Central Gauteng and Eastern Province turned hot in the cold conditions at windy Westlake Golf Club to emerge as the front runners at the 54th South African Inter-Provincial on Tuesday.
Buoyed by their first round victory against local favourites Western Province, Central Gauteng fought bravely in theblustery North-Easterly wind to down Southern Cape after the teams tied 2-all in the Foursomes.
Central’s young stars dug deep on the back nine of the Cape Course and skipper Louis Taylor rallied to halve his match against Nicholas Mitchell to put an exclamation mark on a 7-5 victory.
“This was a much tighter match than the score line indicates,” said manager, Jaco du Plessis.
“At one stage we were down in all our Foursomes matches, but the guys did exceptionally well to pull it back and take is into the Singles all square.
“After Andy (Dill) halved the first Single against Ivan Williams, we won the next four games, but Southern Cape came back at us with two wins. Louis was four down at the turn, but he played superbly down the straight to get us that vital half point against Nicholas.
“The youngsters have really excelled over the last two days and our bottom order has done a great job of getting the early points for us and take the pressure off.”
Smarting after their first round loss to Central Gauteng, Western Province came out guns blazing to claim a 3-1 lead in the Foursomes. However, the Ekurhuleni squad mounted a serious assault in the Singles and it was touch and go before Province emerged from the titanic battle with a 7-5 win.
Ekurhuleni won the first two singles, but Province recovered quickly to take the next three games and pull 6-3 clear. Then Ekurhuleni’s Triston Strydom beat Altin van der Merwe to take the score to 6-4.
It was down to Gerlou Roux and Drew Denyer, both all square coming down the final hole, to lock down the victory for Province.
Roux made a spectacular up-and-down at the 17th to stay all square with Paul Boshoff and the players halved the 18thin pars. Denyer lost the 17th, but he matched NJ Arnoldi shot for shot to halve the 18th.
“It was really tight out there, but the guys really pulled together to win this one and turn things around for us,” said Province captain Werner Theart.
“We just need to keep that fighting spirit going against Southern Cape on Wednesday.”
The tussle between Boland and Gauteng North ended a tie at 6-all, leaving the defending champions vulnerable and under pressure.
Meanwhile Eastern Province had no such worries after two very profitable days in the Western Cape.
Following their first round success against North West and Limpopo, Mzuyanda Zingela led his charges to another day of celebration in the B-Section battle for promotion.
Eastern Province dominated the Singles after a clean sweep in the Foursomes to claim an 8.5 – 2.5 victory over Border, but they had a tougher time against KwaZulu-Natal.
Trailing 1-3 after the Foursomes, KwaZulu-Natal won three singles early and piled on the pressure.
However, Zingela boxed a birdie putt at the 18th to square his match against Leorin Pillay and Ryno Ferreira added another half point in his match against Matt Saulez to turn the tide.
Fezekile Kana, Naldo Claassen and Sieg Human won the last three games to seal a 7-5 victory for EP.
“We were very determined and that showed in the Foursomes, but the wind definitely became a factor, especially for the Border guys,” said Zingela, a veteran of 23 SA IPTs.
“KZN have a lot of experience. We knew we were in for tough time, but the team delivered on all counts.
“We are in a strong position, but I’ve cautioned the guys against over-confidence. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you can do it to one team, another team can do it to you.
“They need to keep their guard up, stay focussed and keep their eye on the end game.”
In the other B-Section matches, KwaZulu-Natal thumped Border 10-2, while Mpumalanga and North West drew 6-all.
A-DIVISION LOG – ROUND TWO
1 Central Gauteng (2, 2, 0, 0, 4, 14.0)
2 Boland (2, 1, 1, 0, 3, 14.0)
T3 Western Province (2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 12.0)
T3 Ekurhuleni (2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 12.0)
5 Gauteng North (2, 0, 1, 1, 1, 11.0)
6 Southern Cape (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 9.0)
B-SECTION LOG – ROUND TWO
1 Eastern Province (4, 4, 0, 0, 8, 32.0)
2 KwaZulu-Natal (4, 3, 0, 1, 6, 31.0)
3 North West (3, 1, 1, 1, 3, 18.5)
4 Free State (2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 12.5)
5 Mpumalanga (3, 0, 1, 2, 1, 13.5)
6 Limpopo (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 7.0)
7 Border (2, 0, 0, 2, 0, 5.5)