David Micheluzzi (Golf Australia photo)
David Micheluzzi has the best World ranking of any player on the match-play bracket at the Amateur Championship at Portmarnock (Ireland) Golf Club this week. On Wednesday, the No. 7-ranked player came through a close one with fellow Australian, and good friend, Kyle Michel.
Micheluzzi, who reached the quarterfinals at Royal Aberdeen last year in this event and is seeking to become the first Australian winner of the Amateur Championship since Bryden Macpherson did it in 2011, defeated Michel by two holes.
“It was a grind, as I think I only hit three or four fairways so I had to rely on hitting it out into the right spots and making putts inside 10 feet which I did,” Micheluzzi told the R&A. “My short game and putting is what I do best and I’ve just got to hit more fairways and greens for now on. It’s an amazing course and a great test, there are no easy holes and you have to think on every shot.”
With Portmarnock hosting the Amateur Championship for only the second time since 1949, the famous links near Dublin is also being enjoyed by another English player, Thomas Plumb.
The leading qualifier from the stroke play stage wasted little time in reaching the third round after comfortably seeing off the challenge of Alejandro del Rey Gonzalez, 7 and 5.
“I kept things going from yesterday and started off quickly, making birdies on one and two,” said Plumb. “I struck it into the first hole to about six feet and holed about a 20 foot putt on the second. I felt if I kept playing like that it wasn’t going to be too much of a problem.
“I’m superstitious myself so you do think about the history of top qualifiers often losing in the first round. Regardless of where I go in the tournament, I thought getting through the first round tie was going to be the hardest one.”
Another notable winner? German Matthias Schmid. He defeated Sam Done quite convincingly by a 9-and-8 margin. It’s a big confidence boost for the Louisville player, who was runner-up at a Louisville-hosted NCAA Regional but struggled the following week at the NCAA Championship with rounds of 82-76-81.
“It was definitely the biggest win of my life, by far,” Schmid said. “It was fun. I hit a good tee shot on the first and made birdie. As soon as I did that, I had the pressure on Sam. I played well, I didn’t make any mistakes, didn’t make a bogey and made five birdies.
“When I was five up after five, I said to my caddy ‘wow, I’ve never done this before’. I just tried to keep going and stay aggressive as I knew it would be an incredible comeback if he came back. This is my third Amateur Championship and I had missed the cut twice before so this is the best I’ve ever done. The course suits my eye.”
The tournament continues on Thursday with the Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches.
Information from the R&A used in this report
ABOUT THE British Amateur
This championship, along with the US Amateur Golf
Championship, is considered the most important in
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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