Stieger keeps Western Amateur hopes alive

Exmoor’s closing 402 metre 18th hole may not have been kind to Matt Stieger as he carded a triple bogey to fall fourteen places in today’s second round, yet the 2011 Australian Amateur champion insists that he is in control at this Western Amateur in Chicago.

Stieger started the day in a tie for 2nd position after opening with a 4-under-par 68, yet a second round 1-over-par 73 has the world number 13 at 3-under-par for the championship and four from the leader, American Abraham Ancer.

Matt Stieger Matt Stieger is at 3-under par, four behind the leaders going into the third round of the Western Amateur in Chicago (Photo: Anthony Powter)

“I had my chances out there,” said Stieger.

“It only came to the last hole where I just hit stupid shots to rack up that triple. I have made the cut and I’m only four shots from the leader. Anything can happen, it is just a matter of keeping the numbers off your card.”

Daniel Nisbet fired an impressive 3-under-par 69 to also be at 3-under-par with Stieger in a tie for 16th position, with Cameron Smith firing the day’s low round 66 to join both Nisbet and Stieger.

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Matt Stieger keeps his eye on the ball during the second round of the Western Amateur in Chicago (Photo: Anthony Powter)

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“My game is strong,” said Nisbet.

“The last few weeks I have played solid. Today, I was able to keep the ball in the fairway and the result followed. This is a tough event and you have to take each day as it comes.”

Smith equally was happy with his low second round.

“Today was a different day,” said Smith.

“I am getting use to the greens and getting to know the course better. Each round is improving and hopefully I can capitalise on this to get inside the top-16 tomorrow.”

Rory Bourke is a shot behind Nisbet, Smith and Stieger at 2-under-par, with Dimi Papadatos at 1-under-par after round of 72-71.

Geoff Drakeford narrowly scraped into the top-44 plus ties finishing at even par after rounds of 70-74 to be the last Aussie to make the cut.

The Aussies to miss the even-par cut included Todd Sinnott and Jake Higginbottom who finished at 2-over-par, Ryan McCarthy at 4-over-par and Nathan Holman who fired rounds of 75-76 to be 7-over-par.

Tomorrow has the field playing 36-holes for the top-16 positions who then progress to elimination match play for the championship final on Saturday.