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Top juniors geared for SA Junior Inter-Provincial

09 Dec 2011

The 51st South African Junior Inter-Provincial tees off at Leopard Park Golf Club in Mafeking from 12-16 December 2011

Junior golfers from 13 unions nationwide are lining up for the 51st South African Junior Inter-Provincial, which tees off at Leopard Park Golf Club in the Northwest Province from 12-16 December.

Since junior golf now falls under the auspices of the South African Golf Association, this will be the last year that all 13 unions will compete at equal footing in the country’s premier junior team competition.

“From next year the SA Junior IPT will be run on the same format as the Open, Mid-Amateur and Senior Inter-Provincials,” explained SAGA’s junior golf co-ordinator Johan Scholtz.

“This means that at the conclusion of this year’s event, the teams will be split into two divisions. The leading six teams will qualify for the A-Division and the seven remaining teams will make up the B-Division. Going forward the juniors will also play for relegation and promotion as with our other Inter-Provincial tournaments.”

With so much to play for, the 13 participating unions called up their top junior golfers for duty.

“The stakes have certainly been raised and the top golfers from each union has answered the call,” said Scholtz.

“In every tournament, there are always a few teams that stand out more than others. On paper, the teams from Gauteng North, Central Gauteng, Western Province and Northwest certainly look like the favourites and it wouldn’t surprise me if these four teams make the top six.

“But, given the format of daily foursomes and singles, one can never fully predict the outcome. It comes down to combinations and strategy and the underdogs can never be discounted.

“They may look strong on paper, but the favourites will face strong challenges from the other competing unions, including Boland, Southern Cape, Border, Eastern Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Northern Cape, Ekurhuleni, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.”

Just a week before the tournament, the mercury rose dramatically but Scholtz said the course at Leopard Park Golf Club held up well in the four-day heat wave that gripped Mafeking and the surrounding areas.

“The grounds staff did a remarkable job in looking after the course,” he said. “There is very little sign that the course took any strain in the heat wave. It is certainly tournament ready.”

Players new to Mafeking will find the 5606m, par-72 layout in great condition and ready to test their skills. The course has flat and narrow kikuyu fairways, true bent greens, many grass bunkers and water comes into play at eight of the 18 holes.

“At first glance the course looks like an oasis in the desert,” Scholtz said. “However, it is a skilfully constructed course and it will test the players’ shot making, accuracy off the tee and skill on the greens.

“Players whose matches go the distance and finish at the 18th will have to finish on an island green where patience and course management will really come into play.”

Gauteng North will meet Boland and Northwest in Monday’s first round, while Central Gauteng will face Mpumalanga and Border. Southern Cape, Eastern Province and KwaZulu-Natal will do battle while Ekurhuleni will face off against the Western Province, Limpopo and State and Northern Cape.

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