Solid start for Harvey in New Zealand
Reigning SA Amateur Stroke Play champion Jared Harvey led the way for South Africa in the opening round of the United Fisheries Shirley Open in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Harvey, Brandon Stone, Ruan De Smidt and Haydn Porteous travelled to Christchurch to compete in this prestigious Charles Tour event following their participation against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina in the Four Nations Cup near Queenstown.
The 72-hole stroke play tournament pits top amateurs and professional players against each other, with only the professionals eligible to compete for the $40,000 purse.
Harvey carded a one-over-par 73 in fine but cool conditions at Christchurch Golf Club to finish seven strokes off the pace from joint first round leaders, professionals Nick Gillespie and Scott Hill from New Zealand, and two strokes adrift of the leading amateurs in the tournament.
The KwaZulu-Natal golfer dropped twice on the front nine, but birdied the par-four ninth to turn in 37. He picked up a birdie at the 11th, gave it back with a bogey at the 12th but completed the rest of his inward stretch with pars.
Stone looked set to post a good score when he turned in two under, but back-back bogeys at 11 and 12 and a double at the par-four 14th saw him sign off on a two-over-par 74. Porteous and De Smidt both signed for 75s.
“The conditions were not ideal with all the rain they have had this way,” said South African Golf Association’s Executive Director Bruce Younge.
“Unfortunately, due to the wet weather, the pro-am was cancelled and we could only fit in a few holes in the practice round.
“This is the sort of the course where you have to drive well to score, but the boys held up their end off the tee. Unfortunately their putting woes at the Four Nations Cup followed them to Christchurch, especially Haydn, who has really been struggling with the short stick.”
But Younge believes the scores could improve if the weather cooperates.
“I do envisage better scoring from all the players, providing the weather plays it’s part,” he said. “They all have a full 18 holes under the belt now and the course won’t seem as unfamiliar and daunting in the second round.”