French Dominate First Day
The Protea team may have been the stronger side when looking at player World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), however by the time the sun set today, on the Chantilly Golf Club north of Paris, it was clear that the rankings did not mean much as the less fancied French team dominated today’s play winning all but one of a maximum of four points.
Playing in cold, windy and overcast conditions, over the Longeres layout, the second of two courses making up the Chantilly Golf Club, the French pairing of David Antonelli and Rudy Thuillier never looked to be in any trouble in their Foursomes against the Derik Ferreira and Adrian Ford, winning 5 and 4. Same could be said for Romain Wattel and Victor Dubuisson who comfortably kept the South African pairing of Jacques Blaauw and Ryan Clarke at bay winning 4 and 3.
The weather cleared in the afternoon, a new course, the Vinueil layout regarded as the premier layout of the Chantilly Golf Club, and a change in fortune for the South Africans? Playing Better Ball, Ferreira and Ford took on Romain Wattel and Victor Dubuisson of France. After three holes the South Africans were two holes up. “Derik and Adrian played steadily throughout never relinquishing the lead,” said South African Team Manager, Enver Hassen. They won their match 2 and 1 putting South Africa’s first points onto the board.
The same could not be said of the South African pairing of Blaauw and Clarke, where good fortune was in short supply. Things started well, Blaauw recording a birdie on the first hole to go one up. However Frenchman David Antonelli, who finished second in the recent Brabazon Trophy two weekends ago, birdied the second to go all square. The South Africans never got their noses in front again. “They certainly had their chances to take the game to their opponents,” explained Hassen afterwards. “On hole 16 and 17, Blaauw and Clarke respectively had crucial putts both finishing agonisingly short of the hole, had they dropped it could have been a different story.” The Proteas finally losing 2 and 1 to Antonelli and Thuillier.
Tomorrow the final round is played, this being four singles matches. Play starts at 09h00 (French local time). “We have our work cut out of us,” is how Hassen summed up what faces his young team tomorrow. The Proteas have to win every match if they are to beat the French, a tall order, or three matches if they want to halve the Test Match.
Results of Day One:
Morning Scores: Foursomes
Longeres Course, Chantilly Golf Club
Derik Ferreira & Adrian Ford (RSA) lost to David Antonelli & Rudy Thuillier (FRA) 5 and 4; Jacques Blaauw & Ryan Clarke (RSA) lost to Romain Wattel & Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 4 and 3.
Afternoon Scores: Better Ball
Vinueil Course, Chantilly Golf Club
Derik Ferreira & Adrian Ford (RSA) beat Romain Wattel & Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 2 and 1; Jacques Blaauw & Ryan Clarke (RSA) lost to David Antonelli & Rudy Thuillier (FRA) 2 and 1.
South Africa 1 point; France 3 points.