Wind serves up surprises at SA IPT

2016SAIPT_RuanEstiaanConradie_GNGUPORT ALFRED, 19 September 2016 – The Fish River Sun Country Club lived up to its billing as one of the Eastern Cape’s toughest tests as the first round of the 56th South African Inter-Provincial Championship, sponsored by Tempest, turned into a tale of wind and woe.

Gauteng North, Southern Cape and Ekurhuleni made most of the gentle conditions to hoard some points in the foursomes before the east-north-easterly wind bared its teeth in the afternoon.

Having painted defending champions Central Gauteng into a corner with a 2 point lead, Gauteng North rode their momentum to a 7.5 – 4.5 victory.

Southern Cape led Boland 2.5 – 1.5 after the foursomes and showed off their skills in the 45 km an hour squall to whip the former champions 9 – 3, while Ekurhuleni took a 3 – 1 lead into the singles and staved off a strong assault to defeated Western 6.5 – 5.5.

Coming off his fourth victory this season in the MCB Indian Ocean Amateur Golf Open, Albert Venter didn’t waste must time to take first blood for Gauteng North.

He defeated Central’s number one Ryan Dreyer 5 & 4, but Shaun Stapleton hit back for the 2015 champions and downed Dylan Kok by the same margin.

“Our skipper Andrew van der Knaap kept us on the attack when he beat David McIntyre 4 & 2 and the two Conradie brothers (Ruan and Estiaan) both won 4 & 3 to seal the win for us,” said Gauteng North manager Johan Struwig.

“David Muller and Jason Rossiter put two more points on the board for Central Gauteng, and Philip (Kruse) was lost his ball at the 18th and drew against Kyle Barker. We led four games early on in the singles and won those, but three of the other four were really tight.

“We needed a fast start in the foursomes to put Central Gauteng on the back foot, and once the boys achieved that, it set the tone for rest of the day. Estiaan and Ruan are a lethal combination and we expected them to come out strong, but Andrew also had the perfect captain’s innings and Albert made a fantastic recovery in the singles after really struggling in his foursomes.

“Dylan got a hiding in the singles, but he is such a tenacious young player and he will no doubt make up the lost later this week. The wind was really fierce, but I was impressed with how well the boys coped, especially on the back nine. It’s bodes well for the rest of the week.”

Rookie Brandon Cloete defeated SA IPT veteran Karl Osche 4 & 3 to give Southern Cape the early edge in the singles and Ivan Williams, Andre Nel, Nicholas Mitchell and first-timers Hans-Jurie Human and Caylum Boon piled on the points put Southern Cape in the pounds seat on day one.

“I must commend the rookies on how well they coped with the pressure and the tough conditions,” said manager Billy Valentyn. “Once again, Ivan our stalwart came through and made those crucial birdies down the home stretch to win his game and Nicholas really impressed with his maturity and experience against top ranked Herman Loubser.

“I am understandably pleased that we got our campaign off to a winning start. It’s never fun to start your week on the back foot and getting their first win under the belt always lifts the pressure a little.”

Central Gauteng 4.5 vs Gauteng North 7.5
Ekurhuleni 6.5 vs Western Province 5.5
Southern Cape 9 vs Boland 3

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Southern Cape (1, 1, 0, 0, 2, 9)
2 Gauteng North (1, 1, 0, 0, 2, 7.5)
3 Ekurhuleni (1, 1, 0, 0, 2, 6.5)
4 Western Province (1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 5.5)
5 Central Gauteng (1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 4.5)
6 Boland (1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 3)

Eastern Province 8 vs Mpumalanga 4
Mpumalanga 2.5 vs North West 9.5
Eastern Province 5 vs North West 7
KwaZulu-Natal 9 vs Free State 3
Limpopo 0.5 vs KwaZulu-Natal 11.5
Limpopo 3.5 vs Free State 8.5

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 KwaZulu-Natal (2, 2, 0, 0, 4, 20.5)
2 North West (2, 2, 0, 0, 4, 16.5)
3 Eastern Province (2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 13)
4 Free State (2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 11.5)
5 Mpumalanga (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 6.5)
6 Limpopo (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 4)

PHOTO – Gauteng North brothers Ruan and Estiaan Conradie; credit Shannon Bright