Golf: NZ in contention at Ten Nations golf tournament

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand fought back in the third round of the Ten Nations Cup golf tournament to sit second overall and set up an exciting final round in George, South Africa, overnight (NZT).

The Kiwis, who began the day in a share of fourth, six shots behind Australia, climbed to within three shots of their transtasman rivals with the best total of the day.

Vaughan McCall led the way with a seven under par 65 and he was backed up by Tyler Hodge (67) and Blair Riordan (68). Josh Munn had the non-counting score of two over par 74.

New Zealand's 16-under-par total on moving day sees them now firmly in contention for the title in the inaugural Ten Nations Cup. Argentina are two shots back in third with England in fourth, one shot further back.

McCall was pleased to get the Kiwis back in the hunt with a low score that helped him climb into fourth place on the individual leaderboard.

"I was going pretty well and I holed a couple of clutch putts to keep my round going,'' said the 21-year-old from the Gore Golf Club. "I holed one bomb from about 8m and that jump-started me with a string of six threes in a row, so that was pretty good. I started rolling the nugget really well.''

Hodge, who is making his senior debut for New Zealand, is tied for third on the individual leaderboard.

"Just sticking to the basics has been the key to playing well here this week,'' said the 18-year-old from the Levin Golf Club.

"I have been hitting a lot of fairways and my short game has been pretty solid. I hit one shot to about a foot, which was a good moment. I had a bit of a slow start this morning. I was only two under through the front nine. I have played the front nine in four under this week, but today I managed to conquer the back nine.''

McCall said the game plan for the final round would be to put the pressure on the Aussies early.

"The key will be getting off to a hot start. If we get out there and blow it up in the first few holes, then we will be on the right foot and we can capitalise on that.''

The Ten Nations Cup is an amalgamation of the Four Nations Cup and the Southern Cross Trophy and the best three of four scores count for each of the four rounds.

Following the event, the New Zealand team will compete in the South African Stroke Play Championship from February 12-15 at the Ernie Els designed Oubaai Golf Club in George.

- APNZ

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