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SAGDB Players look forward to Tri-Invitational

23 Feb 2011

A 10-man squad from the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) will square off against South Africa’s top junior golfers and a strong Scottish delegation in a Tri-Invitational Tournament on Thursday, 24 February 2011. 

The SAGDB team will get their first look at their opposition in the second staging of the international competition during the practice round at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg today. 

KwaZulu-Natal’s Calvin Coelho will again captain the SAGDB team. The 23-year-old is confident that his team will produce something special in their showdown this year. 

“Opportunities like these don’t come around every day and for most of us, this event is a chance of a lifetime,” said the Royal Durban player. “I am relishing the chance to captain the side to a better performance this time around. 

“I think the moment was too big last year and we got thumped by the Juniors and the Scots. This year we come with experience and a determination to make this one count.” 

The squad further includes Cedric Rooi from Boland, Free State & Northern Cape players Mojalefa Xaba and Tumo Motuang, Phiwakahle Mkhoma and Sphelele Ndlovu from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Province quartet of Lwazi Gqira, Fezekile Kana, Mpho Mafishe and Andile Adam. 

“This tournament provides our players with a chance to showcase the work the SAGDB does in golf development,” said SAGDB National Technical Adviser, Grant Hepburn. 

“It is an opportunity for each guy on our team to test himself against the cream of South Africa’s junior golf and Scotland’s elite players, including three members of the provisional 2011 Walker Cup squad.” 

Scottish Amateur champion Michael Stewart will captain the Scots, in the country at the invitation of South African business man Johann Rupert and the chairman of the SAGDB. Other notables in the Scottish side include David Law, the runner-up at the SA Amateur Stroke Play, Kris Nicol, who came second in the Lytham Trophy, Tennant Cup winner Ross Kellett and James White, the reigning Sutherland Chalice champion. 

Drikus Bruyns, a junior Springbok who represented South Africa at the World Junior Golf Championships in Japan last year, will lead the Juniors. Bruyns will draw on his experience captaining the Boland U-18 team for the last two year. 

In the inaugural Tri-Invitational held at Houghton Golf Club last year, Rooi emerged as one of the SAGDB’s strongest players. 

He partnered Jacquin Hess to a 2&1 victory over Scottish Amateur Champion Glenn Campbell and Steven McEwan in the foursomes. He also beat the 2008 Scottish Boys Stroke Play champion Mark Bookless, Scottish Mens Elite Squad member Paul Shields, SA Juniors captain Matthew Versfeld and SA number two Danie van Tonder to win all his single matches. 

The 21-year-old from Riverside Country Club, who represented South Africa at the 13th Golf World University Championships in Málaga, Spain last year, is confident that the team will do well and he looks forward to dishing out some more punishment. 

“We have all come through the SAGDB programme and we all know each other very well,” explained Rooi. “We are better prepared this year to face tough competition and committed to give this tournament our best effort. 

“We expect to come up against tough opposition, but if we can do well, it will inspire so many of our fellow learners in the programme. It’s up to us to make this opportunity count.” 

The teams will play Foursomes in the morning, followed by Singles in the afternoon. Each match carries one point for a win and half a point, if halved. The team scoring the most points wins. 

“There are limited opportunities for South African amateurs to gain international experience, unless they are ranked in the top 10 to 20 in the country,” said SAGDB managing executive Ken Viljoen. 

“Thanks to the continued efforts of our chairman, our players have a chance to gain invaluable experience and exposure. We are also very thankful to our sponsors City Lodge and South African Airways for facilitating the flights and accommodation and ease the way for our players to compete on this wonderful platform.”

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