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Connor Graham earns medalist honors at British Amateur
Connor Graham (Royal and Ancient Photo)
Connor Graham (Royal and Ancient Photo)

Scotland’s Connor Graham stood firm on a testing day to finish as the leading qualifier in The 129th Amateur Championship at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Ireland.

The 17-year-old from Blairgowrie, who led the 288-strong field after an opening 65 on Ballyliffin’s Old Course, fortified his position at the top with a one-under-par 71 over the Glashedy Links.

Walker Cup player Graham ended his 36-hole stroke play campaign with a seven-under-par aggregate of 136 and finished three strokes clear of Norway’s Michael Alexander Mjaaseth.

South Africa’s Ben van Wyk, who was the leading qualifier in last year’s Championship, rose up the leaderboard into third place on three-under with a 67 on the Glashedy Links.

Graham is currently ranked No. 204 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings.

Graham, a former winner of The R&A Junior Open, will now look to carry his growing momentum into the match play phase as he aims to become just the fourth player after Philip Parkin, Warren Bladon, and Matteo Manassero to win the qualifier and go on to capture the title.

During a chilly, breezy day that added plenty of menace and mischief to the golfing examination, Graham put in a composed, considered display and cemented his place at the top of the standings.

One-over through 14 holes, the former Scottish Open Amateur Stroke Play champion made a strong push for the line and picked up birdies on the 15th and 17th holes to dip under par.

Mjaaseth briefly moved to the top after three birdies on the front nine of his second round over the Glashedy Links and reached the turn in three-under.

A bogey on the 10th, however, was followed by a double-bogey on the 12th as the Norwegian’s round began to unravel. 

Mjaaseth steadied the ship with a neatly executed up and down for birdie on the 17th to ease into the match play stage with a 72 for four-under.

Van Wyk’s day had started with a bogey on the 1st hole, which only served as motivation as he made a birdie on the 4th before holing his second shot from 40 yards on the 6th for an eagle. Further birdies at the 17th  and 18th  saw van Wyk qualify in style.

English teenager Oscar Lent also produced a grandstand finish and birdied the 16th before rolling in a long eagle putt of 50-feet on the 17th in a one-under-par 71 on the Glashedy Links for a two-under total.

The qualifying mark for the leading 64 players and ties fell at three-over-par. With 19 players, including Spain’s Jose Luis Ballester Bario who birdied his final three holes highlighted by a 35 foot putt at the 18th,  competing in a sudden death playoff for 18 places in the match play stage of the Championship. Results will be posted to The R&A Virtual Media Centre at the conclusion of play.

Richard Teder of Estonia, last year’s quarter finalist at Hillside, Walker Cup player Jack Bigham and recent St Andrews Link Trophy champion Sebastian Cave all progressed. Notable players to miss out included the highest ranked player Christiaan Maas of South Africa, former Walker Cup players Matthew McClean and Liam Nolan as well as the R&A Boys’ Amateur champion Kris Kim.

The winner of Saturday’s 36-hole Final will secure exemptions into The 152nd Open at Royal Troon next month, the US Open, and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.

The Amateur Championship is one of the biggest and most prestigious amateur championships in the world and features a starting line-up of 288 players.

The first Amateur was held at Hoylake in 1885 where 44 players from 12 clubs competed. Some of golf’s greatest names have triumphed in the event, including Bobby Jones, José María Olazábal and Sergio Garcia.

Results: British Amateur
WinDenmarkJacob Skov OlesenDenmark1800
Runner-upEnglandDominic ClemonsEngland1200
SemifinalsEnglandJack BighamEngland900
SemifinalsNYLuke SampleNew York, NY900
QuarterfinalsGermanyLaurenz SchiergenGermany700

View full results for British Amateur

ABOUT THE British Amateur

This championship, along with the US Amateur Golf Championship, is considered the most important in amateur golf.

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 holes.

View Complete Tournament Information

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