The Amateur Day One
14 players from 10 different nations lie in tied-5th place or above at the conclusion of the first day of the 2010 Amateur Championship. Four players are tied-first after signing for four-under-par 67s at a blustery North Berwick: Wales’ Rhys Enoch, Scot Michael Stewart, Ian Winstanley of England and Spain’s Emilio Cuartero.
Welshman Rhys Enoch, winner of the NCAA East regional qualifier last month representing East Tennessee State University, put together a faultless round of four birdies and no bogeys to share the lead at the half-way stage of stroke play qualifying.
The 21-year-old current world number said: “I’m playing well. It’s just getting through the stroke play, hopefully, and then going one game at a time.”
“I played the 2008 Home Internationals at Muirfield and I think it’s a course that suits me, so I’m looking forward to playing there tomorrow.”
Fellow East Tennessee State student Michael Stewart has won two collegiate events during his time in the USA, most recently the Coca Cola Wofford Invitational in April. Stewart, who finished tied-seventh at the St Andrews Links Trophy earlier this month, made five birdies to reach the turn in 31. His advantage was diminished when a bogey at 15 was followed by a double bogey at 16, but two consecutive birdies on 17 and 18 ensured he claimed a share of the lead.
“I played a tournament here [North Berwick] when I was 16, a Scottish Junior Tour event, which I won so I’ve got good memories round here,” said former Scottish Boys Champion, 20. “I love this golf course.”
“I’m playing nicely, so I’ll just keep playing my own game – take one shot at a time.”
2007 Boys Amateur Champion Cuartero started and finished the outward nine with birdies. Eight pars followed on the back nine, before he completed the round in the best possible style with an eagle at the last.
England’s Ian Winstanley, who missed the cut at his home club of Formby at the 2009 Amateur, hit a driver to within 10 feet and holed for eagle on the 276-yard 18th at North Berwick to give himself the best possible chance of reaching the match play rounds this year.
“I played really solidly today. I didn’t hit many bad shots and, when I did, my short game saved me,” said Winstanley, the 2009 British University and College Golf Champion.
“I’ve been playing really well recently, so I had high hopes coming into the week and I’ll go into tomorrow with tones of confidence.”
Northern Irishman Alan Dunbar, the 2010 Irish Amateur Open Champion, lies one stroke behind after a 68 at North Berwick. He is joined by Scotland’s highest-ranked player, James Byrne; Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer, who birdied five holes in a row today at North Berwick from the third to the eighth; Edouard Espana from France; Belgium’s Xavier Feyaerts; Laurie Canter of England; Norwegian Are Friestad and Germany’s Phillipp Westermann.
Also on 68 is Australia’s Kieran Pratt, the man who shot the lowest round of the day at Muirfield.
“It’s my first event here and I absolutely love Muirfield,” said Pratt, who won three tournaments in a row – the Dunes Medal, the Port Phillip Amateur and the Victorian Amateur Match Play – at the end of 2009. “It’s a fair, tough course, and it’s a joy to play here.
“I need to play the same tomorrow: lots of irons off the tees and, if I can hole a few putts like today, I should be ok.”
Full hole-by-hole scores can be found here.
Play gets underway at 7.00am tomorrow morning at Muirfield and North Berwick. 288 players are playing two rounds of stroke play, one each at Muirfield and North Berwick, before 64 players and ties progress to the match play rounds beginning on Wednesday at Muirfield.