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SAGDB team confident ahead of Triangular

20 Feb 2012

Boland amateur Cedric Rooi will captain the SAGDB side in the 2012 Triangular against a Scottish side and a Junior Protea team at Randpark on 21 February 2012

There is a great air of expectation among the seven players who will line up for the SAGDB at the third annual one-day Triangular at Randpark Golf Club on Tuesday, 21 February 2012.

Boland amateur Cedric Rooi, who will captain the side, said the team is very confident about their chances against seven players from the Scottish Golf Union’s National Squad and a Protea side, comprising the leading junior golfers in the country.

“In the first Triangular the Juniors really thumped us and last year it was the Scots who dominated,” the skipper said. “But this year we are not only better prepared, we are fielding our strongest team yet and we are bringing a lot more experience to the party.”

The three teams will play foursomes in the morning, followed by singles in the afternoon in a three-way format. Each match carries a point for a win and half a point for a halve. The team with the most points will be crowned the champion.

Rooi, who has been one of the SAGDB’s strongest players since the inaugural tournament in 2010, will be supported by fellow Boland amateur Jacquin Hess, also lining up for a third year running, while Lwazi Gqira from East London, Fezekile Kana from Port Elizabeth and KwaZulu-Natal’s Phiwakahle Mkhoma make their second appearances.

The rookies include Aslam Mallick from Western Province and Central Gauteng amateurs Musi Nethunzwi and Sipho Bujela, but Rooi believes they have enough experience for the task at hand.

“Musi just had a brilliant SA Stroke Play and Sipho has really come through the ranks in the last year. Although Aslam is just 17, he is one of the top amateurs in the Western Province and he has won a bunch of tournaments at junior level,” the 23-year-old said.

“For the last two years, we didn’t believe we were ready to compete at this level, but we relished the opportunity to gain experience against a top international side and the leading junior golfers in the country. This year, it’s a different story. We have all played this format at Inter-Provincials, whether at U-16, U-18 or U-23 level and that gives us an edge we didn’t have before.

“It is always a daunting prospect when you have to face the top junior in the country and the leading Scottish Golf Union players, but we are far better prepared. We are certainly more confident in our ability to stand our ground and test ourselves against top amateurs. This year we are not just competing, we are going to play to win.”

The SAGDB team will get their first look at their opposition during the practice round at Randpark Golf Club on Monday.

The SAGA Junior side comprise Dylan Raubenheimer and Ian Snyman, both from Western Province, Ekurhuleni’s and Jason Froneman, James du Preez and Tristen Strydom from Gauteng North and Mpumalanga’s Zander Gous and Thriston Lawrence.

Scott Crichton, Connor O’Neil, Brian Soutar, Fraser McKenna and Daniel Kay will represent the Scottish challenge, as well as Paul Shields and James White, who have both been included in the preliminary 12-player Great Britain and Ireland squad to play this year’s St Andrews Trophy Match.

SAGDB team manager Andre Rossouw said although their opponents cannot be underestimated, he agreed with Rooi that this year’s team is by far the strongest the SAGDB has fielded.

 “I am confident that we can hold our own this year,” Rossouw said. “We have learned so much from the past two tournaments and I think the boys understand that this tournament is no different from the match play tournaments and Inter-Provincials they compete in year-long.

“They need to focus on our own game plan and not worry about their opponents. Each player will just play his own game, hole-by-hole and shot-for-shot.”

SAGDB chief executive Ken Viljoen said although he wishes the team a positive tournament, the opportunity to gain experience would always outweigh the result.

“The annual Triangular presents an incredible learning curve for the squad,” he said. “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.

“Through our chairman, Johann Rupert, the Scottish Golf Union and Aberdeen Asset Management, the Scottish team has been coming here for three years and the South African amateurs have greatly benefitted from the experience of playing against them.

“This tournament provides a wonderful platform for our members to showcase their talent and gain invaluable experience. We hope that this will inspire other countries to follow suit to visit South Africa on a more frequent basis. We relish the chance to show people in this country and abroad that our members are willing and eager to compete against the best.”

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