Golf: Kiwis tied 15th in Turkey

New Zealand made a solid, if unspectacular, start to the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey overnight.

The Kiwis managed a two under par 142 team total in round one at the Nick Faldo-designed Cornelia Golf Club to claim a share of 15th place.

They will begin round two at the Antalya Golf Club 11 shots back from 13-time champions the United States who broke the record for the lowest 18-hole team score with a 13-under 131 to take a four-stroke lead over Mexico after the first round.

Southland golfer Vaughan McCall led the way for the Kiwis with a two-under 70 and was supported by Masterton amateur Ben Campbell, who fought back well with two birdies in the final three holes to card an even-par 72.

Hamilton golfer Mathew Perry had the non-counting one-over 73.

McCall, who is tied 24th on the individual standings, was one over at the turn after his first nine included three birdies and two double bogeys.

The New Zealand amateur champion came home strong, playing the back nine in three under to post a two under total.

"It was a great day at the office for me," said the 21-year-old from Gore.

"It was the most stress-free and enjoyable round of golf. I was hitting the ball fantastic and dialling in the flag. However the putter wasn't quite on the same wavelength as my iron play. I had nine approaches inside 10 feet and only converted only three of them. I made sure I let the way I was hitting the ball dictate my attitude I was playing great golf. In reward of my attitude and in not giving up I finished strong with two birdies in the last three holes."

Campbell, who finished fourth at the 2010 Eisenhower in Argentina, was two over after 14 and added birdies on 16 and 18 to ensure the Kiwis kept with the hot scoring pace.

Perry got off to a poor start. He made a triple bogey on the par four 11th and bogeyed his 10th to be four over after 10 holes. But he rallied with three birdies coming home for a 73.

"It was a mixed day today," said the 24-year-old from Hamilton.

"Both Vaughan and Ben started well, I made a slow one and was four over through 10 holes.

"I managed to finish one over. Both the others birdied two of their last holes which helped out the team total and kept us in it.

"It is time for us to shoot a couple of low ones tomorrow and catch the Yanks."

The performance of the Americans was the talking point after round one.

Chris Williams and Justin Thomas shot 64 and 67 respectively to top the previous mark of 132, which was accomplished three times: by the USA in the first round in 2004 in Puerto Rico and Sweden and Wales in the second and third rounds, respectively, in 2006 in South Africa. Steven Fox, the 2012 US Amateur champion from Hendersonville, registered a non-counting one-under 71.

Playing at the par-72 Cornelia Golf Club, Williams, the No 1 in the world amateur golf ranking, posted seven birdies and an eagle against one bogey to tie for the second-lowest individual score in history.

The Mark H McCormack Medal winner tallied five birdies on the inward nine, including four consecutive on holes 12 through 15.

- APNZ

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