Kilkenny’s Mark Power will fly the flag for Ireland in the last-eight of this year’s Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale after he picked off two wins at the famous links on Friday.
The Kilkenny man has carried the form that saw him claim a podium finish last week at the Brabazon Trophy to Southport where he first accounted for the scalp of England’s Jack Dyer 2&1 in the morning before taking aim at Marc Hammer in round four.
It was never going to be easy against the German but Power raced into a 4UP advantage through five holes and although Hammer cut the deficit to just one with four holes to play, Power’s five birdies in-all, including successive gains at 15 and 16 ensured a 2&1 win and his place in the quarter finals where he’ll face off against England’s Callan Barrow at 8.30am on Saturday.
“I am delighted,” Power said. “I knew it would be a tough one going out against Marc, he obviously beat a good player in David Ravetto this morning so I knew I would be up against it. I got off to such a nice start, I was four-up after five, I made a couple of birdies in tough conditions. He came back at me really hard over the back nine and I just made a good birdie on 16 to get back to two-up.
“When you get to four up after five you start to relax a little bit but that is the one thing you can’t do in match play and when your opponent starts playing a bit better, it’s a strange position to be in. But I hung in out there, the wind was so tough, you have no choice but to play well or you will be in the hay.”
Power now goes into the weekend aiming to emulate compatriot and good friend, James Sugrue who triumphed on home soil at The Amateur last year in Portmarnock.
“I feel like I am easing into it now,” he added. “I have won every game 2&1 but every game is different and I feel like I am ready for any challenge.
“James Sugrue won it last year and I play a lot of golf with him. When you see him win it, you are kind of jealous when you see him get to play in The Open and The Masters coming up. So, to get myself into a position to have a chance at doing the same is massive. When you see some of the big names who have won The Amateur, it really shows what is possible”
Unfortunately, Carton House’s Marc Boucher, who defeated England’s Matty Lamb 2&1 in the morning, fell on his shield against Dane Hamish Brown in their round four tussle.
The match ebbed and flowed all afternoon and although Boucher had enjoyed a 2UP lead early on, he was ultimately outdone, suffering a one hole defeat as Brown booked his place in this year’s quarter final.
Holywood’s Tom McKibbin was earlier defeated 4&3 in round three by England’s Barclay Brown.
The winner of Sunday’s 36-hole final will gain exemptions 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.
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