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Crunch time for promotion contenders at SA IPT

25 Sep 2013

Angus Ellis-Cole is one of three unbeaten players in the Ekurhuleni team, chasing promotion at this year’s South African Inter-Provincial at Rustenburg Golf Club; credit Dale Boyce.

Ekurhuleni strengthened their bid for promotion with two impressive victories in Wednesday’s third round at Rustenburg Golf Club and has thrown down the gauntlet at this year’s South African Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest.

The side beat Eastern Province 8-3 and handed Border a 9-3 drubbing to pull level with current B-Section log leader, Free State and Northern Cape.

Both teams have eight points, but Ekurhuleni will take a marginal advantage of four and half game points into their match on Thursday.

Team manager Bob Hillcoat said the side knew they had to step up and deliver.

“Free State had a buy, so we had to win both our matches to close the gap and give ourselves a fighting chance,” he said. “We were tied with Border after the foursomes, but we had a 3-1 lead over Eastern Province, so I told the guys to go out there and get it done.”

Ernest Botha, playing at number eight, thumped Charl Joubert 7&6 to give the team a one point edge over Border and Donovan Pearce defeated Allan Lones 4&3 to make it 4-2.

“The rest of the guys caught fire and we ended up winning seven of our singles,” Hillcoat said. “Ernest also beat Mzuyanda Zingela from Eastern Province, who is such an experienced player.

“Although the Eastern Province was a little tougher to beat, 8-3 is still an impressive result. I was impressed just how the youngsters rallied when we asked them to give a little more.”

Kyle McClatchie, Angus Ellis Cole and Stefan Cronje are still unbeaten in the side.

“In this competition, anything can happen. Jason (Froneman) was fantastic tee to green, but his putts didn’t drop. He got beaten today, but tomorrow he could sink everything he looks at. Stephan was four down through seven, but came back with a birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle combo to win both his games and Kyle also had an eagle that put him in the driver’s seat.

“Sometimes we have the luck, sometimes they have the luck.”

And Hillcoat hopes Lady Luck will be smiling on Ekurhuleni on Thursday.

“The next two matches are really crunch matches for us,” he said.

“Even if we beat Free State, they could beat North West on Friday and we could go down to Mpumalanga. We are taking nothing for granted, and we’ll have to bring everything we’ve got.”

Meanwhile Eastern Province defeated Border 8.5 – 3.5 for their first win in this year’s competition, while Limpopo beat Mpumalanga 6.5 – 5.5.

In the A-Section, Southern Cape were run aground by Gauteng North while joint defending champions Western Province and Boland came out smiling.

Gauteng North trailed in the foursomes over the first two rounds and lulled Southern Cape into false sense of security when they lost 3-1, but the youthful team once again rallied in the singles to crush the Garden Route team 8.5 – 3.5.

Province also took a 3-1 lead into their singles against Central Gauteng, but the Cape side had a real battle on their hands and just scraped through with a 6.5 – 5.5 result.

Fellow 2012 champions Boland continued to build on their 2.5 – 1.5 foursomes lead, winning three singles and halving two games to beat KwaZulu-Natal 7-5.

The only unbeaten side in the A-Section, Gauteng North extended their lead to six points. Province trails in second four and the remaining teams are all on two points.

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