Wilco Nienaber eased his way into the third round of The 123rd Amateur Championship with a comfortable 5&4 victory over Niclas Weiland at Royal Aberdeen today.
The 18-year-old South African continued the dominating form which saw him lead both rounds of stroke play qualifying to progress to the last 32. His countryman Matt Saulez recorded the championship’s first hole in one at the 11th during his match with Benjamin Jones but it failed to inspire him to victory as he went down by 2 holes to the Englishman.
“It’s satisfying, you can easily fall out in the first round so it’s a good start,” said Nienaber.
“We had different weather and different wind today so it was tough on the front nine playing into the wind and I think I played nicely. It’s tough so I’m really happy to get the win and go through to tomorrow.”
Highest ranked player eases through
The highest-ranked player in the field, Viktor Hovland booked his place in the third round after coming through his match against Lukas Euler 5&4. The Norwegian, fifth in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM, dispatched the German, who defeated Mexican Alvaro Ortiz in the preliminary round to set up the match with Hovland.
Hovland commented on how he played, “I’m just really maximising my game right now and getting it round really well. I hit it really well off the tee, mainly in the fairways and hit a couple of really close shots coming into the greens as well as a few putts.”
The impressive Norwegian who plays collegiate golf at Oklahoma State in the US will now take on England’s Thomas Forster in the third round on Thursday.
On his next opponent he said, “I don’t think about who I’m playing too much, I know if I play really well my opponents going to have a hard time beating me. I’m just focused on that.”
England's Jordan through after extra holes
Walker Cup player Matthew Jordan composed himself after surrendering a 4-hole lead against Finland’s Matias Honkala. After his opponent missed a 5ft putt for the match on the 19th, the world No.7 and current Lytham Trophy champion holed from 15ft at the 20th to win the hole and progress to the next round.
“I’m very relieved,” admitted Jordan. “I played really good and putted good as well, I didn’t make many mistakes until the 14th and then three putted which left me four up with five to play there. From there on in the match just seemed to switch, he had a bounce in his step. It just felt like a real struggle and he birdied 15 and 16 but then the last few holes panned out okay. Whenever you win on extra holes it’s just a massive relief.”
Forres’ Jeff Wright defeated Euan McIntosh by one hole to come out on top in the battle of the Scots. Wright is one of three home players to continue alongside Nairn’s Sandy Scott and Stuart Easton from Irvine. Scott defeated German Claudio Consul 3&2 while Easton knocked out Australia’s Will Heffernan by one hole.
In an exciting finish on the 19th hole, Ireland’s James Sugrue booked his place in the third round after Australian Michael Kyle lost his tee shot. With last year’s leading qualifier Caolan Rafferty on the bag, the Cork golfer parred the final hole to take advantage of his opponent’s mistake.
His countryman and St Andrews squad member Robin Dawson followed him through with a 4&2 win over David Ravetto from France. From the Irish contingent, John Murphy, Connor Purcell and Rowan Lester also progressed to Thursday’s third round.
The third round gets underway on Thursday at Royal Aberdeen at 7.30am. For scoring please visit Randa.org.