Home hopes alive as four Scots reach last 32

Liam JohnstonFour Scots have made it through to the last 32 of the 2010 Boys Amateur Championship, which is taking place on the west coast of Scotland this week. Liam Johnston, Scott Gibson, Conor O’Neil and Ewan Scott got their bids to become the first Scot to win the event on home soil since Steven O’Hara in 1998 off to the best possible start with first-round wins at Kilmarnock (Barassie).

Dumfries and County’s Johnston posted the most emphatic victory of the four in defeating Domenico Geminiani 6&5. Johnston, 17, got off to a flying start, eagling the first on his way to establishing a five-hole lead after six. From there he would keep the Italian – who at 14 is the youngest player ever to contest a European Tour event – at arm’s length, winning comfortably on the 13th green.

 “My goal was just to make the match play rounds,” said the 2010 Scottish Amateur Championship quarter-finalist, “so anything I get now is a bonus – I’m just enjoying myself.

“I struck it well into the wind and I didn’t get myself into trouble, which is the main thing around here,” added Johnston, who won a Scottish Golf Union Junior Tour event by eight shots at Barassie earlier in the year.

Scott GibsonSt Andrews’ Ewan Scott won his match with Englishman Craig Young by two holes. Scott Gibson and Conor O’Neil, however, required extra holes to overcome their opponents, despite both standing on the 18th tee with a one-hole advantage.

Gibson relinquished a four-hole lead over the closing stretch, before he eventually secured passage to the next stage on the 20th. O’Neil, meanwhile, three-putted the last to return the match to all-square, but held his nerve to win on the 19th – the par-five first at Barassie – after putting his third shot to within a foot from 45 yards.

“I’m playing well at the moment,” said O’Neil, who had Scotland team-mate and Barassie member Jack McDonald on his bag today. “I had five and a half points out of six in the Boys Home Internationals and I was second in the Scottish boys the week before. I just need to try and continue it on.

Julien Brun“The four Scots that have made it through were probably the four strongest at the Homes [Boys Home Internationals], so we’ll all take confidence from that. It’s good for Scottish golf that four of us are through.”

Stroke play leader Julien Brun is also safely through his first match play round, but only after clinching victory over Germany’s Sebastian Schwind at the 20th hole. The French 18-year-old made par on Barassie’s 394-yard, par-four 2nd hole to progress.

“I played okay today in difficult conditions,” said Brun. “The wind was hard, the pins were quite hard and my ball-striking was not so good as the first two days. I’m happy to win.”

The next round gets underway at 7.30am tomorrow with Brun taking on Jon Rahm of Spain.

Click here to see tomorrow’s draw. The page will be updated with scores throughout the day.

Full results from today’s play can be found here.