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Amateur Championship:
Dyson holds on as biting wind whips
top 64 into order

By Bill Meredith - Electronic Telegraph

THEY flew in full of hope from America and Australia, Spain and South Africa, France and Finland, even Kenya, Colombia and many other places around the globe for the most prestigious of amateur tournaments. Most of them will leave the Amateur Championship today, their hopes blown away by the swirling, biting wind which whipped off the sea around Royal County Down yesterday.

Conditions were slightly easier at Kilkeel a few miles inland - and it showed in the scoring. After an early-morning mist had held up play for more than an hour, there were a couple of fine two-under-par 70s from Scotland international Graham Fox and England cap Philip Rowe. Unfortunately for Rowe, his first-round 83 meant an early flight home.

Later in the day, with the evening sun softening proceedings, Simon Dyson, 21, the Yorkshireman from Sand Moor, had a second-round 72 after his brilliant 67 on Monday to top the 64 qualifiers on 139. Three birdies in a row from the third saw him out in 35 and, although he slipped with three successive bogeys from the 11th, a birdie three at 17 put him back in 37.

Many scorecards on the main course were 10 or more strokes worse than on Monday. Take, for example, Gregory Havret, who won the French amateur title for the third time recently. Havret, 22, who will try to qualify for the European Tour this year, started with a 68 around Kilkeel. Yesterday, he struggled to make 78 on Royal County Down without a birdie in sight.

Havret was still smiling, though, along with French colleague Nicolas Marin. Their 146 totals put them well up among the qualifiers for today's matchplay stages, when the mathematics of the first two days will be cast aside.

That is why former champion Gary Wolstenholme was not too upset either with his 73 around Kilkeel for a two-round aggregate of 143 - despite having three bogeys in a row on the back nine before a birdie at the 16th put a smile back on his face. "I am desperate to win this title again and have another shot at the Masters in Augusta," he said.

Wolstenholme, 38, will be joined in the matchplay by Nick Dougherty, 17, from Lancashire. He plays off plus-two at Shaw Hill but said after a 77 at Royal County Down: "That was the toughest course I have come across.

"I was playing well but it was a battle all the way, especially on the first nine when the wind was often moving the ball about the greens. It was disappointing to bogey the last two holes." Even so, his 147 total was a most creditable achievement.

Some enjoyed the hard blow at Royal County Down. Australian Andrew Webster took it in his stride for a rare 72 which helped him qualify on 147, while Mark Loftus, 20, the Scot who was runner-up in the Brabazon, showed his sterling qualities with a 74 for a 146 total.

The pride of Ireland, though, was Ken Kearney, 31. The former Irish national champion from Galway added a 72 at Kilkeel to his 70 at Royal County Down to lead the qualifiers in the clubhouse on 142 - until Dyson handed in his card.

Craig Watson, the Scot who won the title two years ago, is still in there fighting after a second-round 73 at Kilkeel, but another former champion, Irishman Garth McGimpsey, title-winner in 1985 at Royal Dornoch, appeared to have lost his survival battle after a 77 at Royal County Down.

The challenge for honours could come from an unlikely source. Two Swiss distinguished themselves yesterday when they finished on 147. Thomas Gottstein and John Lee carded 74 and 73 respectively at Kilkeel.


AMATEUR CH'SHIP. - 2nd rd: 139-S Dyson (Sand Moor) 67, 72.

142-K Kearney (Galway) 70, 72.

143-G Wolstenholme (Kilworth Springs) 70, 73.

144-G Vanier (US) 71, 73; J Fanagan (Milltown) 73, 71.

145-C Reimbold (Germany) 72, 73; J Morgan (Clevedon) 74, 71.

146-M Loftus (Cowglen) 72, 74; G Havret (France) 68, 78; J Hugo (S Africa) 70, 76; A Baddeley (Australia) 69, 77; A McCormick (Scrabo) 71, 75; B Goodwin (US) 73, 73; J M Pelz (Germany) 75, 71; T Sundstrom (Finland) 72, 74; K Quinn (US) 71, 75; M King (Toft Hotel) 70, 76; L Kelly (Cowal) 73, 73; N Marin (France) 70, 76.

147-D Jones (City of Derry) 69, 78; N Matthews (Pontypool) 72, 75; I Campbell (Marlborough) 74, 73; S Barwick (E Berks) 71, 76; T Gottstein (Switzerland) 73, 74; J Lee (Switzerland) 74, 73; N Dougherty (Shaw Hill) 70, 77; G Davies (Abbeydale) 74, 73; J Van Der Merwe (S Africa) 73, 74; A Webster (Australia) 72, 75; M Hilton (E Sussex Nat) 73, 74; A Wainwright (Garforth) 69, 78.

148-M Siem (Germany) 69, 79; J Hirsch (US) 72, 76; O Lindsay (Ryl Burgess) 75, 73; C Kelly Jnr (US) 75, 73; B Hume (Haggs Castle) 73, 75; G Fox (W Kilbride) 78, 70; J Lupton (Middlesbrough) 75, 73; R Beames (The Cranegie) 74, 74; K Vanko (US) 73, 75; C Watson (E Renfrewshire) 75, 73; P Gribben (Warrenpoint) 73, 75; M Thannhauser (Germany) 75, 73.

149-A Pierse (Tipperary) 75, 74; S Gardiner (Australia) 73, 76; B Bert (Australia) 77, 72; C Moriarty (Athlone) 73, 76; L Harpin (Llandudno) 75, 74; J Olver (S Africa) 76, 73; P Martin (Balmoral) 73, 76; C Cupit (US) 77, 72; T McKnight (US) 72, 77; J Hendry (Elgin) 76, 73; B Mason (Sand Moor) 75, 74; R McEvoy (Thorpe Hall) 72, 77; G Storm (The Wynyard) 75, 74; C Roake (Gerrards Cross) 74, 75.

150-A Farmer (Kilmacolm) 78, 72; B Gonzales (Colombia) 74, 76; J MacDougall (Turnberry) 77, 73; E Burlison-Rush (E Sussex Nat) 79, 71; A Smith (Pyle & Kenfig) 75, 75; P Kylliainen (Finland) 72, 78; C Rodgers (Ryl Mid-Surrey) 74, 76; T Schuster (Germany) 74, 76; S Davis (Kedlestone Pk) 73, 77; B Scurlock (US) 73, 77; R Fenwick (Bognor Regis) 73, 77; C Elliot (Ratho Pk) 76, 74; T Perkins (US) 67, 83; R Finch (Hull) 77, 73; C-H Quelin (France) 69, 81; O David (France) 75, 75. Qualifying 149 or better.