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Central and Mpumalanga shine in SA IPT Foursomes on Tuesday

20 Sep 2011

Central Gauteng rookie Damian Naicker

The young team from Central Gauteng scraped through for victory against Boland on Monday, but the rookies really stepped it up in today’s second round of the South African Inter Provincial tournament in Bloemfontein.

The six Central debutants enjoyed a whitewash in their foursomes against Southern Cape to give the side a 3-0 lead while Ruan de Smidt and Daniel Hammond, holdovers from last year’s side, halved the fourth to give Central a three point lead into this afternoon’s singles.

“We are a young side,” said 22-year-old Damian Naicker, who combined with Muzi Nethunzwi for a 3&2 result over Jacques Cloete and Ivan Williams.

“The average age in the team is just 20. Our nerves certainly got the better of us yesterday morning and we were three down to
Boland in the foursomes. We started to rally in the afternoon and managed to fight back for a 6½-5½ win, but today is a different story. We know what to expect, we’ve had that crucial first day and our nerves are settled. Now we will play to our full potential.”

Callum Mowat and Michael Dixon wrapped up their game against Andrew Light and Nicholas Mitchell 5&3 result, while Haydn Porteous and his partner Graham van der Merwe forced a 1-up win over IPT veteran Staffie Barnard and his partner Riekus Nortje. Porteous, ranked third in the country, agreed with Naicker. “Although we have all gained experience in the U-23 IPT and the Challenge Tournament, it’s a big deal to tee it up in the national Inter-Provincial,” said the 17-year-old. “It’s a big tournament and it was a little overwhelming on day one but I think we’re settled now.”

Mpumalanga’s eight-man squad set the B-Section on fire when they overpowered North West for a 4-0 clean sweep and beat Free State and Northern Cape 3-1. “After our bye yesterday the guys were pretty nervous this morning,” said team manager Barrie Kok. “But they settled pretty quickly. It was a great performance by the whole team and I hope they will draw on this
experience in the singles this afternoon.”

Meanwhile Gauteng North’s Brandon Stone showed no signs of the pinched nerve that plagued him during Monday’s opening round.

The country’s top ranked amateur and playing partner Conway Kunneke cruised to a 5&4 win over Gideon Pienaar and Steven van Heerden of KwaZulu-Natal for one of the team’s 2 ½ points. “I saw a physiotherapist last night and he gave me a right working over,” said Stone. “It hurt like nothing I’ve felt before, but today I didn’t even have a twinge of pain, so he obviously knows his stuff. It’s a great relief, knowing I’ll be able to play out the week.”

Pedrie Oosthuizen and Zander Lombard were two down with five to play and hit back with an eagle-par-birdie-birdie finish to beat Elton James and Chris van der Merwe 2&1. Lombard was delighted with the result. “I felt I let the side down yesterday by stuffing up the 18th hole, so it feels really good to contribute a point,” said 16-year-old Lombard. “I just want to give more of the same in the singles today.”

But it was Boland who delivered the first real A-Section surprise of the tournament.

The 2008 winners halved their first game before winning three in a row to take a 3½ point lead into the singles. “We are not going to get too excited, because we were 3-1 up against Central Gauteng after the foursomes yesterday,” said manager Servaas de Kock. “We got complacent but we won’t make that mistake today.”

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