Jack Bigham of England leads the qualifiers into the match play stage as 144 players became 64 at the end of the second round of stroke play qualifying at the R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship.
Carding a bogey-free five-under-par 67, he finished on a total of eight-under-par for the two rounds of qualifying as he raced clear of second placed qualifier Jamie Mann, after the pair were locked at three-under par at the end of the first round yesterday.
Bigham carried on from where he left off after the first round as he produced a great performance around Royal Cinque Ports to finish three shots ahead of Mann.
Form carried forward
“I am happy, I just tried to carry on the form I had from the back nine yesterday and it worked. I holed a few nice putts on the front nine and just played solidly to be honest’’, said Bigham.
After stuttering slightly heading out on the front nine yesterday, the English boys international managed to cut out those errors today.
Bingham added, “Luckily it wasn’t too windy on my front nine. Where yesterday I had to hit a driver, I was able to hit a two iron just to get it in play and still have that long club in, so I would say that probably helped massively. You are hitting to the wider part of the fairway and you have just got to keep out of the long rough.’’
With the Championship now changing to a match play format with the round of 64 commencing tomorrow, the Englishman will now have to deal with the expectation on his shoulders after two impressive back-to-back rounds.
“Obviously I have played well, and I will just try to forget about where I have finished. Match play is just completely different to stroke play, but yes hopefully I will just carry on the good golf that I have played and see how I go.’’
Scots going strong
Mann backed up his three-under-par round of 69 yesterday with a two-under-par 70 which sees him sitting in second play at the end of qualifying.
His second round, which included a birdie on the 18th, marks two successful rounds for the Scot despite his lack of play on links golf courses.
‘’It was more of a grind out there today, especially those last seven holes. They were playing tough and the wind really picked up, especially on the back nine. I was just trying to grind it out coming in, made a great birdie on 18 to get it back to two-under, so yes I was really happy with how I managed it today especially on the back nine’’, said Mann.
Another success story of the day was the performance of Scotland’s Calum Scott after he also carded a five-under-par 67 following a two-over-par start on day one.
The 17-year-old matched Bigham with the joint best score of the day, which was helped by a chip-in eagle on the par 5 16th, despite not taking the driver out of his bag all day.
‘’I hit 3 wood off the tee, then a 3 wood in and hit it just short left. I then played this pitch shot, a ten yard pitch shot, and landed it just short of the green and it rolled down and it was tracking the whole way and then it just dropped. The guy got it on video as well so I can’t wait to see it’’, said Scott.
The seven-shot swing from the opening day sees the Scottish hopeful finish on three-under-par in third place.
Home hopefuls staking their claim
Harley Yates earned his place in the last 64 with a two-under-par 70 which led to him finishing alongside Scott, whilst Ben Loveard booked his place finishing on two-under-par at the end of the day’s play.
Josh Hill, the top ranked player in the field, and Harley Smith ended stroke play qualifying one short further back on one-under par alongside Scottish duo Cameron Johnstone and Gregor Graham.
The cut mark fell at 10-over-par with the top 64 players qualifying for the match play stage.Match Play Draw