First round leader Lorenzo Scalise
(Tennessee Athletics Photo)
TADWORTH, ENGLAND (June 28, 2017) - A world-class field of 144 players teed it up at venerable Walton Heath Golf Club
just outside of London for the first round of the European Amateur Championship.
A total of 32 countries are represented in the field, and the diversity is reflected on the first page of the leaderboard, as the top eight players hail from seven different countries.
Leading the way is Italian Lorenzo Scalise, who fired an eight-under 64 on a great day for scoring at Walton Heath. Scalise, who plays college golf in the U.S. at the University of Tennessee, was bogey free while racking up eight birdies on the Old Course.
Keegan de Lange of South Africa and Toby Briggs of England share the second spot at seven-under 65. De Lange was bogey-free with five birdies and an eagle, while Briggs had seven birdies and an eagle, and would have shared the lead with Scalise if not for a bogey on his final hole.
Australian Dylan Perry, who was so close to winning last week's British Amateur at Royal St. George's, shares fourth place with Frenchman Jeremy Gandon at six-under 66. Perhaps Perry had a bit of a hangover from the British Am, as he came out flat and bogeyed the first two holes. But he rebounded with six birdies and an eagle to pull into contention.
Rory Franssen of Scotland, Conor O'Rourke of Ireland (who won last year's St. Andrews Links Trophy), and Daniel O'Loughlin of England are tied for sixth at five-under 67.
Four Americans are in the field, led by Jonah Texeira of Flintridge, CA and Southern Cal with a three-under 69. Texeira's USC teammate Sean Crocker (Long Beach, CA) shot a 73, while Dylan Wu (Medford, OR and Northwestern University) and Jimmy Stanger (Tampa, FL and the University of Virginia) had 74s.
In all, 61 players broke par on a day where the average score was 72.45, just a shade over par.
The defending champion, Luca Cianchetti of Italy, who won a dramatic playoff last year when the tournament was held in Estonia, shot a two-under 70 and currently sits in a tie for 30th. Cianchetti has good memories at Walton Heath, having won the South of England Amateur there two years ago.
Harry Ellis, who won last week's British Amateur and with it can expect invitations to the British Open, U.S. Open, and Masters, shot an opening one-under 71.
The European Amateur is the premier amateur tournament in Europe, whose past winners include Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia. Play continues Thursday with the second round of stroke play. After three rounds, the field will be cut to the top 60 and ties for the final round to be played on Saturday.
The winner of the 2017 European Championship will earn a spot in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in July.
ABOUT THE European Amateur
The premier championship in
conducted by the European Golf
which is comprised of 38 member
hole stroke play format. After 54 holes the field is cut
to the leading 60 players and ties. The winner earns
a spot in the British Open.
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