Ju­nior IPT Re­view, plus Ju­nior & Mid-Am rank­ings.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - By Barry Havenga

Cen­tral Gaut­eng is a tra­di­tional pow­er­house at the Ju­nior In­ter­provin­cial, but with an in­ex­pe­ri­enced line-up which in­cluded six rook­ies, they wouldn’t have been too con­fi­dent go­ing into the tour­na­ment at White River Coun­try Club in Mpumalanga. But the young li­ons sur­prised ev­ery­one by win­ning the ti­tle in a closely con­tested A sec­tion with a day to spare. Only one point sep­a­rated the top four teams at the end of the week.

Cen­tral had 10 top-3 fin­ishes in the Ju­nior IPT be­tween 2004 and 2015, but this was only the third time this mil­len­nium they had won the tro­phy – the other oc­ca­sions be­ing at Bel­lville in 2013, and Bloem­fontein in 2009.

They be­gan the week with two im­pres­sive vic­to­ries over de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons South­ern Cape (7-5) and KwaZulu-Natal (8-4) on the first day. After a bye on day two, Cen­tral thumped newly pro­moted Free State 8-4 and se­cured a 6-6 half against Western Prov­ince, with seven of the eight sin­gles go­ing to the 17th hole.An 8-4 win over clos­est ri­vals Ekurhu­leni in a key match on day four guar­an­teed the ti­tle. Cen­tral’s fi­nal day 7½-4½ loss to Gaut­eng North was thus in­con­se­quen­tial, although los­ing their un­beaten record did hurt.

“We don’t usu­ally sin­gle out in­di­vid­ual play­ers for praise, but team cap­tain Kee­lan van Wyk de­serves spe­cial men­tion for lead­ing the side to vic­tory in his fourth and fi­nal Ju­nior IPT,” said Cen­tral man­ager Andy Tru­luck.Van Wyk (Ruim­sig) was in the win­ning team as a 15-year-old at Bel­lville in 2013 un­der Darin de Smidt’s cap­taincy. Play­ing at the top of the order in the sin­gles, he won four and halved one of his six matches.

A Sec­tion MVP hon­ours were shared by Cen­tral’s Cole Stevens and South­ern

Cape’s Martin Vorster, who each won 10 points out of 12. Stevens was the only player with an un­beaten sin­gles record in the A sec­tion.Van Wyk, who part­nered Stevens in the four­somes, earned nine points, and the other Cen­tral team mem­bers were Eric Wowor (7), Reece Haikney (7), Kian Rose (6½), Bryce Leach (6), Emilio Pera (5) and Shaun Jones (4½).

KZN fought back after two de­feats on the first day, win­ning four matches in a row, in­clud­ing Ekurhu­leni 8-4 on the fi­nal day, to take sec­ond place in the A sec­tion on a countout of games from South­ern Cape and Gaut­eng North. Luke Mayo, at No 1 in the sin­gles, and Seb Terblanche were their best play­ers, un­beaten to­gether in four­somes.

B sec­tion win­ners Boland were un­beaten, a quick re­sponse to their ig­no­min­ious rel­e­ga­tion at home club Worces­ter in 2015. They en­joyed big vic­to­ries over North­ern Cape (11½-½), North West (8½-3½), Bor­der (10½-1½) and Lim­popo (11-1) be­fore edg­ing Eastern Prov­ince 7-5 to set up a fi­nal day clash for hon­ours with Mpumalanga.

The fi­nal day saw a for­mat change, as a thun­der­storm was fore­cast for the af­ter­noon.The day be­gan with sin­gles, which played to Boland’s strength.They took a 5-3 lead over the home team, which gave them 39 points out of 48 for sin­gles dur­ing the week. Mpumalanga fought back to win the four­somes 3-1 and halve 6-6, but that left them a point short of Boland on the log.

The Boland team com­prised Ty­ron Davi­d­owitz (10½ out of 12 points),Willem Boshoff and Daniel Cronje (9½), Her­man Loub­ser, Ri­aan Rooi and Dan­dre Spies (8½), Ai­don Willemse (8) and Ethan Smith (7½). For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year Mpumalanga’s Banele Mavuso was the B Sec­tion MVP, with 11 out of 12 points, los­ing just one sin­gles match, a cru­cial one, to Boland’s Rooi.

The win­ning Cen­tral Gaut­eng team. Back, from left, Shaun Jones, Bruce Leach, Cole Stevens and Jaco du Plessis (as­sis­tant man­ager). Mid­dle: Kian Rose, Eric Wowor and Kee­lan van Wyk (cap­tain). Front: Reece Haick­ney, Andy Tru­luck (man­ager) and Emilio Pera.

The Boland team, with man­ager Al­wyn Zaay­man (mid­dle back), were un­beaten in the B Sec­tion.

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