SA team takes control in Kolkata
The South Africa team was in commanding form as they extended their first round advantage to three points in Saturday’s second round of the inaugural Golf Test Series in India.
The local heroes racked up victories in three of the four Fourballs games and will head in to the final round on Sunday leading Indian 5.5 – 2.5.
“The conditions were perfect this morning with the mercury hovering around 23 degrees Celsius and a slight breeze to cool things down,” said assistant manager David Younge.
“As in round one, the mid-amateur quartet opened the bidding for us, but unfortunately Shaun Stapleton and Stefan Blommaert were also the first casualties of the day and went down 3 & 2 to Simarjeet Singh and Kailash Dhiwar.
“Stapes and Blommaert lost three of the first four holes and remained 3-down and birdies at 11 and 13 were negated by loses at 12 and 14. It was game over when the sides halved 16 with pars. But Gerlou and Josef turned the tide for us.”
Reigning SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion Roux and partner Fourie faced off against HS Kang and Aditya Khaitan.
“Gerlou and Josef were 1-down after four and didn’t gain ground until they won the ninth hole with a par,” said Younge. “They went from 1-down to 3-up in four holes, winning 10, 11 and 12 and marched to a 5 & 3 victory.”
The seniors picked up the momentum and backed up Roux and Fourie with two victories.
“Jock Wellington is still battling bronchitis, but there is no keeping this old dog down,” Younge said. “As the adage goes, beware the sick golfer. He knocked in two birdie putts in the first three holes and Francois (le Roux) also made a pair that gave them a 5-up lead over Anil Jule and Sanjay Kolhatkar.
A steady run of pars from eight to 13 was all Jock and Francois needed to close out an 8 & 6 result.”
South Africa’s top ranked Steve Williams and Morgan Phillips brought up the rear against Vijay Kumar Bhadana and Amit Luthra in the last match.
“Steve and Morgan went 1-up through three, but Steve’s two-footer for a win at the fourth hole slipped past and that sort of set the tone for the rest of his day.” Stated Younge.
“Morgan was also under the weather when we arrived, but he was back to his old self today and really held the team together. It was pretty scrappy through the first five holes on the back nine, but Steve and Morgan were dormie 2-up at 16.
“Then Steve accidently conceded a 10-foot par putt to the Indian pair, thinking it was a bogey putt to halve. The mistake left him under enormous pressure to sink a two putt at 17 to win the game.
“Having left it short all day, he faced a downhill putt off the fringe with huge right to left break, but he smashed it and the ball hit the pin, leaving him with a tap-in putt to take the game 2 & 1.”
Younge said the South Africans still haven’t come to terms with the grain and the speed of the greens.
“They are really struggling to find the hole, but hopefully they will come to grips with the greens before they tee it up in the Amateur Golf Championship of India next week,” he said.
“But first we are at the business end of the Golf Test Series and it’s all business. We have a nice cushion heading into the final round, but there are eight points up for grabs in the singes on Sunday. Anything can happen, so we are taking nothing for granted; we’ve set ourselves a goal to win at least six of the eight games to secure the victory.”
FINAL ROUND DRAW
South Africa vs India
Josef Fourie vs H S Kang
Shaun Stapleton vs Kailash Dhiwar
Stefan Blommaert vs Simarjeet Singh
Gerlou Roux vs Aditya Khaitan
Jock Wellington vs Amit Luthra
Morgan Phillips vs Anil Jule
Francois Le Roux vs Vijay Kumar Bhadana
Steve Williams vs Sanjay Kolhatkar
PHOTO – The South African mid-amateur and senior amateurs contesting the inaugural Golf Test Series at Royal Calcutta Golf Club in Kolkata, India; credit SAGA.
Back, left to right – Stefan Blommaert, Francois le Roux, Steve Williams, Shaun Stapleton, Jock Wellington, Gerlou Roux and Josef Fourie.
Front – David Young (left), Mascot Mufasa (middle) Morgan Phillips (right)
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.