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SA team ready for Friendship Cup

21 Oct 2012

Free State & Northern Cape golfer Josef Fourie will captain a six-man Protea side against Namibia in the second Friendship Cup which tees off at Roodepoort Golf Club on Monday

Six of the country’s leading mid-amateur golfers will launch their title defence in the second Friendship Cup against Namibia at Roodepoort Golf Club on Monday.

The South Africans, who handed the Namibians a 14-4 drumming in the inaugural two-day Test at Windhoek Country Club last year, is determined to keep their winning streak alive.

“We are going into battle against Namibia on the back of the recent South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial and I think that will give us an extra edge,” said Josef Fourie, who will captain the side for a second successive year.

The Free State and Northern Cape golfer said that although anything can happen on the day, the team is quietly confident of a positive result.

“In terms of form, results and experience we are fielding the strongest possible side,” Fourie said. “After the recent IPT, the players are well prepared for the Test and they are determined to make it two-for-two.

In addition to the skipper, who ranks sixth on the current South African Golf Association rankings, the team includes Graeme Watson, the country’s leading mid-amateur golfer, as well as Tyrol Auret, Kevin Sharp, Steven Williams and Neil Homann, who are ranked second to fifth respectively.

The two teams were hoping to fine-tune their games during the 36-hole Central Gauteng Mid-Amateur Open at the Test venue on Sunday. However, inclement weather forced the organisers to declare an 18-hole result after the second round was cancelled due to incessant rain.

The fact that some of the Proteas finished well off the mark set by winner Gerlou Roux, who won the tournament with an opening six-under-par 66, was of little concern to Fourie.

“The wind blew very strong in the morning and made club selection quite tricky,” he said. “For Gerlou, who is from the Western Province and used to playing in the wind, it probably felt like a light breeze, but the rest of the field had a tougher time to adjust.

“Graeme opened with a 71 to finish second. Tyrol carded with a 74, I shot a 76 and the rest of the guys shot 77, 78 and 79. am pretty confident their second round scores would have been better, because everyone was just getting into the swing of things when the tournament was called off.

“It is a pity that we couldn’t complete the round, but it was still a good warm-up for everyone. But I am sure that under Test conditions on Monday, everyone in the team will stand up to be counted because we are taking on the Namibians in our own backyard.”

Meanwhile the Namibian players also struggled in the trying conditions.

Morne Roux and Andrew Dodds opened with 79s, while Marc Gregan posted a 78. Werner Lassen, who fired a final round 65 to win the Windhoek Open just a week ago, carded an 81, Rocco Viljoen signed for an 81 and Hafeni Nghiwaanami an 88.

“It was no doubt really tough for all of us out there, but there is no point reading anything into their scores or ours, because the Test will be played in a foursomes and singles format on both days,” Fourie said. “As far as I am concerned, Sunday really doesn’t matter because we will all be starting with a clean slate.”

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