2020. A new decade and with it a new chapter in the history of the SADGA Provincial Challenge. It’s North v South. Which side will draw first blood when the new-look event takes place at Zwartkop Country Club in the final week of February?
After a decade largely dominated by the men from the south – Western Province – a revamp has occurred in an effort to make the interprovincial more competitive and exciting. Where previously Western Province, Central Gauteng and RoCS vied for the title, two teams of 10 will now be pitted against each other over 36 holes of matchplay. Innovation and Inclusiveness are at the core of the SADGA philosophy and this is once again true of the provincial challenge. Seven players automatically earn spots on the team roster through the National Ranking while each captain is allowed three captain’s picks. The addition of captain’s picks rewards players who have shown promise over the past 12 months but who were unable to qualify via the National Ranking.
SADGA Operations Manager Lily Reich is confident that the changes in structure will prove beneficial.
“We as an association cannot wait for the event to get underway. As with any change in format at an event, there will undoubtedly be a teething process. We just felt that the Provincial Challenge had become somewhat one-sided with Western Province winning the last four editions. When debating the best way forward, we felt that casting the net wider across the North and South regions was the best way of breathing new life into the competition,” said Reich.
Reich remarked that she is thrilled that the expanded format will allow a greater number of players to showcase their talent.
“Two teams of 10 will afford a few golfers the opportunity to make their debuts in the event which will be a great competitive thrill for them. Though playing off scratch will be a baptism of fire, both sides can call on players who will embrace wholeheartedly the unique pressure that comes with team competition.”
Spearheading the North side’s challenge will be Zwartkop member Dean Ferreira. No stranger to the event, Ferreira’s intimate knowledge of the course will stand the North outfit in good stead. Fellow Zwartkop member Curtley Roberts is set to make his debut in the event and could provide stiff competition for any member of the South team.
Adding a much-needed female presence to the event will be Charlene Pienaar. The blind golfer who plays out of ERPM Golf Club is a long-time member of the SADGA and will no doubt positively impact team spirit and camaraderie.
The South side’s challenge meanwhile will be led by King David Mowbray Golf Club’s Trevor Reich. Reich was a fixture on the Western Province team through the years, playing all but one of the previous Provincial Challenges. He has been in fine form in recent months and may well prove a thorn in the side of the North. Joining Reich will be former Western Province teammates Morne Cronje and Ignation Douries, both golfers capable of doing serious damage in matchplay.
Leg-amputee Simo Mdudu will tee it up for the first time in the event – just reward for the tremendous strides he has made in the past year or so.
Early signs suggest that the 2020 Provincial Challenge could be a titanic tussle between two high-quality teams.
The SADGA Provincial Challenge gets underway on the 29th of February at Zwartkop Country Club.
Team South
1 Physically Disabled #1 Reich, Trevor
2 Physically Disabled #2 Douries, Ignation
3 Physically Disabled #3 De Jager, Christo
4 Physically Disabled #4 Cronje, Morné
5 Physically Disabled #5 Du Plooy, Andre
6 Captains Pick #1 Shaw, Brandon
7 Captains Pick #2 Spreeth, Riaan
8 Captains Pick #3 Mdudu, Simo
9 Blind Els, Morné
10 Deaf J. v. Rensburg, Kosie
Physically Disabled Reserve Dry, Kean
Deaf Reserve Louw, Albie
Captain: Pieter Verwey
Team North
1 Physically Disabled #1 Ferreira, Dean
2 Physically Disabled #2 Swart, Derrick
3 Physically Disabled #3 Foster, Virgil
4 Physically Disabled #4 Frost, David
5 Physically Disabled #5 Roberts, Curtley
6 Captains Pick #1 Fortman, Rupert
7 Captains Pick #2 Du Plooy, Johan
8 Captains Pick #3 Potgieter, Jan
9 Blind Pienaar, Charlene
10 Deaf Graaff, Raymond
Physically Disabled Reserves
1. Dudgeon, Gareth
2. Mann, Basil
3. Vermeulen, Giel
Deaf Reserve Bester, Hanjo
Blind Reserve Conradie, Ernst
Captain: Joseph Phiri