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Phillips leads the way in tough conditions

Decent start: Bermuda golfer Phillips shot a three over par in Mexico

Mark Phillips led Bermuda’s charge during yesterday’s opening round of the World Amateur Team Championships in Riviera de Maya, Mexico.

The two-times Bermuda Amateur Stroke Play Championships winner carded a three-over par 75 in sweltering conditions at the 6,701-yard Iberostar Playa Paraiso layout, which included three birdies.

Phillips, who is making his second appearance at the tournament, was one over par through 16 holes but lost momentum after making double bogey at the 470-yard, par four 17th.

Also contributing towards Bermuda’s team score for the round was Jarryd Dillas, this year’s Men’s Order of Merit Champion, who carded a five-over-par 77, which contained a solitary birdie at the par four, 7th.

Like Phillips, Dillas was two over at the turn before losing further ground after dropping three shots coming in.

Eric West, Bermuda’s remaining team member, found the going the toughest and had to settle for an eight-over-par 80, which included a triple bogey at the par four, 4th and a double at the par five, 9th.

After 18 holes of the 72-hole event Bermuda were tied for 52nd at eight-over par 152.

“The team played better than the score reflects,” Gary Venning, the Bermuda captain, said.

“The Iberostar Playa Paraiso course is very challenging with tight fairways and extremely rocky waste ground running adjacent.

However, with a 454 yard and a 470-yard par 4, it still demands a long drive, but a slightly wayward shot can be very costly.

“Additionally, the undulating greens and difficult pin positions generated the occasional three putt.”

Bermuda is among the 71 countries competing for the Eisenhower Trophy in the men’s division.

Each team has two or three players and plays 18-holes of stroke play for four days. In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round while the four-day total is the team’s score for the championship.

The Bermudian trio will be looking for improvement when they tee off in today’s second round at the longer Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Course, which is also a par 72 layout.

“Hopefully with a slightly more forgiving Mayakoba course tomorrow, the team will be able to gain some ground on the field,” Venning said.

Scotland topped the leaderboard after yesterday’s opening round by a single shot over Australia with Spain a further shot adrift in third.

The United States, the defending champions, are three shots off the lead tied for seventh.

Scotland’s Connor Syme and Poland’s Adrian Meronk carded the lowest round of six-under-par 66.

The World Amateur Team Championships is held biennially with multiple major winners Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory Mcllroy among the notable players to have competed at the event.