The Amateur Championship trophy (R&A/Twitter photo)
The match-play bracket is set at Portmarnock (Ireland) Golf Club for the Amateur Championship and two men lead the way as the format changes. Englishman Thomas Plumb and Denmark’s John Axelsen both finished at 4 under to lead the 64 players and ties through 36 holes of stroke play.
The cut fell at 4 over, with 76 players qualifying. A preliminary round will be played Wednesday morning.
Plumb is coming off a victory at the Sanlam Cape Province Open in South Africa. His past year has included seven top-20 finishes.
“I’m more than happy,” Plumb told the R&A. “Obviously, it’s two separate events with the stroke play and match play but to qualify as high as possible is still huge. I only made three bogeys so I couldn’t really do much wrong from there.
“Iron play with the wind was the key. Controlling the ball flight is huge around a links course. It especially makes it easier if you are coming in from the fairway a lot.
“People always say match play is completely different but at the end of the day if you are playing good golf then you just try to beat whoever is in front of you.”
For his part, Axelsen was just trying to make pars and guarantee a made cut in this event. He hadn’t done that in awhile. Axelsen was part of Denmark’s winning squad at the World Amateur Team Championship in Dublin, Ireland last spring.
Perhaps it’s something about this part of the world that makes the 21-year-old shine.
“I feel like I have to go home and completely change the mindset and just start the championship from tomorrow really. This was just the first stage and its match play tomorrow so anything can happen. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s a long time since I played match play and I really like that format.”
Scotland’s Sandy Scott went 3 under to take the third spot on the leaderboard, followed by Norway’s William Buhl and Englishman Harry Hall, who plays for UNLV.
Irishman Caolan Rafferty, who recently finished third in the St. Andrews Links Trophy, was at 1 under and in sixth.
“It’s nice to be the leading Irish player and we’ll see what happens in the match play now,” he said. “You can go out and shoot 6 under and lose or shoot 10 over and win on the 12th!”
Rafferty had a second-round 68 matched by Scottish Amateur champion Euan McIntosh, 50. McIntosh easily made match play as well.
Thomas Hutchinson was 1 over for 36 holes and finished stroke play as the highest American. His compatriot Akshay Bhatia, the seventh-ranked amateur in the world, didn’t fare so well. Rounds of 76-73 left him outside the cut line.
Australian David Micheluzzi is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 6, and he made the cut with his 2-over total.
ABOUT THE British Amateur
This championship, along with the US Amateur
Championship, is considered the most
The first stage of the Championship involves
288 players each of whom plays two rounds of
18 holes, one to be played on each of the two
courses. The 64 lowest scores over the 36
holes and ties for 64th place will compete in
the match play stage of the Championship.
Each match will consist of one round of 18
holes except the Final which will be over 36
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