Irish trio make quarter finals at Amateur Championship

Bernie McGuire
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Irish trio make quarter finals at Amateur Championship

​Ireland’s John Murphy knocked out the world number five Viktor Hovland to progress to the quarter finals of The 123rd Amateur Championship, where he will meet his fellow country man, and former college friend Robin Dawson.

In windy conditions at Royal Aberdeen, the 20-year-old Kinsale golfer, who was originally a reserve, defeated the field’s highest ranked player 6&5 to set up the all Irish match-up on Friday. Fresh from his St Andrews Links Trophy victory earlier this month, Murphy made light work of the Norwegian following his earlier third round win over American Walker Lee (4&2).

“I feel a lot more confident coming off the back of winning the St Andrews Links trophy, I guess you could say I didn’t really have a name for myself before St Andrews but I got out there and managed to pick up the win,” said Murphy.

“I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking.

“I was 14th reserve so when I got the call to say I was playing I was delighted. I grew up watching Padraig Harrington lift the Claret Jug so playing in The Open would be incredible, he certainly inspired me to play golf. Watching him at the K Club and win The Open are some of my earliest golfing memories so it would be great to follow.”

Hovland faced a quick turnaround at lunch after he staged an impressive comeback in the morning to defeat Thomas Forster on the first extra hole. The Englishman had built a four-hole lead at the 13th but Hovland battled back to make the match all square down the last.

In a strong showing from the Irish, Conor Purcell also joined Murphy and Dawson in the fifth round. Dawson and Purcell eliminated Swedes Elis Svärd and Adam Blomé. Dawson, member of the St Andrews trophy squad, claimed a 6&5 win eith Purcell chalking up a 3&2 victory. Purcell, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, had earlier knocked out Walker Cup player Matthew Jordan following a stunning up and down on the 19th hole to close out the third-round match.

“Funnily enough I missed it on the wrong side (tee shot on 19th in third round match), it was straight down wind over a bunker and I just thought get it on the green and inside Matthew but I got it in,” he reflected. “It’s a bit of luck but always nice for something like that to go in.

“A birthday’s another day, but we’ll see what happens and just keep it going”.

Purcell will now play the top ranked Australian David Micheluzzi. The world number 19 took down Mexico’s Raul Pereda 5&4 to book a spot in the fifth round.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Scandinavians as Christoffer Pålsson came through his tie with South Africa’s Luca Filippi 4&3 to ensure one Swede made the quarter finals.

Leading qualifier Wilco Nienaber also departed the competition as he lost on the final hole to England’s Tom Sloman who produced a magical up and down in front of the 18th green gallery. Countryman Mitch Waite joined Sloman after defeating German Timo Vahlenkamp on the 19th hole.

Jovan Rebula was the only South African from the fourth round matches to survive and plays Sloman on Friday morning after a narrow one hole victory over England’s Ben Hutchinson.

The quarter finals get underway this morning at Royal Aberdeen at 8.15am followed by the semi-finals at 1pm.

For scoring visit www.Randa.org.

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