The Kyalami Golf Course in Johannesburg is playing to very challenging conditions. The course has many fairways where slope comes into play whether across the fairway or playing up and downhill.
The greens are running quite quickly, but the fairways are probably even faster! The winter dormant grass makes the course looks like a burnt-off links course with plenty of big bounces and roll. Overall, it has proven to be a great test of golf and the perfect course for a matchplay competition.
This morning, the team of Dongwoo Kang, Brad Shilton, and Jared Pender, captained by Pieter Zwart, played some very solid golf in the Four-Ball matches. Dongwoo and Brad played some stellar golf; losing their first two holes, they went on a tear and won the next six holes. They finished their match over the South African pair 4&3.
Jared and Pieter played against a very tough South African pair, and they played strongly to take the match to the 18th green, only to lose 1-down. All combined, they were 6-under with Jared making a vital 40m pitch shot to eagle on the 13th hole!
The end result was solid with 1-point for the win. As it happened, all the teams had one pair winning and one pair losing, so the teams were all tied going into lunch.
In the afternoon, Dongwoo led off in the #4 team position, and after a solid start, he struggled through the middle part of the round to lose all three of his matches. Pieter played at #3 and managed to win one match against Mathew Guyatt and lost the other two games to the Canadian and South African players. Jared Pender struggled with some of his iron shots but just about holed his second shot on the par 5 18th hole leading to a short eagle putt to win his match over his Canadian playing partner.
Unfortunately, after making bogey on the 17th hole, he lost his other two matches 2/1; otherwise, there could have been a nice swing in points. Brad played some nice golf, but unfortunately, he lost all three of his matches with two of them going down 2/1.
The format for the afternoon proved to be a challenging matchplay format which was a little confusing to start with. All four players played each of the other 3-players in the group; Dongwoo, playing at #4, played the other #4 players from Australia, Canada and South Africa.
So, if a player got his game going, he could collect three wins over his playing group. Three of the South African players managed to win two matches and half the third, while TJ King (#1 Australia) was in strong form winning all three of his matches.
The final results for day one are South Africa leading with 10pts, Australia and Canada on 7.5pts and New Zealand on 3pts. The golfing conditions were perfect with temperatures getting up to the mid-20s on the course with a slight breeze at times. Tomorrow, the weather looks to be the same and Team New Zealand will have two remaining fourball matches against Canada and Australia.
Hopefully, another day will have our boys adjusting to the significant time zone change and geared up for another impressive day of golf.
Live scoring is available here with matches starting at 8 am South African time, 6 pm NZ time.