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GolfRSA duo in the mix at St Andrews

10 Jun 2017

Kyle McClatchie in action at the St Andrews Links Trophy; credit David Younge / GolfRSA.

Kyle McClatchie and fellow GolfRSA National Squad player Jovan Rebula made a solid start in the St Andrews Links Trophy to stay in touch with first round leader John Ross Galbraith on Friday.

The Irishman made the most of his early start at the Jubilee Course at St Andrews and fired a six-under-par 66 to open up a one shot lead over rising Scottish star Jamie Stewart, David Micheluzzi from Australia and Germany’s Claudio Consul.

McClatchie staved off strong opposition to win the Brabazon Trophy at the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship two weeks ago and the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate player was understandably frustrated when he missed the cut in last week’s Carrick Neil Scottish Men’s Open Championship at Western Gailes.

Teeing off in the late afternoon, McClatchie got the worst of the wet weather, but he racked up birdies at second, fifth and sixth holes to complete the opening loop in 33 strokes.

“I managed to get to four under with a birdie at 10, but I dropped the 14th and 16th,” said McClatchie, who leads the nine-strong South African challenge with a two-under-par 70.

“The Jubilee course is on the toughest at St Andrews. The greens are very undulating and you have to hit it in the right places. Unfortunately I short-sided myself at 14 and 16, but I did well to walk off with soft bogeys.

“I am looking forward to the Old Course on Saturday. I have an early start, so hopefully I get out in front of the rain and gain some ground on the leader.”

Former SA number one Rebula is on a break from the college golf circuit at Auburn University and looking to improve on a tie for 16th in last year’s event. The George golfer was one under at the turn, but lost ground with successive bogeys at 14 and 15.

“We were hit with a heavy downpour and I paid the price when I lost focus at 14 and 15,” said Rebula of his 72.

“The wind was pretty strong and the rain was into us, so I was pleased that I could grind out three great pars over the closing holes. Any time you make par at those holes, you take it. I shot 69 in the first round last year in sunny conditions, but I think a 72 was a good enough effort to get off the ground in the conditions we faced on Friday. Hopefully I can get into red numbers on Saturday.”
Matt Saulez from KwaZulu-Natal and Albert Venter from Gauteng North – who tied for ninth at Western Gailes on Sunday – both opened with rounds of 74, while Franklin Manchest from Southern Cape returned a 76.

University of Arkansas student Dylan Naidoo from Central Gauteng carded a 77 and the final GolfRSA National Squad member Marco Steyn, also from Central Gauteng, opened his campaign with a 78.

Keegan de Lange from Gauteng North and KwaZulu-Natal’s Gregory Royston also posted 77s.

Play shifts to the iconic Old Course for the second round on Saturday and after a cut to the leading 40 players and ties, the third and final rounds will also be contested at the Old Course on Sunday.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.

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