Power and McKibbin qualify comfortably at British Boys
Mark Power

Mark Power

Kilkenny's Mark Power was edged out for the leading qualifier honours in the British Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush and Portstewart.

Robin Williams, the 16-year-old England boys international who was a semi-finalist last year, posted a level-par 71 at Royal Portrush to finish on three-under-par alongside Power, who shot three-under-par 69 at nearby Portstewart. 

Power, the two-time Irish Boys Amateur Champion, played well from tee to green but was frustrated not to make more of his birdie chances.

Holywood's Tom McKibbin finished tied for third on two-under-par alongside Spain’s Hugo Aguilar Puertes. 

Making his debut in the championship, 15-year-old McKibbin made seven birdies and three bogeys for a four-under-par 68.

The cut fell on six-over-par with 64 players progressing to the match play stage with Power and McKibbin joined in the draw by Dundalk's Eoin Murphy (73-71), Athenry's David Kitt (72-72), Royal Dublin's Max Kennedy (75-71), Lisburn's Joshua Robinson (74-74), Mullingar's Adam Smith (73-75) and Laytown & Bettystown's Alex Maguire (72-77).

“I was happy with yesterday’s round and equally happy today," said Power, who faces Maguire in the first round. "69 is a good score but coming off the course I was a little bit disappointed because I gave myself so many birdie chances coming in. To be fair, I made two birdies on 14 and 15. but I could have had several over the whole back nine.

“I’m happy though – you can’t win it in the qualifiers. I’ll just focus on the match play now, see what draw I get and just try to get through.”

McKibbin felt conditions at Portstewart were easier than at Royal Portrush on Tuesday. 

"I just took advantage of the better weather and less wind today," he said. “I thought I got a pretty good draw and result at Portrush and then coming over here – having two par fives on the back nine that you can take advantage of – I thought it was pretty good.

“Putting was my strength today. I holed some very long putts that I was shocked at  but they all dropped today."

Kitt will also play a fellow Irish player in Smith.