Shields and Barnard declared joint winners at Northern Amateur Open
Paul Shields and Aubrey Barnard<br>Joint winners at the Northern Amateur Open
Paul Shields and Aubrey Barnard
Joint winners at the Northern Amateur Open

Randpark, South Africa (March 16, 2011) --Glaswegian Paul Shields and South African Aubrey Barnard were deemed the joint-winners of the Northern Amateur Open in South Africa today after the 36-hole final in Johannesburg was abandoned due to flooding.

At Randpark Golf Club, Kikrhill’s Shields and Barnard were locked all square after 30 holes before officials called a halt to proceedings due to the unplayable conditions.

The contest had earlier been temporarily stopped after nine holes due to the rain as greenkeepers fought a losing battle.

With the course saturated, Shields and Barnard (Pretoria) returned to the comfort of the clubhouse to each clutch one hand on the trophy.

Shields, who defeated team-mate Fraser McKenna (Balmore) in yesterday’s semi-final at the fourth extra hole, was bidding to emulate compatriot David Law’s win in the same competition a year ago. Given the decision by organisers to share the prize, in a way the 21-year-old has claimed his biggest title success.

Shields was seeking outright glory after runner-up finishes in the Scottish Boys’ Championship (2008 and 2009), while he was beaten to the South African Amateur title by Michael Stewart in last year’s all-Scottish final.

His hopes looked forlorn after the first nine holes of the final, with Barnard racing into a three-hole lead before the contest was stopped for the first time due to the rain.

Shields, however, showed typical fighting qualities to turn the tide on the back nine, winning the 10th, 3 and 14th holes before making birdie at the 18th to lead by a hole at lunch.

Shields went two up with a birdie at the 19th, before Barnard claimed the 20th and 21st to square the tie. The Scot won 24th and 25th to restore his two-hole advantage, before his opponent rallied again with wins at the 27th and 28th. With the match all square and the weather at its worse, it was deemed fair to declare joint-winners.

The Northern Amateur Open brought the curtain down on a highly successful eight-week winter performance programme for the new-look SGU National Men’s Squad in South Africa.

Following up on the victories enjoyed by Law and Stewart in 2011, Brian Soutar from Leven Golfing Society produced a stunning performance to keep the South African Amateur crown in Scottish hands after a final victory over rising teenage star Brandon Stone.

Among other highlights, the eight-man Men’s Squad defeated South Africa in a Test Match at Leopard Creek while Aberdour’s Scott Crichton finished a creditable joint-sixth in the South African Stroke Play.

McKenna and Shields then continued the spell of success with their displays in the Northern Amateur.

Given the strength of South African golf, whose recent graduates to the professional scene include Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, the Scots performed admirably, enjoying success against the leading lights of the host nation’s amateur squad, such as Stone, Haydn Porteous and the talented Shaun Smith.

Scottish Golf Performance Manager Steve Paulding said: “The trip has been hugely successful.

“Predominantly with a new squad, it’s very promising for us in a World Championship year. I’m really encouraged by the performances of the new squad members. Our whole focus is for October and The Eisenhower Trophy in Turkey and to maintain our top flight status in the world.

“The players will return from South Africa to recharge their batteries ahead of the domestic season.

ABOUT THE Northern Amateur Open

72 holes of stroke play qualifying determine 32 players for match play.

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