De Smidt stays in touch at Shirley Open
Ruan de Smidt didn’t exactly set the course alight but on day of mediocre scoring, the South African stayed in touch with the leaders in the third round of the United Fisheries Shirley Open in New Zealand.
De Smidt shot to a share of sixth with a second round 66 and rose to a four-way tie for fifth with an adventurous one-under-par 71 at Christchurch Golf Club.
After bogeys at the first, fifth and ninth and a lone birdie at the sixth, De Smidt hit back with birdies at 10 and 11 and rounded off a flawless back nine with a long birdie putt at the closing hole.
The Krugersdorp golfer finished five shots behind of co-leaders, Auckland professional Richard Lee and Wellington pro Nick Gillespie, and tops the amateur leaderboard at four-under-par 212.
De Smidt will go into the final round one shot clear of his closest amateur pursuer, New Zealand’s Vaughan McCall.
“Ruan was pretty solid, especially over the back nine, but it could have been even better,” said South African Golf Association’s Executive Director Bruce Younge.
“In stark contrast to the second round a lot of his birdie putts just shaved the hole. He also missed two putts under two meters for birdies at 16 and 17 before holing that five meter putt at the 18th.”
Brandon Stone improved on his opening 74 and second round 73 with a 71 but the country’s top amateur still handed in a pretty colourful card with two bogeys, a double bogey, three birdies and an eagle-three at the par-five fourth.
Reigning SA Amateur Stroke Play champion Jared Harvey carded a 73 for a share of 20th while Haydn Porteous slumped to 43rd on the leaderboard.
Porteous shaved two shots off a double bogey, bogey start with successive birdies at the fourth and fifth, but five three-putts later, the 17-year-old slumped home with five-over-par 77.
“Brandon and Jared scrambled very well, but Haydn is really struggling with the putter” said Younge.
“Tee to green Haydn has been very solid, but his confidence with the short stick is really low and that is starting to creep into his overall game.
“All those three-putts today didn’t help. He is obviously frustrated, but he will just have to play through the annoyance until he can figure out what the problem is.
“In golf, things can change at the drop of a hat and it could just as well be his day tomorrow.”
LEADING THIRD ROUND SCORES
Amateurs indicated with (a)
207 Nick Gillespie NZ 68 71 68, Richard Lee NZ 69 68 70
208 Mahal Pearce NZ 69 70 69
210 Scott Hill NZ 68 67 75
212 Ruan De Smidt (a) RSA 75 66 71, Peter Spearman Burn NZ 72 71 69, Pieter Zwart NZ 70 71 71, Jim Cusdin NZ 71 69 72
213 Alex Tait NZ 70 73 70, Andrew Henare NZ 72 70 71, Vaughan McCall (a) NZ 76 66 71
214 Mathew Holten NZ 73 75 66, Anthony Doyle NZ 71 74 69, Mathew Perry (a) NZ 72 72 70, Jason McIntosh NZ 71 72 71
215 Mark Boe NZ 74 71 70, Jonathon Ratcliffe (a) NZ 71 74 70, Dominic Barson NZ 76 68 71, Tyler Hodge (a) NZ 74 67 74
216 Jared Harvey (a) RSA 73 70 73, Keelan Kilpatrick (a) NZ 77 70 69, Jordan Bakermans (a) NZ 75 71 70, Jordan Dasler NZ 71 70 75
218 Brandon Stone (a) RSA 74 73 71
224 Haydn Porteous (a) RSA 75 72 77