Cape Town - National pride will take precedence when South Africa defends its title at the 2015 Africa Zone VI Golf tournament in Uganda later this month.
Over three days and four rounds of intense competition from April 16-19 at Kampala Golf Club, the eight-man national team face off against nine African nations to chase down the country’s 21st victory in Africa’s flagship team event since 1995.
South Africa will be represented by Tristen Strydom, Teaghan Gauche, Jason Smith, Jade Buitendag and Matthew Spacey - respectively ranked first to fifth in the Open Amateur rankings - Hendrikus Stoop and Aubrey Beckley, ranked eighth and ninth, and 2015 Sanlam SA Amateur Championship runner-up Jovan Rebula.
Former SA Stroke Play champion Smith from Gauteng North is the only member of the victorious 2014 side returning for duty.
Smith, Strydom from Ekurhuleni and fellow Gauteng North amateur Stoop recently represented South Africa in the Southern Cross Invitational in Argentina.
Central Gauteng’s Spacey made his debut for South Africa in the annual Leopard Trophy against Scotland at Leopard Creek last year, while 2015 ProShop Northern Amateur champion Gauche from Gauteng North earned his national colours in his 2015 Leopard Trophy debut in February.
Southern Cape’s Rebula represented South Africa at junior level in the 2014 All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge, the 2014 Toyota World Junior Golf Championship and in Tests against France in 2014 and 2015.
The 17-year-old junior will make his debut on senior level alongside fellow new caps, Buitendag from Southern Cape and Beckley from North West.
The Africa Zone VI Golf Championship annually attracts countries from East and Southern Africa.
In addition to South Africa, the host nation and 2014 runners-up Zimbabwe, the other teams confirmed for this year’s championship include Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia and Malawi.
"South Africa scored 23 out of a possible 24 points to triumph last year and that will be a tough act to follow, however, we are confident that we have selected a very strong team to tackle our title defence," said South African Golf Association (SAGA) president Gerhard Conradie.
"We took into account form, experience and rankings and all eight players earned their selection in the squad based on these factors to ensure we take the best possible team to Uganda."
"Jade and Aubrey, especially, both enjoyed a rapid rise in the rankings this season and certainly earned the privilege to wear the green and gold, while Jovan with his wealth of international experience is a welcome addition to the team.
"The Africa Zone VI Golf Tournament goes a long way in giving the best players in Africa a highly competitive platform to showcase their talent and gain experience.
"South Africa has a proud history in this tournament and we believe the players on the team complement each other well; they are all in good form and very hungry to win."