Ward hits route 66

By Brian Keogh

Baltray's Simon Ward scorched to a six under par 66 to lead the Irish qualifiers in the (British) Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham.

The Carrickmacross native fired six birdies at St Annes Old Links to cruise into today's matchplay first round in fourth place.

Holywood's Rory McIlroy made the top 64 with just one shot to spare on 140 after a level par 71 at Royal Lytham.

Ireland's Shane Lowry, Jonny Caldwell, Niall Kearney, Niall Turner, Peter O'Keeffe and Gareth Shaw also made it.

But two-time Amateur champion Gary Wolstenholme, 46, suffered a blow to his Walker Cup hopes when he failed to make the cut.

After rounds of 71 and 73, veteran Wolstenholme said: "This is going to be a great championship and I'm sorry not to be part of it, especially in Walker Cup year.

"You have to prove that you deserve to be in the team and although I've had a reasonably good season I think they are looking for a younger element to the team.

"This has been a bit of a setback, but perhaps I can still force my way into the team."

Ward finished two shots behind leading qualifier David Horsey of Manchester on nine-under par.

Horsey, 22, opened with a course-record equalling 64 at Royal Lytham and added a four-under 68 at St Annes for an 11-under total of 132 to claim the number one qualifying spot.

Scotsman Callum Macaulay and Hampshire's Mark Thistleton both finished on the 133-mark, while Irish Amateur Open winner Lloyd Saltman showed his class with a five-under 66.

"I knew I didn't have much room for error today so to shoot a score like this round a course as tough as Lytham is very pleasing," said Saltman, who finished with a six-under 137 after a round of six birdies marred only by a bogey on the 18th.

British Amateur Championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes

Selected qualifiers

132 David Horsey (Styal) 64 68

133 Mark Thistleton (Hayling) 66 67, Callum Macaulay (Tulliallan) 66 67

134 Simon Ward (County Louth) 68 66

135 Chris Wood (Long Ashton) 67 68, Paul Waring (Bromborough) 68 67, Andrew Sullivan (Purley Chase) 66 69

136 Craig Evans (West Monmouthshire) 65 71, Florian Fritsch (Germany) 70 66

137 Steven Uzzell (Hornsea) 69 68 , Estanislao Goya (Argentina) 68 69, Lloyd Saltman (Craigielaw) 71 66, Daniel Willett (Rotherham) 71 66, Kenny Le Sager (France) 68 69, Shane Lowry (Esker Hills) 69 68, Jonathan Caldwell(Clandeboye) 67 70.

139 Niall Turner (Muskerry) 66 73, Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin) 69 70, Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas) 72 67;

140 Rory McIlroy (Holywood) 69 71

141 Gareth Shaw (Lurgan) 71 70.


142 Stephen Grant (Birr) 67 75

144 Gary Wolstenholme (Kilworth Springs) 73 71, Seamus Power (West Waterford) 72 72

148 Jim Carvill (Warrenpoint) 79 69

149 Nigel Edwards (Whitchurch) 75 74

151 Joe Lyons (Galway) 72 79

154 Aaron O'Callaghan (Douglas) 78 76