Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Darren Howie is leading qualifier for British

boys' match-play stages at Nairn

Five Scots, spearheaded by top seed Darren Howie, have qualified from a field of 252 among the leading 64 and ties for the match-play stages of the British U18 boys' championship at Nairn Golf Club.
Howie's rounds of 64 and 72 for eight-under 136 gave him the pole position by one shot from France's Aymeric Laussot (71-66) and England's Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) (68-69).
The cut-off point was 146 and Callum Bruce (Duff House Royal) made it bang on the limit with rounds of 72 and 74.
Marc Watt (Inverallochy) (72-72) and Scottish boys champion Eric McIntosh (Bruntsfield Links) (76-68) made it through a bit more comfortably on 144.
John Paterson (St Andrews New) qualified on 145 with rounds of 73 and 72.
Surprise non-qualifier was Kirkhill's Lewis Irvine after a first round of 72. But he slumped to 83 in his second round and a total of 155 was well over the top.


par 144 (2x72) Nairn, Nairn Dunbar
136 D Howie (Peebles) 64 72
137 A Laussot (France) 71 66, Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) 68 69
139 D Daniels (Essendon) 70 69

144 M Watt (Inverallochy) 72 72, Eric McIntosh (Bruntsfield Links) 76 68
145 J Paterson (St Andrews New) 73 72
146 C Bruce (Duff House Royal) 72 74.

MISSED THE CUT (146 and better qualified for match-play)
149 M Wilson (Forres) 71 78
153 K Reid (Balmore) 75 78, J Mackintosh (Nairn) 75 78
155 L Irvine (Kirkhill) 72 83, C Bruce (Balmore) 78 77.
158 A Murray (Troon Welbeck) 77 81.
167 J Broun (Ayr Belleisle) 89 78.



R and A summary of day's play:
Scotland’s Darren Howie from Peebles led the qualifiers for the match-play stage of the 91st Boys Amateur Championship at Nairn and Nairn Dunbar today.
The 17-year-old carded a level par round of 72 at Nairn to finish on an eight-under-par total of 136 for the two stroke-play qualifying rounds, one shot clear of Frenchman Aymeric Laussot and England's Alex Fitzpatrick.
Howie, who represented Scotland in last week’s Boys' Home Internationals, got off to a great start with three birdies in his opening five holes but lost momentum with dropped shots at the 6th and 7th. A birdie at the 15th was sandwiched by two more dropped shots but it was enough for the Scot to retain the lead.
With wind speeds strengthening throughout the day, few players managed to make much headway but Laussot defied the conditions with an excellent six-under-par 66 at Nairn Dunbar to move to a seven-under-par total.
The 17-year-old closed off his front nine with a pair of birdies and picked up further shots at the 12th and the 15th before putting his 210 yard approach at the par five 16th to 10ft and holing out for an eagle.
Fitzpatrick, the younger brother of three-time European Tour winner Matt, drove the green on the par four 15th at Nairn and holed from 13ft for an eagle on his way to a three-under-par 69 to finish on the same mark as Laussot.
The Hallamshire golfer led a clutch of Englishmen who were among the leading qualifiers with Danny Daniels on five-under-par, alongside Sweden’s David Nyfjall who reached the semi final of the Boys Amateur last year, and William Dodds and Curtis Knipes a shot further back.
They were joined on four-under-par by the 2016 Junior Open champion Pedro Lencart and Frenchman Clement Charmasson.
The cut fell on two-over-par with 74 players progressing to the match play stage. A preliminary round will be held first thing tomorrow before the second round gets underway. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes before concluding with a 36 hole final on Sunday.
Key quotes:
Darren Howie
“I’m a little frustrated. I felt like I could have been a lot better. I was off to a good start again -  three-under through five holes – but I sort of struggled from there. I just kept things going – it wasn’t like I was under too much stress. It wasn’t the best I’ve played but it was still solid enough.
“After my first five holes I thought ‘I’m in – I can relax now and enjoy it’, which I did. The two guys I played with I really enjoyed their company and helped me get through the rest of the holes despite me struggling.
“It doesn’t matter what I just did – it’s another round tomorrow. I’ve got to beat whoever I am playing.”
Aymeric Laussot
“It was a very good round and I played great golf. I just played in a good zone. I’m very, very happy because this year I have worked very hard. I just wanted to make the cut and it’s cool to be second. Now it is another tournament in the match play and I hope I will win all my matches.”
Alex Fitzpatrick
“I’m pretty pleased. I really didn’t think that going out and shooting three-under again would be possible with the wind today but I played it safe, stuck to my game plan and seemed to hole my putts – so it’s a pretty good score.”
“It’s good to see my name far up the leaderboard but I was kind of a bit worried and hoping Darren wouldn’t drop a shot because of the ‘first place gets knocked out first’ thing! But it’s nice to play well and get my name that far up really and have some confidence going into the match play.
“He (his brother Matt) sent me a text yesterday just saying ‘keep smashing it’ so hopefully he’ll see what I can do in match play!”
David Nyfjall
“I’m pleased, I played really well today. The back nine was pretty solid even when the wind started to pick up and it became really difficult. I was just trying to stay on the course and get in with a low score so I think I did that pretty well. Getting into the match play was the real goal.”
 Admission and parking is free at Nairn Golf Club for the duration of the championship



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