SA claims first blood against French

The South African junior team got off to a dream start in the first round of the two-day Test at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate to claim a 4 1/2 -1 1/2 lead against a top four-man French side on Friday.

Matters ended in stalemate after the opening foursomes.

SA number one Kyle McClatchie and number two, Jovan Rebula, combined to beat Paul Elissalde and Victor Veyret, but Alexandre Daydou and Thomas Le Berre levelled the score with victory against Thriston Lawrence and Hennie du Plessis.

The South Africans forced the French to defeat with a solid assault in the afternoon singles, though.

Reigning Kenya Amateur Open champion Du Plessis from Limpopo claimed first blood with a 4&3 win against Elissalde from Bairritz le Phare, while recent Dr Bam Nomads National Order of Merit winner McClatchie from Ekurhuleni followed suit with a 4&2 result against Chatilly’s Le Berre.

Lawrence from Mpumalanga came under some serious pressure from Chantilly’s Veyret, but the 2013 Sanlam SA Amateur champion stood his ground for a 2-up victory.

Meanwhile Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion Rebula was three-under through nine holes, but one down at the turn to Daydou.

The Frenchman from Cannes Mougins kept the advantage going until the 17th hole, the usual par-five eighth hole at the Masai Mara course. Daydou conceded the hole after the Southern Cape golfer stuck a five iron to 12 feet to leave himself an eagle putt.

Rebula had a chance to claim a clean sweep for the South Africans at the final hole, but unfortunately his 18-foot putt to win the hole shaved the cup and just rolled past.

The local heroes have a comfortable cushion heading into the final round, but McClatchie said the quartet is taking nothing for granted.

“We expected to be put under pressure by the French, so we knew we would have to start strong,” he said. “The matches were all pretty tight, but I think we all pulled through and gave it our best.

“We will need to bring the same attitude to the final round, though, because you can expect the French to come out fighting.”

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