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(photo credit: Courtesy Ga'ash Golf Club)
Dudu Califa and Brian Cooper hold a narrow lead over Norma and Cyril Kaufman after the first qualifying round of the International Pairs competition held at Ga'ash Golf Club on Monday.
The field of 44 golfers from Ga'ash and the Caesarea Golf Club are playing for the opportunity to represent Israel at the prestigious International Pairs competition, which will be held this year at St. Andrews in Scotland, one of the finest and most famous golf complexes in the world.
Califa and Cooper finished Monday's first round with 44 Stableford points, followed by the Kaufmans, the 2005 champions, with 43 points.
Eliezer Peleg, the owner of the Ga'ash Golf Club, and Moshe Shlomovitz were third with 41 points.
The format of the competition is "better-ball Stableford", 75-percent handicap with the best 24 teams from the two qualifying rounds advancing to the national finals. The second qualifying round is scheduled for June 6, also at Ga'ash Golf Club.
On a warm and windy day, Denis Leonov, Uri Levy and Mendi Kliger won Monday's nearest-to-the-pin competitions at the three par 3 holes. Leonov was 2.3 meters from the pin at 124-meter hole No. 4, Levy came to within 2.8m of the 160m hole No. 9 and Kliger claimed the prize at the 164m hole No. 14 by hitting off the tee to within 2.3m of the pin.
With the course at Ga'ash in the middle of its growing season, the greens and tees are in excellent condition and the fairways also look much greener.