Tough Start for SA Team

Nicol van Wyk, only SA player to win his singles matchGoing down 2½ points to Australia’s 3½ proved to be a tough start for the South African amateur golf team participating in the international quadrangular known as the Southern Cross Cup.

It turned out to be a titanic struggle for victory between two historically strong golf playing nations.

The international team event, in which each team is represented by their 4 top amateur players, is being decided over three days at the Wairakei International Golf Course, Taupo, New Zealand. Each team plays the other, in match play format, foursomes in the morning and singles in the afternoon.

In this morning’s foursomes the South African pairing of Dean O’Riley and Steve Ferreira lost their match, against Ryan McCarthy and Matt Jager, two down.

They started well and were 3 up after 4 holes. The Australians fought back to all square after 10 holes. A bogey by the South Africans, on hole 11, resulted in their opponents going 1 up. A birdie on hole 13 drew the two teams level. A horrible double bogey on hole 14 saw the Australians go back to 1 up. Regulation play by the South Africans, on the next hole, put the match back to all square. The Australians then went on to win the next two holes, holes 16 and 17, and the hard fought match.

In the other foursomes match, with South Africans Adrian Ford and Nicol van Wyk up against the Australian pairing of Scott Arnold and Brendan Smith provided for a similarly hard fought affair going all the way to the 18th hole.

Adrian Ford, fought hard for his singles halfThere was never much in the match, and perhaps, looking back, the South Africans will be saying that it was a match they should have won. It was a ding dong battle up to hole 7 when the South Africans won hole 8 and 9 to go 2 up. They lost hole 9 and hole 13 to go all square. They then won hole 15 to go one up. This is how it remained to the final hole where a birdie by the Australian pairing won them the hole and in so doing halving the match.

Going into lunch, Australia had 1½ points to South Africa’s ½ point.

The afternoon singles provided further proof as to how evenly matched the two teams were, finishing with 2 points each.

Nicol van Wyk was first out, playing Ryan McCarthy of Australia. The 24 year old team captain, from Durbanville Golf Club in Cape Town, won the first hole and never looked back eventually winning 4 and 2.

Steven Ferreira, 19 year old Reading Country Club player, lost his match against Brendan Smith, 6 and 5. The promising young South African started well enough, winning the first hole. However he lost the second and never got his nose in front again. He will be disappointed with his performance, he was seven over par on the conclusion of the match.

Adrian Ford, 22 year old Durbanville Golf Club member, so nearly beat Matt Jager when his birdie putt finished agonizingly close to the cup on the 18th hole. He needed the birdie for a win, his regulation 5 halved the hole and the match. No player was ever more than 2 up on the other. The Australian went 2 up after two consecutive birdies on holes 9 and 10. A birdie for Ford on hole 12 and regulation golf on hole 14 returned the status of the match to all square. The two players then halved all the holes, from the 15th, going in.

Dean O'Riley, SA's No 1 player took on Australia's No 1 Scott ArnoldDean O’Riley, 19 year old from Benoni Lake Golf Club, must have been well pleased with his performance today, winning the last two holes from Australia’s top ranked amateur, Scott Arnold, to halve the match.

O’Riley fought tenaciously throughout. He was never up on the Australian but he also never let his opponent get away from him. The Australian won hole 2, after O’Riley recorded a bogeyed. The Benoni golfer pulled one back, to go all square, when he birdied the 7th. Arnold then birdied 11 and 12 to go two up. O’Riley birdied the next to pull one back. Both players birdied hole 14 however Arnold managed to birdie hole 15 to go back to 2 up. O’Riley fought back gamely winning the last two holes.

In the other match Argentina, the defending champions, dominated in their match against New Zealand, the host nation. They won both foursomes and two singles matches, halving one and losing the other. The Argentinians finished with 4½ points to their opponents 1½ points.

South Africa play New Zealand tomorrow. If they are to stand a good chance of winning the Southern Cross Cup for the first time, they will need win this one handsomely.

First Round Results:
Course: Wairakei International Golf Course (Par 72), Taupo, New Zealand

Morning Foursomes:
Argentina vs New Zealand
(Argentinian players’ names listed first in each match below)
Tomas Cocha & Jorge Fernandez Valdez beat Ryan Fox & Daniel Pearce 5 and 4;
Ary Rodriguez & Leandro Marelli beat Thomas Spearman Burn & Peter Spearman Burn 2 up.
Argentina: 2 pts, New Zealand 0
South African vs Australia
(South African players’ names listed first in each match below)
Nicol van Wyk & Adrian Ford halved with Scott Arnold & Brendan Smith;
Dean O’Riley & Steve Ferreira lost to Matt Jager & Ryan McCarthy 2 down.
South Africa ½pt, Australia 1½pts

Afternoon Singles:
Argentina vs New Zealand
(Argentinian players’ names listed first in each match below)
Tomas Cocha beat Ryan Fox 2 and 1;
Jorge Fernandez Valdez halved with Peter Spearman Burn;
Ary Rodriguez beat Daniel Pearce 4 and 3;
Leandro Marelli lost to Thomas Spearman Burn 1 down.
Argentina 2½ pts, New Zealand 1½ points
Final Result: Argentina 4½ pts, New Zealand 1½ pts
South Africa vs Australia
(South African players’ names listed first in each match below)
Dean O’Riley halved with Scott Arnold;
Adrian Ford halved with Matt Jager;
Steve Ferreira lost to Brendan Smith 6 and 5;
Nicol van Wyk beat Ryan McCarthy 4 and 2.
South Africa: 2 pts, Australia 2 pts
Final Result: South Africa 2½ pts, Australia 3½ pts.

Southern Cross Cup Table:
(Position, Country, Played, Won, Halved, Lost, Points, Matches Won)
1, Argentina, 1,1,0,0,1,4½
2, Australia, 1,1,0,0,1,3½
3,South Africa, 1,0,0,1,0,2½
4,New Zealand, 1,0,0,1,0,1½

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