Central Gauteng’s arrived at the 51st South African Inter-Provincial at Bloemfontein Golf Club with six rookies, but proved that the will to win is often enough.
In the face of much speculation, Jock Wellington’s charges underlined their selection and stayed the course to break a five-year winless drought and lift the most prestigious team competition title on the South African amateur circuit for a record 25th time.
“This is an incredible moment for the whole squad,” said captain Graham van der Merwe.
“We came here to prove ourselves and to have pulled it off, means the world to every member of the squad. There is no describing what this means to us.”
While the SA IPT delivered the usual mix of upsets and jostling for position, it proved once again that, that even when teams look strong on paper, golf is still played on grass.
After four rounds of victories, losses and draws, Gauteng Central emerged the frontrunner on six points with slender one point edge over Gauteng North and KwaZulu-Natal.
But on the final day, statistics were thrown aside and it came down who wanted it the most.
Although Gauteng North fought bravely to win the last three games, the result was already a foregone conclusion, a 6½ – 5½ victory for Central Gauteng.
“It’s a great day for Central because we pulled off the unthinkable,” said Wellington. “We brought Ruan and Daniel, who played in last year’s IPT and six young guys who brought their game and spirit.
“They are a young team of great individual players, but we walked off a great winning team. We weathered a lot of criticism and it’s a great feeling to prove them all wrong. This team performed from day one and they richly deserve to take this cup home.”
Western Province caught a break when they won their match 6½ – 5½ to jump into second on the final log.
And in the fight to stay in the A-Section, Boland avoided relegation with a historic 8-0 whitewash in the singles to force an 11-1 result.