Four IPT ti­tles in five years for rookie team.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 11/18 -

Premier IPT and Women's IPT re­views.

It was four wins in five years for Cen­tral Gaut­eng at the men’s Premier In­ter­provin­cial as they bat­tled ex­treme el­e­ments and tough op­po­si­tion at Oubaai Golf Club to re­tain the ti­tle.

Cen­tral have en­joyed a re­mark­able run of suc­cess since their near-rel­e­ga­tion from the A sec­tion at Rusten­burg in 2013.They bounced back to tri­umph atWest­lake in Cape Town in 2014, then en­joyed “home” vic­to­ries at Glen­dower in 2015 and Bryanston in 2017. Such is the depth of ta­lent that 23 dif­fer­ent play­ers rep­re­sented Cen­tral in those four IPTs.

Win­ning away from their com­fort zone at a wet and wind-blown Oubaai on the Gar­den Route coast – gale-force winds sus­pended play for two hours on the Wed­nes­day – was a big achieve­ment, con­sid­er­ing there were six new play­ers in the eight-man team, none of whom were in the top 20 of the GolfRSA men’s rank­ings.

Team stal­warts Darin de Smidt, 23 (Krugers­dorp), who has been a mem­ber of all four of these vic­to­ri­ous Cen­tral teams, and 46-year-old Ryan Dreyer (Kil­lar­ney), a team mem­ber since 2015, were joined by lead­ing Mid-Am­a­teur Ruan Botha (Rand­park 34), Karabo Mokoena (Mod­der­fontein 20), Kee­lan van Wyk (Ruim­sig 19), Reece Haikney (Rand­park 18), and 17-year-olds Sam McKenzie (Royal J&K) and Cole Stevens (Parkview).

“Not many peo­ple thought we could do it,” said team man­ager Jaco du Plessis. “Our re­sults tes­tify to the in­cred­i­ble spirit of the team, their com­mit­ment to per­form for each other, and it is proof that the sys­tem we have in Cen­tral Gaut­eng breeds suc­cess.”

Haikney, a sur­prise se­lec­tion, shared MostValu­able Player hon­ours in the A sec­tion with Dreyer (plus Cay­lum Boon of South­ern Cape and Ar­mand van Dyk of Gaut­eng North), earn­ing 7½ points out of 10 for Cen­tral. Haikney won four sin­gles matches, while Dreyer was un­beaten in the sin­gles with three wins and two halves. Sig­nif­i­cantly, they won two im­por­tant sin­gles in a close clash with KwaZulu-Natal on the Thurs­day which ul­ti­mately meant the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning and los­ing the ti­tle.

Cen­tral edged KZN 6½ to 5½ in a tense en­counter where seven of the 12 matches went to the 18th. It gave Cen­tral their fourth suc­ces­sive win of the week and clinched the Jan­nie le Roux tro­phy with a day to spare. On the fi­nal day, though, Cen­tral were well beaten by home team South­ern Cape, and only won by one point.

South­ern Cape, cham­pi­ons in 2016 and run­ners-up in 2017, were favourites to re­gain the A sec­tion ti­tle given home course ad­van­tage.They be­gan well with two wins, but then halved 6-6 with KZN and lost 5½ to 6½ against Gaut­eng North. In both matches they were down 1-3 in the four­somes and found it im­pos­si­ble to re­cover. For their fi­nal day en­counter with Cen­tral they changed three of their four­somes pair­ings and won the morn­ing ses­sion 4-0, seal­ing sec­ond place with their 8½ to 3½ tri­umph. South­ern Cape have thus beaten Cen­tral three years in a row in their head-to-head matches.

Boon, Carlo He­u­nis and Hans-Jurie Hu­man were the top-per­form­ing South­ern Cape play­ers on the MVP list, with Christo Lam­precht and Martin Vorster de­liv­er­ing ad­di­tional good re­sults.

The A sec­tion teams were again well matched, and KZN must rue three halved matches against Gaut­eng North – hav­ing been 4-0 up in the four­somes – South­ern Cape and Free State which left them in fourth place.Their only de­feat was against Cen­tral.Their two older play­ers, Derek Scullard and Gavin Sole, would have been dis­ap­pointed with their sin­gles re­sults.

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