Argentina made their vast army of supporters suffer at Buenos Aires Golf Club before rallying strongly to reach the halfway stage of the EMC² World Cup in a share of the lead with New Zealand.
The two nations, paired together after shooting 57s in the four ball, better ball series on Thursday, again matched each other with five under par 67s in the foursomes for a 20 under par total of 124.
However the Argentine pair of Eduardo Romero and Angel Cabrera started disastrously with a double bogey six and three holes later, thanks to two New Zealand birdies, a four stroke gap had opened up.
Then, the local heroes moved into overdrive, spurred on by the huge galleries, and with the assistance of four birdies and an eagle in a seven-hole burst, Argentina completed their recovery.
Romero, winner of the European Masters at the age of 46 a few months ago, joked:”We apologise to the people for making them suffer a little, but we saw them happy afterwards, so that’s okay!”
He added: “We were not anxious. What we were trying to do was not make bigger mistakes. I think the eagle on the ninth hole helped us get back into the game. Also the birdies on the tenth and 12th. “
New Zealand, represented superbly by Frank Nobilo and Greg Turner, also responded to the urgings of the crowds and deservedly shared the glory with Argentina on a boiling hot day in Buenos Aires.
Turner said: “It was a magnificent atmosphere. The crowd was fantastic to us. They were supporting Argentina but they were very fair and enthusiastic to us as well. After the terrible start they made, it was a brilliant round by these guys.”
Right behind the leading pair are the United States, who shot a 65 with David Duval overshadowing his playing partner Tiger Woods for the second day in a row. That excellent round propelled the USA through the field into third place on 126, 18 under par, two in front of Australia’s Peter O’Malley and Lucas Parsons, who double-bogeyed the last for a 70 and total of 128.
Woods commented: “I thought we played beautifully today. If someone hit a poor shot, the other bailed him out. I played better today and it was nice to see a shot that I wanted to hit and actually hit it.”
The best round of the day was a magnificent eight under par 64 by the Welsh pair of Ian Woosnam – now a veteran of 15 World Cups – and the constantly-improving Phillip Price.
The Welsh had seven birdies in the closing 11 holes to move from second last overnight into a tie for ninth place at halfway. They finished on 132, 12 under par, just eight off the pace set by Argentina and NewZealand.
Woosnam, who made his World Cup debut 20 years ago, said: “It could have been a lot better. We missed a lot of putts, but this gives us a chance.”
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, winners of the title at Kiawah Island three years ago, also made a significant move. They shot a 66 to draw on their experience of playing foursomes together for Leinster, Ireland and in the Walker Cup.
McGinley, reflecting on a round with six birdies and no bogeys, said: “We played well. We had birdie chances on every hole and we weren’t under pressure to make pars. It was a good solid round with no mistakes.”
Scotland, after a round of 69, finished tied for 11th on 133, 11 under par, and Gary Orr, partnering Paul Lawrie, insisted: “We need to break 60 in the four ball better ball format tomorrow to get back into this.”
Germany’s Thomas Gogele and Alex Cejka produced a fine effort with a 69 to follow their opening 62 to move into a tie for seventh on 131 while Spain finished alongside Wales on 132.