Ireland’s John Murphy knocked out the world number five Viktor Hovland to progress to the quarter finals of The 123rd Amateur Championship, where he will meet his country man, and former college friend Robin Dawson.
In windy conditions at Royal Aberdeen, the 20-year-old Kinsale golfer, who was originally a reserve, defeated the field’s highest ranked player 6&5 to set up the all Irish match-up on Friday. Fresh from his St Andrews Links Trophy victory earlier this month, Murphy made light work of the Norwegian following his earlier third round win over American Walker Lee (4&2).
Murphy commented on the confidence his St Andrews Trophy win has brought, “I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking."
“I grew up watching Padraig Harrington lift the Claret Jug so playing in The Open would be incredible," said Murphy on the prize on offer to the winner this week. "Watching him at the K Club and win The Open are some of my earliest golfing memories so it would be great to follow.”
Hovland faced a quick turnaround at lunch after he staged an impressive comeback in the morning to defeat Thomas Forster on the first extra hole. The Englishman had built a four-hole lead at the 13th but Hovland battled back to make the match all square down the last.
In a strong showing from the Irish, Conor Purcell also joined Murphy and Dawson in the fifth round. Dawson and Purcell eliminated Swedes Elis Svärd and Adam Blomé. Dawson, member of the St Andrews trophy squad, with a 6&5 win and Purcell chalking up a 3&2 victory. Purcell, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, had earlier knocked out Walker Cup player Matthew Jordan following a stunning up and down on the 19th hole to close out the third-round match.
“This morning I was on the back foot going into the back nine and managed to get something out of it, and then the second game in the afternoon I played out of my skin." commented Ireland's Purcell. "On that back nine I got quite hot so it was good."
Purcell will now play the top ranked Australian David Micheluzzi. The world number 19 took down Mexico’s Raul Pereda 5&4 to book a spot in the fifth round.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Scandinavians as Christoffer Pålsson came through his tie with South Africa’s Luca Filippi 4&3 to ensure one Swede made the quarter finals.
Leading qualifier Wilco Nienaber also departed the competition as he lost on the final hole to England’s Tom Sloman who produced a magical up and down in front of the 18th green gallery. Countryman Mitch Waite joined Sloman after defeating German Timo Vahlenkamp on the 19th hole.
Jovan Rebula was the only South African from the fourth round matches to survive and plays Sloman on Friday morning after a narrow one hole victory over England’s Ben Hutchinson.
The quarter finals get underway on Friday at Royal Aberdeen at 8.15am followed by the semi-finals at 1pm. For scoring please visit Randa.org.