Aubrey Beckley from North West and Southern Cape’s Andre Nel were the lone survivors of the 11-strong South African pack to make the match play stage of the Amateur Championship in Wales on Tuesday.
Beckley carded a first round 73 at Royal Porthcawl golf Club braved windy and wet conditions at Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club to rocket from joint 88th to a tie for sixth on even-par 142.
The Potchefstroom golfer overcame a bogey start with a pair of birdies at four and five. He turned one under and collected another birdie at the par four 16th to sign for a two-under-par 69. Beckley finished six shots off the pace from Connor Syme, whose successive rounds of 68 handed the Scotsman a two shot lead over compatriot Alasdair McDougall in the match play qualifier.
Nel was tied for 16 after an opening 69 at Pyle and Kenfig and teed off at 15h20.
He battled to a five over 76 at the challenging championship layout of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club and finished in joint 34th at three over 145.
South African Golf Association assistant executive director Neil Homann, who is travelling with the eight Golf RSA National Squad members, said the adverse weather conditions played a huge role in scores on Tuesday.
‘You could tell just how tough the conditions were by watching the predicted cut line, which moved from level par all the way out to five over 145,’ Homann said.
‘If you missed a shot, you made a number because the windy conditions made two tough courses even tougher to navigate.’
Eight of the nine South Africans missed the cut, including 2015 Boys Amateur finalist Keegan de Lange, while Jason Smith, who was inside the mark, was disqualified after he signed for an incorrect score at the 14th hole at Pyle and Kenfig.
Nel will play Scott Gregory from England at Royal Porthcawl for a spot in the top 32 this afternoon, while Beckley’s opponent will be decided in the play-off this morning after a total of 79 players made the cut.
Reigning South African Stroke Play champion Jack Hume from Ireland and his Walker Cup team mates Ewen Ferguson and Grant Forrest, the runner-up in last year’s Amateur Championship, were among the 79 qualifiers.
By Lali Stander