Boys Amateur Champion one off pace after Day One

2010 Boys Amateur Champion Adrian Otaegui produced the round-of-the-day at Hesketh Golf Club to finish on three-under-par, one shot behind Hillside leader Landyn Edwards of New Zealand, at the half-way stage of the stroke play qualifying stage of the 2011 Amateur Championship. Both players signed for 68s.

18-year-old Otaegui was the only man to break 70 on a difficult opening day at Hesketh. With 64 and ties progressing to the next stage, the Spaniard looks certain to take his place in the match play draw on Tuesday evening.

“I played well today, but it doesn’t mean anything yet,” said Otaegui, who followed in the footsteps of former Boys Amateur Champions Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal, both of whom went on to win the Amateur. “I need to forger what I did today and go out tomorrow and try to do my best.

Adrian Otaegui“The Amateur is an event I would love to win – I like the history and the tradition.”

Otaegui travelled down to England’s north west after the St Andrews Links Trophy, to give himself a week to get used to two of the areas most challenging layouts.

“I played two rounds at Hillside and two at Hesketh because I wanted to get used to them before today,” he added.

It is 2011 Rotorua Open Champion Edwards, however, who tops the leaderboard after a four-under-par 68, which featured three birdies and a bogey on both the outward and inward half. Two under after 16, the Kiwi made successive birdies at the 547-yard, par-five 17th and the437-yard, par-four 18th to take the lead.

The second-best round of the day at Hillside was signed for by England’s Gregory Eason. The only player, apart from Edwards, to break par at a course described by Greg Norman as having the best back nine in Britain, Eason made 10 consecutive pars, before birdies at 11 and 17, and a bogey at the 12th took him to his one-under-par total of 71.

A good gallery followed Jack Senior around Hesketh Golf Club today.Back at Hesketh, three players finished with one-under-par rounds of 70. Englishmen Neil Raymond and Garrick Porteous, and Scotland’s Philip McLean are currently tied with Eason for second place; something that didn’t come as a surprise to 24-year-old McLean from Peterhead.

“To be honest, it didn’t come as a surprise when I found out that 70 was right up there,” he said. “It’s firm out there – pretty tough, but the greens are receptive, so there’s always an opportunity to get close and make birdie.”

Best of the rest at Hillside were Alastair Jones of Wales, the Netherlands’ Dylan Boshart, Jason Timms of England, and Scots Greg Paterson and Walker Cup squad member Michael Stewart, each of whom recorded scores of 72.

“This, along with the US Amateur, is the biggest event of the year,” said Stewart. “But I’m just trying to enjoy it – in fact I’ve written that on my stroke saver. The conditions are so tough, but you’ve just got to grind it out and have fun.”

Click here for full, hole-by-hole scores from the first day of the 2011 Amateur Championship.