Aussies fight well, stay in APGC mix

Gabi Ruffels and Jye Pickin
Gabi Ruffels and Jye Pickin are handy in 15th with a day to play at the Asia Pacific Junior Championship.

Jed Morgan and Kathryn Norris fought gallantly this afternoon to push back into Asia Pacific Golf Confederation Junior Championship contention.

Brisbane’s Morgan, 16, and Mandurah’s Norris, 15, made two late birdies to combine for a respectable one-over-par 73 in the tough foursomes format at Taiwan’s Sunrise Golf and Country Club.

Following their opening 71 in fourball format yesterday, their even-par total kept the pair within striking distance of hometown leaders Ting-Wei Hsieh and Jo-Hua Hung, who were superb in shooting 66 today – with no other score under 70 – to reach nine under overall.

The second Australian team, Charlestown’s Jye Pickin, 15, and Melbourne’s Gabi Ruffels, 16, also hung tough until a late double-bogey consigned them to a 77 and a six-over total after the second of three rounds.

Australian manager Ash Marshall was pleased with all four of his squad, especially as one of the youngest teams in the competition.

“They’re really acquitting themselves well and with the other countries having generally far older teams, it’s a great effort to be in the hunt,” Marshall said.

“The girls have played in Asia before, but not the boys, so it’s a great learning experience for all of them.

“They concentrated really well today in hot and humid conditions and on greens they’re not used to with a lot of grain.

“And with singles to come tomorrow, they’re only a few good rounds from really being in the mix and that would be a tremendous achievement.”

There’s an added incentive tomorrow with the lowest men’s and women’s individual score to secure starts in professional tournaments in Japan.

“So there’s a lot to play for and we think they’re getting better as they go,” Marshall enthused of his teams, currently ranked 12th and 15th, respectively.

“We’d like to think that both teams could end up in the top 10 by the end of the tournament.

“But they’re all respectful of the opportunity they’ve been given and are going really well.”

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