlroy, Chris Woollam, Jason Broomhead, Aneurin Gounden and Matt Saulez reeled in the points in the Singles. Luke Mayo, who aced the par-three seventh during the Foursomes, squared his game against Fritz Orren for the crucial half point.
But the men in black may have to do it all over again when they face a very determined Gauteng North team, who defeated Boland 6.5 – 5.5.
Gauteng North had to make a massive last ditch effort in the final round last year to avoid delegation, but two victories and two draws sees them ranked third with six points.
After losing the Foursomes 3 – 1, Kifentse Nukeri, Clifford Thompson, Estiaan Conradie and Keegan de Lange rallied to put Gauteng North on attack.
Etienne J van Rensburg knocked in a crucial birdie putt at 16 to square his game against Willem Boshoff and the pair halved the next two holes in pars and birdies to draw the match.
If Southern Cape can down Central Gauteng in the final round, a victory against KwaZulu-Natal would lift Gauteng North to second and they will throw everything into the final match.
“The guys were disappointed with the loss to Southern Cape, but they gained a lot of confidence from beating Ekurhuleni and Boland,” said manager Rohan de Beer. “They definitely want to finish this year’s tournament on a high and they will be hunting KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.
Free State won five matches on the trot to surge to the top of the standings on 10 points, but Mpumalanga reduces the gap to two points after handing Northern Cape a 9 – 3 drubbing and edging out North West 6.5 – 5.5.
“Free State have 48.5 games points after the two huge victories and we only have 37.5, so technically it’s going to be very tough to beat them, but stranger things have happened,” said Mpumalanga manager Jan Jacobs.
“Last year we were only playing to avoid the wooden spoon. This year we came to Worcester on a mission and look, we got very, very close. The team spirit has been incredible and they players are pumped after the victories today, especially holding off North West.
“Our players have given their heart and soul this week and they are going to do it one more time against Limpopo on Friday.”
Mpumalanga led Northern Cape 4 – 0 in the Foursomes, but started the Singles with a 2.5 – 1.5 lead over Northern West.
Brandon Esterhuizen, Banele Mavuso and Schalk Grobler boosted their tally, while Ian Jacobs and Brandon Geere added the valuable half points to secure the win against North West.
Number eight Esterhuizen won 7 & 6 to set the tone in the Singles against Northern Cape and Mavuso, Jacobs, Grobler and Geere boosted their score to nine points.
Meanwhile North West defeated Northern Cape, but this was a much tighter contest.
Northern Cape was 3 – 1 down in the Foursomes, but Arno Esterhuysen, NJ van der Walt, Martin van Jaarsveld and Joshua Edwards reduce the deficit.
It was too little, too late though, as Patrick Ntoagae, Andre van Dyk, Tiaan Maree and Slade Pickering ensured a 7 – 5 victory for North West.
In the final match, Eastern Province made a solid start to lead Border 3.5 – 1.5 and whipped their neighbours 8.5 – 3.5 with Tiaan van der Bank, Andrew Jeffrey, Kyle de Beer, Dehan Joubert and Jacques Smit serving up the aces.
North West will play Border in the final round, while Northern Cape have volunteered to serve their bye as spotters.
“The Karoo bush around this course is absolutely penal and that really slows down the pace of play, so our players volunteered to help out,” said manager Rais Rabie.
A-SECTION ROUND 4 RESULTS
Gauteng North 4 vs Southern Cape 8
Southern Cape 8.5 vs Boland 3.5
Gauteng North 6.5 vs Boland 5.5
Central Gauteng 5.5 vs KwaZulu-Natal 6.5
1 Southern Cape (5, 5, 0, 0, 10, 41.5)
2 Western Province (5, 3, 1, 1, 7, 32.0)
3 Gauteng North (5, 2, 2, 1, 6, 30.0)
4 Central Gauteng (5, 2, 1, 2, 5, 33.5)
5 KwaZulu-Natal (5, 2, 0, 3, 4, 27.5)
6 Ekurhuleni (5, 1, 1, 3, 3, 25.0)
7 Boland (6, 0, 1, 5, 1, 26.5)
B-SECTION ROUND 4 RESULTS
North West 5.5 vs Mpumalanga 6.5
Mpumalanga 9 vs Northern Cape 3
North West 7.0 vs Northern Cape 5.0
Eastern Province 8.5 vs Border 3.5
1 Free State (5, 5, 0, 0, 10, 48.5)
2 Mpumalanga (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 37.5)
3 Eastern Province (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 32.5)
4 North West (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 31.0)
5 Northern Cape (6, 1, 1, 4, 3, 25.5)
6 Border (5, 1, 0, 4, 2, 17.0)
7 Limpopo (5, 0, 1, 4, 1, 24.0)
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.