SA golf development making strides
24 February 2012
The third annual one-day triangular showdown between the Junior Proteas golf team, Scotland, and the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) team, played at Randpark Golf Club on Tuesday, provided solid evidence that golf development is making its mark.
While the Scottish Golf Union's national squad defended their title, scoring 12½ points to the 12 that the Proteas side posted, the SAGDB team performed strongly to score 8½ points, and although the tournament had to be called off prematurely due to inclement weather and they finished at the bottom for a third year running, the seven amateurs were exchanging high fives, pats on the back and shouting words of encouragement to each other.
The reason for their celebration was simple. "You have to look beyond the final scores at our overall performance to understand why we are in such great spirits," said skipper Cedric Rooi.
"Given our past results at the Triangular, we came into this tournament the rank underdogs. But for the fact that play was called off due to the weather, things could have ended differently.
"The Scots did defend their title, but they only beat our South African Juniors by a half point. We finished just four points behind the winners. That is an awesome result for us."
Rooi is certainly not wrong in his estimation of just how far the SAGDB side has come in three years.
"In our first Triangular, we lost by more than 20 points to the SAGA Juniors," he explained. "Last year our losing margin to the Scots was 20 points. To finish just four off the pace really shows just how much this squad has grown in experience.
'Our best tournament ever'
"This has been our best tournament ever and they better watch out next year."
Rooi, who has been the mainstay for the SAGDB squad the last two years, said he was especially delighted to see how Central Gauteng rookies Musi Nethunzwi and Sipho Bujela stepped up to the challenge.
"They beat Dylan (Raubenheimer) and Ian (Snyman) 5 and 4 in the foursomes against the SA Juniors and scored two more points for the team in the singles when Musi won 2-up against Snyman and Sipho 1-up against Raubenheimer," he said.
"Musi also halved his match against Scott Crichton from Scotland and Sipho forced a 3-up result against Fraser McKenna.
Dedication, fighting spirit and commitment
"They really came through, scoring four-and-a-half points for the team. That shows the kind of dedication, fighting spirit and commitment this team needs."
Boland amateur Jacquin Hess also stepped up with a half against the Protea's Jason Froneman, while Fezekile Kana from Port Elizabeth and KwaZulu-Natal's Phiwakahle Mkhoma added another point with halves against Tristan Strydom and Tristan Lawrence respectively.
"Everyone on the team contributed in one way or another," said Rooi, who halved his match against Scotland's Daniel Kay. "Nkoma picked up another half-point against James White, and little Aslam Mallick from Western Province, our youngest player, delivered our final half point against Paul Shields.
"The team batted from one to seven, and that's how it should be at tournaments of this nature. I am incredibly proud of our performance. Others may think we've lost again, but I think we are finally on a winning path."
About the SAGDB
The SAGDB is a non-profit organisation with section 18A donations tax exemption status. Since its formation in 1999, it has grown a network of coaches and officials who work across the country to develop the game in the cities and also the most remote areas.
It currently operates in Boland, Border, the Eastern Province, Ekurhuleni, Free State, Gauteng Central, Gauteng North, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Southern Cape and Western Province. Through its PGA-approved coaching programme, the board currently has the capacity to coach 2 500 children per week in 11 regions.
Since its inception, the SAGDB has coached over 17 000 youngsters, produced 25 senior provincial and under-23 players, 108 junior provincial players, and four players in the senior national squad.
Over 1 500 players have participated in junior golf tournaments and 34 of its most talented players have been invited to join prestigious and recognised High Performance Centres such as the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation.
Six former SAGDB players have earned their tour cards on the Sunshine Tour.
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