KPMG NMMU Golf Club captain Colin Baldie believes the team’s triumph in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament will provide a massive boost for the varsity.
The Madibaz players pulled off a clean sweep in the annual event at Humewood last week, winning the A division matchplay title for the first time in 28 years.
In addition, they took the team strokeplay and the B division matchplay titles, while Luke Jerling was crowned the individual strokeplay champion and Baldie was named the Most Valuable Player in the A division.
“It means a lot for NMMU and I believe you will get golfers who will think it is a good option to attend the varsity,” the 21-year-old Port Elizabeth resident said. “Our golf club has grown a lot in recent years and I think this success will help it grow even more.”
The former Grey High pupil said they had put in a big effort to achieve success and that it would be essential to continue the hard work to attract young golfers to the club.
“We have regular internal order of merit tournaments and you earn points for things like practising on the range, going to the gym and, obviously, playing golf.
“Those sorts of things have created a competitive environment and a strong spirit, so we hope young golfers will be attracted by what we have to offer. Winning USSA was definitely the highlight of my career.”
Jerling, who spent several years on a golf scholarship in the United States, said he was delighted to follow in the footsteps of those who had won the tournament previously.
“It was a fantastic week and we spoke about the history of the event and the fact that it had been 28 years since NMMU last won,” he said.
“It was a big thing for us and it’s great to see PE guys winning national titles and being the centre of attention.
“Winning the individual strokeplay title was a personal highlight and an honour for me, considering some of the players who have won it previously.”
Both Baldie and Jerling identified their performances in the matchplay foursomes as the key to their triumph.
“We dove-tailed well in the foursomes and every match that was decided on the 18th we either halved or won,” said Jerling. “That made it so much easier going into the singles.”
He said he felt the weather also played a role when it blew hard on the Wednesday and Friday.
“In the strokeplay on the first two days Humewood was at its easiest, but we were excited to see the weather on Wednesday. It definitely gave us an edge in the matchplay as the Gauteng golfers don’t see that sort of weather.”
Baldie used their match against Wits B as an example of how important the foursomes were.
“Against Wits B we won both foursomes on the 18th hole with birdies. Not only does it give you an advantage going into the singles, but by winning on the 18th you also have huge momentum,” he said.