The South African team nearly holed two monstrous approach shots on Friday, but their putting prevented them from making a bigger move in the second round of the Golf World Cup in Haikou, China.
Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen nevertheless carded a four-under-par 68 in the difficult foursomes format — one of five countries which managed to do so, hitting alternate shots — and it took them to eight under par for the tournament.
The South Africa pairing were five shots off the pace — tied in 10th position — set by leaders Australia and Ireland at the halfway stage.
Schwartzel came within a bounce of holing South Africa’s second shot on the 487m 12th hole, for what would have been an albatross which would have shaken things up.
Oosthuizen smashed his drive on the 330m 16th over the water and it rolled agonisingly close to the hole, leaving Schwartzel a 5m putt for eagle.
He missed, but not by much, and that was the story of their round.
“To be fair, the greens are snaking a little bit,” Schwartzel said. “So you can’t blame it all on yourself for putting … We feel like we are hitting good putts but we are not getting the lines … Sometimes we do get the line and it just misses.”
Oosthuizen agreed that they were struggling to read the greens.
“We are hitting good putts, but we are just not making any,” he said.
The South Africans were somewhat disappointed as they left the course.
“We feel disappointed because we played really, really well,” Schwartzel said. “I don’t think 65 was too much to ask for out there today, the way we played.”
The duo, aiming to bag a sixth victory at the event for South Africa, said they knew what they needed to do to get within striking distance of winning the tournament.
“Tomorrow we are probably just going to be a bit more aggressive,” Oosthuizen said.
“We have got to shoot anything under 64, and the way we feel we’re playing, we could shoot close to 60.” — Sapa