Castle’s Robert Moran led a six-strong Irish charge into the match play stages of The Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale.
The Dubliner fired four birdies in a one-over par round of 72 to race into the last-64 in a share of ninth.
Kilkenny’s Mark Power was a shot further back, continuing his fine form after his podium finish at the Brabazon Trophy. Out in three-under, Power wobbled a little on the way home but had enough in hand to reach the clubhouse in 73.
Holywood’s Tom McKibbin was the next best from an Irish point of view after posting three birdies in his three-over par round of 74, the same score as Carton House’s Marc Boucher with the pair in a tie for 30th after the stroke play section of the tournament.
With the cut falling at five-over par, Hermitage’s Rowan Lester and Malone’s Matthew McClean both faced an anxious wait after returning five-over par rounds of 76 but that proved enough, the pair tied in 59th and safely through to the knockouts.
Castle’s Peter McKeever (+8), Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley (+9), Enniscorthy’s Paul Conroy (+10) and Michael Young (+15) missed the match play cut.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s Ruben Lindsay claimed the top spot in stroke play qualifying at the 125th renewal of the tournament.
Over the famed links of Royal Birkdale which has hosted The Open on ten occasions, 16-year-old Lindsay finished top of the 64 players and ties who progressed to the match play stage, after one round of stroke play qualifying with yesterday’s round abandoned due to inclement weather.
Recording a four-under-par 67, Lindsay was delighted with his round which was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 15th hole and included birdies at the 1st, 6th, 9th, and 17th holes. A closing bogey on 18, just his second of the day, did little to dampen the Scottish Boys’ Amateur champion’s spirits as he looks forward to the match play stage of the Championship.
“I am very pleased, I played some really good stuff out there, I just didn’t really make any mistakes until the last. I am really pleased with that round,” he said.
“I didn’t really expect anything coming into today, I thought I had been playing some nice stuff so I just wanted to see how low I could go.
“I love match play; match play is my favourite. I won the Scottish Boys’ Amateur Championship last year which was all match play.
“It’s great to be representing Scotland, this is the biggest Championship, to put the flag up there, to put my name up there, it’s a great honour.”
With the match play stage starting from Thursday through to Sunday’s 36-hole final, there is much at stake as the winner gains an exemption into The 149th Open at Royal St George’s next July and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament and an exemption to the US Open.
Full scoring HERE