Stefan Still sets the pace at The Boys Amateur Championship
Germany’s Stefan Still carded a fine three-under-par 68 to lead the field after the first round of the 85th Boys Amateur Championship, played at Burnham & Berrow and Enmore Park in Somerset.
Still, from MGC-Muencherer Golf Club, goes into the second round one shot ahead of England’s Jimmy Mullen, from Royal North Devon, and two in front of an international quartet comprising Welsh boys international Delon Hau, Austria’s Robin Goger and Guray Yazici and Ediz Kemaloglu from Turkey.
Three Frenchmen, Victor Joffray, Robin Sciot-Siegrist and Kenny Subregis, share seventh place on level par 71 with Scotland’s Daniel McConnachie and Richard Broadhurst from Italy while English International, Oliver Carr, from Heswall, is one of a large group sharing twelfth place on one-over -par 72.
Still started the day by dropping a shot at Enmore Park’s treacherous 385-yard par-4 opening hole and then also bogeyed the 411-yard par-4 fifth before picking up his first shot of the day on the 491-yard par-5 sixth to go out in 36. The German international went on to card his second birdie on the 437-yard par-4 10th before finishing with a flourish with further birdies on the 14th, 16th and 18th to record one of only six sub-par rounds during the day.
Mullen, from Royal North Devon, got off to a fine start to his round when he carded a birdie at Enmore Park’s opening hole. He dropped a shot at the 369-yard par-4 third but then regained it at the 491-yard par-4 sixth before relinquishing another shot to par on the 408-yard par-4 ninth. The Devon man then made par on his next six holes before finishing his round in style with birdies on the 488-yard par-5 16th and 496-yard par-5 18th.
Delon Hau, a Welsh Boys international from the Vale Resort, only got into the field as a replacement on the eve of the Championship but he took full advantage of his late call-up with a fine one-under-par 70 at Enmore Park that included the best finish of the day. Hau, who played in last week’s Boys Home Internationals at Royal St David’s, went out in the first group and was three-over-par as he stepped onto the 16th tee but then went on to finish birdie, birdie, eagle to move up to a tie for third place with Yazici, Goger and Kemaloglu.
The Austrian, Goger, also played his opening round at Enmore Park where the bulk of the low scores were recorded. He dropped a shot on his opening hole but then bounced back with an eagle on the 491-yard par-5 sixth to go out in 34. He gained another shot on the 14th but gave it away with his second bogey of the round on the penultimate hole.
Yaziki, a Turkish international, played his first round over the more difficult Burnham & Berrow but he quickly acclimatised to the blustery links conditions with a fine round that included five birdies. Like Still, Yaziki started slowly with bogeys on the 380-yard par-4 and the 434-yard par-4 sixth but then burst into life with three birdies in four holes from the eighth. He dropped a shot at the 558-yard par-5 13th but then bounced back with a birdie on the 179-yard par-3 17th to finish on one under par and just two shots behind the German pacesetter. Later, Yaziki was joined in a tie for third place by compatriot Ediz Kemaloglu, while a third Turk joined the group sharing twelfth place on 72.
The first round also turned out to be a huge success for the strong German contingent in the multi-national 252-strong field.
Still was the pick of the bunch but he was certainly not eclipsed by his compatriots because Maximilian Mehles and Jeremy Paul both returned one-over-par rounds of 72 at Burnham & Berrow while Nicholas Inderthal and Maximilian Rottluff both carded two-over-par 73s at Enmore Park. Rottluff will be particularly anxious to perform well this week because last year he suffered the agony of losing out to Spain’s Adrian Otaegui in the 36-hole final at Kilmarnock Barassie.
A total of 46 competitors from 12 different countries go into the second round within five shots of the lead. Mullen heads the home contingent but the competitor they might all be watching out for is English international, Oliver Carr, who comes into the Championship having earned five and a half points out of six in his country’s win at last week’s Boys Home Internationals. Carr, from Heswall, remains among the early favourites to succeed Otaegui after a fine one-over-par 72 at Burnham & Berrow. The young Englishman dropped a shot at the first but regained it with a three at the 421-yard par-4 second before giving in back at the third. He collected further birdies on the fourth, sixth and ninth to go out in 34 but then dropped two shots in three holes from the 10th before continuing his seesaw round with a birdie on the 558-yard par-5 13thand bogeys on the 192-yard par-3 14th and the 445-yard par-4 closing hole.
Toby Tree, the 2011 Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters champion shot 74, Callum Shinkwin from Moor Park, a semi-finalist at this year’s English Amateur scored 75, as did this year's Peter McEvoy trophy winner, Nathan Kimsey from Woodhall Spa.
However, it was a different story for local man, Jamie Clare, from Burnham & Berrow, who reached the final of the recent English Amateur at Woburn but now has it all to do after posting a seven-over -par 78 at Enmore Park. Other well-known players who struggled in the strong wind included Spain’s Mario Galiano, who was sixth in this year’s European Young Masters but carded a 79 and 2011 Carris Trophy winner, Harry Casey from Enfield who also posted the same number. Later in the day, Englishman, Seb Crookall-Nixon from Workington, who was fourth at this year’s Brabazon Trophy, returned an 80. Under a new format, introduced for the first time last year, each of the 252 competitors will play 36 holes of stroke play with one round being played at Burnham & Berrow and the other at Enmore Park.
The leading 64 and ties then progress to the match play stages which will be played at Burnham & Berrow starting on Thursday. The 36-hole final will be played at Burnham & Berrow on Sunday.
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