Canada were on spectacular form in the third round fourballs at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup European Qualifier in Estonia shooting 63 to lead by three shots going into the final day.
Playing alongside partner Graham DeLaet, Stuart Anderson produced a spectacular display of golf shooting eight of their 10 birdies in the fourball better ball format at the Estonian Golf and Country Club to finish day three at 19 under par.
Hot on the heels of Canada are the Welsh duo of Jamie Donaldson and Stephen Dodd who shot 68 to drop back from first to second place at 16 under.
Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima and António Sobrinho moved from fifth place to third shooting a spectacular bogey-free eight under-par 64 to finish the day just two shots behind Wales at fourteen under par, four shots clear of fourth place Austria and five shots clear of Scotland.
Canada started their round with a birdie blitz on the first four holes, adding another on the sixth, followed by run of pars until the 11th hole. They went on to birdie the 12th and 13th before dropping a shot at the 14th hole. Another birdie came on the 16th and the duo birdied their final hole for the third consecutive day.
“Stu played awesome today”, said DeLaet. “He carried us today. I was able to contribute but he shot eight of our birdies today”.
Canada’s only blemish on an otherwise perfect score card came with a bogey at the par four 14th.
“I spun my ball of the green from 100 yards and Stuart hit the green in regulation but three putted. It always hurts to make bogey in this format but we recovered well and made a couple more birdies”, said DeLaet.
Although Anderson made the lion’s share of Canada’s birdies, he was quick to point out how important DeLaet’s par making had been for the team.
“Graham made the pars today and that freed me up to fire it at the flags and to be aggressive. We worked as a team and his pars were crucial. They made my birdie putts look easier.”
Looking ahead to the final round, DeLaet was clear about the Canadian team’s plans for the final round foursomes:
“We will have the same team order tomorrow as we did on Friday but we might play a little more passively as we have a bit of a cushion. We aren’t thinking too much about China yet. We will take care of business tomorrow then we can be excited about the World Cup.”
A double bogey on the 16th hole brought an end to the Welsh team’s run of fifty consecutive holes without dropping a shot. Dodd lost his ball off the tee and although Donaldson had a good drive, he missed the green with his second and then three putted.
“The sixteenth was a bit of a hiccup”, said Donaldson. “It was a pity to drop shots that way”.
“We played alright today but never really into any kind of rhythm. We got off to a slow start and didn’t really get the adrenaline flowing. You think you should be scoring under-par in the fourball format so maybe we got a bit lackadaisical.
Looking ahead to the final day, Donaldson remained positive about the Welsh team’s chances of qualification for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in November:
“Foursomes suits both of our games. It sharpens you up a bit and we’ll be trying to shoot the lights out tomorrow. We are still in a good position to qualify”.
Portugal were justifiably pleased with their performance. Sobrinho who got the Portuguese team off to a good start with a birdie on the second hole later remarked, “Lima played great today, he played like a god and I am very proud of him”.
With five of their eight birdies coming on the back nine, Lima described the team’s mind-set as they made the turn. “We go to the 10th tee and we knew we were going to have to play well on the back nine. We had started well with Antonio’s birdie on the second hole and we stayed calm and saved a few pars. Then on the back nine, the birdies came.”
Looking forward to the final day’s foursomes, Lima shared the team’s thoughts on tactics. “We feel good about our game. We are driving well and hitting good iron shots so it is important tomorrow that we focus on our game and don’t make any dangerous shots”.
Aggregate scores after round two of the European Qualifier to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. The Estonian Golf and Country Club, Jõelähtme Parish, Estonia, 6462 yard, par 72.
197 – Canada (Graham DELAET / STUART ANDERSON)
200 – Wales (Stephen DODD / Jamie DONALDSON)
202 – Portugal (José-Filipe LIMA / António SOBRINHO)
206 – Austria (Michael A MOSER / Christophe BAUSEK)
207 – Scotland (Alistair FORSYTH / David Drysdale)
208 – Finland (Toni KARJALAINEN / Juha-Pekka PELTOMAKI)
209 – Iceland (Sigurpall SVEINSSON / Bjorgvin SIGURBERGSSON)
210 – Estonia (Martin TOOM / Mark SUURSALU)
213 – Slovenia (Janez GRILC / Miha STUDEN)
214 – Morocco (Armine JUDAR / Tarik BENSLIMANE)
215 – Switzerland (Jean-Luc BERNIER / Gerold BERCHTOLD)
216 – Serbia (Nemanja SAVIC / Danilo KRALJEVIC)
220 –Poland (Maximillian SALUDA / Marcin STELMASIAK), Israel (Itamar COEN / Oren GERI),
224 – Namibia (M. Adri BASSON / Joe NAWANGA)
227 – Croatia (Darko LUBANOVIC / Miro RAIC)
234 – Greece (George DIAKOU / Eugenios PAPADOPOULOUS)
Note: Fourball used in first and third rounds, Foursomes (alternate shot) used in the Second and final founds.