Ireland’s Mark Power has battled his way into the quarter-finals at The 125th Amateur Championship and kept the hopes of back-to-back Irish champions alive at Royal Birkdale.
Eliminating Englishman Jack Dyer in the morning tie, Power set up an afternoon showdown with German Marc Hammer, who last week emerged victorious at the Starnberg Open on the Pro Golf Tour.
Earlier in the day, Hammer ended the hopes of Brabazon Trophy champion David Ravetto, defeating the Frenchman 2&1. However, his winning ways were brought to a halt by Power who took control of the match early and was four up after five holes.
Power hammers through tough win
It was a hard-fought battle between Power and Hammer with the German mounting a comeback to be just one down after 15 holes thanks to some impressive golf which included birdies at the 6th, 7th, 14th and 15th.
Power also produced a birdie on the 15th to halve the hole, another at the 16th saw him go two up with two holes to play. When the 17th hole was halved with pars, the Irishman sealed a 2&1 win.
“I got off to such a nice start, I was four-up after five, I made a couple of birdies in tough conditions. He came back at me really hard over the back nine and I just made a good birdie on 16 to get back to two-up,” said Power.
“When you get to four up after five you start to relax a little bit but that is the one thing you can’t do in match play and when your opponent starts playing a bit better, it’s a strange position to be in. But I hung in out there, the wind was so tough, you have no choice but to play well or you will be in the hay.
“I feel like I am easing into it now. I have won every game 2&1 but every game is different and I feel like I am ready for any challenge.
Harvey first to qualify for quarter-finals
Englishman Joe Harvey was the first to qualify for the quarter-finals having cruised through his match against countryman Islam Habebul winning 5&4. In his earlier tie, the 23-year-old eliminated another Englishman, Arron Edwards-Hill, 2&1.
“It’s an amazing feeling, it’s a great achievement to make it to the quarter-finals but it’s a long week with loads of golf to be played so I have to keep pushing on,” said Harvey.
“I was six up through 10, I played really solid on the front nine. Islam is a great golfer but he made a few mistakes early on and I capitalised. He made a great birdie on 12 to win the hole and then a great par on 13 because that is a tough hole in the wind. But I managed to close it out with a good chip on 14.
Top-ranked player eliminated
The top-ranked player Benjamin Schmidt departed the competition this morning as he was defeated 4&3 by 22-year-old Callan Barrow, who finished runner-up at the English Men’s Amateur Championship at the start of August.
Barrow, who was in the Manchester United Academy as a teenager, set himself up an afternoon tee time with Loris Schuepbach of Switzerland and progressed to the quarter-finals after recording a 5&4 victory in the tie.
“I got off to a pretty solid start with a birdie at the second, I just tried to keep the pressure on and the foot on the pedal,” said Barrow.
“I made another birdie at six and seven. I just tried to make as many pars as possible from there because it’s pretty brutal out there with the wind.
“I started playing golf when I was 14, football was really my thing but that didn’t really work out as I wanted it to, so golf took over. I was in the Manchester United academy until I was 16 and then I got released so focused on golf which has worked out pretty well so far.”
Danish duo progress
Victor H. Sidal Svendsen of Denmark, who earned his place in the last-16 after eliminating the Finnish Amateur Champion Ilari Saulo 5&3, had to twice battle back from being down in his afternoon match against England’s Callum Farr. However, the Dane took control of the match on the back nine winning 4&2.
“It was a tough match, I thought it was going to be a very short day because Callum played some really nice shots on the first couple of holes. I thought I could be in trouble and that I really needed to get myself together which I did,” said Svendsen.
“It was a good match; it was fun being out there and feeling my heart pumping. I have been working on being focused in the moment and forgetting about bad shots, just staying present and believing in myself.
“It was nice to see that I could pull off some shots at critical moments so that is a big confidence boost for tomorrow.”
Also securing a place in the quarter-finals is fellow Dane Hamish William Brown who defeated Marc Boucher of Ireland in the only match to be decided on the 18th today in the afternoon ties.
England well represented in quarter finals
Five birdies from England’s Barclay Brown saw him make short work of his match against compatriot Joshua Bristow.
“I’ve played nice golf so far so I am looking forward to tomorrow. I just didn’t really make any mistakes today; I was driving it nicely and didn’t make any bogeys and I had five birdies out there. But Josh was tough to play against, he is a good golfer,” said Brown.
He progresses to the quarter-finals following a 6&5 victory where he will be joined by a further two Englishmen Joe Long who recorded a 4&3 win over Olly Huggins and Jake Bolton who eliminated Frederik Kjettrup 3&2.
A total of five English players will tee it up on the quarter-finals tomorrow.
The match play stage continues tomorrow with the quarter-finals underway at Royal Birkdale at 8.15am followed by the semi-finals at 1pm. The winner of Sunday’s 36-hole final will gain exemptions into The 149th Open at Royal St George’s next July and by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament and an exemption to the US Open.
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