Daniel Brown had two goals entering the match play stages of the Amateur Championship: continue the form that earned him the number one seed, and avoid the qualifying curse.
Brown, who led the 288-man qualifying field with an 8-under-par total of 133, managed to achieve both goals with a 2&1 victory over American Myles Lewis to advance to the second round.
"I just wanted to try to play the way I did the last two days," said the 19-year-old member of Bedale Golf Club in Yorkshire. "I took a bit of my stroke play form into my first six holes and was two up through those holes. That was important because you want to get ahead early in an 18-hole match."
Brown went three up after nine and was determined to stay as far in front as possible. "The most important thing was to stay at least two up, because if it gets back to one then the match can swing against you."
The Englishman entered the knockout stages aware that the leading qualifier often gets knocked out in the first match play round. Since qualifying was introduced in 1983, 16 players who led or shared the qualifying have lost their first round matches.
"I was aware of the extra pressure as leading qualifier but I tried not to let it cross my mind. I managed to do that quite well."
Toby Tree had a slightly easier time in reaching the second round than his English teammate, but still had to concentrate over the closing holes to see off France’s Hubert Tisserand. The England international birdied three of the first five holes to find himself four up. Then he lost his concentration.
Tree, the reigning Welsh Amateur Stroke Play champion, had a double bogey on the 8th and bogeys on the 10th and 12th which saw his lead shrink to just two holes.
"I made a bit of a mess of things in the middle of the round," Tree admitted. "But I settled down and made three solid pars at 13, 14 and 15."
He closed out the match with a birdie at the par-5, 17th.
England’s Paul Howard claimed arguably the biggest victory of the first round with a two-hole win over Belgium’s Thomas Detry, the current 12th ranked player on the World Amateur Golf RankingTM.
"I was hoping for a gentler match in my opening round, so hopefully my next one will be easier," said the Southport & Ainsdale member, winner of this year’s South American Amateur Championship.
Two-time Walker Cup player Rhys Pugh enjoyed a 5&4 victory over Spain’s Mario Galiano. The Welshman was all-square through the first five holes but then won five of the next six holes to book his place in the second round.
"I was very steady the whole round and managed to birdie the 10th and 11th holes after winning three holes from the sixth," said Pugh, who has just completed his third year at East Tennessee State University. "I was fairly comfortable after that. I haven’t played great this season so far, but I’ve been pretty solid."
Cormac Sharvin continued Northern Irish hopes by defeating Scotland’s Calum Hill. The member of Ardglass Golf Club in County Down won 2&1 to go one round better than 12 months ago. Sharvin qualified for last year’s match play rounds at Royal Cinque Ports but lost to eventual champion Garrick Porteous in his opening round.
"I’ve gone further than last year and hopefully can go a lot further," the 21-year-old said.
Spain’s Emilio Cuartero won’t follow in the footsteps of Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal and complete the double as Boys Amateur and Amateur Champion. The 2007 Boys Amateur Championship winner lost 4&3 to Denmark’s Victor Fasmer Henum.
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