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NEAREST THE PIN ON 12
2016 - HOW THE ACTION UNFOLDED!
As had been the case in the inaugural year of the Ryder Cup-style team competition between Team Telkom and Team Supersport, there was some enthusiastic banter between the respective captains Jabu Mabuza and Imtiaz Patel, the latter vowing to win the team trophy for the first time after “generously letting Telkom win” in year one.
For the first nine holes of round one, the teams participated in a greensomes format, in which both members of the pair hit a tee shot and thereafter played alternate shots until the completion of each hole. By the end of that opening nine, Telkom had already chalked up a sizeable lead. From the 10th tee onwards, the players reverted to a more conventional format, each playing their own ball and participating in the individual, better-ball and team competitions simultaneously.
During the course of the two days’ play, there was also an opportunity for some specially selected participants to experience the incredible ‘Extreme 19th’ hole at Legend, a par-3 whose tee is accessible only by helicopter and where the green sits some 400 metres below the tee. Former Bafana Bafana skipper Neil Tovey was able to navigate his ball closest to the hole from off the edge of the cliff-top tee.
The host venue for this year’s event certainly played into the hands of former Springbok flyhalf and fullback – and now Supersport commentator – Jaco van der Westhuyzen. He owns property at Legend and is a member of the golf club, and used his local knowledge to great effect, staying close to if not right at the top of the individual leaderboard for much of the competition.
Heading towards the final nine holes on Sunday, Jaco was locked in a great battle for the top spot with long-time supporter of the Shootout, Riyadh Peer, whose company LA Clothing manages the Polo brand that supplies the participants with some wonderful gifts.
Riyadh was first to falter, dropping shots early in the back nine to allow Jaco to build up a comfortable cushion heading to the final few holes, before a dramatic swing at the tricky par-3 17th hole. While Riyadh hit the green with his tee shot and made a solid par with the two putts that followed, Jaco came up short and ended up dropping to shots to reduce his lead to a solitary stroke with just the final hole – a par-5 with water in front of the green – left to play. There was more drama to follow as Jaco pulled his tee shot and played a miraculous recovery from out of the bush to set up the par five that secured his victory, Riyadh coming up just short with his birdie putt.
There was some consolation for Riyadh in that he and better-ball partner Breyton Paulse teamed up to win that title for the second time, having partnered each other to victory in a previous edition of the Shootout at Simola in Knysna. They defeated Jaco and his partner, Craig Commins, into second place. In the overall team competition – sadly for Imtiaz Patel’s Team Supersport – it was not nearly as closely contested an affair as it had been at Zimbali a year earlier. Despite the injury that prevented him from playing, Jabu Mabuza’s inspirational captaincy saw him lift the trophy once more.
Results on the golf course aside, the event once again provided one of the country’s great networking opportunities for representatives of South Africa’s sporting, business and political environments. The team competition continued to build a sense of rivalry on the golf course, while the heart of the event continued to beat strongly in the form of many millions of Rands being raised for the nominated beneficiaries.
And, with the tournament having been played in various parts of the country, a first visit to Limpopo Province reinforced the view that one can genuinely live ‘a world in one country’.
NEAREST THE PIN ON 7
LONGEST DRIVE ON 18