Aussies win, SA seals 31st at WATC

South Africa wrapped up their Eisenhower Trophy campaign with a frustrating tie for 31st as the Australians captured their fourth World Amateur Team Championship title this weekend in Mexico.

Curtis Luck fired a flawless 63 and Cameron Davis contributed a bogey-free 68 in the third round Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club to hand Australia an almost insurmountable 16-stroke lead at 32-under-par 398 at the 54-hole mark.

The pair both shot three-under-par 68s at the Mayakoba El Camaleon Golf Club on Saturday to tie up the victory in the 30th edition of the world’s most prestigious team competition.

The Australians – previous winners in 1958, 1966 and 1996 – posted a record score of 38-under-par 534 to tie the USA’s effort from 2014 and their victory margin was the third-largest in championship history.

Australia won by 19 strokes from England at 553, while Austria and Ireland shared the bronze medal a further stroke back at 554.

Norway’s Victor Hovland fired a six-under-par 65 at the Mayakoba for the lowest round honours and helped his nation to fifth place and New Zealand and the USA finished in joint sixth at 557.

Poland took eighth to celebrate its first top 10 WATC finish and host nation Mexico tied for 16th at 564.

Over the 72 holes, 26 nations finished below par and the field recorded 35 sub-par individual counted scores in the fourth round.
South Africa, meanwhile, tied for 31st with India and Chile on seven over 579.

Jovan Rebula, Marco Steyn and Dylan Naidoo opened with a one under 141 at the Mayakoba to join Finland, Iceland, Italy and Mexico in 22nd. The trio was still one under through two rounds after an even-par 144 at the Iberostar but lost a little ground and began the third round in joint 29th.

They finished the third round at the Iberostar at three over, and sewed up their share of 31 with a four over 146 at the Mayakoba on Saturday.

Rebula led the team with successive rounds of 70 over the first two days, Steyn anchored the side with a 72 on day three and Naidoo and Steyn both shot 73s in the final round.

“There is no way to hide the disappointment the guys feel after this experience,” said team manager Eden Thompson.

“The last two rounds was two poor days where good was never good enough and bad was magnified. The third round really hurt us and the final round was purely about some pride and to prove they belong. Once again Dylan started out nicely and he got to the turn at one under. He was hitting the ball well after struggling so much at the start of the week and looking like he would post a good score. “He missed the green on 10 (the course first) from the left rough and couldn’t up and down and came up short in the greenside bunker from a thick lie at 11 where he also couldn’t get up and down. To his credit, he fought valiantly for his 73.

“Marco managed to keep the double bogeys off his card in the final round, but had a few loose bogeys towards the end of the round at 16 and 17. Jovan spent more than an hour on the range after a frustrating 76 in the third round. He thought he had the swing sorted, but unfortunately he couldn’t find that same feeling and battled his swing to a hard-fought for 77.

“It has been an honour to share this memory with the three guys. Over the past three years I have watched them grow as golfers and young men and to have had the opportunity to share this, the greatest stage for amateur golf with them has been unbelievable.

“None of the guys were happy with themselves or their performances, but no one ever gave up and that is the true testament of their characters. It was certainly a trip which will never be forgotten and will probably always carry some regrets, but it is good to know that the players value, appreciate and cherish this incredible experience.”

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