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Mid-Amateurs to vie for international experience

14 Apr 2014

SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play defending champion, Greg Sheard; credit Abri du Plessis.

South Africa’s mid-amateur golfers have been given an exciting incentive to play for at this year’s South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Ruimsig Country Club from 6 – 9 May.

Following the prestigious national championship, four players will be selected to a national team to compete in the International Team Mid-Amateur Championship in France in July.

The top international team event will be played at the Medoc Hotel & Spa Golf Club in the Gironde region from 18-20 July and will be contested between 16 teams.

In addition to competing in the International Team Mid-Amateur Championship, the South African team will also line up in a Test against France, either before or after the championship.

The current top ranked mid-amateur and SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play defending champion, Greg Sheard, applauded the South African Golf Association (SAGA) for giving the mid-amateurs an opportunity to compete abroad.

“We are very excited about the chance to fight for a place to represent South Africa at an international event of this calibre,” Sheard said.

“For the last couple of years, we have had an annual Test against Namibia and we were incredibly disappointed when Namibia called off the Test last year.

“The opportunity to travel to France and to play a team event of this standard is very exciting. To play against so many teams is a great opportunity to gain experience, to test ourselves at international level and to forge some new friendships.”

The format of the International Team Mid-Amateur Championship is also quite unique.

“The teams will kick off with an 18-hole stroke play qualifier for all the individual players,” explained SAGA president, Andre Pieterse.

“The top three scores from each country will count towards the team total and the teams will be ranked according to the team result.

“Once the teams are seeded into two groups of eight, they play two days of foursomes and singles to determine the final positions.”

The raised stakes has put the country’s top ranked players on alert, while several players have already thrown their names in the hat for selection with provincial Volvo Mid-Amateur Open victories this season.

These players include Leon de Lange, Kevin Sharp, Louis Jonck, Gerlou Roux and Josef Fourie.

Central Gauteng’s de Lange won the season-opening Central Gauteng Mid-Amateur Open in January, while provincial stable-mate Sharp lifted the Ekurhuleni Mid-Amateur Open in February and Gauteng North’s Jonck claimed the Gauteng North Mid-Amateur in March.

Western Province’s Roux clinched the Highveld Mid-Amateur Open earlier this month and Fourie triumphed in the Free State & Northern Cape Mid-Amateur Open this weekend.

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