William Enefer led the way in a strong showing from the English and Scottish players in the second round of The 121st Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl today.
The England A international, who finished tied third in the Welsh Open Stroke Play Championship and tied seventh at the Irish Amateur Open Championship last month, eased to a 5&4 win over Italy’s Stefano Mazzoli to claim a place in the third round tomorrow.
“I’ve had a lot of good performances recently and a few top tens,” he said. “I’ve been playing quite well and hopefully it will continue. I don’t think I’ve played my best golf so far – I feel I’ve got better to come.
“I played pretty solid and I didn’t make many mistakes. I forced my playing partner into mistakes and he’s ranked pretty highly compared to me – so it’s a bit of a scalp to beat him.”
In squally conditions on the South Wales coast, Scotland’s Connor Syme, the leading qualifier after the stroke play stage, continued his fine form to dispatch Spain’s Xabier Gorospe with a 4&2 win. The Australian Amateur Champion won three consecutive holes from the 11th to take a firm grip of the match.
Syme commented after his win, “I didn’t quite play my best golf today but I ground it out quite well. I got up and down when I needed to and holed a few key putts so I’m happy to get through the first round of match play.
“The first two days it kind of felt quite easy almost. I was doing what I wanted to do – hitting the shots on my lines. But today I was a little bit off. Conditions were fine, it was just one of those things, my timing was a little bit off. I will go and get it sorted on the range now.”
Syme’s fellow Scot Jamie Savage saw off a strong challenge from England’s Gian-Marco Petrozzi to win the match at the first extra hole. The 2014 Amateur Championship Quarter-Finalist secured the match with a fine gap wedge to 3ft.
Grant Forrest, the runner-up last year at Carnoustie, won a close match with Ireland’s Sean Flanagan by one hole. The Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup player holed from 35ft at the 14th to win the hole and won the next to go 3 up but mistakes on the next two holes left him 1 up playing the 18th. When Flanagan’s birdie putt narrowly missed the hole, Forrest had two putts to seal the win.
“Last year I didn’t really have anything going coming into the event – I just kept plugging away and before I knew it I was in the final,” he said. “It's just staying patient and taking one shot at a time.”
England Boys’ international Harry Hall also progressed with a 4&3 victory over Luca Cianchetti.
Elsewhere, Dylan Perry triumphed in an-Australian clash with Travis Smyth by 3&2 to set up a third round match with another player from down under, Cameron Davis, who defeated Swede Jesper Svensson by the same margin.
Perry said, “I played really well today. It’s a matter of it coming together and a matter of patience on these golf courses. I got to off to a flyer start – I think I was 3-under through the first seven holes and then 4-up through nine – and then Travis started to come back towards the end and then I finished 3&2 so it was a good day.
The highest-ranked remaining player in the field is Ivan Cantero who is fifth in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM. The Spaniard, who has two wins this season at the Copa Andalucia and the French Amateur Championship, came out on top against Scotland’s Christopher MacLean by two holes after winning his first round match in the morning by 4&3 against Englishman Jordan Matthew.
“I live in the north of Spain and we have similar courses. I like the wind and the rain - it is good for me. Tomorrow is similar to today, it is shot by shot. It’s a very long tournament and has very good players so let’s go,” said Cantaro.
“Alex Larrazabal (the 2002 Amateur Champion) is my best friend in Spain and a very good example for me.”
For the full second round results and the draw for tomorrow’s third round visit championships.randa.org.