The South African team produced a solid second round at the Karuizawa 72 East Golf Club in Japan on Thursday to keep their Espirito Santo Trophy campaign on track at the 2014 World Amateur Team Championships.
Monja Richards fired a one-under-par 71 at the Iriyama Course, while Michaela Fletcher and Cara Gorlei both registered rounds of 73. Their combined 144 handed the team a share of 14th with the People’s Republic of China and the Philippines on two-under-par 286.
“Although we slipped out of the top 10, the team is still high motivated,” said national coach Val Holland. “Everyone is going out on Friday with a fighting attitude and I am sure we can expect some low scores in the last two rounds.”
Richards got going after an hour-long delay due to poor visibility, but turned in two over after bogeys at the second and ninth holes.
The Mpumalanga golfer quickly wiped out the deficit with birdies at the 11th and 13th and knocked in another putt for birdie at the 18th to put the seal on flawless back nine.
Gorlei was solid with three birdies and four drops, while Fletcher birdied the par-five fifth but battled a cold putter to final hole.
“Monja mounted a superb challenge on the back nine to break par and Cara had very few errors, but she caught a few unlucky breaks,” said Holland.
“Michaela was in great form again and fired her irons at all the flags, but unfortunately for her the putts just didn’t drop.
“It was a good effort all around and the team is fired up to make a positive move when we return to the Iriymama course on Friday.”
The team tees off at 08h25 with Italy and the Netherlands, who are tied for 17th on 288.
Meanwhile overnight leaders Canada held on to pole position on 14-under-par 274 with a 139.
They have a two shot lead over the host nation, who vaulted to second place after Minami Katsu and Eri Okayama combined for a 132 with respective rounds of 65 and 67.
TOP 10 LEADERBOARD – ROUND ONE
-14 Canada 135 139
-12 Japan 144 132
-11 Republic of Korea 137 140
-10 Spain 142 136; Sweden 143 135
-9 Germany 143 136
-7 England 147; Mexico 142 139; India 141 140
-6 Denmark 143 139; France 140 142; Australia 144 138; United States 142 140
-2 South Africa 142 144; Philippines 143 143; People’s Republic of China 146 140