SA pair advance to match play in Argentina

On the day Jason Smith was named the Gauteng North Golf Union’s Player of the Year, the Pretoria amateur was halfway around the world, playing in the second round of the Stroke Play Qualifier in the 119th Argentine Amateur Championship in Pilar alongside compatriot, NJ Arnoldi.

The top ranked South African pair both finished inside the top 16 in the 36-hole qualifier to advance to the match play stage, which starts on Friday at the Highland Park Country Club near Pilar.

Smith followed an opening one-under-par 71 with a 73 in round to tie for 16th on even-par 144 with Brett Coletta from Australia and three local challengers.

The TuksSport Golf Academy player reeled in a trio of birdies from the third and turned in three under, and dipped to five under with more gains at the 10th and 13th. However, the Irene golfer dropped shots on either side of an eight at the par-four 16th to complete the back nine in 40 strokes.

Arnoldi held a share of the lead after an opening 66, but slipped to a share of ninth with Argentinean Alejandro Tosti on two under 142.

The Ekurhuleni golfer made six at the par-four first and dropped four more shots at the eighth and ninth to turn in 40.

He countered with a birdie at the par-five 10th, and played the rest of the back nine in pars to sign for a 75.

Meanwhile joint overnight leader, Corey Conners, celebrated his second successive victory in Argentina in four days.

The Canadian, who lifted the Individual title in the Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup on Sunday, claimed a six stroke victory on 11-under-par 133 in the Qualifying Stage with rounds of 66 and 67.

Smith will face Argentinean local Andres Schonbaum in round one, while Arnoldi will line up against Matias Simaski, another local favourite.

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

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