Woodhall Spa Golf Club (R&A photo)
New Zealander Brent Paterson and Sweden’s Mattias Pernheden are hoping to record firsts for their respective countries. No Kiwi or Swedish names are etched on the R&A Men’s Amateur Trophy.
Paterson came up with a unique way to ward off the putting woes that hampered him in the opening round.
He took his putter to bed with him.
It worked. The 62-year-old made six birdies in a second round of 69, 3-under-par, over the Bracken Course to sit with Pernheden at the top of the leaderboard on 3-under 142. They’re a shot ahead of the field.
“I shot 73 yesterday hitting 15 greens and making 36 putts,” Royal Auckland and Grange Golf member Paterson said.
A frustrating day on the greens, to be sure.
“I told a mate back home, and he told me to take my putter to bed last night. I hit 16 greens today and made six birdies. Not sure I’ll be able to do that tonight because Mrs Patterson is coming to stay, and I don’t think she’ll appreciate my putter lying between us.”
Paterson is making his championship debut after receiving advice from 2017 champion Bryan Hughes.
Paterson is enjoying a good year. In February he won his fourth straight, and sixth overall, New Zealand Senior Amateur champion. However, his initial impression of Woodhall Spa was something of a culture shock.
“I’m not used to this sort of golf, especially this sort of grass. The greens seems quite sticky to me and with a lot more grain, but I’m getting used to them.”
Pernheden is also making his championship debut. The 2022 Swedish Senior Amateur champion added a 1-over 73 on the Bracken to his opening 69 over the Hotchkin to get to 3-under.
“I’m very satisfied because I didn’t play too well before this,” the 57-year-old Gothenburg native said.
Over the week, things have turned around.
“I’ve been putting well and that always helps. My goal was just to play 72 holes and see what happens. I’m looking forward to the next two days.”
Pernheden is no stranger to winning big amateur championships. Aside from his national title last year, he won the 2019 European Senior Men’s Amateur.
Canada’s Miles McConnell shot 67 on the Hotchkin, a best round of the week, to move to 2-under-par, one off the lead in a tie for third with Ireland’s Declan O’Neill.
Americans lurking on the leaderboard
Three recent American champions are in the hunt. Gene Elliott, winner of the 2021 championship at Ganton, is two shots off the lead on 1-under. Defending champion Mike McCoy and 2019 winner Craig Davis are a further shot behind.
Reigning Australian Senior Amateur champion Wooster returned a 2-over-par 74 around the Bracken Course to go with her opening level par 73 on the Hotchkin. She sits on 147 to Gole’s 148. England’s Jackie Foster is the closest home player. She is on 149.
Wooster holds on in the wind
“I’m glad that’s over,” Wooster said. “That was a very tough golf course.”
Strong winds meant the Bracken was playing probably two or three shots harder than the par of 72. Even Wooster failed to make a birdie. She managed to keep a rather clean scorecard, making bogey on hole Nos. 3 and 9
“I can’t remember the last time that happened. I had a lot of chances, maybe six good chances, but I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole.
Sometimes, these types of rounds are the ones that win a long golf tournament.
“Today’s was a case of just grind out it out. I’m happy with my two days. I’ve played solid golf and just wish more putts had dropped.”
The Australian pair will see plenty of each other, as they'll play together in the third round.
Wooster and Gole will play the third round together.
“How cool is it for two Aussies to be in the lead. We’ve played a lot of golf together, and we’re good friends.”
Gole has recorded back-to-back 74s. She began her second round with nine straight pars over the Bracken. She made a double bogey on the 18th when she clattered her third shot into a tree 65 yards short of the green.
“The course played long,” Gole said. “I played 17 really good golf holes and then just had that blip on the last. I knew when I played my practice round the golf course was going to be a test of patience, and it was.”
Gole is a reinstated amateur after spending seven years on the Ladies European Tour. She won the 1996 Danish Ladies Open, but returned to Australia in 1997. She gave up the professional game to raise a family with husband Sam. She regained her amateur status in 2016 but only started taking senior amateur golf seriously a few years ago when they changed the senior amateur limit from 55 to 50.
She’s made the best of her reinstated amateur status. She has three wins this year including the New Zealand Amateur Championship, which she won in March.
ABOUT THE British Senior Amateur
The British Senior Amateur, called the "Seniors
Amateur Championship" in the United Kingdom,
was launched by The R&A in 1969 to help select
a Great Britain & Ireland side to play in the
World Senior Amateur Team Championship.
Though the British Senior Amateur, played for the
first time at Formby, was an instant success, the
team event did not survive beyond 1969. Charlie
Green has been the most successful player in
the history of the event, winning six times in
seven years beginning in 1988. Like the U.S.
Senior Amateur, players must be over the age of
55 to play. Notable courses played over the
years include Royal County Down, Royal
Portrush, Royal Aberdeen, and Walton Heath.
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