Eleven Aussies line up at British Amateur

Eleven Australians will contest the 118th British Amateur Championship beginning 17 June at the Royal Cinque Ports and Prince’s Golf Clubs in Kent, England.

Jordan Zunic, Dale Brandt-Richards, Callan O’Reilly, Brett Drewitt, Cameron Smith, Brady Watt, Nathan Holman, Viraat Badhwar, Ruben Sondjaja, Geoff Drakeford and Todd Sinnott will carry Australia’s hopes of repeating Bryden Macpherson’s win in 2011 at Hillside Golf Club when he became the first Australian in 57 years to win the title.

Jordan Zunic Jordan Zunic (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The first stage of the championship involves two rounds of 18 holes stroke play, one to be played on each of the two courses starting Monday 17 June with the elimination matchplay commencing Wednesday 19 June at Royal Cinque Ports.

The 64 lowest scores and ties over the 36 holes will compete in the match play stage of the Championship. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes except the Final which will be over 36 holes at Royal Cinque Ports.

Nathan Holman goes into the British Amateur as the most in-form Aussie with two consecutive top-10 finishes in the UK at the Scottish Open Stroke and in last week’s St Andrews Links Trophy. Holman will be looking to go further than his second round loss last year and with his current run will be full of confidence leading into this championship.

Jordan Zunic, who also secured at top-5 result with Holman at the St Andrews Links Trophy is another who should feature well.

With a third round appearance last year, Zunic is a links specialist with three top-5 finishes in his last five starts in the UK. Zunic plays well in difficult conditions and is at a stage of his amateur career where a major title is within his grasp.

Keep an eye out also for Brett Drewitt, should he make the matchplay segment he will take some stopping as one of the world’s best amateur matchplay exponents.

We are yet to see how two of the top ranked world amateurs, Brady Watt at number three in the world and Cameron Smith at 15th, will feature in the UK.

Watt has been disappointing missing the cut last week at St Andrews and racking up a huge number at the Scottish Open Stroke Championship. Smith also missed the cut at St Andrews. Both will need to show improvement to contest at this event.

Last year at Royal Troon, 23-year-old lan Dunbar from Northern Ireland defeated Austrian teenager Matthias Schwab 1-up to claim the championship title. Dunbar has since turned professional and plays the European Tour.

Matt Stieger was the best of the Australians making it through to the quarter-finals only to have his run cut down by Scotland’s Paul Ferrier 4&3. Daniel Nisbet also made it through to 3rd round.

The British Amateur dates back to the 1857, although what became recognised as the first British Amateur Championship was held at Hoylake in 1885 where a total of 44 players from 12 clubs played for the title. This year a total of 288 players from over fifteen nations will tee it up at Royal Cinque Ports.

Times have certainly changed as the Championship, alongside the US Amateur, is the most sought after amateur title in the world.

The champion will receive a start at the 2013 Open Championship and a 2014 US Open and Masters Tournament invitation.