Hope for some “old magic” from Randpark duo Schalk Naude and Jock Wellington who are the respective men’s Central Gauteng captains for this week’s Senior (for over 50s) and Super Senior (for over 60s) Interprovincials.
For the last half-dozen years Schalk has ably led Central’s Senior IPT side who are defending A Section champions and also were tops in 2018 and 2019 before Covid saw the 2010 tournament cancelled, with Western Province lifting the title in 2021.
Central’s chances for this year’s event at San Lameer? “Well, we’ve got a good side but judging who is going to win is a tough call,” says Schalk. “This is because, since Covid and the disappearance of cheaper flights, players from all over the country have been reluctant to travel to open events outside their own provinces. Before we could look at the Order of Merit and get a good idea of who was in form, but now this isn’t the case. With players from the Cape and KZN, for instance, not travelling we don’t really know who’s hot and who isn’t. So I’d say there are no clear favourites this year but, as I say, we’ve got a good team with most of the guys able to play scratch golf or even better.”
Western Province and KZN, however, are traditionally strong rivals and in the current rankings WP’s Greg Woodbridge occupies the No 1 spot with teammate Cameron Johnston No 5, while KZN’s Lyall McNeill and Morgan Phillips are No 2 and No 3 respectively.
Central’s team is much the same as last year, with Randpark’s Johann Nel also in the side, but Eye of Africa’s Kevin Sharp (No 6 in the rankings) is out injured. “Fortunately we’ve got a very good replacement for Kevin in Neil Homann who used to be at Randpark but now plays out of Bryanston. And we’ve also brought in Eddie Antonie who also used to be at our club and played in my scratch league team.”
Central’s Super Seniors – their IPT is at Elements – are languishing in the B Section. “That’s because, sadly, we got relegated last year,” says Jock. “But our four-man team this year is a pretty handy one and I’m confident we can get promoted back to the A Section. I mean, it’s got to be a no-brainer.”
Jock has, impressively, taken part in every Senior Interprovincial since he turned 50 in 2001. He is a multiple SA Senior champion and was No 1 in the SA Senior rankings for 12 straight years. And he’s still playing sub-par golf. A few days back he broke his age (72) for the first time with a 71 on Bushwillow. “I’d equalled my age a few times but this was a first,” he explained. When he was 65, incidentally, he also came close to equalling his age, shooting a superb seven-under-par 66 at East London Golf Club. The man can play, and it’s the same with Schalk!
Jock is a little worried, though, about being able to swing as well as he usually does. “I took my dogs for a walk the other day and they got in my way and I fell, hurting my shoulder. So we’ll just have to see…”
Naude and Wellington being provincial captains is just another honour for Randpark at a time when Graham Bishop was recently voted in as Nomads SA President and Tom Buckle as SAGES SA Vice-President.
CENTRAL GAUTENG SENIORS
Schalk Naude (capt), Greg Gleeson, Stephen Johnston, Craig Kamps, Blaine Mancer, Johann Nel, Johnny Branco, Neil Homann, Eddie Antonie
Jock Wellington (capt), Colin Hayward, Ian Smith, Stephen Rossiter.
Written by Randpark member Grant Winter