Thursday, June 21, 2018


 Ireland’s John Murphy knocked out the world number five, Viktor Hovland from Norway, to progress to the quarter finals of The 123rd Amateur Championship, where he will meet his country man, and former college friend Robin Dawson.
In windy conditions at Royal Aberdeen, the 20-year-old Kinsale golfer, pictured right, was originally a reserve, defeated the field’s highest world ranked player 6 and 5 to set up the all-Irish match-up on Friday morning at Balgownie.
Fresh from his St Andrews Links Trophy victory earlier this month, Murphy made light work of the Norwegian following his earlier third-round win over American Walker Lee (4 and 2).
Hovland faced a quick turnaround at lunch after he staged an impressive comeback in the morning to defeat Thomas Forster on the first extra hole. The Englishman had built a four-hole lead at the 13th but Hovland battled back to make the match all square down the last. 
In a strong showing from the Irish, Conor Purcell also joined Murphy and Dawson in the fifth round. Dawson and Purcell eliminated Swedes Elis Svärd and Adam Blommé. Dawson, member of the St Andrews trophy squad, achieved a 6 and 5 win and Purcell chalked up a 3 and 2 victory.
 Purcell, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, had earlier knocked out Walker Cup player Matthew Jordan following a stunning up and down on the 19th hole to close out the third-round match.
Purcell will now play the top ranked Australian David Micheluzzi. The world number 19 took down Mexico’s Raul Pereda, conqueror of Nairn's Sandy Scott,  5 and 4 to book a spot in the fifth round.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Scandinavians as Christoffer Pålsson came through his tie with South Africa’s Luca Filippi 4 and 3 to ensure one Swede made the quarter-finals.
Leading qualifier Wilco Nienaber also departed the competition as he lost on the final hole to England’s Tom Sloman who produced a magical up and down in front of the 18th green gallery. Countryman Mitch Waite joined Sloman after defeating German Timo Vahlenkamp on the 19th hole.
Jovan Rebula was the only South African from the fourth round matches to survive and plays Sloman on Friday morning after a narrow one hole victory over England’s Ben Hutchinson.
The quarter finals get underway on Friday at Royal Aberdeen at 8.15am followed by the semi-finals at 1pm. For scoring please visit

Key quotes
John Murphy
“I feel a lot more confident coming off the back of winning the St Andrews Links Trophy. I guess you could say I didn’t really have a name for myself before St Andrews but I got out there and managed to pick up the win.
“I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking.
“I was 14th reserve so when I got the call to say I was playing here at Balgownie so I was delighted.
“I grew up watching Padraig Harrington lift the Claret Jug so playing in The Open would be incredible/ He certainly inspired me to play golf. Watching him at the K Club and win The Open are some of my earliest golfing memories so it would be great to follow.”

Mitch Waite
“Feeling relieved probably are the best words to use. I was four ahead and cruising in the game, feeling pretty comfortable out there but fair play to Timo he birdied 15 and 16 to put me under a bit of pressure and I had three putts on 17,  but I managed to get through on the first extra hole so all’s good.
“To be honest I wasn’t nervous at all at the 19th  and I actually felt in control. I said to myself let’s make Timo have to make a par or birdie to keep me going. He made a bit of a mistake, and it’s a difficult pin on that first today and fortunately for me he three- putted.
“I have had a really good year so far. This is one of the major amateur events in the world. To make the cut was the first goal for the week for me and I just keep progressing because anything can happen in match play. Looking forward to tomorrow,  hopefully in less wind.
“Trying not to think about the chance to play at The Open (which the winner here will get). at all for the moment. Obviously, that’s every kid’s dream so it would be nice.”

Robin Dawson
“I played lovely golf. I was really in control of my ball flight and just played really solid so I’m happy to come out on top.
“I don’t have to tell you Irish golf is strong at the moment. Today really helped with the wind as we’re well used to that but it just goes to show how strong Irish golf is (with three players in the last eight. It’s a pity we’ll have to play each other but it’s just another match really so we’ll see how we get on tomorrow.

Tom Sloman
“It probably hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully it will tonight and I’ll get up and carry on tomorrow.
“My up and down on the last was probably my best of the day to be honest. I like to just play, enjoy it and see what happens.
“The crowd were very good on 18, and they followed all the way so a big thank you to them. Hopefully we can make it another English winner from the field.”

Connor Purcell
“This morning I was on the back foot going into the back nine and managed to get something out of it, and then the second game in the afternoon I played out of my skin.
“Funnily enough I missed it on the wrong side (tee shot on 19th in third round match), it was straight down wind over a bunker and I just thought get it on the green and inside Matthew but I got it in. It’s a bit of luck but always nice for something like that to go in.
“A birthday’s another day, but we’ll see what happens and just keep it going.”
David Micheluzzi
“I’ve played with him (Raul Pereda) quite a bit in the States. I just kept it straight and on the short stuff and I was fine.
“It was the best thing to be out playing some links golf today, it was just awesome. I could just keep the ball low and kept it in play.
“The Open is the greatest Championship of all time, it would just be a dream to play in it.”




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