SA Team fights back in New Zealand

South Africa launched a great fight back in round two of the inaugural Four Nations Cup at The Hills Golf Club near Queenstown.

The South African team was nine shots off the pace from Australia at the start of the round, but responded with an improved performance in bitterly cold conditions that saw them clambered to third on the 36-hole leaderboard.

With the temperature hovering around the five degree Celsius mark, Brandon Stone atoned for a dismal opening 78 to lead the way with an even-par 72.

He was backed up by Ruan de Smidt, who carded a 74 and Jared Harvey, who signed for a 76 to give the team a 222 second round total.

With their 36-hole total on 247, the local side are still nine shots adrfit of Australia at the halfway mark.

The overnight leaders also combined for a 222 and managed to cling to their lead on 438, but had their advantage cut to a slender one shot by the Kiwis, who fought their way back into contention with an even-par 216.

Meanwhile Argentina, obviously uncomfortable in the cold conditions, plummeted to last on the leaderboard with a second round tally of 230.

“It was really cold and the rain was unrelenting,” said South African Golf Association’s Executive Director Bruce Younge. “The conditions made playing a demanding course even tougher. We had some bad holes, but all the teams struggled.

“Jared hung in there like a captain should, although he really struggled with flu-like symptoms and Ruan got a little unlucky at the par-five 17th but overall the players struck the ball much better, though, and their putting improved as well.”

After a birdie-bogey start, De Smidt dropped a shot at the par-3 seventh but an eagle at the par-five ninth saw him turn in 35. “I dropped another shot at the 11th, but the 17th was really my undoing,” he explained. “My third struck a hill which left me with an impossible lie and I had to play out sideways just to the get back into the fairway. Then I overshot the green and had to chip out of heavy rough.” De Smidt, who thought he might get a away with a double, tripled when the putt circled the hole, but he responded well with a birdie at the par-4 18th for his 74.

Kyalami golfer Haydn Porteous, who shared the lowest round with Australian Maverick Antcliffe at one-under-par 71 on day one, struggled to a 78 and also fell foul of the 17th.

“I was in the greenside rough for two, but I hit a terrible flop shot to get out of there,” he said. “I chipped but got a really bad bounce right. I nearly holed my next chip shot, but it was still a bogey when it really should have been no worse than par.”

Younge said that given the conditions, it was a tenacious performance from all the players in extremely trying conditions.

“Our guys hung tough and stepped it up,” he said. “Overall, the day has lifted their spirits and they are more determined than ever to show further improvement tomorrow.”

Round Two Individual Leaderboard:

144 Ryan Fox (New Zealand) 72-72

145 Ben Campbell (New Zealand) 75-70

146 France Romero (Argentina) 73-73

147 Ryan Peake (Australia) 73-74

148 Brett Drewitt (Australia)72-76

149 Todd Sinnott (Australia) 77-72, Haydn Porteous (South Africa) 71-78, Jorge Fernandez Valdes (Argentina) 72-77

150 Ruan de Smidt (South Africa)76-74, Mat Perry (New Zealand)76-74, Brandon Stone (South Africa) 78-72

152 Maverick Antcliffe (Australia) 71-81

157 Martin Kim (Argentina) 77-80

158 Thomas Baik (Argentina) 75-83

161 Vaughan McCall (New Zealand) 77-84

76 Jared Harvey (South Africa) DQ 76

Round Two Team Leaderboard:

438 Australia 216, 222

439 New Zealand 223, 216

447 South Africa 225, 222

450 Argentina 220, 230

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