Ben Ferguson and Min Woo Lee have joined an eight-strong Australian representation in the matchplay phase of the British Amateur Championship in Kent, England.
The in-form West Aussie duo easily progressed into the last-64, both completing the two-round strokeplay in a tie for 11th on five-under, although Kiran Day and Haydn Barron missed out.
The British Amateur Championship is one of the most prestigious amateur events in the world, with a place in next month’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on offer for the winner, while Sergio Garcia is a past winner.
And there are eight Aussies lined up to try and join the Masters champion on the winner’s trophy in a further nod to the growing pool of young talent coming out of this country.
New South Wales’ Harrison Endycott, the world number 25, led the Australian charge around Royal St George’s and Prince’s with a two-round total of seven-under, which was good for a share of fourth – three shots behind medallist Caolan Rafferty from Ireland.
But not far behind were Perth duo Ferguson (The Vines) and Lee (Royal Fremantle) and who will commence their round-of-64 matches this afternoon.
Ferguson is in excellent form, after finishing in a tie for third at the St Andrews Link Trophy last week, with Tuesday’s round highlighted by an eagle at the par-five 14th as he shot a level-par 70 around Royal St George’s.
Royal St George’s played tougher of the two courses – and is where the matchplay will be staged – but Lee showed his liking for the lay-out on Tuesday with a 68 that included four birdies, three of which arrived during the final six holes as the 18-year-old stepped up a gear.
Lee has an enviable record in matchplay, most significantly when he won the US Junior Amateur last year, while reached the final of this year’s Australian Amateur Championship when he was narrowly beaten 1up by Mattias Sanchez in one of the most memorable deciders in the event’s history.
The two-time Amateur Championship of WA winner is due to begin his last-64 clash against Ireland’s Conor O’Rourke from 4.42pm Perth time.
Ferguson will play either Robert MacIntyre (Scotland) or Zheng Kai Bai (China), who must first meet in an eliminator after finishing right on the cut line, from 8.51pm Perth time.
Ferguson and Lee are part of six Aussies who have progressed straight into the last-64, along with Endycott, Zach Murray (Victoria, -6), Travis Smyth (NSW, -5), Dylan Perry (NSW, -4), while David Micheluzzi (Victoria) and Blake Windred (NSW) must overcome morning knockout matches after finishing in a group of players on one-under.
“It’s a tremendous achievement by our athletes,” Golf Australia high performance director Brad James told the national governing body’s official website.
“When you think that if those two make the main match play draw, effectively one of every eight athletes in one of the great amateur events in the world would be Australian – that’s extraordinary.
“I’m sure they all realise their job isn’t done yet, but it’s a feather in the caps of all the athletes and the state high performance programs they’re part of.”
The 36-hole final of the tournament is set to be played on Saturday.
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