Rafferty heads Irish qualifiers for Amateur Championship matchplay
Caolan Rafferty. Picture: Tony McLean/T. McLean Photography

Caolan Rafferty. Picture: Tony McLean/T. McLean Photography

Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty led the way as just five of Ireland’s 23 hopefuls qualified for the matchplay stages of the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl.

Poor weather made for tough scoring and the cut for the top 64 and ties fell at five over par 147 with 79 players through to today’s matchplay stages.

With so many qualifying, the 30 players on four and five over par will face each other in today’s first round with Rafferty into the second round where he will face the winner of Matyas Zapletal of the Czech Republic and Switzerland’s Robert Foley in the afternoon.

The other four Irish must battle it out in round one with title favourite Jack Hume, who qualified with a shot to spare on 146 following a five over 76 at Royal Portcawl, taking on England’s Adam Chapman.

The Island’s Paul McBride takes on Portugal’s Joao Girao, Dermot McElroy meets Australian world No 86 Brett Coletta while Co Sligo’s Sean Flanagan earned a showdown with Frederic Lacroix of France.

At the top of the leaderboard, Scotland’s Connor Syme led the qualifiers carding a three-under par 68 in strong, gusting winds at Pyle & Kenfig to finish on six under par

A semi-finalist at Royal Portrush two years ago and winner of the Australian Amateur Championship in January, Syme was part of the winning Scottish team in the European Amateur Team Championship last year.

“The goal at the start of the week is to try and make the top 64 and the further up the leaderboard you go is a bonus,” he said. “I felt really comfortable in what I was doing today – a bogey-free round, which was nice in tough conditions so I’m delighted.

“I holed the par putts when I needed to. I didn’t really have any testy putts for par. I chipped it really well. I’m really delighted – bogey free is a bonus. I was trying to qualify for tomorrow.”

Alasdair McDougall finished two shots behind his fellow Scot as Frenchman Antoine Rosner, finished tied third on two under with England’s Harry Hall after posting a five over 76.

Among the other qualifiers were the Lytham Trophy winner Alfie Plant and Grant Forrest, the runner-up in last year’s Amateur Championship, on two over alongside Walker Cup players Ewen Ferguson and Hume.

There was disappointment for West of Ireland winner Jonny Yates as he missed out by one after a 79 while club mate Conor O'Rourke was six shots outside the mark after a 77. 

Tullamore's Stuart Grehan had to withdraw during Monday's first round with a neck injury.

Amateur Championship, Royal Porthcawl/Pyle&Kenfig

Matchplay draw | Detailed stroke play scores



26 RAFFERTY, Caolan Dundalk 71 73 144    
52 HUME, Jack Naas 70 76 146    
54 MCBRIDE, Paul The Island 72 74 146    
63 MCELROY, Dermot Ballymena 73 74 147    
68 FLANAGAN, Sean County Sligo 73 74 147

Missed the cut

81 YATES, Jonathan Naas 69 79 148
98 LENEHAN, Geoff Portmarnock 75 74 149    
100 FAIRWEATHER, Colin Knock 74 75 149    
105 DAWSON, Robin Tramore 76 73 149    
128 WILSON, Alexander Portmarnock 75 75    150    
136 MULLIGAN, Thomas County Louth 75 76 151    
155 GALBRAITH, John-Ross Whitehead 74 78 152    
169 MULLARNEY, Ronan Galway 75 77 152    
179 CAMPBELL, Colm Warrenpoint 74 79 153    
187 O’ROURKE, Conor Naas 76 77 153    
212 EGAN, Keith Carton House 74 81 155    
219 SMITH, Eugene Ardee 74 81 155    
226 HICKEY, John Cork 81 75 156    
252 HOLLAND, Daniel Castle 79 80 159    
255 MCLARNON, Tiarnan Massereene 77 82 159    
267 GLEESON, Alex Castle 74 87 161    
RTD LAPPIN, Gareth Belvoir Park 75 RET    
RTD GREHAN, Stuart Tullamore +