Bezuidenhout and Lombard on course in New York

The country’s top ranked amateurs Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Zander Lombard will fly the flag for South Africa in the final two rounds of the prestigious Porter Cup in Lewiston, New York.

Australia’s Geoff Drakeford set the 36-hole target at Niagara Falls Country Club at seven under 133. SA number one Bezuidenhout returned rounds of 72 and 74 to sit at six over, while British Amateur runner-up Lombard carded a 71 and 75 to join his compatriot at 146.

Entry into the Porter Cup is invitation only or via an eight-spot qualifier.

The invitation criteria is based on the Official Amateur World Golf Ranking, Scratch Player World Amateur Ranking, as well as accomplishments in major amateur and collegiate tournaments. In short, the South African pair is among the cream of the crop.

Ekurhuleni’s Bezuidenhout, ranked 42nd in the current Official World Amateur Golf Rankings and 17th in the Scratch Player World Amateur Ranking, jetted off to New York shortly after boosting his winning tally this season to four at the Limpopo Open.

The 20-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member also claimed podium finishes at the Free State Open, Western Province Amateur Stroke Play and Sanlam Cape Open.

Gauteng North’s Lombard has enjoyed a rewarding stint in USA since reaching the final of the prestigious British amateur at the end of May.

The TuksGolf Academy member carded rounds of 75, 68, 67 and 74th at the Berkeley Hall South Course to tie for 12th on four-over-par 284 at The Players Amateur in South Carolina.

Last week Lombard, ranked 38th in the world amateur rankings and third in the scratch player rankings, also made the weekend at the 106th Southern Amateur Championship in Ooltewah, Tennessee.

The 19-year-old Woodhill golfer was in a solid position after rounds 70 and 74, but successive double bogeys at the sixth and seventh holes and a seven at the par-three eighth derailed his campaign at the Honors Course. He followed the expensive 83 with a closing 76 to tie for 49th on 15-over-par 303.

Bezuidenhout and Lombard both qualified for this year’s US Amateur Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia next month. However, the pair will first travel to Chicago for the 112th Western Amateur at the Beverley Country Club.

“The Western Amateur will be our last chance to warm up for the US Amateur,” said Bezuidenhout.

“We are both hoping for a great result in Georgia and we want to be at our best when we go to the Eisenhower Trophy in Japan in September. It’s so great that we get to play in some of the top amateur championships before the US Amateur. We are competing at top golf courses and against top players and it’s great for us on so many levels.

“We have time to adapt to the conditions, to size up the competition and every rounds we play is more experience at the top level. We both hope to make the cuts in all our starts, but it’s not just about the results. Every bit of experience will help us at the US Amateur and the Eisenhower Trophy.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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