Matteo Cristioni of Italy eliminated top qualifier Connor McKinney of Scotland from The R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship in a hard-fought battle on the East Course at Saunton.
While Cristoni was one up for most of the match a clutch birdie on the 17 th hole from McKinney saw the pair square heading to the 18th.
“I played very, very well all 18 holes. Connor is a very good player and he made a birdie on 17 so we were we tied on 18. But I knew I could do it and with a par I won the match.
The sole Italian left in the championship claimed the win with a par that his opponent was unable to match whilst his teammates celebrated greenside.
“It was beautiful to have all my friends there watching on 18.”
Ireland’s Max Kennedy booked his place in the quarter finals, against Cristoni, in convincing fashion defeating Norway’s Bård Bjørnevik Skogen 6&4, the largest winning margin of the final eight matches.
“I was very solid, I made two birdies and one bogey so I just let Alex make the mistakes and then I played well,” said Kennedy.
“I played the Boys Home Internationals last week and won five out of six of my matches which was also quite good. So my match play form is pretty good. It would be nice to keep going and hopefully get the win.”
The highest ranked player in the field, Joseph Pagdin was another big name to tumble out of the championship in a tight tussle today. He went head to head with fellow Englishman and good friend Barclay Brown who held a sight advantage for most of the match and was two up after 16 holes.
Pagdin got a hole back with a birdie on the 17th but conceded the 18th after he was unable to recover from a wayward tee shot that found the right rough. Brown recorded a two-hole victory to advance.
“Joe is my foursomes partner so we play together all the time,” said Brown. “It was good to play against each other today.
“It’s certainly one of those tournaments where you don’t know when you are going to be going home so its nice to still be here.”
Frenchman Tom Gueant conceded the first hole to open his match again Kevin Christopher Jegers of Estonia. The pair were quickly all square after a bogey from Jegers on the 3rd hole followed by another on the 6th providing Gueant with an advantage he maintained for the remainder of the match which he went onto win by two.
“I was two-up on 12 and he made a great birdie so I was one-up after that. Then I eagled 15 to go back to two-up but unfortunately I made a bogey on the 17th and he gave me the 18th so it was a good battle at the end.
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“Today the weather really tested me but I feel like I did great. I just tried to play golf and have fun.”
Gueant will now take on England’s George Holland who earned his quarter final berth the hard way after his match with Archie Davies of Wales went to the 21 st Hole.
Through the turn, Holland held a five-up lead over Davies who mounted a back-nine response to square the match after 14 holes and go one-up after the 15 th . A further bogey on the 16 th saw Davies quickly give up the advantage and another on the 21 st hole handed Holland the victory.
“It was amazing and I still can’t believe I won,” said Holland. “I thought my chest was going to explode and I was going to have a heart attack but I played well in the extra holes.
“I was five-up and then he (Davies) started winning a couple and I started to get a bit nervy but I fought back and I am pleased.”
England will have four quarter-finalists in total with Jacob Kelso and Craig Passmore joining Brown and Holland. Kelso defeated countryman Oliver Dickman 4&3, while Passmore ended Portugal’s hopes by winning on the 19th against Daniel Costa Rodrigues.
Wilmer Ederö from Sweden secured his spot in the quarter finals with a 3&1 victory over James Ashfield of Wales.
For full results and scoring visit www.Randa.org. Admission and parking at Saunton is free.