Preview: 2021 SADGA Provincial Challenge

Welcome to the Preview for the 2021 SADGA Provincial Challenge at Uitenhage Golf Club. Below, we unpack what happened at the last event, the new format in effect this year, players to watch and more. 
Scene Setter
The 2021 SADGA Provincial Challenge – taking place at Uitenhage Golf Club – is a historic moment in the tournament’s history as it is the first time its been staged in the Eastern Cape
Team North won the event for the first time in their history last year after trouncing Team South 11.5-8.5 at Zwartkop Country Club. Though the complexion of their side looks slightly different in 2021, they certainly have the squad depth to defend their title.
Team South meanwhile will be looking to exact revenge. Their side – spearheaded by Playing Captain Trevor Reich – also boasts some of the best disabled golfers in the country and possesses the firepower to reclaim the trophy in 2021. 
This year sees a change in format which is guaranteed to generate some exciting golf during the course of the three days. All 10 players from each team will be in action on the opening day and two-player teams will play nine holes of Matchplay against each other – playing a scramble from tee to green until the ball is holed.
Eight points will be on offer on day 2. The morning session will see four alternate-shot matches take place over nine holes. Four better-ball matches will be contested over nine holes in the afternoon. 
All of the golfers will be in action on the final day of the event and will play Singles Matchplay over 18 holes. With 10 points on offer, no lead is safe heading into the final day’s action and there will hopefully be a thrilling conclusion to the event!
The Course
The course is an unknown quantity to many of the players. In that sense, Team South may be at an advantage with Uitenhage Golf Club member Christo De Jager in their ranks. 
Uitenhage General Manager and greenkeeper Morris Olivier highlighted some holes he feels could be pivotal throughout the week. On the front-nine, Olivier highlighted the par-4 3rd – a long dogleg-left which demands two quality shots to reach the green in regulation. 
On the back-nine, Olivier stressed the need for the golfers to successfully negotiate Uitenhage’s “Amen Corner” – holes 16-18. Olivier believes that pars will be good enough to secure wins on these respective holes. 
Players To Watch
Team North
Rupert Fortmann
Rupert Fortmann – flying the flag for the Kwazulu-Natal region – may have an important role to play in Team North’s campaign. The leg-amputee makes a return to the SADGA Provincial Challenge fray and his Handicap Index off 8.3 is indicative of a very steady player. Fortmann’s inclusion in Team North is testament to the strength of disabled golf within the KZN region. 
Charlene Pienaar
Charlene Pienaar – the lone female participant in the Provincial Challenge – will once again be out to make a positive contribution to her side. In her opening match at last year’s Provincial Challenge, Pienaar saw off fellow blind golfer Morne Els.
More recently, she finished runner-up in the C-division of the Ekurhuleni Strokeplay Championship – a result which no doubt gave her a great deal of confidence.
Hanjo Bester
Free State golfer Hanjo Bester’s participation is testament to the fact that the SADGA continues to expand into new regions throughout South Africa. The Deaf golfer who is making his debut in the Provincial Challenge brings with him a youthfulness which could be critical to lifting the spirits of Team North in difficult periods during the event. 
Team South
Christo De Jager
Having missed last year’s tournament through injury coupled with the fact that he’s a member of Uitenhage Golf Club – Christo De Jager will be chomping at the bit to put in a strong performance for his team. 
Interestingly – should Team South come out on top this weekend – De Jager would have been on three winning Provincial Challenge teams – with Western Province, the Rest Of Country and Team South respectively. 
Morne Els
Blind golfer Morne Els has been putting in a great deal of time and effort into his golf since the lockdown was lifted. With the help of his coach Carlo Kok, Morne has spent time developing every aspect of his game. 
His practice and playing regimen has been aided by the tremendous support of the Southern Cape Golf Union who sponsored him with a new set of irons. 
Complimentary or preferential rates offered to Els by George Golf Club snd Kingswood Golf Estate respectively has helped Els put in the necessary on-course work with FSP coach Kok to become a better, more well-rounded player. 
Simo Mdudu
FSP Elite Squad member Simo Mdudu will be making his second appearance at the Provincial Challenge. Now that the nerves associated with being a rookie are out of his system, the leg-amputee could pose a threat to whomever he comes up against.
One of Simo’s greatest attributes is his positive attitude. This will certainly stand Mdudu in good stead given the ebb and flow of Matchplay. 
The Teams 

Team North

Captain: Joseph Phiri; Derick Swart (PD); ; Rupert Fortmann (PD); Dean Ferreira (PD); Johan du Plooy (PD); Jan Potgieter (PD); Jabu Price Moor (PD);Leon Strydom (PD);Jontey Kotze (PD)

Charlene Pienaar (Visually-Impaired); Hanjo Bester (Deaf)

Team South

Captain: Pieter Verwey; Trevor Reich (PD); Kean Dry (PD); Morne Cronje (PD); Brandon Shaw (PD); Christo De Jager (PD); Lance Du Toit (PD); Simo Mdudu (PD); Craig Moorgas (PD); Morne Els (Visually-Impaired);

Kosie Janse Van Rensburg (Deaf)

Friday Matches
12:00 Jabu Price Moor/Derrick Swart (Team North) v Trevor Reich/Morne Cronje (Team South)
12:10 Jan Potgieter/Dean Ferreira (Team North) v Kean Dry/Christo De Jager (Team South)
12:20 Johan Du Plooy/Rupert Fortmann (Team North) v Brandon Shaw/Lance Du Toit (Team South)
12:30 Charlene Pienaar/Hanjo Bester (Team North) v Kosie J.V. Rensburg/Craig Moorgas (Team South)
12:40 Leon Strydom/Jontey Kotze (Team North) v Simo Mdudu/Morne Els (Team South)