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Limpopo beat Mpumalanga for SA Junior IPT promotion

14 Dec 2012

The victorious Limpopo team celebrate their promotion at the 2012 SA Junior Interprovincial at Paarl Golf Club; credit Deon Smit, Immanuel Photos

Limpopo snatched the coveted A-Section promotion at this year’s South African Junior Inter-Provincial after an epic battle with Mpumalanga at Paarl Golf Club on Friday.

After four rounds, Ray Earle’s charges began the final day with a slender one point lead over Mpumalanga on the log but, regardless of a deficit after the foursomes, proved that the will to win is often enough.

“If you want me to tell you who the most valuable player in the team was this week, I’ll tell you it was Stefan de Beer, Phosa Kwetepane, Luan Steenkamp, Corne Olivier, Jaco Linde, Franco van Zyl, Hennie du Plessis and MC Burger,” said a delighted Earle.

“This team batted well from one to eight and the guys played for each other. They played as a unit and they supported each other. And that’s why we earned promotion. They are such a gritty bunch of players and they just don’t know how to quit, especially Jaco, who showed some real character standing over than last putt under all that pressure and nailed it to square the match.”

Limpopo was 3-1 down after the foursomes, but the youthful side launched an immediate counter attack in the singles to stop the bleeding, taking a 4-3 lead after De Beer thumped Jean-Pierre du Toit 4&2, Olivier beat Jacques de Villiers 4&3, and Steenkamp downed Xander Basson 4&3.

Then Mpumalanga’s Albert Venter levelled the score at 4-all when he beat Van Zyl 4&3 and Zander Gous took the side to 5-4 when he defeated Burger 4&3.

But Du Plessis evened the match again by dispatching undefeated Thriston Lawrence 3&2.

“So it was all down to the final two matches, and we had Phosa 1-up on Lonene Khoza and Jaco 1-down to Marco Das Neves with one hole to go,” explained Earle.

Kwetepane missed the fairway with his tee shot, but recovered well and hit his third on to the green. The youngster missed a 20 meter putt for birdie while Khoza hit his approach to two feet and holed his putt for birdie to halve the game.

Knowing he had to half his game to force a 6-all result, Linde was given a reprieve when Das Neves hit is tee shots in the trees, and his third in the water.

“Marco’s fifth shot landed about 60-foot from the pin and you should have heard the roar when he holed that putt for six,” said skipper Steenkamp. “But Jaco kept his cool under all the pressure and the cheers and drained a 15-foot downhill left-to-right slider for par to win the hole and halve the game.

“That ball didn’t even touch the sides.”

The 6-all result was worth one point for Limpopo, who won the B-Section log with 11 points, X clear of their nearest challenger.

“It was a magnificent show from all the players and we couldn’t be happier,” said Steenkamp. “It’s going to be fantastic to take this team to the IPT next year and go up against the big dogs in the A-Section.”


(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)

1 Limpopo (6, 4, 2, 0, 10.0, 40.5)

2 Mpumalanga (6, 4, 1, 1, 9.0, 43.5)

3 North West (6, 4, 1, 1, 9.0, 40.5)

4 Southern Cape (6, 2, 0, 4, 4.0, 39.0)

5 Boland (6, 2, 0, 4, 4.0, 32.5)

6 Border (6, 2, 0, 4, 4.0, 30.0)

7 Free State & Northern Cape (6, 1, 0, 5, 2.0, 26.0)

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