Date: November 25, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Sanchez, Kanaya fly amateur flag

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On a day when many of the Emirates Australian Open leaders couldn’t find a birdie, the leading amateurs found plenty.

While it’s not quite a race in two for the Silver Medal, Japan’s Takumi Kanaya (65) and Melbourne’s Matias Sanchez (68) played stunning golf at The Australian today to pull clear of their remaining rivals, sharing eighth place overall at four under.

Australian Junior champion Cameron John carded a commendable even-par 71, while Perth’s Min Woo Lee fell from the top rung he’d had overnight with a 74 to join the Victorian at two over in total.

American Charles Reiter fell from the Silver Medal race with a 75 to finish at six over.

But Australian Amateur champion Sanchez and Kanaya played sufficiently well to leave themselves an outside chance of even higher honours, just six from Jason Day’s overall lead.

“I was really nervous and made a bogey on the first,” Sanchez said.

“But I made a pretty good putt (7m) on the second and settled down OK. From there, it was pretty good, actually, and I made some good putts when I needed to.”

Sanchez will play with decorated New Zealand veteran Mark Brown in the fifth-last group out on Sunday, a tremendous achievement in such a star-studded field.

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Kanaya, who was second in the Japan Open earlier in the year, will play with Anthony Quayle, one group later.

Kanaya, coached by South Australia’s Gareth Jones, fired the day’s best score despite going out in only one under and making bogey on the 11th.

But six back-nine birdies made all and sundry sit up and take notice of this prodigious young talent.

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