• Falko Hanisch on track to defend his title after defeating James Swash 3&2 to reach the quarter finals of the Boys Amateur Championship at Nairn.
• 2016 Junior Open winner Pedro Lencart progresses following 4&3 victory over George Leigh.
• Four English players make quarter finals to be played on Saturday morning.
Defending champion Falko Hanisch progressed to the quarter finals of the 91st Boys Amateur Championship after defeating England’s James Swash 3&2 at Nairn on Friday.
2016 Junior Open winner Pedro Lencart, Pierre Pineau, ? and four English players; Benjamin Jones, Robin Williams, Thomas Plumb and George Saunders join him in the quarter finals on Saturday morning.
Title defence on track
Hanisch, who lifted the trophy last year following his 37th hole victory over Alejandro Aguilera at Muirfield, came back from losing the first hole after his ball found the left-hand rough, to record three consecutive birdies and put him in control of the match. A fifth birdie at the 11th saw him go 4up and despite losing the 13th, he was able to close out the match at the 16th hole and become the first to advance to the next stage of the championship.
“I’m very happy – it was a great match today. I made probably six or seven birdies so I really enjoyed the round. I’m really looking forward to being in the quarter finals again. For me, match play is much easier in the head to just play a good game.”
Not since 1930 has the championship been won back-to-back. On that occasion J Lindsay achieved the feat, and five years before that RW Peattie was the first two record two consecutive victories. “I’m not thinking about the final,” said Hanisch after being asked if he could lift the trophy again just a year after his Muirfield triumph.
“I’m just taking it shot by shot and if I hit every shot perfect until Sunday evening then it could be possible. But I’m just looking from match to match. I’m pretty solid right now so I’m really looking forward to this.”
Hanisch will now play Benjamin Jones from England, who came through his match with Austrian Paul Kamml 2&1.
An all-English tie between Robin Williams and Thomas Thumb guarantees an English semi-finalist. Williams defeated his countryman Michael Hay 5&4 to set up the quarter final with his Boys Home Internationals team-mate Plumb, who also put out another English player, Zak Karkaletos, following his 6&5 victory.
Playing in his second Boys Amateur Championship and having never made the cut before now, Williams was delighted with his day’s work, saying, “I played well today in the morning and the afternoon, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
“It would be an amazing feeling (to win) – it would open so many doors for me and my family and give me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Plumb added, “I played really well over the course of the day and got used to the wind because it has been the same direction the last few days.
“I really enjoy (links golf) – it’s a good test. It’s (the championship) been brilliant. This is my third year now, if I was still young next year I would come back and play.”
Junior Open champion progresses
The English contingent was complete when George Saunders defeated Italian Giovanni Manzoni 5&4. Saunders will now face 2016 Junior Open winner Pedro Lencart who won his own match against George Leigh 4&3. Lencart, victorious at Kilmarnock (Barassie), said he was relishing the course at Nairn.
“I am feeling comfortable with my game and I like the course. It’s kind of short so you can get a lot of birdie opportunities here.
“It’s always good to come here and play these courses – especially when you play well so it’s been really fun. My opponent played well but today was just my day!”
Miguel Angel Herrero-Baeza is the last of the Spanish competitors left in the championship after a two hole victory over France’s Clement Charmasson. He will now play another Frenchman after Pierre Pineau defeated England’s Adam Syed 3&2
The scoring from the quarter final matches will be available here.