BOYS AMATEUR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Milton’s Tiger is leading the way

Robin Tiger Williams.
Robin Tiger Williams.
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Peterborough Milton Golf Club’s Robin Tiger Williams led the qualifiers for the matchplay stage of the 92nd Boys Amateur Open Championship at Royal Portrush and Portstewart today (August 16).

Williams, who was a semi-finalist last year, posted a level-par 71 at Royal Portrush to finish on three-under-par overall, the same mark as Irishman Mark Power, who compiled a three-under-par 69 at nearby Portstewart. Williams was confirmed as the leading qualifier following a card countback.

The 16-year-old England boys international started poorly with a dropped shot at the first but bounced back with a birdie at the next and gained another shot at the eighth. He bogeyed the 17th but produced a nice up and down from a hollow to the right of the 18th green to secure his par.

“It’s amazing,” said Williams. “In the past I have never even been close to coming to the top of the leaderboard. I have always been scraping around the cut – just making it or just missing it. So it’s amazing to have that relief knowing that I have made the cut safely and knowing I am the number one seed going into the matchplay stage,where the challenge will be even greater than the last two days.”

“Usually the stroke play champion never wins the whole thing but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Power, the two-time Irish Boys Amateur Champion, played well from tee to green but was frustrated with not taking more of his birdie chances after several putts went abegging. The 18-year-old did, however, see his putts drop on the 14th and 15th after an earlier birdie at the 7th.

Another Irishman, Tom McKibbin finished on two-under-par alongside Spain’s Hugo Aguilar Puertes. Making his debut in the championship, the 15-year-old from Holywood enjoyed an eventful round at Portstewart, trading seven birdies with three bogeys for a four-under-par 68. Puertes’ round at Royal Portrush was similarly up and down, but he holed from 15 feet at the last for a closing birdie and a one-over-par 72.

The cut fell on six-over-par with 64 players progressing to the match play stage. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes, before concluding with a 36-hole final on Sunday.