White Makes Confident Start in Amateur Championship
In perfect conditions at Royal Troon and Glasgow-Gailes Links, Australia’s Geoff Drakeford and England’s Ashley Chesters lead the way with a pair of four-under-par 67s at the halfway stage of the stroke play qualifying stage of the 2012 Amateur Championship.
But the Scottish contingent also fared well following the first day’s play to raise expectations for the week ahead.
Drakeford shot five birdies at Troon including a chip-in at the par-4 15th on the way to an impressive 67. Chambers, playing at Glasgow Gailes, matched the four-under total and missed out on the outright lead after narrowly missing out for par on the 18th.
Drakeford, ranked 88th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), who grew up playing alongside last year’s champion from Down Under, Bryden Macpherson, said: “It’s a great experience being here, with a lot on the line, I've a great incentive to win. I’ll go out there with the same attitude tomorrow.”
Last year, Chesters of Hawkstone Park, reached the last-16 before being defeated on the final hole by Frenchman Sebastian Gros. “This is the biggest event I’ve played. I did well last year, so it would be nice to do it again or go further," he stated.
Other notable scores at Royal Troon included a three-under-par 68 from James White of Lundin Links.
The 2011 SGU Order of Merit champion said: “The course is so demanding, course management needs to be spot on, and that’s what I did right today.
“This is a huge week for me. It’s the biggest event as an amateur, everyone wants to do well and the course suits my game.”
Other Scots to also start well included Paul Ferrier (Baberton) and Daniel Young (Craigie Hill) after 69s. South African Amateur champion Brian Soutar (Leven GS) was also pleased with his 70.
White’s three-under par total was matched by Austrian Matthias Schwab and Adrien Saddier of France. The highest ranked player in the field, in-form Dutchman Daan Huizing (5th), posted a one-over par 72.
The final round of the stroke-play qualifying is played tomorrow, with the top 64 and ties progressing to the match play stage of the competition.