Four Aussies through at British Amateur
BY Anthony Powter | World Amateur Mens Tour | 2007 British Amateur Championship | Round Two | 20 Jun 2007
First there were ten, after the completion of the qualifying stroke rounds this morning, four Australians were left in one of the lowest qualifying benchmarks ever in the British Amateur, two under par 141.
Tim Stewart (71-68), Rick Kulacz (67-72) and Rohan Blizard (66-73) finished T26 at 139, whilst Andrew Dodt managed to combat more than just the golf course after contracting food poisoning earlier in the week, to be our last qualifier by a single shot at T42 with two rounds of 70.
Englishman David Horsey consolidated yesterday’s opening 64 at Royal Lytham with a second round 68 at St Annes to take the British Amateur Medal as the best qualifier with an 11 under par total of 132. Fellow Englishman Marl Thistleton shared second position with Callum Macaulay, a single stroke behind Horsey at 133 with rounds 66-67 respectively.
A score of +9, 152 qualified for match play in last year’s British Amateur at Royal St Georges. Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2007 proved totally different and the low scoring caught the players by surprise.
“I was surprised with how low the scores were. It seems ridiculous. When I teed off this afternoon it was blowing hard. The field this week is really strong with so many good players and the scores have reflected that,” said Rick Kulacz.
Tim Stewart was in agreement with Rick Kulacz as to the scores required to qualify, even given the favourable scoring conditions that prevailed during the week.
“The scoring this year was low, not sure exactly why, but I think it reflects how the field was such a high quality. Last year at Royal St Georges, the conditions were extremely difficult.”
“This year it’s been a little easier but still a formidable test. The wind today was about 1 and a half clubs, but the pins were not in difficult spots.”
Only a single stroke resulted in Matt Griffin failing to qualify in his first British Amateur venture. Griffin finished 69-73, 142, whilst Scott Arnold had a disappointing second round 76 after starting with a 68, to damage his chances of qualifying, finishing 144 and T102, along with his older brother Jamie with rounds of 74-70.
Rhein Gibson was the next Australian at T124 with 71-74, with the US based collegiate golfer now preparing for the US Amateur, after securing his position in qualifying last month in the US.
Josh Younger will be cursing yesterday’s 80 at Royal Lytham after he produced a superb second round 67 at St Annes in one of the lowest scoring second rounds of the championship. Younger would finish with 147, six strokes over the qualifying mark and T161. Blake McGrory was the final Australian and he will be searching for the form that won him this year’s Lake Macquarie Amateur, after disappointing rounds of 76-77 and a T252 finish.
A different perspective descends now upon the British Amateur as the traditional format in match play encounters begin. Players like Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman, Jamie Moul and our own Tim Stewart revel in the “one on one” encounter, relieved to have the stroke qualification rounds behind them.
“All in all I am pleased with my result this far,” commented Stewart. “Now it’s a nothing to loose situation and the business end of the championship. Players know this and it will make for exciting play.”
Lloyd Saltman agrees and in the words of a true Scotsman, “I love the one on one and cannot wait to get into the thick of battle. Nothing beats tough match play encounters.”
With passions and feelings abundant at Royal Lytham and the serious end of the British Amateur starting, lets hope the English stranglehold on this championship can be removed. England’s David Horsey may have other words to say about this after his opening performances and low tournament round 64 at Royal Lytham, venue for the match play and British Amateur title.