French dominate singles and win
Any hope of the South African amateur golf team making history, by beating the French in an eight man test match on their home soil, was smothered by a dominant performance by the host nation in Wednesday’s singles.
Playing at the Joyenval Golf Club, just north of Paris, the French won five of the singles matches, halved two and lost one thereby scoring six points to South Africa’s two.
This more than eradicated the slender one point lead South Africa had after Tuesday’s betterball and fourball matches, the French winning the test by a total of 9½ points to 6½.
The first three singles matches the French won, Jared Harvey losing 3 and 2 to Romain Wattel, of France, Johan Bekker going one down to Johann Lopez-Lazaro and Aaron Russell finishing two down to Frenchman Leo Lespinasse.
“Johan Bekker was one up after hole 16 however his opponent won the last two holes with birdies,” said Colin Burger, South African Golf Association (SAGA) Vice President and Team Manager, speaking after the test match.
Aaron Russell was one down, playing the final hole, which he lost to a par to his French opponent.
“These three matches exemplified the day’s play from the South African performance point of view. Our lads were always in with a shout but their opponents just seem to deliver when it was needed most to close out the match,” pointed out Burger. “This is such good experience for our young golfers to realise that to make it in the international arena is being able to play at a high standard both at home and abroad.”
Danie van Tonder recorded South Africa’s only win against Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon 2 up.
Tyrone Ryan got away with half a point in the most bizarre manner. His opponent, Frenchman Antonie Schwarz, four putted the final green. Ryan’s six was good for a win to halve the match.
Ryan Dreyer and Jerome Lando Casanova, of France, had a ding dong battle. The match ended in a half, however this was only after Dreyer had won the last hole to secure his team half a point.
JG Claassen, playing the youngest member of the French team, Kenny Subregis, lost 2 and 1.
Dean O’Riley had a torrid match, losing to Alexander Levy 7 and 5. The South African was no match for the inform Frenchman who, after seven holes, was six under par and had a comfortable lead. Very difficult to come back from this position as it proved to be for O’Riley.
The South African Team return home on Friday morning.
South Africa vs France Test Match
Joyenval Golf Club
(South African players’ names first in each match)
Jared Harvey lost to Romain Wattel 3 & 2
Johan Bekker lost to Johann Lopez-Lazaro 1 down
Aaron Russell lost to Leo Lespinasse 2 down
Danie van Tonder beat Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon 2 up;
Tyrone Ryan halved with Antonie Schwartz;
Ryan Dreyer halved with Jerome Lando-Casanova
JG Claassen lost to Kenny Subregis 2 and 1;
Dean O’Riley lost to Alexander Levy 7 and 5.
Result: South Africa 2 points; France 6 points
Cumulative Scores: South Africa 6½ points; France 9½ points