Rafferty vows to chase as du Preez leads by seven in African Amateur
 Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty tees off in the rain in round three of the African Amateur Stroke Play. Credit: Ernest Blignault.

Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty tees off in the rain in round three of the African Amateur Stroke Play. Credit: Ernest Blignault.

Caolan Rafferty promised to "give it a run" today after a three-under 69 left him tied for second but seven behind South Africa's James du Preez heading into the final round of African Amateur Stroke Play.

The Pretoria man shot a flawless, eight-under-par 64 to lead on 13-under par with compatriot  Martin Vorster and talented Dundalk man Rafferty his nearest rivals at a storm-hit Glendower Golf Club on six-under.

Castle's Alex Gleeson is tied for fourth on five-under after a 71 with Tramore's Robin Dawson, named yesterday in Europe's Bonallack Trophy team to face the Asia-Pacific in Qatar next month, carding a 70 to share seventh on two-under.

"Yeah, really happy," Rafferty said after making five birdies and two bogeys in a round marked by an early morning suspension for a thunderstorm.

"I got really lucky to miss most of the poor weather. We were sent out for the first couple of holes in it but being well-used to that sort of weather at home; it wasn't much of a bother to us Irish, I suppose.

"The first day was a bit hit or miss, but I have played well the last two days."

Not giving up hope of reeling in du Preez, he added: "You never say never. He's there to be caught so we'll give it a run tomorrow and see how it goes. We'll not hold back anything,

"It's a great score, eight under today, so hat's off to him. But my first time out here it's nice to shoot a few good scores so we'll have to keep it going."

Du Preez started the day one shot behind South Africa’s David McIntyre, Yashas Chandra from India and Frenchman Edgar Catherine on six-under oar but posted a flawless eight-under-par 64 in a near seven-hour day after a weather suspension of two hours and 20 minutes.

A birdie at the par five-eighth after the delay kept him in front and a strong finish with five birdies in his last seven holes saw him finish with a 13 under par total.

 Runaway leader James du Preez. Credit: Ernest Blignault.

Runaway leader James du Preez. Credit: Ernest Blignault.

Fellow South African Vorster (18) made three birdies on the trot from 13 and parred the final three holes for a 68 that earned him a share of second with Rafferty.

Reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Christo Lamprecht matched Vorster’s 68 to tie for fourth with Gleeson on five under. 

The Castle Golf Club player had a tumultuous front nine, but birdies at 14 and 15 got him back in red numbers with a 71.

The last time Du Preez entered the winner’s circle was in April two years ago, but he felt his game was coming into winning form again during the South African Stroke Play Championship last week.

“I just felt really good off the tee and the short game was getting better throughout the tournament,” he said of his top-five finish at Pecanwood.

“It’s been a long road back from injury, so I didn’t arrive here with huge expectations, but I felt I could put together four decent rounds.”
After boxing a three-footer for eagle at the second, Du Preez parred the next four holes.

“The siren blew and most of the guys were worried about whether we’d go out again, but I just chilled out and didn’t think about it too much,” Du Preez said. 

“It really came down hard. We couldn’t even see the fairway at the second hole from the tee.

“It was still coming down when we restarted, and I just stayed patient. The course drained incredibly well, but the greens were very receptive. If you took the right route off the tee, you could score.”

 Castle's Alex Gleeson. Credit: Ernest Blignault.

Castle's Alex Gleeson. Credit: Ernest Blignault.

The HPC Tuks Golf Academies player hit a 4-iron pin-high right at 12 and made a great up-and-down for birdie to set the ball rolling on the back nine.

“I birdied 13, and 15 and I wanted to get one more birdie down the last three holes to give myself a really good cushion,” he said. 

“I hit driver down the middle and had 90 metres in, I took sand-wedge and left myself a 12-footer and boxed it for birdie. At 18, my tee shot finished a fraction off the fairway right, but I hit my approach to 12 foot and holed the putt.

“It’s golf, so you can’t get your expectations up too high. You never know what will happen. I could keep it going; someone else could hit a hot run. It’s just important to stay in your own game and stick to your process.”

Like Rafferty and Kilkenny's Mark Power, Mallow's James Sugrue is finding his feet on his first Senior trip and a level par 72 leaves him tied 27th on three-over.

Power shot a 74 that included two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey seven to share 32nd on four-over with Tiarnan McLarnon and Jonathan Yates seven and eight over respectively after 77s.

The cut fell at 14-over which meant the end of the trip for Royal Dublin's Barry Anderson, who bogeyed his final hole to shoot 74 and miss out by one stroke.

The SA Junior Team edged out Ireland 1 — Power, Dawson, Gleeson, Rafferty — by just four strokes for the 54-hole team competition.

Rounds of 68 from Vorster and Lamprecht, supported by a 73 from Wilco Nienaber saw the youngsters triumph on 18-under.

France took third on six-under and the SA National Team finished in fourth on one-under.

African Amateur Stroke Play, Glendower GC (Par 72)

Individual

RSA unless stated

203 James du Preez 69 70 64

210 Martin Vorster 73 69 68; Caolan Rafferty IRL 73 68 69

211 Christo Lamprecht Jnr 74 69 68; Alex Gleeson IRL 73 67 71

212 Frédéric LaCroix FRA 67 74 71

214 Robin Dawson IRL 73 71 70; Malcolm Mitchell 71 72 71; Louis Albertse 71 71 72; Edgar Catherine FRA 70 68 76

215 Byron Coetzee 71 70 74

216 Luca Filippi 75 70 71; Sam Locke SCO 74 75 67; Dylan Kok 72 72 72; David Mcintyre 70 68 78

217 Wilco Nienaber 79 65 73; Jack Gaunt ENG 77 69 71; Euan Walker GBR 76 70 71; Nicholaus Frade 71 71 75

218 Andrew Wilson ENG 76 71 71; Ryan van Velzen 74 69 75; Chris Woollam 73 73 72; Cameron Moralee 73 69 76; Jayden Schaper 72 74 72; Matt Saulez 70 73 75; Yashas Chandra IND 70 68 80

219 Alan Lones 79 69 71; Neal Woernhard SUI 78 71 70; Darren Howie SCO 75 74 70; James Sugrue IRL 75 72 72; Kartik Sharma IND 71 76 72

220 Calum Fyfe SCO 74 73 73; Jeremy Freiburghaus SUI 73 70 77; Mark Power IRL 72 74 74

221 Loris Schuepbach SUI 77 74 70; Deon Germishuys 73 74 74; Paul Waring ENG 72 77 72; Luan Boshoff 71 70 80

222 Otto van Buynder 82 70 70; Christopher van der Merwe 76 75 71; Keegan Mclachlan 74 72 76

223 Theunie Bezuidenhout 76 77 70; Tiarnan McLarnon IRL 74 72 77

224 Jonathan Yates IRL 77 70 77; Callum Mackay GBR 76 77 71; Kyle de Beer 76 72 76; Guillaume Chevalier FRA 75 74 75; Clément Charmasson FRA 70 74 80

225 Romain Lanteri FRA 81 71 73; Siyanda Mwandla 78 73 74; Maximillian Boegel GER 75 75 75; Gregory Mckay 73 76 76

226 Victor Veyret FRA 77 77 72; Clayton Mansfield 77 75 74

227 John Paterson SCO 78 73 76; Caylum Boon 77 77 73; Varun Parikh IND 76 79 72

228 Philip Kruse 77 77 74

229 David Langley GBR 82 75 72; Pierre Pellegrin 78 78 73; Sheoran Dhruv IND 77 75 77; Jordan Burnand 77 74 78; Titouan Berny 77 73 79; Andrew Carlsson 75 77 77

230 Andre van Heerden (Jnr) 81 72 77; Aneurin Gounden 78 74 78

Cut - Top 65 and ties

231 Nicola Gerhardsen 78 75 78; Casey Jarvis 78 75 78; Barry Anderson IRL 76 81 74; Jason Rossiter 75 76 80

232 Antoine Sale 82 75 75; Jakub Hrinda 82 75 75; David Nortje 75 81 76; Keaton Slatter 75 79 78

233 Hayden Griffiths 79 73 81

234 Thomas Boulanger FRA 80 75 79; Keelan van Wyk 75 76 83

235 Loic Ettlin SUI 84 79 72; Darin de Smidt 80 76 79

237 Pierre Pineau FRA 83 76 78; Christian Verrougstraete FRA 80 80 77; Mandla Dlamini 80 78 79; Jacob Oakley ENG 75 83 79

240 Charles Larcelet FRA 77 78 85

241 Florent Toulet MRI 80 82 79

242 Alexandre Lasalarie FRA 81 83 78

245 Samual Mckenzie 77 80 88

251 Ritish Venkamah MRI 83 88 80

255 William Dodds ENG 87 87 81

257 Rakesh Channoo MRI 82 88 87

Team — Final

1, South Africa Jnr -18; 
2, Ireland 1 (Power, Dawson, Gleeson, Rafferty) -14; 
3, France −6; 
-
9, Ireland 2 (McLarnon, Sugrue, Anderson, Yates) +9.