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SA team extend lead in Indian Test

The South Africa team were in commanding form as they extended their first-round advantage to three points in Saturday’s second round of the inaugural Golf Test Series in India.

The local heroes racked up victories in three of the four fourballs games and will head in to the final round on Sunday leading India 5.5-2.5.

‘The conditions were perfect this morning with the mercury hovering around 23°C and a slight breeze to cool things down,’ said assistant manager David Younge.

‘As in round one, the mid-amateur quartet opened the bidding for us, but unfortunately Shaun Stapleton and Stefan Blommaert were also the first casualties of the day and went down 3 and 2 to Simarjeet Singh and Kailash Dhiwar.

‘Stapes and Blommaert lost three of the first four holes and remained three down and birdies at 11 and 13 were negated by losses at 12 and 14. It was game over when the sides halved 16 with pars. But Gerlou and Josef turned the tide for us.’

Reigning SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion Roux and partner Fourie faced off against HS Kang and Aditya Khaitan.

‘Gerlou and Josef were one down after four and didn’t gain ground until they won the ninth hole with a par,’ said Younge. ‘They went from one down to three up in four holes, winning 10, 11 and 12 and marched to a five and three victory.’

The seniors picked up the momentum and backed up Roux and Fourie with two victories.

‘Jock Wellington is still battling bronchitis, but there is no keeping this old dog down,’ Younge said. ‘As the adage goes, “Beware the sick golfer”. He knocked in two birdie putts in the first three holes and Francois (le Roux) also made a pair that gave them a five-up lead over Anil Jule and Sanjay Kolhatkar.

‘A steady run of pars from eight to 13 was all Jock and Francois needed to close out an eight and six result.’

South Africa’s top-ranked Steve Williams and Morgan Phillips brought up the rear against Vijay Kumar Bhadana and Amit Luthra in the last match.

‘Steve and Morgan went one up through three, but Steve’s two-footer for a win at the fourth hole slipped past and that sort of set the tone for the rest of his day,’ said Younge.

‘Morgan was also under the weather when we arrived, but he was back to his old self today and really held the team together. It was pretty scrappy through the first five holes on the back nine, but Steve and Morgan were dormie two up at 16.

‘Then Steve accidently conceded a 10-foot par putt to the Indian pair, thinking it was a bogey putt to halve. The mistake left him under enormous pressure to sink a two putt at 17 to win the game.

‘Having left it short all day, he faced a downhill putt off the fringe with huge right to left break, but he smashed it and the ball hit the pin, leaving him with a tap-in putt to take the game two and one.’

Younge said the South Africans still haven’t come to terms with the grain and the speed of the greens.

‘They are really struggling to find the hole, but hopefully they will come to grips with the greens before they tee it up in the Amateur Golf Championship of India next week,’ he said.

‘But first, we are at the business end of the Golf Test Series, so it’s all business. We have a nice cushion heading into the final round, but there are eight points up for grabs in the singles on Sunday. Anything can happen, so we are taking nothing for granted; we’ve set ourselves a goal to win at least six of the eight games to secure the victory.’

Final Round Draw

South Africa vs India
Josef Fourie vs H S Kang
Shaun Stapleton vs Kailash Dhiwar
Stefan Blommaert vs Simarjeet Singh
Gerlou Roux vs Aditya Khaitan
Jock Wellington vs Amit Luthra
Morgan Phillips vs Anil Jule
Francois Le Roux vs Vijay Kumar Bhadana
Steve Williams vs Sanjay Kolhatkar

Picture of the SA South African team courtesy of SAGA.
Back (left to right): Stefan Blommaert, Francois le Roux, Steve Williams, Shaun Stapleton, Jock Wellington, Gerlou Roux and Josef Fourie. Front: David Younge (left), Mascot Mufasa (middle) Morgan Phillips (right)


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