Claassen loses to an inform Englishman

JG Claassen was the only South African who qualified for the match play, however it was not his day losing in the first round.There is a saying in match play that when it is your day it is your day.

It just was not JG Claassen’s day on Saturday, or perhaps more appropriately, it was Claassen’s opponent’s day, young Englishman Jonathan Bell.

Claassen, who was the only South African who qualified to play in the match play stage of the French Mens Amateur International Championship, having finished in the top 32 places in the 36 hole Qualifying Competition on Friday, was paired against Bell in the first round.

Things were quite even up to the turn, the South African winning hole 9 to turn all square. They were playing at the St Germain Golf Club just outside Paris.

Bell won holes ten and eleven with birdies to go two up, and never looked back. He then chipped in, from off the green, on the fourteenth hole to go three up. Claassen managed to pull one back on the fifteenth hole, with a birdie.

“Bell played so solidly today he just did not give JG any opening. JG did not play badly, his opponent just did not put a foot wrong the whole match,” said Burger after Claassen had lost two and one.

“An indication of how well Bell played was in the fact that standing on the tee of the penultimate hole, where Claassen was dormy, Jonathan Bell was five under par for his round having not dropped a shot on any hole,” pointed out Colin Burger, South African Golf Association Vice President.

Next assignment is for the team of eight South Africans in France to ready themselves for a test match against the French starting on Tuesday at the Joyenval Golf Club north of Paris. “We will play a practice round there on Monday,” said Burger, who is the South African National Team manager travelling with the team.

The French have never lost to South Africa at home, that is the challenge the young South Africans are faced with and they know it is no easy one!

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