The two players who have been attracting most attention at the 2009 Amateur Championship will go head-to-head tomorrow. Matteo Manassero and Tommy Fleetwood will get the quarter finals underway when they tee-off at 8.15am.
It will not be the first time that the pair has met; they faced each other at Kingsbarns during the 2008 Jacques Leglise trophy when the young Italian overcame a two hole deficit with five to play to emerge victorious.
Against Denmark’s Peter Baunsoe this afternoon, the 16-year-old took an early two-hole lead through three to gain an advantage that he would retain for the rest of the match; a birdie at the par-5 17th enough to halve the hole and seal a 2&1 victory.
Fleetwood, meanwhile, had already completed a 5&4 victory over Lancashire team-mate John Carroll. In front of the largest crowd of the championship so far, Fleetwood produced an exceptional display of golf in front of the 200-strong gallery to reach the last eight.
“That’s close to as good as I can play,” said the 18-year-old. “I’m hardly giving my opponents any chances. I feel like someone will have to play really well to beat me, but in match play you never know what’s around the corner. I think playing in the final last year does give me a bit of an edge over the others. I’ve been there and done it.”
Manassero, who topped the stroke play qualifying having set a course record 65 at West Lancs on Monday, is relishing the match.
“Tommy is a good friend, I am looking forward to the match. It’s true I won last time but this makes no difference for tomorrow.”
Walker Cup squad member, Sam Hutsby, registered a 2&1 victory over Maximilian Kieffer of Germany. Kieffer led for much of the contest, leading by two after 11, but Hutsby came back, winning 12 with a 40-foot putt, 13 with a good up-and-down and 14 with a birdie to take the initiative.
“The (40-foot) putt was crucial, it changed the momentum,” said Hutsby, 18. “It was absolutely the toughest match I’ve had. I played really solid, but he made it so hard.”
Joining the young trio in the fifth round are England’s Darren Renwick and Stiggy Hodgson, and Mark Hillson of Scotland, all of whom won their matches at the final hole. The Netherlands’ Jurrian Van Der Vaart, who won 2&1 this afternoon, and Sweden’s Nils Floren, who won by the same margin, also progress.
NOTE: To view an excellent recap video of the quarter and semi final matches, click here>