Day-one leader, Matteo Manassero, has secured his place in the match play stages of The Amateur Championship mid-way through day two. The 16-year-old from Verona leads the field by four shots after posting a solid round of 70 at Formby to add to yesterday’s course-record 65 at West Lancs. His aggregate of 135 has set a mark that is unlikely to be bettered.
“I didn’t putt very well today,” said the young Italian whose dad introduced him to golf at the age of four, “but I like links golf. It’s a nice change as it’s just parkland in Italy.”
Sam Hutsby’s four under-par total of 139 has ensured that he too will be here for the rest of the week. The Englishman followed a 68 at Formby with a 71 at West Lancs to reach the knockout competition, a format which he relishes.
“Match play is fantastic. It’s a change of game plan and I’ll enjoy playing more aggressively,” explained the 20-year-old. “If in doubt, go flat out!”
A further stroke behind, Scotland’s Gavin Dear is pleased to have qualified after setting out to consolidate yesterday’s 69.
“I played quite smart. I had a good game plan and I holed some good putts. It wasn’t anything special but I wanted to make sure that I did enough to get in.
“The last three weeks have been a bit of a struggle. I wasn’t feeling too confident coming down but things are starting to come together.”
Sweden’s Jesper Kennegard and England’s Tommy King also seal their match play places on a total of 141, both posting scores of 68 at Formby and 73 at West Lancs.
Kennegard set out to defend his first-round 68 today, eager to capitalise on a good start this year after narrowly missing out on the final stages at Turnberry in 2008.
“I just tried to avoid big mistakes,” said the Swede, “and I only hit one really bad shot all day. The match play will be fun. I’m happy with my game and feeling confident.”
And last year’s beaten finalist, Tommy Fleetwood, also seems certain to qualify after a 70 at West Lancs gave him an aggregate of 144.
“It was the perfect start,” said Fleetwood, referring to three birdies at the first three holes. “I could be playing better but I’m showing some signs of some really good golf.”