Aussies take charge at Ten Nations Cup
Moving day in Friday’s third round of the Ten Nations Cup at Kingswood Golf Estate saw Australia take command, New Zealand make a move, Argentina cruise into contention and South Africa off the rocks.
Victoria’s 14-year-old Ryan Ruffles began the charge for Australia, riding a hot putter to six birdies and an eagle to cover the 6,123m layout in a blistering seven-under-par 65. Team mates Geoff Drakeford and Brady Ward contributed a pair of 69s for a third round total of 13 under 203 that lifted the side into pole position on 27-under-par 621.
“It was a great round, and it feels great to also contribute, especially after Brady’s course record put us back into the tournament yesterday,” said Ruffles. “Now we just need to keep the momentum going and keep our noses in front tomorrow.”
Neighbouring New Zealand slipped into second spot with a 54-hole team total of 24 under 624 after carding 16-under-par 200, put together by an equally impressive 65 from Vaughan McCall (65), a 67 from Tyler Hodge and a 68 from Blair Riordan.
Argentina loom in third, just five off the pace, after Jamie Lopez Rivarola gave the side a welcome shot in the arm with a six under 66. Alejandro Tosti (67) and Joaquin Bonour (69) contributed the other two counting scores that made up Argentina’s third round 202.
But England can still mount a final round challenge after Gauteng North Open winner Toby Tree (67), Jamie Rutherford (69) and Max Orrin (71) combined for 207 to take their tally to 21-under-par 627.
South Africa finally got their groove on and moved up two spots to seventh on two under 646 after new cap Louis Taylor came home in 68 and Haydn Porteous and Zander Lombard both contributed 69s. New cap Dylan Raubenheimer carded a non-counting 70.
The South Africans bookended the bottom of the scoreboard for two rounds, but the players spent nearly four hours on the range with coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen to iron out their swing problems on Thursday. The effort certainly showed in the scores after all four players broke par for the first time in the tournament.
It was gratifying to see the effort pay off out there,” Van Leeuwen said. “It as significant that they all broke par, because that will definitely boost their confidence and team spirit. It was especially good to see Dylan getting his confidence back after struggling with his swing for a while now and to see Zander play to his potential.”
Reigning SA Stroke Play champion Porteous could have boosted the South African score even more after six birdies, an eagle and three bogeys, but he took seven shots at the par-five 16th after having to declare a lost ball.
“It was really unfortunate, because Haydn was well on his way to score five or six under,” Van Leeuwen said. “Still, it was much better effort from the whole team. They will feel a lot better sitting at seventh that last on the leaderboard. With the same focus, they could improve their position even more in the final round.”
As the dust settled on the third round, New Zealand’s McGall predicted that the final round will come down to focus, fast starts and putting.
“I think the team that gets off to a hot start will win here,” he said. “The side that starts strong and goes a couple under through the first eight holes, will just have to keep their foot on a pedal to stay in front. A hot start, and a hot blade, that’s what will win this tournament.”
TEAM LEADERBOARD – Second Round
621 Australia 216-202-203
624 New Zealand 209-215-200
626 Argentina 212-212-202
627 England 212-208-207
634 Colombia 214-217-203
636 Scotland 211-207-218
646 South Africa 217-223-206
647 Ireland 214-222-211
653 France 215-221-217