TADWORTH, England — Michael Saunders enjoyed a five-shot lead through two rounds of the South of England Amateur. But, like most European amateur championships, 36 holes remains on the final day.
Luca Cianchetti of Italy posted a six-under 66 in the morning before birdieing two of his last three holes in the afternoon to post 72 and win by a stroke over Saunders.
Saunders, a 24-year-old Englishman, shot back-to-back 69s in the first two rounds to grab his hefty lead but carded consecutive 73s on Thursday to finish just a stroke behind Cianchetti.
Riccardo Michelini, a senior at San Diego State, joined Cianchetti as two Italians inside the top-five in a field mostly comprised of English amateurs. His even-par total of 288 gave him a tied-for-fifth finish with Josh Hilleard.
Finsihing two back in third place were Steven Robins and Jake Burnage, both of whom utilized stellar morning rounds of five-under 67 to jump back into contention.
The defending champion Adam Chapman shot the second lowest score of the final round — a 69 — to climb into the top-10. He tied for seventh at one-over par 289 in his attempt to repeat.