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England players lead way to Quarter-Finals

21 June 2014

England's Paul Howard and Sean Towndrow led the way into the Quarter-Finals of the 119th Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush today.

Howard and Towndrow are both members at Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club in Merseyside and booked their places in the last eight with impressive victories. Howard defeated local player and R&A Scholar Cormac Sharvin, while Towndrow overcame strong English opponent Toby Tree.

Sharvin enjoyed a strong local following cheering him on as a member of Ardglass Golf Club in nearby County Down but Howard showed his character to take an early lead in the match. 

The 23-year-old went two up after four holes, but bogeys at the sixth and seventh saw his lead wiped out. He pulled ahead again at the par-4, eighth hole when Sharvin bogeyed the hole. Then Howard stepped up the pressure. The plus 5 handicapper birdied the 10 th , 11 th and 14 th holes to take an unassailable four-hole lead.

“It's the best I have played all week,” Howard said. “Today was the most confident I have been on the golf course. The shot that got me going was a 7-iron to two feet at the 10 th to go two up.”

Howard hit another 7-iron into the 11 th and holed a 25-foot birdie putt. At the par-3, 14 th hole, he hit a high 4-iron to 15 feet and holed that putt too. A half at the next saw him win 4&3.

Towndrow also went ahead early against Tree and was feeling in control of the match. “I was two up after five holes and that gave me a lot of confidence,” he said.

Tree reduced the arrears when Towndrow stepped on his ball on the 10 th hole to incur a one-shot penalty and lose the hole. Towndrow lost the 11 th when Tree birdied but he hit straight back when he hit a 60-yard lob wedge to eight feet at the 15 th and holed the birdie putt. Pars on the next two holes gave him a 2&1 victory. 

Daniel Brown is still on track to double up as leading qualifier and Amateur Champion. Brown overcame two-time Walker Cup player Rhys Pugh 3&2 to earn a spot in the last eight. The 19-year-old dropped four straight shots from the sixth hole but still found himself three up through that stretch.

“It was a scrappy match,” Brown admitted. “My ball striking hasn't been as good over the last two days as it was in the qualifying so that's something I need to sort out. My putting inside 10 feet has been a lot better though. I holed a lot of putts inside 10 feet to keep the pressure on him.”

In the later matches Scotland's Bradley Neil defeated Frenchman Leonard Bem 2&1 and Neil's fellow Scot Jamie Savage eliminated Switzerland's Mathias Eggenberger by a 3&1 margin.

Scotland's Bradley Neil survived a tight match against France's Leonard Bem. Neil, fought back from three down after nine holes to win 2&1.

“His putting was the best I've ever seen in golf,” Neil said. “Everything was going in for him, especially on the front nine.” 

However, Bem bogeyed the 10 th and 11 th holes and Neil birdied the 12 th to get back to all square. Five straight pars from there saw him close out the match. 

“I've just got this never say die attitude,” Neil said. “I never give up until the match is lost.”  

Fellow Scot Jamie Savage defeated strong Swiss player Mathias Eggenberger 3&1 to advance to the last eight. Savage was two down after three holes but won the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth holes to go two up. 

The turning point in the match came when Savage holed a 60-foot birdie putt at the 15 th after losing the 12 th and 13 th to see his lead cut to one hole. “You could see the life get taken out of him when I did that,” Savage said. 

Savage only scraped into the match play rounds. He opened his week with a 78 at Portstewart but added a 67 at Royal Portrush to take one of the last qualifying spots. “After that first round it couldn't have got any worse,” said the plus 5-handicapper.

Haraldur Magnus is bidding to become the first golfer from Iceland to win the championship. He made it into the quarterfinals with a 2&1 victory over Formby's Paul Kinnear. 

Bobby Cole is the only South African to have won the title. He was just 18-years-old when he won the 1966 Championship at Carnoustie. Zander Lombard is looking to become the second after dispatching Windermere's Adam Chapman by one hole. 

Eighteen-year-old Conner Syme became the third Scot into the quarter-finals with a one-hole victory over Faithlegg's Robin Dawson.

For the latest results and quarter-final draw please visit .

Scholar Cormac Sharvin remains on course at the Amateur Championship

06/20/2014 - Amateur Championship View related Links

R&A Scholar Cormac Sharvin remains on course at the Amateur Championship after a 5&4 victory over Denmark's Victor Fasmer Henum. The Ardglass golfer carries Northern Irish hopes of a home victory into the fourth round.

The Stirling University student raced to a three-hole lead over his Danish opponent with three birdies in his first five holes.

“I got up early and that's important in match play,” Sharvin said.

Sharvin finished second in the Irish Amateur Championship last month, but came into the 119th Amateur Championship low on form after taking some time off for second year exams at Stirling University. He missed the cut in the St Andrews Links Trophy but spent the last two weeks preparing for Royal Portrush.

“I didn't play well in Scotland but I practised hard at home and played a lot of golf at Royal County Down. I was scoring under par at Royal County Down, so I knew I had a chance of doing well here because I feel at home on Royal Portrush. I've played it a lot.”

Sharvin benefits from an R&A bursary to study at Stirling, where he is taking a degree in Sports Studies. “The R&A has been very generous to me. It's been a big help towards my education and my golf.”

Two-time Walker Cup player Rhys Pugh holed putts of 50 and 60 feet to defeat England's Luke Johnson 3&1. Pugh holed from 50 feet at the ninth for birdie to go two up after nine holes. He then holed a 60-foot birdie putt at the 15th to get back to two up after conceding the 13th to Johnson.

“I have always been a good long putter,” the Welshman said. “I like the greens here because they're quite quick, and that's what I'm used to in America.”

Pugh has just completed his third year at East Tennessee State University. The Welshman is still looking for his first win in college golf. He's hoping to return for his final year as Amateur Champion. “Reaching the fourth round matches the furthest I've gone but I'd like to go further, much further.”

Pugh plays leading qualifier Daniel Brown in the fourth round. Brown continued his qualifying form with a 4&2 victory over Frenchman Thomas Le Berre.

The 19-year-old Englishman surged into a six-hole lead after seven holes and never lost control of the match.

“I think I rattled him early because I birdied the first two holes,” Brown said. The Yorkshire golfer is playing a patient game around Royal Portrush. “I'm hitting a lot of 2-irons and 3-irons off tees because you've got to keep it in play. I'm only hitting about four drivers. I'm not putting as well as I would like. My pace is good but I've missed a few inside 10 feet and I need to correct that.”

England's Toby Tree continued his good play with a 3&2 win over countryman Chris Selfridge. “It's probably the best round I've played so far,” Tree said. “I came in here with high expectations. My confidence is high. I felt at the start of the week that I had a good chance of winning.”

Bradley Neil defeated fellow Scot Chris Robb 3&1 to make it through to the fourth round. He managed to avoid the errors that nearly cost him his second round match.

“I learned from my mistakes yesterday,” Neil said. “I only made one birdie but I was much more solid and played more conservatively today.”

Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club has two members through to the fourth round in Paul Howard and Sean Towndrow. Howard holed a 25-foot birdie putt at the 19th hole to defeat Scotland's James Ross, while Towndrow overcame Ben Wheeler of Purley Downs Golf Club.

Mathias Eggenberger remains on course to become the first Swiss winner of the Amateur Championship with a 4&3 victory over Brocket Hall's Tomasz Anderson. “It was just a case of keep making pars today because that's sometimes good enough in match play,” Eggenberger said.

Eggenberger attends Stirling University and has Dean Robertson caddying for him this week. Robertson is Stirling's high performance golf coach.


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