The Amateur Day Two
England’s Tommy Fleetwood, beaten finalist at Turnberry in the 2008 Amateur Championship, today posted a flawless round of 65 at North Berwick to finish two shots clear of the field after the 36-hole qualifying stage. Formby’s Ian Winstanley, reigning Boys Amateur Champion Tom Lewis and the highest-ranked Scot James Byrne shared second place on five-under-par totals of 137.
Fleetwood, who played for Great Britain and Ireland during last September’s Walker Cup Match at Merion Golf Club, recorded three birdies on the front nine, and a further three coming back to ensure that he will be the man to beat in the match play stages.
“You never know who you’re going to come up against,” said the World Amateur Golf Ranking number 10. “But I’ve played well in the first two rounds and I’m sure people will notice that. I don’t mind who I play, I’ve just got to play well.”
The 19-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals at Formby last year before being beaten by eventual winner Matteo Manassero, is in no doubt about his goals for the Championship.
“I’ve got pretty high expectations. This week, I came here with the expectation of winning it.”
The Lancastrian’s nearest challengers are fellow Englishmen Ian Winstanley and Tom Lewis. Like Fleetwood, Lewis also signed for a bogey-free round. A scrambling 66 at North Berwick was enough for the Welwyn Garden City member to ensure comfortable qualification, while yesterday’s level-par 71 at Muirfield will give him confidence for the rest of the week.
“I felt good yesterday at Muirfield. I felt comfortable there,” he said. “It’s one of the nicest courses I’ve played. It’s a fair course: if you hit a good shot, you’re always going to be rewarded for it.”
Winstanley, meanwhile, followed a 67 yesterday – the joint-best round of the day at North Berwick – with a one-under-par 70 at Muirfield.
“It was brilliant today, I really enjoyed it,” said the former R&A Foundation Scholar. “The greens are just perfect here[at Muirfield] and both courses have provided interesting challenges.”
Completing the trio on 137 was James Byrne, who is hoping to improve on an impressive performance at Formby last year.
“I reached the last 16 last year, and knew I was in with a chance to make the cut this year. I’ve been playing well and I always play and putt better at home,” said Banchory’s Byrne.
The round of the day came from Olivier Rozner, the Frenchman coming back in six-under-par 29 to post a course-record-equaling 63 at North Berwick. He now shares the record with Ireland’s Colm Moriarty and 2008 Masters Champion Trevor Immelman, both of whom achieved the feat during Open Championship Local Final Qualifying in 2002.
“It’s amazing,” said Rozner, who qualified on a total of 140, two under par. “There was no problem on the course: driver on the fairway, second shots on the green, and my putting was perfect.
“It’s my first Amateur Championship. My first objective was to make the cut and after, in the match play, we’ll see.”
Other notable players to progress to the match play stages included France’s Romain Wattel, the 2010 Scottish Stroke Play Champion; Kieran Pratt of Australia, whose 68 was the lowest score registered at Muirfield yesterday; Korean Jin Jeong; China’s Mu Hu and Yuki Usami of Japan. 2009 GB&I Walker Cup stat and last year’s beaten semi-finalist Stiggy Hodgson also made it through to the last 64.
The top 64 and ties will commence the match play stages of the 2010 Amateur Championship tomorrow. The 36-hole final will be played on Saturday. The winner will receive exemption into the 150th Anniversary Open Championship and a Masters Tournament invitation.
Tomorrow’s draw, plus full hole-by-hole scores from the qualifying rounds, can be found here.