Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Australia-based Scot Connor McKinney (Joondalup Country Club) leads the qualifiers into the match-play stage of the 93rd R and A British boys’ amateur championship at Saunton, Devon.
Playing in challenging conditions, McKinney posted an even-par round of 71 on the West Course today to finish on five-under-par after two rounds and one shot clear of Frenchman Martin Couvra and Welshman Archie Davies.
Experiencing a mixed day on course, McKinney’s round was almost derailed by a double bogey 7 on the par-5 10th hole after he hit his drive out of bounds. However, he held his composure to record four birdies and a bogey on his way into the clubhouse as the leading qualifier.   
Finishing as the leading qualifier has filled McKinney with confidence heading into the match-lay, a format in which he is showing form after winning four and a half out of six matches for Scotland at last week's boys' home internationals.
Couvra of France recorded his second 69 in as many days thanks to a birdie on the 18th hole of the East Course. At 16 years of age Couvra is pleased to be through to the match play portion of the competition in his Boys’ Amateur Championship debut.
Playing the West Course early this morning, Davies recorded an impressive 67, the lowest round of the day, which featured five birdies and a lone bogey.
The Welshman will be one to watch in the match play stage having recently won the Welsh Amateur Championship, defeating Connor Jones 8 and 7.
Overnight leader Tom Gueant of France was bogey-free for his first 29 holes of the championship before a triple bogey 7 on the par 4 12th hole of the East Couse saw him slip down the leaderboard.
He recorded a bogey on the par-5 15th followed quickly by a double bogey on the par-4 16th to record a five-over-par 76 today.
However, Gueant will head into the match-play rounds having qualified tied fourth on three-under-par alongside Cameron Adam (68-71 for 139) of Scotland and Habebul Islam of England after they recorded even-par second rounds on the East and West Courses respectively.
Also comfortably making the match play stage is England’s Joseph Pagdin; the highest-ranked player in the field recorded rounds of 70 and 70 to be two-under-par and tied 7th. He is joined on the same score by Vaclav Tichy (CZE), Alexander Settemsdal (NOR), Kevin Christopher Jegers (EST) and Rodrigo Martin (ESP).
The cut fell on four-over-par 146 with 74 players progressing to the match-play stage. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes on the East Course before concluding with a 36 hole final on Sunday.
Gregor Graham (Blairgowrie) qualified on the limit mark with rounds of 74 and 72.
Scots who made it through with a bit more to spare included Cameron
Key quotes:
Connor McKinney
“It was really windy so that was always going to be a factor. When the rain came it made it really tricky but I handled my game pretty well and stuck to my plan.
“I stayed committed after a bad start to the back-9, it can really get away from you in that wind. I hit my driver out of bounds on 10 and made double but I made four birdies in my next six holes so I really bounced back.
“It gives me an extra bit of confidence going into the match play, I know that I have already beaten everyone in the field so I know that I can do it in the match play.”
Martin Couvra
“This is my first time in this championship. I played very well this week. The rain and the wind was really hard but I still played well.
“I am happy but the match play will be a new competition. I will just try and play the same as I have been.
Archie Davies
“I am delighted really. I started off while the weather was awful, rain and windy, but I held onto a score early on and pushed on towards the end so I am really pleased with the overall performance.
“I hit the ball better yesterday to be honest but today, around the greens, I was a lot better, a lot sharper and I made some good up and downs quite early on which kept the momentum going.
“I feel like my game has come together pretty well for this championship. I won the Welsh Amateur a couple of weeks ago. I won five matches in that so hopefully I can keep it going again this week.
For the full match play draw and scoring visit Admission and parking at Saunton are free.
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