3 Scots reach last 32 of Australian Amateur Championship

Jack McDonald. Picture: Jane Barlow

Jack McDonald. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Scotland will have three representatives in the last 32 of the Australian Amateur Championship after Connor Syme, Jack McDonald and Grant Forrest all won their first-round matches at The Metropolitan in Melbourne.

After play had been halted on Wednesday due to soaring temperatures then being abandoned, the trio returned along with compatriot Ewen Ferguson early this morning to complete their second round in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying.

Drumoig Golf Centre player Syme signed for a 71 to finish joint-24th on level-par, one better than Ferguson after the Bearsden player dropped four shots coming home in his 74 to sit in a share of 37th spot.

McDonald, from Barassie, progressed in joint-42nd after a brace of 73s while Forrest completed a 100 per cent success rate for the Scots by finishing tied for 56th on four-over after the Craigielaw player battled hard over the closing holes for a 77.

Syme, a semi-finalist in the 2014 Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush, then became the first of the tartan contingent to get off to a winning start in the match-play phase as he beat home player Mitchell Smith 4&3.

“I was really pleased with how this morning went in getting through to the match-play,” admitted the 20-year-old.

“I was happy with my position of -1 thru 12 yesterday as it was the conditions had been really tough.

“It was strange knowing exactly what the target number as normally you just get into the zone when playing. But, after coming in off the course a couple of times due to the heat and storms, you couldn’t miss the cut line score!

“So keeping one shot at a time this morning was key and I managed that. My putter had been hot the previous day and that continued into my first-round match. It was good fun, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.”

Walker Cup team-mates McDonald and Forrest also progressed with victories over Australian players, beating Jordan Ayre and Kevin Yuan respectively.

“I feel as if my game is in pretty decent shape considering its early on in the year,” said McDonald after his 3&1 success. “It was really windy today and I managed to stick to my game plan and stayed patient. Hopefully I can carry it onto tomorrow.”

Forrest, the beaten finalistin the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie last year, claimed a notable scalp with his 3&2 win as Yuan reached the semi-finals in this event 12 months ago.

“I holed about an eight-footer to get into the match-play,” said Forrest. “It was a big relief because I had putted poorly the rest of the round.

“It gave me some momentum going into my match in the afternoon and I played solid, making some good up and downs and a couple of nice putts went in, too.”

While disappointed that he ended the day as the odd man out, Ferguson had no complaints after suffering a 5&3 defeat at the hands of Welshman Evan Griffith.

“Didn’t play great and doesn’t help when your opponent is on fire - hats off,” wrote the Scot on Twitter.

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