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SA eight named for India Test

26 Oct 2016

The Senior and Mid-Amateur team heading for India

The South African Golf Association (SAGA) is pleased to announce the eight players that will represent South Africa in a historic first foray to Calcutta, India this December.

“We have named the four Senior and four Mid-Amateur players that will fly the flag for our country in two Tests against India in the first week of December,” said SAGA Acting President Geoff Taylor.

“The Senior Team will comprise of Steve Williams from Central Gauteng, Western Province’s Francois le Roux, Mellette Hendrikse from Gauteng North and Morgan Phillips from KwaZulu-Natal.

“The Mid-Amateur Team features Western Province pair Gerlou Roux and Stefan Blommaert, Shaun Stapleton from Central Gauteng and Josef Fourie from Free State.

“These players have demonstrated great success and consistency here at home this season and warranted their selection with their performances. We are confident that they will face the challenge head on.”

The Tests will simultaneously launch an annual reciprocating partnership with the India Golf Union, which was mediated with the assistance of Golf RSA and business man Johann Rupert.

“The Tests represents the chance for these players to test themselves against equally competitive peers," Taylor said.  "It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase their skills on the international stage while promoting amateur golf in India across these age groups. We wish both teams great success.”

Taylor will accompany the teams as tour manager and will liaise with the India Golf Union, the public and media and look after the relationship building between the two nations.

Jock Wellington from Central Gauteng will travel to India as the team manager for both teams and take on the responsibility of managing the team’s logistics, selection of pairings and other team matters. Wellington will also be the travelling reserve for both teams, while Stephen Johnston from Central Gauteng is a non-travelling reserve.

Roux, who successfully defended his SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play crown earlier this season, is looking forward to his second tour of duty as a mid-amateur for South Africa.

“I still get goose pumps when I make a national team,” said Roux.

“Wearing the green and gold is the ultimate goal for any golfer at any age. I feel very privileged to be going to India and I applaud SAGA, Golf RSA and Mr Rupert for pursuing this initiative.”

New caps Williams and Stapleton were also delighted with their selection.

Williams, who represented South Africa at every other level of amateur golf, cemented his spot at the top of the SA Senior Rankings when he completed a wire-to-wire victory in the 28th Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Stroke Play Championship at Kyalami Country Club last week.

“I speak for all the players when I say that making the team to India is a dream come true for all of us,” he said. “It is a massive honour for all of us to be the first senior players to be named to a national side and to receive national colours.

“Selection means the chance to test ourselves outside South Africa’s borders, but it also comes with the responsibility of promoting South Africa and the amateur game abroad. We are incredibly excited at the prospect of doing South Africa proud in India.”

Stapleton reached third in the rankings in his first full season on the mid-amateur circuit and counts a victory and two runner-up finishes in his 12 starts this year.

“When I decided to compete on the mid-amateur circuit this year, my goal was to try and make the national team, but I still felt a mixture of ecstasy and relief when I heard my name called,” he said.

“Although I had done well this season, I never felt it was a done deal right up until the team was named. It is really incredible to have incentives like this Test to play for, because it produces a highly quality, very competitive mid-amateur circuit, as I experienced this season.

“Gerlou and Josef have both represented South Africa and they say it never gets old to put on the green and gold; it is always a very special honour and privilege. I worked so hard to make it, so I am absolutely over the moon. To get your national colours is a massive deal; it’s something no-one can ever take away from you. I am humbled and proud to be travelling to India to represent South Africa.”

PHOTO 1 – Team manager Jock Wellington (left) with Mellette Hendrikse (Gauteng North), Steve Williams (Central Gauteng) and Morgan Philips (KwaZulu-Natal); credit Ernest Blignault.

PHOTO 2 – Mid-Amateur team members Josef Fourie from Free State, Western Province’s Gerlou Roux, Shaun Stapleton from Central Gauteng and Stefan Blommaert from Western Province; credit SAGA.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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