South Africa’s Jason Smith (pictured) and NJ Arnoldi combined for a disappointing 153 in the second round of the 43rd Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup to slip to 10th in the prestigious team competition in Pilar, Argentina.
Smith from Gauteng North opened with a two over 73 at the Los Lagartos Country Club and carded a 76 in round two, while Arnoldi from Ekurhuleni followed an opening 71 with a six-over-par 77.
The team fell from joint fifth to 10th on 297 and lag 19 shots behind Canada, who pulled away from joint overnight leaders, Venezuela.
Austin Connelly scorched the championship layout in 65 strokes, while US amateur finalist Corey Conners added a one over 72 to help lift the side into pole position on 278.
Chile leapfrogged the host nation to finish in second, eight strokes off the pace, and two ahead of Argentina, while Venezuela took fourth on 289.
Smith birdied the first, but walked off the par-five second with an eight. He managed to shave one shot off his deficit with a birdie at the ninth to turn one over. On the back nine, the Irene golfer negated a bogey at the 12th with a birdie at the 15th, but a triple bogey, bogey finish saw him finish the loop in 39 strokes.
“I played really well, but two errant tee shots cost me six shots,” said the reigning SA Stroke Play champion.
“The round was pretty solid, but it’s a bit tough to recover six wasted shots in holes, especially when you go three over at the 17th again. I am five over for that hole in two days, so I will have to rethink my game plan at the 17th.
“I know we have a lot of work to do, but we just want to go out there, give it the best we’ve got and let the chips fall where they may.”
Arnoldi also enjoyed a birdie start, but immediately suffered two successive bogeys. He birdied the par-three seventh to turn level par.
“I was going along nicely with pars at the first two holes on the back nine, but I finished with two double bogeys and a pair of bogeys over the last five holes,” the Nigel golfer said.
“We are 19 shots behind the Canadians, so it’s going to take a tremendous effort from both of us to catch up to the leaders, but Jason and I are determined to give it our best shot.”
Both players survived the cut, which was set at 154, and will contend with 64 players for glory in the Individual Competition
South Africa has won the Team Competition in this prestigious event twice.
Former Masters champion Immelman and multiple Sunshine Tour winner Ulrich van den Berg scored the country’s first victory in 1999, and in 2008, former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Ryan Dreyer and JG Claassen secured South Africa’s second triumph in Pilar.
ROUND TWO LEADERBOARD
278 Canada 141-137
286 Chile 142-144
288 Argentina 142-146
289 Venezuela 149-148
290 Spain 144 146
291 Ireland 146-145
292 New Zealand 145-147
293 Brazil 148-145
295 Switzerland 148-147
298 South Africa 144-153
299 Australia 152-147
301 Uruguay 152-149
304 Colombia 148-156
305 Mexico 156-149
310 Peru 159-151