Scots Calum Fyfe and Christopher Curran led the qualifiers after the stroke play stage of the Boys Amateur Championship at Prestwick and Dundonald Links.
Fyfe, from Cawder, eagled the par five 12th to follow birdies on the 3rd and the 10th on his way to a one-under-par 70 at Prestwick and a two-over-par total of 145. The 17-year-old represented Scotland in the recent Boys Home Internationals at Western Gailes and was a member of the bronze medal-winning Scottish team at the European Boys’ Team Championship in Oslo last month.
“I started off with a birdie at the start and then had a few bogeys where I three-putted. I just tried to hit the centre of the greens and hole putts because it was playing tough out there. That was the key,” said Fyfe.
Curran carded a level-par 71 at Prestwick to finish on the same mark. The 17-year-old from Harburn, who was runner-up after a play-off in the Stephen Gallacher Foundation Trophy at Macdonald Cardrona in May, opened with a birdie at the 1st but five bogeys in six holes from the 6th threatened to derail his round before he too eagled the par-five 12th hole and, despite a bogey on the 13th, he finished strongly picking up shots on the 14th, the 17th and 18th.
“I hit a few nice shots over the last few holes and was able to get a few birdies,” said Curran, who was delighted to advance to the match play stage in his Boys Amateur Championship debut.
“I don’t really play very much match play, but it’s a different strategy and you have to be more aggressive than in stroke play so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Sweden’s Oskar Bergqvist and Ireland’s Rowan Lester finished one shot behind the leaders on three-over-par. The 17-year-old Swede, who won the 2012 Scottish Boys Under-16 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, carded six birdies and six bogeys for a level par round of 72 at Dundonald.
“I played really solid and hit a lot of greens but unfortunately I made a couple of three putts. I am really pleased with my game and my ball-striking is really good,” said Bergqvist.
“I made the cut last year by one stroke and now I have got a good chance to get someone I can beat in the next round.”
At Prestwick, 18-year-old Lester from Hermitage came in with a three-over-par 74 at Prestwick for a 146 total.
Defending champion Ewen Ferguson qualified on a ten-over-par total of 153 as did Irish Boys Amateur Open Champion Bradley Moore and his fellow England boys international Ashton Turner. Germany’s Max Schmitt, who won the European Young Masters at Falkenstein last month, qualified on 12-over-par and was joined by Italy’s Guido Migliozzi, ranked 87th in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM, who finished one shot further back.
The cut fell on 14-over-par and among the players to miss out on a place in the match play stages were Carris Trophy winner Haydn McCullen from Delamere Forest, Welsh Open Youths champion Harry Hall from West Cornwall and Scottish Boys Stroke Play runner-up Ben Kinsley from St Andrews.
The match play stage commences on Thursday morning at Prestwick and continues until Sunday August 17 when the 36-hole final will be played in morning and afternoon sessions. Parking and admission is free for spectators.