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South Africa’s Jason Smith and NJ Arnoldi (pictured) combined for a ninth place finish in the 43rd Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup at the Los Lagartos Country Club in Pilar, Argentina on Sunday.

Arnoldi from Ekurhuleni carded rounds of 71, 77 and 74 and closed with a three-under-par 68 for a final total of 290.

Smith from Gauteng North opened with a two over 73, added rounds of 76 and 75 and carded 73 in the final round to contribute 297 to the team’s tally.

The South African duo was joint fifth after an opening round 144, but slipped to joint 10th after a second round 153. They held on to 10th with 149 in the third round and the final round 141 gave them a final tally of 587.

“We are obviously disappointed with the result, but pleased that we managed to improve as the tournament progressed,” Smith said.

The TuksSport Golf Academy member added that the week had been a frustrating one from the moment they arrived.

“We flew in early to get acclimatised, but rained non-stop for three days and we barely got a play a full practice round before the tournament started.

“NJ and I were both hitting the ball incredibly well and we didn’t miss many fairways, but we just couldn’t get any momentum going. We both struggled to read these undulating greens; you could have a six foot putt that breaks two ways and the near-misses was mentally very exhausting.

“In the third round, a three-club wind gusted from every direction to make our task even more difficult, yet we are both encouraged by the fact that we improved over the last two rounds.

“We are both very positive ahead of the Argentinean Amateur this week.”

The South African pair will line up in the stroke play qualifier for the sixth oldest Amateur Championship at the nearby Highland Park Country Club along with a host of local nationals and 22 of the international campaigners in the Juan Carlos Tailhade Cup.

Meanwhile Canadians Austin Connelly and Corey Conners claimed the country’s first victory in the prestigious event.

The pair shared the first round lead on 141 with Venezuela, but Connelly fired a six-under-par 65 to help the team push eight strokes clear of the field with a second round 137 and the side kept control with a third round 139.

Eighteen-year-old Connelly carded a final round 69 and US Amateur finalist Conners responded with a 68 for a final round 137 and a winning total of 554.
The Canadians finished 19 strokes clear of second placed Spain.

Connelly topped the Individual Competition leaderboard with 273, finishing seven strokes clear of local favourite Alejandro Tosti and nine shots ahead of Conners.

Arnoldi took 15th place in the Individual standings, while reigning SA Stroke Play champion Smith tied for 31st alongside Kadin Neho from New Zealand, and Argentineans Francisco Ruiz, Thomas Beitia and Miguel Sancholuz.

FINAL RESULT

554 Canada 141-137-139-137

573 Spain 144-146-144-139

557 Chile 142-144-146-145

579 Argentina 142-146-152-139

581 Switzerland 148-147-143-143; Venezuela 149-148148-144

582 New Zealand 145-147-150-140; Ireland 146-145-149-142

587 South Africa 144-153-149-141

593 Brazil 148-145-152-148

595 Australia 152-147-152-144

598 Uruguay 152-149-146-151

606 Peru 159-151-151-145; Colombia 148-156-152-150

611 Mexico 156-149-154-152

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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