Skipper Marco Loubser, Stephen Morrison, Ryan Lane, Reinhardt Blaauw had to dig into their deepest reserves to secure a 10th USSA (University Sport South Africa) Championship title for the University of Pretoria in a nail-biting final against Varsity College at Port Shepstone Country Club on Friday.
VC 1 took early control with a win and a draw in the Foursomes, but the men from Tuks rallied to pull off a 3.5 – 2.5 result for their third successive win.
Colin Campher and Clayton Mansfield scored first blood for VC 1 when they defeated Blaauw and Loubser in the Foursomes and the side carried a one point advantage into the Singles after Shane Martin and Michael Ryan halved against Morrison and Lane.
“The Singles were incredibly tight and nerve-wracking,” said Tuks 1 team manager Emile Steinmann.
“All four games went down to the last couple of holes and it was touch and go many times for both teams throughout the final round.
“Our players showed incredible strength of character to keep fighting. They never backed down and it was that team spirit and resolve that pulled it through for us.”
Morrison levelled the score when he defeated Martin 2&1, and Lane beat Campher 2-up to put Tuks 1 in front, but the match was back to all square when Ryan downed Blaauw 2&1.
“It was down to our captain to pull a rabbit out of the hat in the final game,” Steyn said.
“Marco stood up and delivered. He holed a 30-footer at the 17th hole to win the game against Clayton and the match for us. It was such an incredible tussle.
“I am immensely proud of this team, who kept our record alive in this championship. We must congratulate Varsity College on making their first final and for giving us an enormous fight for the title.”
Varsity College manager Jolene Mortimer was equally proud of her charges.
“We have come a very long way in this championship,” Mortimer said.
“We have improved year on year and this year, we are leaving as the silver medallists. After a long and hard day where the teams were neck-in-neck, we narrowly lost to the defending champions.
“I am incredibly proud of what this team has achieved and our second team also played outstanding golf to beat the University of Cape Town 4 – 2, giving us double cause for celebration tonight.”
RESULTS (RS = result)
University of Pretoria BEAT Varsity College 1 RS 3.5 – 2.5
North West University Pukke 1 BEAT Central University of Technology Free State RS 6 – 0
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 2 BEAT University of Pretoria 2 RS 4 – 2
Stellenbosch University 1 BEAT Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 1 RS 4.5 – 1.5
North West University Pukke 2 BEAT Centurion Academy 1 RS 4 – 2
University of Johannesburg 1 BEAT Cape Peninsula University of Technology 1 RS 3.5 – 1.5
Varsity College 2 BEAT University of Cape Town 1 RS 4 – 2
Rhodes University 1 BEAT Rhodes University 2 RS 4 – 3 (play-off)
Stellenbosch University 2 BEAT North West University Vaal R 6 – 0
University of Cape Town 2 BEAT University of Cape Town 2 RS 4 – 2
Cape Peninsula University of Technology BEAT University of Zululand RS 5 – 1