England's Craig Hinton upsets world no. 5 Huizing in Amateur Championship
England's Craig Hinton pulled off a surprise upset in the 117th Amateur Championship when he defeated Daan Huizing to make it through to the last 32 at Royal Troon.
Dutchman Huizing entered the championship as the highest ranked player in the field at number five on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). Huizing had high expectations after winning the Lytham Trophy by 11 shots and the St Andrews Links Trophy by 14.
Hinton qualified for last year's Open Championship and won this year's Welsh Amateur Stroke Play Championship, helping him reach 251 on the WAGR. He had never reached the match play stages in four previous attempts. Yet the gulf in status did not show in their second round match.
23-year-old Hinton was one up playing the last hole after chipping in for birdie at 17. He had to go to an extra hole when he failed to get up and down for par at the last. However, he held his nerve on the first extra playoff hole. He hit a 5-iron off the tee and a wedge second to three feet and holed for birdie.
"He's a great player but it's match play so anyone can beat anyone," Hinton said. "I knew if I played well on my day I could beat him. There's no point putting him on a pedestal."
Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup player Alan Dunbar also made it through to the last 32. He defeated Spain's Borja Virto by one hole. However, he didn't play his best golf.
"I didn't play great," Dunbar admitted. "I drove poorly and missed greens, but I am delighted to be through. I will have to find a better swing for tomorrow."
Dunbar helped Great Britain & Ireland win the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen last year. He won two of three of his matches in the biennial competition as GB&I defeated the United States 14-12. That experience proved vital in helping him make the last 32.
"The Walker Cup has given me confidence," Dunbar said. "I handled myself well at Aberdeen and remembering I can do that really helps."
GB&I teammate Rhys Pugh also made it through to the last 32. Pugh defeated England's Joshua White 6&4 in the first round and then bettered Argentina's Franco Romero 4&2.
Pugh starred at Aberdeen last year, winning all three of his matches. The Welshman, who has just completed his first year at East Tennessee State University, raced to a three-hole lead after four holes against Romero and was three under for the 15 holes he played in the afternoon. "I'm playing well and hopefully I can go all the way," Pugh said.
Sweden's Daniel Jennevret, the number one seed, lost to former British Boys' champion Emilio Cuartero by one hole. Jennevret is the ninth player of the last 14 to lead the qualifying and lose in his first match.
Frenchman Joel Stalter had a hole in one at the 125-yard, par-3, 8th hole, "The Postage Stamp" in a one hole loss to American Tyler Raber. Raber is one of two players from the United States through to the last 32. Will McCurdy of Auburn University is the other. He defeated number two seed Geoff Drakeford of Australia 8&7 to reach round three.
The increasing cosmopolitan nature of the Amateur Championship was reflected in the players who made it through to the match play stages. Twenty-five nations were represented, with 53 of the 78 players from outside Great Britain & Ireland. Sixteen nations are represented in the last 32.
Notables to make it to the last 32 include Pedro Figueiredo, the 2009 British Boys' champion. The Portuguese amateur is the highest WAGR ranked player left in the field at world number 14. 19-year-old Jack McDonald from nearby Kilmarnock (Barassie) is also through and will attract much local support in round three. Current Scottish Stroke Play Champion Paul Barjon also takes his place in the last 32.