KwaZulu-Natal and Southern Cape are in hot pursuit of Central Gauteng, who kept their bid for a record 29th title alive on day two of the South African Inter-Provincial Tournament, sponsored by Tempest Car Hire.
Having drawn their first round match against Gauteng North, KwaZulu-Natal faced Ekurhuleni in Tuesday’s second round at Oubaai Golf Club.
After the foursomes ended in a 2-all draw, KwaZulu-Natal skipper Gavin Sole from Southbroom called on his troops to step it up as the weather turned nasty at the Ernie Els Signature Course.
Braving the sweeping rain and icy temperatures, his charges responded with a fantastic comeback in the singles to win 7 – 5.
The victory moved KwaZulu-Natal to third in the log on three points.
The men in black are just one point shy of Central Gauteng, who top the standings after mowing down Gauteng North 8.5 – 3.5, while Southern Cape sits in second spot after beating Free State 7.5 – 4,5.
Luke Mayo put KwaZulu-Natal on the attack with a 7 & 6 result. Sole won 6 & 4 and 2018 SA Mid-Amateur champion Derek Scullard made it 5 points with a 4 & 3 win.
Jordan Burnand, Ryan van Velzen and Casey Jarvis rallied for Ekurhuleni, but Greg McKay took down Yurav Premlall 3 & 1 and GolfRSA National Squad member Malcolm Mitchell pushed the boat home for KwaZulu-Natal when he downed number one Aneurin Gounden 2-up.
“We had a rude wake-up call in the first round,” said Eisenhower Trophy player Mitchell.
“We were 4-up on Gauteng North after the foursomes and we nearly lost the game. Gavin didn’t have to say much to get us fired up. We knew we had to take the fight to Ekurhuleni. We still have some tough matches coming up, but we’ve put ourselves back in the title fight.”
Taking a 2.5 – 1.5 lead into the singles, reigning Junior Open champion Martin Vorster claimed first blood for Southern Cape with a resounding 7 & 6 result.
Hans-Jurie Human won 6 & 5, Caylum Boon won 6 & 4 and new cap Carlo Heunis punched well above his weight again to win 5 & 4.
GolfRSA National Squad player Therion Nel, Franco Froneman and veteran Josef Fourie hit back for Free State, but it was too little, too late. Christo Lamprecht drove the nail into Free State’s coffin when he took out South Africa’s number one ranked Wilco Nienaber 5 & 4.
Southern Cape is two-for-two in this year’s tournament, but the host union will need to up their games count. Central Gauteng have 18 games points in hand, with Southern Cape still 3.5 behind.
Meanwhile Gauteng North came out guns blazing in the foursomes against Central Gauteng.
The Daisies led 2.5 – 1.5, but their lead took a major hammering as Central’s new caps went into full assault mode in the singles. Sam McKenzie led the attack for the rookies with a 5 & 4 win and he was backed up by Cole Stevens, Keelan van Wyk, Reece Haikney, Karabo Mokoena, Sam McKenzie and Ruan Botha, who racked up a further 5 points.
Captain Ryan Dreyer put the final point on their card with a 4 & 2 result, but Christopher van der Merwe denied the Lions a clean sweep when he beat Darin de Smidt 3 & 2.
The defending champions will be hoping for more of the same when they face Ekurhuleni in round three on Wednesday. Southern Cape tackle KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng North play Free State.
A-SECTION RESULTS – ROUND 2
KwaZulu-Natal 7 vs Ekurhuleni 5
Southern Cape 7.5 vs Free State 4.5
Central Gauteng 8.5 vs Gauteng North 3.5
KwaZulu-Natal 7 vs Ekurhuleni 5
Van Velzen / Burnand beat Coetzee / Broomhead 4 & 3;
Purchase / Moss beat Scullard / Sole 1Up;
Jarvis / Gildenhuys lost to Mckay / Mayo 1Down;
Gounden / Premlall lost to Mitchell / Mansfield 3 & 1;
Jordan Burnand beat Jason Broomhead 2 & 1;
Ryan van Velzen beat Byron Coetzee 3 & 2;
Warwick Purchase lost to Gavin Sole 6 & 4;
Saul Moss lost to Derek Scullard 4 & 3;
Brandon Gildenhuys lost to Luke Mayo 7 & 6;
Yurav Premlall lost to Gregory Mckay 3 & 1;
Casey Jarvis beat Clayton Mansfield 3 & 1;
Aneurin Gounden lost to Malcolm Mitchell 2Down;
1 Central Gauteng (2, 2, 0, 0, 4, 18)
2 Southern Cape (2, 2, 0, 0, 4, 14.5)
3 KwaZulu Natal (2, 1, 1, 0, 3, 13)
4 Gauteng North (2, 0, 1, 1, 1, 9.5)
5 Ekurhuleni (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 10)
6 Free State (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 7)
Photo: Malcolm Mitchell from KwaZulu-Natal in action during the second round of the South African Inter-Provincial Tournament, sponsored by Tempest Car Hire, at Oubaai Golf Club. (Pieter Els)