Scots have early edge at Leopard Trophy
The Scottish squad will take a slender one point lead into the first round afternoon singles at the Leopard Trophy after edging ahead 3-2 in the morning section at Leopard Creek, near Malelane.
The four matches delivered two wins and two losses for both teams, but the Scots took the lead when 17-year-old Ewan Scott from St Andrews beat fourth-ranked Gerlou Roux from Bellville 7&6 in the single match that made up the morning session.
Having won in 2010 and 2011, the South Africans are chasing their third victory in this annual test that pits a team of South Africa’s leading amateurs against a Scottish side comprising nine players drawn from the Scottish Golf Union’s Mens Performance and Transitional squads.
South Africa’s number two Zander Lombard and his partner, new cap Tertius van der Berg put the first scores on the board for South Africa with a 5&4 win over Ross Bell and Scott Borrowman.
Moments later, Graham Gordon and Jamie Savage levelled the leaderboard with the same result over SA debutants Werner Feirreira and Aubrey Barnard.
Meanwhile reigning SA Stroke Play champion Haydn Porteous and Ten Nations Cup debutant Louis Taylor survived a tough up-and-down battle against Fraser McKenna and Scott Crichton, but the South African pair won the 17th to take a 1-up lead to the last.
While Taylor’s tee shot split the fairway at 18, McKenna pulled his drive and Crichton was left with a tough second from just on the driving range that runs parallel to the final hole.
The Scot punched out between some trees and found the fairway just short of the water guarding the 18th green, while Porteous cleared the drink with his second and found the front edge of the green.
McKenna third finished pin-high and 15 feet right of the pin, but Taylor chipped to barely an inch from the hole, forcing a concession and taking the score to 2-all.
In the final match, Dylan Raubenheimer and Callum Mowat managed to square their match against Fraser Moore and Michael Daily at the picturesque par-three 16th after Mowat hit a superb tee shot just past the pin and Raubenheimer chipped to a foot.
But the South Africans handed the advantage straight back to the Scots when Raubenheimer pushed his tee shot right into the bush, forcing Mowat to reload and fire for the fairway.
Raubenheimer’s third flew just over the pin and spun back to 10 feet, but Moore lagged a 15-footer from the left edge of the green to two inches. The Scots won the hole after Mowat’s putt lipped out.
The Scottish pair set up their 2-up victory with textbook golf down the 18th, laying up after a solid drive and hitting their approach to two feet behind the pin.
Mowat leaked his tee shot right and the SA pair narrowly escaped the water hazard between the 18th and ninth fairways. Raubenheimer hit a superb recovery to the fairway just short of the water, but Mowat’s third finished 15 feet behind the hole on a downward slope. Raubenheimer had to hole the putt to halve the match but his effort finished inches from the hole.
The South Africans are upbeat though, depending on the singles to take the advantage back.
“We are trailing by one, but we remain very positive that we can turn things in our favour,” Taylor said. “It’s only my second Test for South Africa and I was pretty nervous this morning. Right now I feel a lot more settled and I’m sure it will be the same for the other new caps.
“We’ll have nine chances in the singles this afternoon to wipe out that one shot deficit and get ourselves in the driving seat.”
SINGLES DRAW (SA vs SCOTLAND):
12h00 Haydn Porteous vs Fraser McKenna
12h07 Zander Lombard vs Scott Crichton
Louis Taylor vs Ewan Scott
12h21 Gerlou Roux vs Scott Borrowman
Dylan Raubenheimer vs Fraser Moore
12h35 Tertuis van den Berg vs Michael Daily
Aubrey Barnard vs Ross Bell
12h49 Werner Ferreira vs Jamie Savage
Callum Mowat vs Graham Gordon