Mixed results for SA duo at US Amateur

South Africa’s top ranked amateurs Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Zander Lombard crashed out of the prestigious US Amateur Championship with mixed results at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia.

British Amateur finalist Lombard reached the top 64, while Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Bezuidenhout failed to make the cut the 36-hole Stroke Play qualifier.

Lombard opened with an even-par 72 at the Riverside Course and navigated the par-71 Highlands course in even par to tie for 32nd on 143.

The Pretoria golfer finished eight shots off the pace from co-medallists, Taylor Moore from Oklahoma and Georgia local, Lee McCoy.

Lombard came up against New York’s Derek Bard in the first round of the match play section.

The American birdied the first hole, but the South African immediately squared the match with a birdie at the par-four second.

Bard reeled in back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth holes to put Lombard on the back foot, but the TuksSport Golf Academy member rallied again, closing the gap with a birdie at the par-four eighth.

The American once again pushed ahead with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 14th.

Although Lombard gained the par-three 15th, Bard won the match 3&2 with a par at the 16th.

Meanwhile two double bogeys at the Highlands course led to an opening 77 that left Bezuidenhout with an almost unsurmountable handicap. Although the Ekurhuleni golfer rebounded with an even-par 72 at the Riverside course, he finished four shots outside the cut, set at 145.

Ahead of the US Amateur, the country’s top ranked pair competed in several top amateur championships in the United States, including the Porter Cup, the Western Amateur and Southern Amateur.

Although disappointed with their results in Georgia, Bezuidenhout said the opportunity to compete in the United States exceeded all their expectations.

“We made the cut in most of our starts and got the opportunity to play against some of the best amateurs at top golf courses over four rounds.

“Zander and I have learned a lot over the last few weeks and that experience will only help us improve and grow as players. It has been a very rewarding experience, especially in those events where we started badly, but managed to turn things around.

“While we didn’t achieved the greatest results, but the value of this experience is priceless.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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