Australian quartet survive at British Amateur

BY Anthony Powter | World Amateur Mens Tour | 2007 British Amateur Championship | Round Three | 21 Jun 2007

In arguably our strongest ever push for the British Amateur title, all four Australian qualifiers have made it through to the 3rd round of the championship without any casualties. It’s a promising sign, reflective of the breadth and strength of Australian amateur golf with Andrew Dodt, Rick Kulacz, Rohan Blizard and Tim Sterwart through to the top 32.

Rick Kulacz accounted for Englishman Jamie Abbott 1up, Rohan Blizard continues his great form after a convincing 3&2 victory over Niall Turner, whilst Andrew Dodt overpowered David Corsby, 5&4.

Tim Stewart was last to come in from the cold with a 3&2 victory over Tom Sherreard, to give the Australians a clean sweep.

In its 122 year history, the British Amateur has evaded Australian hands for the last 50 years. Hopefully things will chance this week here at Royal Lytham.

Douglas Bachli was the last Australian to claim the title in 1954 at Muirfield whilst Jim Ferrier in 1936 was defeated in the final. With four of our best amateurs currently making the move on the title, the English stranglehold on the British Amateur will hopefully be broken. Our chances have never looked better, but it’s still sure to be a challenge.

In what will be one of the best match play encounters in this championship Rohan Blizard is paired in tomorrow’s third round to take on world number 1, Jamie Moul.

The Australian Amateur champion went the distance with Moul during the “Ashes” series at Moonah Links in March, when Moul toured Australia with the English Elite squad. The match finished all square and Blizard this week has gone from strength to strength in search for the historic “double” of winning both the Australian and British Amateur title, a feat that’s never been achieved.

“I’ve been playing pretty well so far. I’m not hitting it as good as I was last week at St Andrews, but sinking putts, which is a bonus especially in match play,” Blizard commented this evening.

“My driving has been a little off this week, which has let me down as it’s important to find the fairways around Royal Lytham. The rough is very punishing and at times even tougher to find your ball. Tomorrow’s match against Jamie [Moul] will be a real test and I’m looking forward to it.”

On the back of today’s four player sweep, the Australians are encouraged by each others achievements. This aura of optimism amongst the Australian camp is having a lifting impact, as teammates who bowed out earlier in the week provide support and encouragement for their mates remaining in contention.

“It’s great to have four Aussies through. There’s a lot of positive talk in our hotel right now,” commented Andrew Dodt.

Dodt was savoring his 5&4 crushing over Englishman David Corsby and showing no signs of having the food poisoning he contracted earlier in the week.

“The conditions were tough with a strong breeze blowing for most of the day. My game isn’t still quite where I would like it, so hopefully I can keep getting it around and start to hit some good quality shots tomorrow morning.”

Rick Kulacz also has a spring in his step after a lucky experience in his match against Jamie Abbott, which Kulacz secured 1 up.

“I got kissed on 17, hit it in the right rough and from there tried to hack a 5 iron out, but the rough turned the club over and this thing went way left. I got up there to find it on a nice piece of turf about a metre wide in between a hazard and thick gorse bush. Pitched on and made 5 for a win after he had his own troubles.”

It was Kulacz’s only blemish in a round where the NSW Open Champion felt his game in the UK is going from strength to strength.

“That was my only bogey for the day, so I played some good golf and looking forward to tomorrow. I’m not playing awesome, but my bad shots aren’t too bad and it’s keeping me in the match.”

Kulacz’s strategy to surviving Royal Lytham is simple.

“The course is tight in some areas but it is a real thinkers course. You can hit iron off some tees and get it in play but if you take driver and spray it a little or even hit it just of line, you’re in thick hay, so you really have to think about what’s best for you around here.”

When Tim Stewart finally made it back to the clubhouse, having experienced the brunt of the deteriorating conditions in one of the last groups out, he was greeted with the news of the Australian success for the day. It immediately had a warming effect on the 2006 Australian Amateur champion.

“I played well today and it was pretty windy and cold. It’s great all the Aussies advanced through to the next round.”

We now wait to see what tomorrow will bring and a repeat of today would be perfect.

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    About the Author: Anthony Powter

    Anthony brings a vast array of experience having covered the world's biggest golf Tours. An experienced photojournalist, his aim is to bring golf to life with articles of interest coupled with stunning photography.

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