SA in touch at weather-beaten Spirit International

Fierce storms, more than 160mm in rainfall and a 25½-hour interruption to the first round had very little impact on the South Africa’s four-man team at this year’s Spirit International in Texas.

When darkness fell on the first round of play, the local heroes had pacesetters America well in their sights.

When play was called off on Thursday evening, the Americans led at 16 under in the team competition, with Malaysia tied for second on 11 under with Sweden, one of the few teams that finished.

South Africa was just six shots adrift in fourth place, with Kim Williams and Lara Weinstein through 15 holes and Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Louis Taylor with four holes to play.

The teams completed the first round early on Friday, with the Americans keeping control on 17-under-par 127.

Sweden held on for second on 11 under, while South Africa tied Malaysia for third on 10-under-par 134.

In the women’s competition, the American pair of Ally McDonald and Ashlan Ramsey combined for a six-under-par 66, while Williams and Weinstein posted a five under 67 to finish just one off the pace in a tie for second with Canada.

Williams, making her record fourth appearance at the event, reeled in four birdies against a bogey on the front nine and picked up two more birdies on the homestretch to tie Brooke Henderson from Canada for first in the individual competition.

In the men’s competition, Bezuidenhout and Taylor equalled their female counterparts with a five-under-par 67 of their own and also finished within striking distance of the Americans. The Yanks set the bar at 11 under, with South Africa third in the standings on five under.

Taylor was the top performer with six birdies. He tied for sixth on the individual leaderboard, two shots behind frontrunner Jordon Niebrugge from the United States.

The team barely had time to wolf down lunch before it was back to the battle stations to try and complete the second round after the inclement weather forced the organisers to reduce the popular biennial championship to 54 holes.

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