Ireland’s Mark Power booked a spot in the quarter finals of the 92nd Boys Amateur Championship with a back nine surge at Royal Portrush today.
The Kilkenny golfer, who was the joint leader after stroke play qualifying, was the only Irishman to reach the last eight following his 4&2 victory over the Netherland’s Jerry Ji.
The two-time Irish Boys Amateur Champion found himself trailing Ji by one at the turn but found his form on the back nine, notching up four birdies including one at the par three 16th, to seal the win.
Power, who earlier defeated Italy’s Simone Armando Colozza 6&5 in the morning’s third round, will now take on England’s Joseph Pagdin after he progressed to the quarter finals following a one-hole victory over Australia’s Jose de Souza.
“Today I probably played some of the best golf I have played all week,” said Power. “Jerry is a really good player He wouldn’t go away. He was driving really well and made it tricky for me.
“I have had a few nice wins in the last few years and this year I have had two seconds and a third in men’s events so I just really want to finish off the year with a win and there is no better tournament to do it than in the Boys Amateur – this is the biggest one we play.
“There has been a lot of people out supporting me even though I am from a further bit down in the south and that has been nice. Hopefully everyone’s behind me for tomorrow.”
Pagdin earlier knocked out the defending champion Pedro Lencart – who was bidding to become the first back-to-back winner since 1930 – in a match that went to the 19th.
Leading qualifier Robin Williams also departed after suffering a surprise 3&2 defeat to Scotland’s Aidan O’Hagan in the third round. O’Hagan, playing in his first Boys Amateur Championship could not maintain his form in the afternoon, however, when he ran into an in-form Conor Gough who inflicted a 7&6 defeat on the young Scot.
The 15-year-old Englishman, who won the McGregor Trophy in July, will now face the highest-ranked player in the field, Nicolai Højgaard. Gough, who previously knocked out his twin brother Rasmus in the second round, will take on Højgaard in the first match of the day tomorrow.
Gough said, “I played really well today in both rounds. This afternoon I didn’t play as well but I got around and was holing the putts at the right time.
“I’m playing the other brother, Nicolai, tomorrow so I have got to take him down now. It should be a good game. I’m feeling very confident. All year I have played well – been finishing on top and winning a few things so hopefully I can carry on the form.”
Højgaard secured his own spot in the next round after a dramatic finish on the last in his match with Italy’s Lucas Nicolas Fallotico. Leading by one, the Dane found himself in the greenside rough with his second shot and pitched his third into a ditch. His recovery shot struck the flagstick settling around five feet from the hole.
The Italian was left with a five-foot putt for par to take the match to a play-off but failed to find the cup. Højgaard showed real composure to roll in his own for bogey and take the match by one hole. He earlier defeated Australian-based Scot Connor McKinney by 5&4.
He said, “It was very hard out there with the weather. The first few holes were ok but when we came to the back nine it just difficult trying to make pars. And if you made a par it felt like a birdie sometimes.”
England will have four quarter-finalists in total with Jensen Hull and Max Hopkins joining Pagdin and Gough. Hull defeated countryman Curtis Knipes 4&3, while Hopkins ended Portugal’s hopes by winning 5&4 against Daniel Rodrigues.
Hulll said, “I was happy just to make the cut and anything else is a bonus.” Hopkins agreed and added, “Last year I got to the last 32 and I’ve already beaten that so I’ve not got anything to lose now.”
Gustav Andersson from Sweden secured his spot with a one-hole victory over Italian Filippo Celli and Spain’s Jose Luis Ballester defeated Ireland’s Joshua Robinson 3&1.