Date: June 21, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Eight Aussies through at British Am

Australia will launch a spectacular eight-strong attack on the British Amateur Championship tonight.

Led by world No.25 Harrison Endycott, an equal tournament-high six of Australia’s 19 players qualified directly into the round of 64 after two rounds of stroke play qualifying at Royal St George’s and Prince’s in Kent, England.

An additional two, behind only the host nation’s six, reached 13 match play battles to join the top 64.

“It’s a tremendous achievement by our athletes,” Golf Australia high performance director Brad James said.

“When you think that if those two make the main match play draw, effectively one of every eight athletes in one of the great amateur events in the world would be Australian – that’s extraordinary.

“I’m sure they all realise their job isn’t done yet, but it’s a feather in the caps of all the athletes and the state high performance programs they’re part of.”

Sydney’s Endycott produced seven birdies at par-70 Royal St George’s, including three in his final four holes, on his way to a five-under 65 and a two-round total of seven under, good for a share of fourth in the stroke play phase, three behind medallist Caolan Rafferty, of Ireland.

"I am pleased with the way I played," Endycott said.

"St George's is a course where you have to plot away — and I did.

"The putter felt great, and I made the most of my opportunities."

Wodonga’s Zach Murray, mixed six birdies with four bogeys at Prince’s to qualify in share of sixth place at six over, one better than Sydney’s Travis Smyth who fought back superbly after a couple of early bogeys at Royal St George’s to card a 68 including a spectacular eagle on the par-five 14th.

Perth’s Ben Ferguson followed suit with an eagle on the same hole in his even-par 70 that locked him at five under and T11 with Smyth and fellow West Australian Min Woo Lee, who’s gathering momentum nicely, including three birdies in his closing six holes at Royal St George’s in his 68.

New South Welshman Dylan Perry fired a two-under 70 at Prince’s to reach -4 and T19 to be the last Australian to gain automatic entry into the round of 64.

Melbourne’s David Micheluzzi and Charlestown’s Blake Windred did it the hard way, with both making three back-nine birdies at Royal St George’s to reach two under for the day and one under overall – right on the cut line at T54 where 24 players finished.

A unique qualification system to reach the final 64 now pits those 24 players, plus two who lost on countback at two under, into match play to make the 13 spots remaining in the main knockout draw.

Those 13 matches begin this afternoon at 4pm (AEST) with the two Aussies in the first two matches out at Royal St George’s.

The round of 64 begins at 6.15pm (AEST) with the preliminary match play winners in the final 13 pairings out on course.

The Aussies who didn’t make the cut include Victorian Will Heffernan, who made two late birdies but finished at even par, one stroke from advancing, after a costly double-bogey at the short 11th at Royal St George’s.

Daniel List finished at +1, James Grierson at +2, Shae Wools-Cobb and Josh Armstrong at +3, Kyle Michel at +4, Charlie Dann and Alex Henderson at +5, Haydn Barron at +8, Blake Collyer at +10 and Kiran day at +11.