Date: January 19, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Men’s #AusAm wrap: Smyth alive and kicking

Men: Match play scores & tee times 
Women: Match play scores & tee times

Travis Smyth is the first to admit he’s dodged a lot of bullets at this week’s Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts.

And the likeable New South Welshman swerved out of the way again today to take down highly rated New Zealander Ryan Chisnall in a playoff to end an epic first-round match play clash at Yarra Yarra.

Not so lucky was Queenslander Charlie Dann, arguably the highest-profile casualty on a perfect day for golf in the men’s round of 64.

Dann never really settled and was eventually bundled out 3&2 by Japan’s Gaku Tsukamoto, the last man into the match play from Wednesday night’s marathon playoff.

Other key results include a clean sweep by the visiting England Golf squad with Jack Singh Brar, Alfie Plant and world No.6 Scott Gregory each advancing to tomorrow’s round of 32.

Scotland’s Robert McIntyre was impressive in taking down Canberra’s Jordan Ayre, while Italian Luca Cianchetti reinforced the European claims with an impressive 2-up win over a gallant Jeremy Fuchs.

And after Evan Griffiths was conceded his match with a huge lead (6-up through 11), he was later joined by compatriot David Boote, who won a thriller over another Welshman Owen Edwards on the 19th hole.

Australia’s world No.20 Harrison Endycott never led until the final hole, but timed his run perfectly to beat Queenslander Peter Lyon who took bogey up the last.

But it was his good mate and fellow Sydneysider Smyth who was the big winner.

Last year’s beaten finalist, who thought his goose was cooked after each of his stroke rounds of 77 and 72 left him at seven over, was overjoyed when his seven-over total even gave him a chance to reach the match play phase on Wednesday night.

And when he scrambled a par from the wilds during the playoff to advance, he jogged like a rat with a gold tooth to the first tee this morning against the No.3 seed Chisnall and looked headed for victory when he went 3-up through 11 in a match befitting a final.

But the world No.81 hit back hard and looked an unlikely winner when Smyth found trouble off the 18th tee and was forced to bunt back into play with the match square.

But from the right side with the pin tucked right, Smyth hit a neat approach and calmly rolled in a 4m par putt to force the match into overtime.

From there, Smyth knocked his approach on the 19th hole (the first at Yarra Yarra) to within 3m and stroked in his birdie to keep his unlikely dream alive.

“I had to make up and down from the short side on the 18th … but somehow it felt like it was meant to be,” the world No.50 said with trademark grin afterwards.

“It was a rollercoaster ride. Both of us played pretty solid and were holing everything, so I’m stoked to win up the 19th.

“I didn’t think I was going to be here at all, so to play the way I did today … top 32 here I am.”

Another Australian representative to survive a scare was Perth’s Min Woo Lee, who made a remarkable up and down on the 18th from 160m to edge Victorian Aiden Didone 1-up.

“That was tough. I had to win three of the last four holes to beat him … I’m just relieved because he played really well,” Lee said graciously.

Medallist Kevin Yuan did what he had to in a 3&1 win over fellow New South Welshman Andrew Richards, while Canberra’s Josh Armstrong performed a minor miracle in downing Sydney’s Josh Clarke 1-up with an up and down from the rough on the 18th when he looked in deep strife.

The men’s round of 32 begins tomorrow morning and will be followed by the round of 16 in the afternoon.

Men: Match play scores & tee times 
Women: Match play scores & tee times