21 June 2017, Sandwich, England: Caolan Rafftery eased his way into the third round of The 122nd Amateur Championship with a comfortable 5&3 victory over David Ravetto at Royal St George’s today.

The 25-year-old Irishman continued the stunning form which saw him set a new course record 62 at Prince’s on Tuesday to progress through to the last 32. The Dundalk golfer, who finished tied seven in the recent Lytham Trophy, will now play Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, who won his match by 3&1 against England’s Gian-Marco Petrozzi.

Finland’s Casper Simberg finished his match off in style, hitting his first ever competitive hole-in-one to defeat South Africa’s Kyle McClatchie on the third extra hole.

Last year’s Amateur Championship finalist and the highest-ranked player in the field, Robert MacIntyre booked his place in the third round after coming through two matches in the baking heat in Kent. The Scotland international dispatched China’s Zheng Kai Bai 3&1 in the morning and defeated Australia’s Ben Ferguson 3&2 in the afternoon.

MacIntyre, who was defeated 2&1 by Scott Gregory in the 2016 final at Royal Porthcawl, will be looking to go one better this year and get his hands on the historic trophy on Saturday evening. Fellow Scots Craig Howie and Ryan Lumsden are also through.

Lytham Trophy winner Jack Singh Brar made a flying start in his match with Ireland’s Sean Flanagan, going four up through the first six holes. The Irishman gained two holes back at the turn but Singh Brar held his nerve to see out the match and record a 2&1 victory.

This is the England international’s first foray into the match play stage at The Amateur Championship and he now faces Swiss golfer Perry Cohen for a place in the last 16. In a good day for the host nation, Singh Brar’s fellow countrymen Charlie Strickland, Daniel O’Loughlin, Jordan Sundborg, Harry Ellis, Tom Sloman, George Baylis, and David Langley all progressed to the third round tomorrow.

R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament Champion Stuart Grehan defeated Dutch golfer Peter Melching to set up a third-round tie with Scotland international Lumsden. Ireland’s Paul McBride joins him in the last 32 after his victory over Swede Oliver Gillberg.

Of the Australian contingent, Min Woo Lee, Zach Murray, Dylan Perry and Harrison Endycott are still in with a chance of becoming the first Australian to win the championship since Bryden Macpherson in 2011 at Hillside.

The third round gets underway on Thursday at Royal St George’s at 7.30am. For scoring please visit Randa.org.

Key quotes

Caolan Rafferty

“I was steady again. David didn’t play his best golf so par was a good enough score to win the match. We were both a bit scrappy at the start but I went  two up early and then just hit fairways and greens to keep it going. I didn’t give him a chance to get back into it.

“Setting the course record at Prince’s gave me that extra boost knowing my game is there. To take it into today was always going to be hard, especially after being on such a high. I just levelled myself out and thought it’s a new day, a new goal, a new start – match play is a funny old game.

“Par golf isn’t a bad result around here so tomorrow is just another fresh start. You can’t dictate what the other player does. You have to just go and play your own game around the course. Playing the course is actually better sometimes than playing the player. Yes it helps if he’s in trouble to play a bit safer but I don’t get too bogged down in who I’m playing.”

Casper Simberg

“It (the hole-in-one) felt unreal. I hit a solid three-iron down the third extra hole and I saw it bouncing. I actually said, “go in” and it went in so it’s really unreal! I have made a hole-in-one in a practice round but never in a competition.

“I had some sympathy for Kyle because he played really well and he is really good player. He strikes the ball well and is a smart player. But this is golf and anything can happen and it went my way this time.”

Robert MacIntyre

“I’m delighted. I played solid golf in the first round and then in the second round there was no mistake so I’m happy to get through.

“The standard has been ridiculous this year. All the amateur events I have played in have been low scoring and I thought I was missing the cut when I came in yesterday. Everything is playing towards the Walker Cup so a good week here and hopefully I’ll be there.”

Min Woo Lee

“I started of really well, I was five up through five. It was going to be pretty tough for my opponent to get it back because I was playing pretty solid and my game is looking very good right now.

“This is my first time in the UK so I don’t have as much experience as the other players but I got used to it pretty quickly.”

Charlie Strickland

“I was pretty chuffed to just get through the stroke play qualifying. It’s my first time here and I knew it was going to be a tough game against Sandy today – so I just went out there with a light-hearted attitude to see what would happen but I’m pretty happy now.”

Daniel O’Loughlin

“We both played so well. I only made one bogey myself and we were both pretty low. He made a birdie on the 16th and I knew I had to pull something out of the bag. I made a birdie on the 17th and birdied the 18th. It’s such a relief to win but honestly it was such a tough match.

“This is my first time playing in The Amateur and I’ve loved it.”

Stuart Grehan

“I played solid today. There were a few bad holes but they were cancelled out with some birdies. I’m pretty happy going into tomorrow.

“Playing in the Arnold Palmer Cup and getting four rounds of match play in over there has made a difference. So it was nice to get into the match play here and hopefully I can kick on over the next few days. I feel like I have been getting better every round so hopefully that continues.”

Jack Singh Brar

“I played quite nicely and had a quick start. I was four up through six. That always helps! I had a few loose shots around the 9th and 10th and went back to three but then I just got it done.

“This is the first time I have made the cut at The Amateur Championship. I’ve never been able to do that before now.”

Harry Ellis

“The match was a very high standard. I felt like I made hard work of it at the end but I’m really happy to pull through because I have lost a few matches lately. I lost a couple at the Arnold Palmer Cup two week ago so it was nice to get through to the last 64. I won the English Amateur in 2012 playing the same format so I know what it takes, the last 64 is always the toughest because everyone is still fresh and giving it a good go. So I’m happy.”



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