Heat takes its toll as SA players struggle in Australia

Leon Knoll, the leading South African after the first roundThe weather was the talking point at the end of the first round of the NEC Master of the Amateurs Championship, played yesterday at the Yarra Yarra Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.

With gusting winds and temperatures approaching 43 degrees provided the field of fifty players, which included some of the world’s top ranked amateurs, with testing conditions evident in the fact that only six players broke par, five of whom are from the host nation and perhaps more acclimatised to the climatic conditions that prevailed.

Leading the pack are twenty one year old South Australian Jordan Sharratt and teenager Geoffrey Drakeford, from Gippsland, Victoria, which lies to the east of Melbourne. Both players recorded incredible rounds of 66, six under par, one shot clear of the field.

The South African pairing of Leon Knoll and JG Claassen, like other international players struggled to adapt to the conditions.

Leon Knoll performed admirably for his one over par 73, for a share of twelfth place, while JG Claassen was three shots further back and in twenty third place, and in good company it must be added.

The two highly ranked amateurs from the United States, Bud Cauley and Morgan Hoffman, recorded scores of 76 and 73 respectively.

An international team competition, the NEC Master of the Amateurs World Cup, is being held concurrently in which two nominated players in the field represent their country. In all there are ten nations competing in this competition.

Leading after the first round is unsurprisingly the host nation, Australia, represented by Jordan Sherratt and Matt Jager (74), whose first round total of 140, four under par, was eight shots clear of the second placed French team (Victor Dubuisson (72) and Alexander Kleszcz (76)).

The South Africa pairing recorded a team score, in which both players’ stroke play scores for each round will count, of 149, five over par, for a share of third place along with the more fancied Americans.

Today the second round will be concluded.

The final round will be played on Thursday, with the winner being awarded a green jacket.

NEC Master of the Amateurs Championship

Venue: Yarra Yarra Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia (Par 72)

First Round Leaders:

66 – Geoffrey Drakeford (AUS), Jordan Sherratt (AUS)

67 – Kieran Pratt (AUS)

69 – Yeon Jin Jeong (KOR)

70 – Tim Hardham (AUS)

71 – Michael Williams (AUS)

72 – Victor Dubuisson (FRA), Matt Haines (ENG), Tarquin MacManus (AUS), Ryan McCarthy (AUS), Ashley Umbers (AUS)

73 – Daniel Beckman (AUS), Morgan Hoffmann (USA), Leon Knoll (RSA)

Other South African scores:

76 – JG Claassen

NEC Master of the Amateurs World Cup

(Par: 72; Two scores: 144)

Leaders after the First Round:

140 – Australia (Matt Jager (74), Jordan Sherratt (66))

148 – France (Victor Dubuisson (72), Alexander Kleszcz (76))

149 – South Africa (Leon Knoll (73), JG Claassen (76)), United States (Morgan Hoffmann (73), Bud Cauley (76))

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