Six Irish into last 32 at Amateur Championship


Kilkenny’s Mark Power will face fellow Irishman Alex Maguire for a place in the last 16 of the Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

ix of the 11 Irish qualifiers got through the opening day of matchplay combat with Walker Cup star Power defeating Australian Jack Buchanan by one hole and Maguire, the recent winner of the East of Ireland, seeing off Frenchman Martin Couvra by the same margin.

Four Irish players contested the preliminary round but only Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe made it through, beating Anton Albert 2&1 before defeating Mattias Varjun 4&2 to set up a clash with New Zealander James Hydes, who beat Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly 2&1 in the first round.

While Elm Park’s John Cleary, Ballybofey and Stranorlar’s Ryan Griffin and Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan all lost in the preliminary round, Tramore’s Jack Hearn, Malone’s Matthew McClean and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty joined Maguire and Power in the last 32 as Connemara’s Luke O’Neill went out.

Hearn beat Scotland’s Calum Scott 2&1, McClean beat Holland’s Jack Ingram 3&2 and Rafferty edged out American Youssef Guezzale at the 19th as O’Neill fell to the Netherlands’ Kiet van der Wiele by one hole.

North of Ireland Stroke Play winner Hearn now takes on Italy’s Lucas Nicolas Fallotico, McClean meets American Christian Banke and Rafferty plays Welshman Archie Davies.

Meanwhile, matchplay specialist John Gough stayed on course to make history as he progressed to the last-32.

The Englishman, whose father hails from Co Meath, has won 20 of his last 22 matchplay ties and saw off the challenge of Denmark’s Frederik Birkelund with a convincing 8&6 win to continue his knockout form.

Gough also won the Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham & St Annes in May and can emulate Sir Michael Bonallack by winning The Amateur and Lytham Trophy in the same year. Only Bonallack has achieved that feat after he won the 1965 Lytham Trophy and then triumphed in that year’s Amateur at Royal Porthcawl.

The Amateur Championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes

Preliminary Rd:

John Cleary (Elm Park) lost to Leon D’Souza (HK) 3&2

Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) bt Anton Albert (Ger) 2&1

Ryan Griffin (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) lost to Frederik Birkelund (Den) 2&1

Paul Coughlan (Castleknock) lost to Kiet van der Weele (Ned) 2 holes

Rd 1:

Jack Hern (Tramore) bt Calum Scott (Nairn) 2&1

Matthew McClean (Malone) bt Jack Ingram (Ned) 3&2

Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) bt Mattias Varjun (Estonia) 4&2

Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin) lost to James Hydes (NZ) 2&1

Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) bt Youssef Guezzale (USA) 1 hole

Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) bt Martin Couvra (Fra) 1 hole

Mark Power (Kilkenny) bt Jack Buchanan (Aus) 1 hole

Luke O’Neill (Connemara) lost to Kiet van der Wiele (Ned) 1 hole.

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