SA WATC campaign dealt blow by Turkish weather
Hoping to recover from a disappointing start in their bid to lift the country’s first Eisenhower Trophy, South Africa’s three leading amateurs had pinned their hopes on solid performances in the remaining three rounds at Antalya Golf Club in Turkey.
However, thunderstorms so severely interrupted play at the World Amateur Team Championships on Friday that only six teams was able to complete their rounds.
The local side never even got a look at the Nick Faldo-designed Cornelia Golf Club course before play was abandoned and their title campaign was dealt a further blow when the tournament was reduced to 54-holes.
On Thursday, Brandon Stone and Zander Lombard shot rounds of 70 and 75 respectively to combine for a first round three-over-par 145 at the par-71 Sultan Course. The team was tied for 34th and trailing pacesetters United States by 14 shots.
Needing a solid showing in their second round on Saturday, Stone again led the way for the Proteas, signing off on a one-under-par 71 that featured two birdies, an eagle-two at the par-four eighth hole, three bogeys and a flawless back nine.
Haydn Porteous, whose first round 77 did not count, rebounded with a 73 to provide the support, while Pretoria golfer Lombard carded a non-counting 76.
The team’s combined even-par 144 launched the South Africans to a tie for 28th in the 72-team championship, but their 36-hole team total of three over 289 still left them lagging well behind the United States.
Having broken the record for the lowest 18-hole team score with a 13-under-par 131 in the first round, the American side added a second round seven under 135 to extend their team total to 20-under-par 266.
The US trio lead the Republic of Korea by six shots and is eight shots clear of Canada and Mexico in third.
The third and final round will see all teams ranked one to 36, including South Africa, tee off at the Antalya course, while the remaining teams will play at the Cornelia Golf Club.
“We let ourselves down in the first round, but the conditions certainly hasn’t helped our campaign, ” said South African Golf Association president Andre Pieterse.
“Although we are well behind the leaders, we are still playing for pride and the boys will bring their best effort to the course on Sunday.”