Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Graham leads the Amateur Championship field at Ballyliffin – Golf News

By admin Jun19,2024

Scotland’s Connor Graham stood firm on a testing day to finish as the leading qualifier in the 129th Amateur Championship held at Ballyliffin in Ireland.

The 17-year-old from Blairgowrie, who led the 288-strong field after an opening 65 on Ballyliffin’s Old Course, fortified his position at the top with a one-under-par 71 over the Glashedy Links.

Walker Cup player Graham ended his 36-hole stroke play campaign with a seven-under-par aggregate of 136 and finished three strokes clear of Norway’s Michael Alexander Mjaaseth.South Africa’s Ben van Wyk, who was the leading qualifier in last year’s championship, rose up the leaderboard into third place on three-under with a 67 on the Glashedy Links.

Graham, a former winner of The R&A Junior Open, will now look to carry his growing momentum into the match play phase as he aims to become just the fourth player after Philip Parkin, Warren Bladon and Matteo Manassero to win the qualifier and go on to capture the title.

During a chilly, breezy day, which added plenty of menace and mischief to the examination, Graham put in a composed, considered display and cemented his place at the top of the standings.

One-over through 14 holes, the former Scottish Open Amateur Stroke Play champion made a strong push for the line and picked up birdies on the 15th and 17th holes to dip under-par.

Ben van Wyk of South Africa battled the tough conditions at Ballyliffin to qualify in style for the match play stage of The Amateur Championship

Mjaaseth briefly moved to the top after three birdies on the front nine of his second round over the Glashedy Links and reached the turn in three-under. A bogey on the 10th, however, was followed by a double-bogey on the 12th as the Norwegian’s round began to unravel.

Mjaaseth steadied the ship with a neatly executed up and down for birdie on the 17th to ease into the match play stage with a 72 for four-under.

Van Wyk’s day had started with a bogey on the 1st hole, which only served as motivation as he made a birdie on the 4th before holing his second shot from 40 yards on the 6th for an eagle. Further birdies at the 17th  and 18th  saw van Wyk qualify in style.

English teenager Oscar Lent also produced a grandstand finish and birdied the 16th before rolling in a long eagle putt of 50-feet on the 17th in a one-under-par 71 on the Glashedy Links for a two-under total.

The qualifying mark for the leading 64 players and ties fell at three-over-par. With 19 players, including Spain’s Jose Luis Ballester Bario, who birdied his final three holes, highlighted by a 35-foot putt at the 18th,  competing in a sudden death playoff for 18 places in the match play stage.

Richard Teder of Estonia, last year’s quarter-finalist at Hillside, Walker Cup player Jack Bigham and recent St Andrews Link Trophy champion Sebastian Cave all progressed.

Notable players to miss out included the highest ranked player Christiaan Maas of South Africa, former Walker Cup players Matthew McClean and Liam Nolan as well as the R&A Boys’ Amateur champion Kris Kim, who last month became the youngest player ever to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

For all the scores, click here. To watch highlights of the action on R&A’s Youtube channel, click here


By admin

Related Post