England’s Daniel Brown led the qualifiers after the second stroke play round of the Amateur Championship with eight Irishmen joining him in the first round draw.
Brown made history in 2012 when he became the youngest ever Yorkshire Amateur Champion and his second round 4-under-par 67 at Portstewart gave him an 8-under-par total of 133, the second lowest aggregate total since qualifying was introduced to the Amateur Championship in 1983. He was one shot outside the 132 total of David Horsey in 2007.
Headfort's Rory McNamara, Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin and Stackstown's Richard Bridges qualified in joint eighth on one under 140 with Naas' Jack Hume (141), Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge (141), Tullamore's Stuart Grehan (142), Greystones' Paul Dunne (142) and Faithlegg's Robin Dawson (145) making it into the matchplay stages. Dawson is one of eight players who tied for 52nd who must play a preliminary round.
Ninetee-year-old Brown led by a four-stroke margin over countryman Ashton Turner and Italy’s Renato Paratore, the highest ranked player in the field at sixth on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Brown, who is a member at Bedale Golf Club, near Catterick, qualified last year at Royal Cinque Ports and Princes but lost in the first round. He is hoping to go much farther this year. “It would be massive if I were to win this and play in The Open Championship, but I’ll try my best not to think about that,” Brown said.
Bridges posted the best Irish score of the second round with a 2-under-par 68 at Royal Portrush. The 27-year-old feels at home on the Dunluce links, having played in the North of Ireland Amateur Championship on several occasions. Bridges qualified last year too, but lost to Paratore in the third round.
“I had great rhythm today,” Bridges said. “I knew when I got on the range that my game was good. I felt really confident. I brought a bit of form with me this week after reaching the semi-finals of the Irish Close Championship last week.”
Aside from Paratore, three world top 20 players made it through to the match play stages. Belgium’s Thomas Detry (12), Mario Galiano (13) of Spain and Scotland’s Grant Forrest (17) take their place in the draw. Forrest arrives in Northern Ireland fresh from winning the St Andrews Links Trophy in his last start.
Former Boys’ Amateur Champion Emilio Cuartero also qualified. Cuartero, a student at the University of Missouri, won the Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl in 2007.
Southport & Ainsdale’s Sean Towndrow qualified after setting a new course record at Portstewart. Towndrow birdied five of his first nine holes and didn’t drop any shots for a 5-under-par 66.
The cut fell at 4-over-par 145 and 70 players qualified.
The match play stage will get underway at 7.25am tomorrow. For the draw, scoring and the full list of qualifiers visit championships.randa.org.