Date: January 15, 2016
Author: Bruce Matthews

Men’s wrap: Pilon scrapes through

Two down with three holes to play. No wonder leading qualifier Charles Pilon admits defeat did cross his weary mind.

Instead he took a bold approach with driver on the short but perilous par-four 16th and found a birdie that fuelled the momentum to surge into the Australian amateur quarter-finals.

The 17-year-old Queenslander finished birdie, birdie, par to overrun New Zealand's Luke Brown on Metropolitan's 18th green for a one-up victory in the third round.

"I'm not going to lie. I thought 'here we go, this is going to be a loss', but I made a gutsy play on 16, took driver and it paid off,'' he said.

"That worked and I rolled in a nice 20-footer on the next to get it back to square and kind of settle things. And made a nice easy par at the last.''

Brown's drive down the left side of the last fairway finished perilously close to the treeline, in a sandy lie. The approach shot found the bunker left of the green and the Kiwi left-hander left a 5m par putt just short of the cup.

He had seemed in control of the match in what Pilon described as a "huge'' battle for him to try to stay in touch.

"Going through nine, I was one down and he won the 10th and 11th. I was three down through 12 and then I got a good birdie on 14, squared 15 and then won the last three to win the match. So, it was quite a struggle, but I ended up getting it done,'' the victor said.

Pilon, originally from Wagga Wagga and now at the Hills International school on the Gold Coast, said he did feel the weight of expectations after being the medallist following the 36 holes of stroke play.

"A little bit, but I just tried to focus on my game and hole by hole in the matchplay and it seems to pretty much be working so far, so I won't change much,'' he said.

Pilon's quarter-final opponent is Welshman Evan Griffith who beat lone surviving South Korean male Sung-ho Yun 2 & 1.

NSW's Harrison Endycott was the most conclusive third round victor, always in control of 16-year-old Lawrence Ting of Taiwan to win 5 & 4.

He will next play Scotland's Connor Syme who beat Victorian Will Heffernan 2 & 1.

British amateur runner-up Grant Forrest eventually prevailed 1-up in a seesawing battle with fellow Scot Jack McDonald and his quarter-final foe is NSW's Travis Smyth after the Riversdale Cup winner beat fellow Aussie Joshua Armstrong 1-up.

Australian-born and American-raised Austin Bautista, who plays at Bonnie Doon in Sydney, holing a curling 6m birdie putt on the 18th and raised a fist in triumph after easing past Victorian Brett Coletta 1-up. He now plays Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb who beat Royal Melbourne's Matias Sanchez 3 & 1.


Quarter-finals match-ups

Charles Pilon (Qld) v Evan Griffith (Wales)

Harrison Endycott (NSW) v Connor Syme (Scotland)

Travis Smyth (NSW) v Grant Forrest (Scotland)

Austin Bautista (NSW) v Shae Wools-Cobb (Qld)