SA quartet fired up for AAGTC defence

TeamSAGNGUNAIROBI, Kenya (12 October 2015) – Gauteng North’s Jason Smith, Jade Buitendag and new cap Andre Nel from Southern Cape and North West’s Aubrey Beckley are eager to launch South Africa’s title defence in the African Amateur Golf Teams Championship in Kenya on Monday.

South African Golf Association president Gerhard Conradie, TuksGolf Club & Academies head coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen and the team arrived in Nairobi for the prestigious biennial team championship on Saturday.

The quartet enjoyed their first look at the Limuru Country Club in Sunday’s practice round and Van Leeuwen said the layout has left the players fired up and keen to start.

“We all agree that this course is going to be a fantastic test for the eighth AAGTC,” he said.

“The course is 2,500 metres above sea level and the ball travels really far. However, the course is tree-lined and meanders through very old, massive trees and every hole presents a challenge.

“The fairways are quite firm and if your driver is on, you’ll be able to take advantage of the receptive greens.

“But there is out of bounds danger on almost every hole, which could see you adapt a more conservative approach very quickly if your game is even slightly off.

“I really liked the players’ attitude towards each challenge and each other and I believe this team can pull off a successful week.”

South Africa is hunting a seventh title, having won the inaugural event in 2001 and claiming subsequent success in Botswana (2003), Uganda (2005), Namibia (2007), Egypt (2011) and Swaziland (2013).

“Our task is made more difficult with a really large field this year,” Conradie said.

“We will have our job cut out to hold off the challenges of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Swaziland, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Egypt, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia and reigning Africa Zone VI champions Uganda.

“This is undoubtedly the most esteemed teams’ event in Africa and we are very proud of our record in this championship. The competition gets tougher each year, but I believe we have four very able young men to bring home the trophy.”

The championship will be contested over four rounds of stroke play and the best three scores per round will count toward the team total.

The country with the lowest gross score at the end of the championship will be crowned champions.

PHOTO – The South African team at the eighth African Amateur Golf Teams Championship in Kenya; credit SAGA.