Central Gauteng’s youthful exuberance, grit and determination was unparalleled for five days as they marched to an unbeaten victory in the 54th South African Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest, on Friday.
While this year’s tournament delivered the usual mix of upsets and jostling for position, it proved once again that even when teams look strong on paper, golf is still played on grass.
The six bankers and two rookies dovetailed to perfection against Western Province, Southern Cape, Ekurhuleni and defending champions, Gauteng North and defeated Boland 7.5 – 4.5 in the final scuffle to lift the title for a record 26th time.
“This is an incredible moment for the whole team,” said captain Louis Taylor as the team shared a round of high fives at the 18th green after the last putt dropped.
“In my first SA IPT we came up just short and last year we had to fight like demons to survive relegation,” Taylor said. “I think only the past winners of this tournament can understand the incredible pride we share as a team right now. This was a team effort all the way and everyone deserves to take credit.
“Throughout the week, everyone on the team had a moment where they need to step up and perform and everyone delivered. I would be remiss if I didn’t single out our rookies, Marco Steyn and David Meyers, though. They delivered a champions’ performance.”
Taylor said their success was down to winning combinations and a strong team spirit.
“You know, we often come into the SA IPT and no-one marks us down as a favourite, so we fly under the radar in first couple of rounds,” he said.
“We set our combinations before we arrived and we never once changed the line-up. I believe that added to the sense of continuity this week. As much as golf is an individual game, our team spirit was phenomenal and definitely a huge factor in our victory.”
Central Gauteng led Boland 2.5 – 1.5 in the Foursomes, but lost the first Singles point to Boland teenager, Herman Loubser.
Gareth Clements, Steyn, Meyers, De Smidt and Spacey rallied to claim the points that sealed their triumph.
Southern Cape avoided relegation with a spirited 7.5 – 4.5 comeback against Ekurhuleni, while Western Province’s final assault sent Gauteng North packing to the B-Section.
The host union led the Foursomes 3-1 and hammered the defending champions in the Singles to claim a 9-3 victory and second place in the final log.
Gauteng North’s relegation marks only the fourth time in the history of the event that the defending champions were left holding the wooden spoon.
A-SECTION RESULT – Final Round
Boland 4.5 vs Central Gauteng 7.5
Southern Cape 7.5 vs Ekurhuleni 4.5
Western Province 9.0 vs Gauteng North 3.0
A-SECTION FINAL LOG
1 Central Gauteng (5, 5, 0, 0, 10, 39.0)
2 Western Province (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 38.5)
3 Southern Cape (5, 2, 0, 3, 4, 28.0)
4 Boland (5, 1, 2, 2, 4, 26.5)
5 Ekurhuleni (5, 1, 1, 3, 3, 27.0)
6 Gauteng North (5, 0, 1, 4, 1, 21.0)