The KPMG Madibaz golf team returned to the top when they won their second University Sport South Africa matchplay title in three years at Port Shepstone Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.
The Nelson Mandela University students added the team strokeplay event to their list of achievements, while their No 2 player, Altin van der Merwe, was crowned the individual strokeplay champion.
After qualifying as the top team following the strokeplay event, Madibaz A defeated their B team and Varsity College to reach the final against University of Pretoria.
“It was a closely contested final, with Madibaz leading 1.5-0.5 after the morning foursomes,” said team manager Karl du Preez.
“Tuks won the number three and four singles in the afternoon, but Altin van der Merwe and Kyle de Beer came through to take their singles, securing overall victory for Madibaz.
“A highlight was the ability of the players to perform under pressure,” Du Preez said.
“In the matchplay final it looked like we might be going down 1.5-0.5 in the foursomes, but in the last three holes our players turned it on and produced an effort that, I believe, won the title for us.”
Turning the possible deficit into a 1.5-0.5 lead meant they had to win only two of the four singles to take the trophy, said Du Preez.
He added that Van der Merwe’s superb control with his long irons had helped him to keep the ball in play on some of the narrow fairways, which resulted in his individual triumph.
“He shot rounds of 68 and 70. His first round of 68 was exceptional as he was six under par when he made a double on the last [par-five] hole.”
While acknowledging the individual performances, the Madibaz manager pinned their success on an allround team effort.
“Having the services of [training PGA professional] Pieter Rademeyer, from Humewood Golf Club, available at the event ensured a sense of calm among the players.
“This is massive for Madibaz golf. To beat the best in South Africa is one thing, but to win consistently is something we aspire to.”
Du Preez paid tribute to Mandela University and their sponsors for their backing.
“I would like thank Madibaz Sport, especially golf manager Melissa Awu, for the continued support of our programme.
“A special thanks also to Alan Barr from KPMG, who has assisted in the development of not only our elite players, but also ensured that we have a development programme for students at our university.”