Putting woes continue for SA Team in New Zealand

Australia continued to dominate the inaugural Four Nations Cup in New Zealand while the South African team battled balky putters for a second successive day at The Hills near Queenstown.

For a second success day, South Africa’s number one ranked amateur Brandon Stone led the way with an even-par 72 while SA Amateur Stroke Play champion Jared Harvey produced another 76.

Ruan de Smidt, who dropped two shots on his outward nine, singed for a 73 but at least managed to exact some revenge at the 17th.

Just 24 hours after he triple bogeyed the par-five, De Smidt holed a long putt for birdie that helped his team’s total to 221, their best effort thus far in the tournament.

But with their 54-hole tally at 668, the South Africans failed to make up any ground on the pacesetters, who signed off on a 203 and top the leaderboard on 641. The Australians certainly found the measure of the greens with Drewitt firing a blistering 65 and Sinott signing for an equally impressive 66.

“Our players were never in trouble off the tee but the putting really let us down,” said South African Golf Association’s Executive Director Bruce Younge. “The greens still seem to get the better of them. “It was another day of close shaves and near-misses.

“I reckon if just half the missed putts had dropped, we would have had a reasonable chance to catch Australia. But after the round the Aussies produced, it seems too much of a mountain to climb.”

But, while the Trans Tasman Cup, the Nomura Cup and the Southern Cross Cup champions will go into the final round as hot favourites to claim another piece of silverware, Younge and his charges say New Zealand still has a target on their back.

“New Zealand trail Australia by 14 shots and we are 13 shots behind the Kiwis,” he said. “We will need to get the putters working and produce three solid sub-par rounds, but it’s not impossible.

“We will also have to keep an eye on Argentina. After their dismal performance in the cold conditions on Friday they came back strong with a 219 today and trail us by just one shot.

“We will have to go out there on Sunday and give it our very best effort.”

Round Three Individual Leaderboard:

213 Brett Drewitt (Australia) 72-76-75

214 Todd Sinnott (Australia) 76-72-66

217 Franco Romero (Argentina) 73-73-71; Ben Campbell (New Zealand) 75-70-72

218 Mat Perry (New Zealand) 76-74-78

220 Ryan Fox (New Zealand) 72-72-76

222 Brandon Stone (South Africa) 78-72-72

223 Ruan de Smidt (South Africa) 76-74-73

224 Maverick Antcliffe (Australia) 71-81-72; Jorge Fernandez Valdes (Argentina) 72-77-76

225 Haydn Porteous (South Africa) 71-78-78

227 Thomas Baik (Argentina) 75-83-73

231 Martin Kim (Argentina) 77-80-75

232 Vaughan McCall (New Zealand) 77-84-76

147 Ryan Peake (Australia) 73-74-DQ

152 Jared Harvey (South Africa) DQ-76-76

Round Four Team Leaderboard:

641 Australia 216, 222, 203

655 New Zealand 223, 216, 216

668 South Africa 225, 222, 221

669 Argentina 220, 230, 219

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