Western Province defeated Ekurhuleni to complete an unbeaten week and a welcome return to the winner’s circle in the South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial Championship at Rustenburg Golf Club on Friday.
Ekurhuleni blasted to a 3-1 lead in the final round foursomes, but the 2013 champions overturned the two point deficit with a gung-ho performance in the singles to clinch a 6.5-5.5 victory.
Western Province skipper Cameron Johnston obliterated Jan Delport 8 & 7 and Weyers Janse van Rensburg downed Lawrence Joubert 6 & 4 to level the match.
Rowan du Preez briefly put Ekurhuleni back in front when he knocked out rookie Brent Kirstein 5 & 4, but Elton James took the match to 4-all when he handed Jaco Rall a 5 & 4 drubbing. Gerlou Roux eliminated Dino De Abreu 4 & 2 to boost Province’s tally to five, and Stefan Blommaert dispatched Donovan Pearce 3 & 2 to put Western Province 6-4 in the lead.
Waylon Kukard took out Riaan Lewis 2 & 1 to cut Province’s lead to one, but rookie Werner Theart held his nerve down the closing stretch to claim the half point that sealed victory for Province.
‘Werner is a SA IPT veteran and his experience under pressure got the job done,’ said Johnston. ‘He was 2-up with three to play when Ernest Botha kicked it into high gear. He birdied 16 and nearly holed out at 18, but Werner was as calm as the Dalai Lama and bagged the vital half point.
‘This is an incredible moment for the whole squad. It came down to how we would perform as a team against Ekurhuleni and I am so proud of how the players pulled together to get us the win. Elton and Gerlou came into the team firing after the premier SA Inter-Provincial and they were definitely our big guns, but every other guy on the team batted for this victory.
‘Our losses this week were marginal, but we never took anything for granted. That’s why every man in the squad can share in this triumph. The whole team and our manager Ludwig Schreuder contributed to pull it through.’
Central Gauteng’s valiant 8.5-3.5 victory over KwaZulu-Natal was too little, too late. Western Province topped the standings with 12 points and the 2012 champions had to settle for the runner-up spot in the log on 10 points.
North West and Gauteng North drew 6-all in their final match, which left the host union in third spot with seven points and the Daisies fourth on five points.
The defending champions finished fifth with four points, while Ekurhuleni handed Eastern Province the wooden spoon with a games point advantage. The teams both earned two points, but Ekurhuleni amassed 35 games points to Eastern Province’s tally of 23.5.
Province’s James and Central Gauteng pair Dylan Keylock and Steve Williams topped the Most Valued Player’s list on 10 points. James collected 5.5 points in the foursomes and 4.5 in the singles, Keylock went 4 and 6 and Williams won five foursomes and five singles.
Roux from Western Province, the reigning SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion, finished in fourth on 9.5 points, while team-mate Blommaert, Lyall McNeill from KwaZulu-Natal and North West’s Douglas McCabe tied for fifth on nine points.
A-SECTION RESULT ROUND 5
Western Province 6.5 vs Ekurhuleni 5.5
Central Gauteng 8.5 vs KwaZulu-Natal 3.5
North West 6 vs Gauteng North 6
A-SECTION FINAL LOG
1 Western Province (6, 6, 0, 0, 12, 48.5)
2 Central Gauteng (6, 5, 0, 1, 10, 43)
3 North West (6, 3, 1, 2, 7, 36)
4 Gauteng North (6, 2, 1, 3, 5, 34)
5 KwaZulu-Natal (6, 2, 0, 4, 4, 32)
6 Ekurhuleni (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 35)
7 Eastern Province (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 23.5)
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