Date: January 23, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Ironman Warren edges Ruffels as seeds tumble

Home-club hero Justin Warren joined the giant killers’ list today as the big names just keep on falling at the Australian Amateur Championship.

Warren, who plays pennant(s) for The Australian, took down nominal title favourite Ryan Ruffels to cap an extraordinary 36 hours for the shy lad from Picton.

He was four under par in taking 22 holes to beat Perth’s Kiran Day on Thursday, then was four under in his closing five holes in the round of 32 earlier today to win 1-up over Harrison Endycott.

Then, on the back of a spectacular 140m bunker shot on the 17th that set up a birdie, Warren not only played his 58th hole in 36 hours, he edged past the highly regarded Victorian to leave only two of the top 27 qualifiers from strokeplay surviving to tomorrow’s quarter-finals.

“I’m happy to have done that – he’s a great player … and I’m really happy I stood up over 36 holes to play like that,” Warren said.

“I’ve had an amazing couple of days. In some ways I’m lucky to be still going … but I’m playing pretty well, too.”

By far the highest-ranked remaining qualifier is Golf Australia national squad member Cam Davis, who took down Queenslander Jake McLeod 2-&-1.

He’ll next face another Queenslander, Jack Sullivan, who stopped in-form Victorian Ben Eccles 2-up.

Warren will face the only other player in that top 27, Sydney surprise packet Brayden Petersen, who was impressive in edging big New Zealander Ryan Chisnall on the 18th green to win 1-up.

Another player on his home track is slightly built Kevin Yuan, who was superb in pounding Victorian Blake Collyer 7-&-5.

“I have got a little advantage, I suppose, just knowing some of the breaks and ridges in the greens … I hope it keeps going,” Yuan beamed after his round.

He’ll play Canadian sensation Corey Conners, who continues to live up to his world No.11 ranking in beating defending champion Tae Koh, of New Zealand.

Conners, the US Amateur finalist last year, was down early but wore down Koh to triumph 2-up on the 18th.

And the last quarter-final will pit two more Kiwis with Jason Gulasekharam to face Tyler Hodge.

The quarter and semi-final rounds will be played tomorrow, with the 36-hole final to be played from 8.45am on Sunday.