Lester leads British Boys after opening 72

Rowan Lester (Hermitage) during the Irish Amateur Close Championship at Seapoint Golf Club. Picture: Thos Caffrey / www.golffile.ie

Hermitage’s Rowan Lester grabbed the first round lead in the Boys Amateur Championship with an even-par round of 72 at Dundonald Links.

But it was a tougher day for the rest of the Irish in testing weather conditions with Dun Laoghaire's Ted Collins and Warrenpoint's Jamie Fletcher the next best after 11 over 82s with Co Sligo's David Brady carding an 85, Royal Portrush's Peter Kerr 87, Wentworth's Eoin Leonard 88, Carton House's David Carey 92 and UAE based Eoin Cunniffe 101.

Detailed scoreboard

Lester leads by single shot from American Graysen Huff, who turned in a one-over-par 73 while three players finished with two-over-par rounds of 74 at Dundonald; Scotland’s Christopher Curran from Harburn, Callum Farr from Northamptonshire County and Australia’s Ben Ferguson.

At Prestwick Denmark’s Frederik Hedmark and Norway’s Kristoffer Reitan both carded two-over-par rounds of 73, a shot better than Luke Northwood of Kenilworth, Oskar Bergqvist of Sweden and Spain’s Xabier Gorospe and Victor Garcia Broto who each posted a three-over-par 74. Their fellow Spaniard Jorge Edo is also on three-over-par after posting a 75 at Dundonald, as is Calum Fyfe from Cawder and Jack Floydd from Haywards Heath.

Players contended with challenging conditions at Prestwick and Dundonald Links as rain and winds gusting up to 30mph lashed both courses throughout the day. 

An international field from 23 countries will play a qualifying round of stroke play on each course before the leading 64 players and ties progress to the match play stage commencing on Thursday at Prestwick.

The 36-hole final will be played in morning and afternoon sessions on Sunday August 17.

Lester, who represented Ireland at both the recent Boys Home Internationals at Western Gailes and the European Boys Team Championships in Norway in July, carded three birdies in his front nine but dropped shots on the 7th and 8th holes.

The 18-year-old from Hermitage posted two further bogeys on the 10th and 13th but finished strongly as the weather began to clear. 

“I think I got the luckier part of the draw in the afternoon,” said Lester, who enjoyed a respite from the rain down the stretch. “I tried to play smart golf all day and I managed to hole a few putts, which always helps.

“I had a good up-and-down for par on the second hole followed by two nice birdies on three and four which kick-started me and took some of the pressure off. I played a solid back nine and birdied the last hole to finish the round which made it even better.”