For the full 90 holes of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Championship, the eight lads from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University executed a well-laid plan and the outcome was a double celebration at Humewood Golf Club on Friday.
Twenty-eight years since the University of Port Elizabeth last hoisted the Cup Champions trophy, Colin Baldie, Luke Jerling, Jacques Smith and Michael Mayberry from NMMU A combined for a 4 – 2 victory and ended the University of Pretoria’s six-year reign in the A-Division. Moments later, Hando Brophy sealed a B-Section victory for NMMU B when he defeated Eben-Paul Zietsman from North West University A at the first play-off hole. NMMU A took a 1.5 – 1 lead into Singles and skipper Colin Baldie crushed Marco Loubser 8 & 7 to put the home favourites in the driver’s seat. Smith defeated Ryan Lane 3 & 2, but Andrew van der Knaap hit back for Tuks A and downed Maybery by the same margin.
Jerling sealed the 4 – 2 victory when he halved the final game against Combrink Smit.
NMMU B and North West A tied the Foursomes with a win a piece, but the status quo stayed unchanged as Johan Coetzer and Brophy reeled in victories for NMMU B, but Philip Niemand and Wynand Potgieter countered for Pukke A. At three-all, it came down to Brophy and Zietsman and a sudden-death play-off. The Port Elizabeth Golf Club player produced two great shots in the wind to get safely on the green and Zietsman conceded victory with a double bogey.
‘The eight players and Mike Usendorf, who was injured just before the championship, has worked so incredibly hard for this and they deserve to celebrate until sunrise,’ said NMMU team manager Brendon Timm.
‘This started two years ago when we got more professional about our preparations and we achieved our best results – fifth and eighth – in the A-Division last year. I have to give kudos to every single guy on the two teams. ‘They did the gym work, they practiced a minimum amount of hours a week and they competed in the internal and external Order of Merit events to qualify for the teams. Every one of them put in the time, the work and the effort to secure their spot.’
‘Their commitment has been absolutely commendable. That’s why we could select our pairings months ago and test our combinations in the Foursomes in the League matches. We were as prepared as possible and winning the 36-hole seeding qualifier just strengthened our belief that we could pull this off. These victories will go a long way in encouraging our local players to stay home, to stay in the amateur ranks, to study at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and to compete for a chance to play with the champions.’
Baldie won the Most Valuable Player honours in the A-Division with a 5.5 points, and Zietsman took the B-Section MVP title with five points.
By Lali Stander
Photo credit Karl du Preez