TURNBERRY, Scotland (June 19, 2008) -- The battle for the last eight places in The Amateur Championship was decided on Turnberry's Ailsa course today, in classic links conditions of brilliant sunshine, hard fairways and strong winds.
In the first match of the afternoon, Dutch golfer Rainier Saxton made his way past England's Jason Barnes with a smooth and steady performance in which he was never behind. Though Barnes brought himself back to one down with a par on the 15th, Saxton won the next two holes to finish up a 3&1 winner and earn a quarter final match against Pedro Figueiredo.
Figueiredo is a fairly new face on the senior amateur golf scene having only just moved up from Boys level golf, but the 17-year-old has already proven himself so far this year with victories at the Portuguese Amateur, Irish Amateur Open and a tied-27th finish at the European Tour's Madeira Islands Open in March. His opponent in the last-16 was England's Dale Whitnell, a player who had shown some excellent golf in the stroke play phase and cruised past Scott Arnold in his morning match by a 5&3 margin. But Figueiredo had the measure of his man, producing some steady golf to run out a 3&2 winner.
John Carroll had played superb golf in the morning to knock out Callum Macaulay, but come the afternoon ran into difficulties against a James Frazer in his best form. Frazer's previous two matches had both been decided on the 19th hole, so he was relieved to finally finish a match early - a feat he achieved in fine style. He raced to a five-up lead by the turn and cruised home from there on. Frazer will face Welshman Joe Vickery, who had a very tight match against Canada's David Markle. The pair were locked at all-square almost the entire afternoon, but a final flourish from Vickery leapt him ahead almost at the death. In winning a stretch of three holes from the 15th, he first got up and down on conscutive holes before birdieing the 17th to end up a 2&1 winner.
The most eye-catching of the last-16 matches had been the encounter between Jorge Campillo and Chris Wood, who with world rankings of fifth and seventh respectively were the top two players left in the draw. Yet the match quickly turned into a one-sided affair thanks to Campillo's brilliant golf on a blustery afternoon. The Spaniard marched to the turn in 33 shots, building a four-up lead in the process which he extended to five with a birdie on the 12th, and which he held from there to win 5&4. His opponent Wood had every excuse not to be firing on all cylinders following an epic 23-hole encounter with Christopher Paisley, but considering that his Campillo was three under par for his 14 holes he had little chance.
Andrew Sulliavn notched up a similar margin of victory against Germany's Maximillian Kieffer, edging into an early one hole lead which he extended with wins on the ninth, 10th and 11th. A huge putt on the 13th took him to five up, and despite a double bogey on the next he went on to win the 15th and close out the match. Sullivan plays Italian Andrea Pavan, whose relatively slender 2&1 margin of victory belies the fact that he took a lead on the third which he would never give up.
The closest match of the afternoon was contested between Jonathan Caldwell of Ireland and 17-year-old Tommy Fleetwood. The match was deadlocked almost throughout, with Fleetwood going ahead with a four-iron to eight feet on the 17th hole before promptly losing the next after drawing an appalling lie in dense rough beside the 18th green which he described as "the worst lie I think I've ever seen". Both players holed brave six-foot par saves on the 19th hole, but when Caldwell hooked his second out of the rough on the 20th into a spot which gave him an impossible pitch, the match was effectively over.