McIlroy out of British Amateur

By Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy crashed out of the British Amateur Championship at the first hurdle at Royal Lytham & St Annes on Wednesday.

The Holywood ace, 18, was beaten 2 and 1 by Rotheram's Daniel Willett in one of the shocks of the day.

McIlroy lost five holes in a row from the third but mounted a spirited comeback to get back to two down with seven to play.

But a winning Willett birdie at the 14th left him with too much to do and the Yorkshireman held on to secure a third round clash with Scottish Strokeplay champion Kevin McAlpine on Thursday.

McIlroy said: "Daniel had three birdies in the opening holes and was five under for 17 holes. When I was five down I was just concentrating on getting back to a reasonable score.

"It's disappointing but I can't complain because he played well and made very few mistakes."

Willett, 19, is a student at Jacksonville State University and has won twice on the American college circuit this year.

Willett said: "It's a great win for me and I'm delighted. I had a very good start but after I got to five-up he started to bite back.

"He's a quality player and I knew I would have to be at my best. This is a good scalp for me to have so early and hopefully I can build on this.

"When I saw I was playing Rory I was shocked, but I've been playing well."

Just three of the seven Irish qualifiers made it into the last 32 with Co Louth's Simon Ward a 3 and 1 winner over Heysham's Jack Senior.

Lurgan's Gareth Shaw came through a preliminary round match against Adam Runcie but lost to Irish Close champion Shane Lowry on the 18th in the afternoon.

Peter O'Keeffe, Niall Turner and Niall Kearney also lost but Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell beat Ben Parker 2 and 1 and will face American Tom Glissmeyer next.

Turner was beaten 3 and 2 by Aussie Rohan Blizard with Kearney thrashed 5 and 4 by his former Jacque Leglise team mate Rhys Enoch.

Leading qualifier David Horsey survived a scare before edging past Harrogate's John Parry at the 21st.

There were also wins for Walker Cup hopefuls Jamie Moul and Lloyd Saltman.

British Amateur Championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes
Selected Irish scores

First round
Gareth Shaw (Lurgan) bt Adam Runcie (Abergele) 3/1

Second round
Jason Shufflebotham (Prestatyn) bt Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas) 1 hole
Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye) bt Ben Parker (Gut Waldhof) 2/1
Simon Ward (Co Louth) bt Jack Senior (Heysham) 3/1
Daniel Willett (Rotherham) bt Rory McIlroy (Holywood) 2/1
Rohan Blizard (Australia) bt Niall Turner (Muskerry) 3/2
Rhys Enoch (Truro) bt Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin) 5&4
Shane Lowry (Esker Hills) bt Gareth Shaw (Lurgan) 1 hole

Third round draw
David Horsey v Jason Shufflebotham
Jonathan Caldwell v Tom Glissmeyer
Knut Borsheim v Mark Kerr
Florian Fritsch v Rick Kulacz
Simon Ward v Drew Weaver
Daniel Willett v Kevin McAlpine
Chris Wood v Gordon Yates
Lloyd Saltman v Alexandre Kaleka
Matt Allen v Ross Kellett
Rohan Blizard v Jamie Moul
Andrew Dodt v Kenny Le Sager
Rhys Enoch v Callum Macaulay
Jorge Campillo v Steven Uzzell
Luke Goddard v Andrew Sullivan
Gary Boyd v Shane Lowry
Tim Stewart v Ben Evans