Caolan Rafftery eased his way into the third round of The 122nd Amateur Championship with a comfortable 5&3 victory over David Ravetto at Royal St George’s today.
The 25-year-old Irishman continued the stunning form which saw him set a new course record 62 at Prince’s on Tuesday to progress through to the last 32. The Dundalk golfer, who finished tied seven in the recent Lytham Trophy, will now play Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, who won his match by 3&1 against England’s Gian-Marco Petrozzi.
“Setting the course record at Prince’s gave me that extra boost knowing my game is there,” said Rafferty. “To take into today was always going to be hard to keep going, especially after being on such a high. I just levelled myself out and thought it’s a new day, a new goal, a new start – match play is a funny old game.
Finland’s Casper Simberg finished his match off in style, hitting his first ever competitive hole-in-one to defeat South Africa’s Kyle McClatchie on the third extra hole. ““It (hole-in-one) felt unreal. I hit a solid three-iron down the third extra hole and I saw it bouncing. I actually said, “go in” and it went in so it’s really unreal! I made hole-in-one in a practice round but never in a competition.”
“I had some sympathy for Kyle because he played really well and he is really good player. He strikes the ball good and is a smart player. But this is golf and anything can happen and it went my this time.”
Last year’s Amateur Championship finalist and the highest-ranked player in the field, Robert MacIntyre booked his place in the third round after coming through two matches in the baking heat in Kent. The Scotland international dispatched China’s Zheng Kai Bai 3&1 in the morning and defeated Australia’s Ben Ferguson 3&2 in the afternoon.
MacIntyre, who was defeated 2&1 by Scott Gregory in the 2016 final at Royal Porthcawl, will be looking to go one better this year and get his hands on the historic trophy on Saturday evening. Fellow Scots Craig Howie and Ryan Lumsden are also through.
MacIntyre commented after completing his second match, ““I’m delighted. I played solid golf the first round and then the second round there was no mistake so I’m happy to get through.
“The standard has been ridiculous this year. All the amateur events I have played in have been low scoring and I thought I was missing the cut when I came in yesterday. Everything is playing towards the Walker cup so a good week here and I’ll be there.”
Lytham Trophy winner Jack Singh Brar made a flying start in his match with Ireland’s Sean Flanagan, going four up through the first six holes. The Irishman gained two holes back at the turn but Singh Brar held his nerve to see out the match and record a 2&1 victory.
This is the England international’s first foray into the match play stage at The Amateur Championship and he now faces Swiss golfer Perry Cohen for a place in the last 16. ““I played quite nice and had a quick start. I was 4 up through 6. That always helps!” said Singh Brar.
“I had a few loose shots around 9 and 10 and went back to three but then I just got it done.”
In a good day for the host nation, Singh Brar’s fellow countrymen Charlie Strickland, Daniel O’Loughlin, Jordan Sundborg, Harry Ellis, Tom Sloman, George Baylis, and David Langley all progressed to the third round tomorrow.
R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament Champion Stuart Grehan defeated Dutch golfer Peter Melching to set up a third-round tie with Scotland international Lumsden. Ireland’s Paul McBride joins him in the last 32 after his victory over Swede Oliver Gillberg.
Of the Australian contingent, Min Woo Lee, Zach Murray, Dylan Perry and Harrison Endycott are still in with a chance of becoming the first Australian to win the championship since Bryden Macpherson in 2011 at Hillside.
The third round gets underway on Thursday at Royal St George’s at 7.30am. For scoring please visit Randa.org.