SA’s Mayo stays in touch in Italy

South Africa’s Luke Mayo finished within striking distance of second round pacesetter Riccardo Leo at the Reply Italian International Under-16 Championship in Italy.

The 16-year-old KwaZulu-Natal junior traded three bogeys for two birdies to post one over 74 in another solid display at Golf Club Biella.

Mayo sits at even-par 146, five strokes behind the Italian, who overhauled first round leader Alex Fitzpatrick from England with a two under 71 on Wednesday.

Fellow South Africans Herman Loubser and Luca Filippi still in the running, despite a frustrating day at the challenging parklands layout.

Loubser cancelled three bogeys with a hat-trick of birdies, but a double-bogey six at the par four eighth resulted in a 75 and the 16-year-old Boland junior finished in a three-way tie for ninth on three over 149.

Filippi had a very solid round, but struggled with the short stick. The 16-year-old Western Province junior was one over through 14 but ruined his efforts with back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18.

He closed with a 76 to join the four-man bus at four over 150.

“Luke played great golf again; no real mistakes and his putting saved him where he need it,” said South African Golf Association Golf Integration Manager Eden Thompson.

“Herman played solidly on the first nine holes was two under through 11 holes, but his iron-play let him down on the back nine. He had some lose shots that led to bogeys and was understandably upset with himself after finishing two over par.

“Luca had at least five lip-outs on the front nine and never really got going. The three-putts at 17 and 18 for bogeys left him very frustrated with the putter.

“Hopefully the guys will all pull it together for the last two rounds on Thursday.”

Meanwhile Wilco Nienaber narrowly missed the cut in his debut at the esteemed international event.

The Free State junior turned one over, but had bogeys at one, three and five and ran into trouble at the par four eighth.

He walked off with a triple bogey and, although he rallied with a birdie finish for a 79, it was too little too late for the 15-year-old.

“Wilco played pretty solid and he was in with a shout, but the triple proved too costly,” Thompson said.

“We had to wait for a tense few hours, but unfortunately the cut to 40 and ties fell at 155 and he missed by just two shots.

“Wilco’s work is not done yet, as he was asked to play as a marker on Thursday. He is very excited to have the opportunity and the experience can only serve him well in the future.”

Meanwhile the Italians scored a popular home victory in the 36-hole Nation’s Cup.

The local favourites carded rounds of 141 and 146 to triumph on 287, seven strokes clear of England.

Luca Filippi and Herman Loubser combined for rounds of 148 and 151 to finish fifth, improve South Africa’s position in the team event by three after an eighth place finish last year.

The South Africans finished on 299, while Austria and Norway shared third on 295.

Click HERE to follow the live scoring from the Reply Italian International Under-16 Championship.

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

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