Aussies trump New Zealand for Ten Nations Cup glory
It came right down to the wire, but Australia held their nerve and a spirited challenge from New Zealand to complete a historic victory at the inaugural Ten Nations Cup at Kingswood Golf Estate in George on Saturday.
Brady Watt, Lucas Herbert, Ryan Ruffles and Geoff Drakeford combined to win the international team’s competition with a 38-under-par total of 826, finishing just a single shot clear of the Kiwis.
England took third on 31 under, Argentina finished six shots back in fourth on 839 and Scotland took fifth on 22-under-par 842. Colombia posted a 213 to take sixth on 847 while South Africa, who launched a third round comeback with a 10 under 206 on Friday, made up another 11 shots in the final round to take seventh on 13-under-par 851.
Ireland finished in eighth place on 861 and France brought up the rear with a total of 877.
Australia’s final round 205 was a combination of a 70 from Watt, a 69 from Drakeford and a superb six-under-par 66 from 16-year-old Herbert.
Team captain David Nable said the side was absolutely thrilled with the victory.
“It’s incredible to have won the Ten Nations Cup and to have Australia’s name on the trophy,” he said.
“We came over here with the hope of winning it. To have done it, is really incredible.”
But the final round was a tightly fought contest and New Zealand certainly gave the Aussies a run for their money.
Starting three shots off the pace, Tyler Hodge holed a hallelujah putt at the 18th for a 68, Vaughan McCall carded a 69 and Blair Riordan knocked in seven straight birdies between the third and ninth holes on his way to a six under 66.
But their final round 203 left the Kiwis an agonising shot short of Australia’s target.
“Credit to New Zealand, because they really brought it home strong and were able to make it a very close match in the end,” Nable said.
“It’s a very proud moment for the team. Brady shot that course record 62 on Thursday, our young 14-year-old Ryan Ruffles shot a seven-under-par on Friday and Lucas brought it home with his 66.
“We are looking forward to the SA Stroke Play next week. Hopefully Australia can have another good week in South Africa.”
Brady, who was only selected to the side last week, won the Individual Competition. The world number five finished with a 72-hole total of 18-under-par 198, three shots clear of New Zealand’s Hodge and four ahead of Colombia’s Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez.
Meanwhile SA new cap Louis Taylor also celebrated a great debut for South Africa with a tie for sixth in the individual standings.
Taylor fired earlier rounds of 72-71-68 and closed with a 67 that included four birdies and an eagle. Haydn Porteous (68) and Zander Lombard (70) produced South Africa’s other counting scores for a final round 205.
Taylor from Harrismith was thrilled with the team’s turnaround.
“We got off to a rough start, but I think we redeemed ourselves over the last two rounds,” he said.
“It wasn’t perfect golf, but it was infinitely better than our start and it was great to have Llewellyn (van Leeuwen) along as a coach this week.
“Playing against the top amateurs from eight other countries was an awesome experience for all of us and gave us an inkling just how tough things are going to get against all this international completion in the SA Stroke Play next week.”
One of the two most prestigious tournaments on the local amateur circuit, the SA Stroke Championship has drawn entries from visiting nations, except Colombia and including the balance of the Scottish National Squad. The tournament tees off at Oubaai Golf from 12-15 February.
TEAM LEADERBOARD – FINAL RESULT
826 Australia 216-202-203-205
827 New Zealand 209-215-200-203
833 England 212-208-207-206
839 Argentina 212-212-202-213
842 Scotland 211-207-218-206
847 Colombia 214-217-203-213
851 South Africa 217-223-206-205
861 Ireland 214-222-211-214
877 France 215-221-217-224
TOP 10 INDIVIDUAL RESULT
270 Brady Watt AUS 69-62-69-70
273 Tyler Hodge NZ 70-68-67-68
274 Carlos Ernesto Rodriguez COL 70-68-67-69
275 Vaughan McCall NZ 69-72-65-69; Toby Tree ENG 69-71-67-68
278 Louis Taylor RSA 72-71-68-67; Max Orrin ENG 72-66-71-69; Graeme Robertson SCO 69-69-69-71; Jamie Lopez Rivarola ARG 69-69-66-74
279 James White SCO 71-67-75-66