Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup squad members Tom Lewis and Michael Stewart will go head-to-head Friday for a semifinal berth in the 2011 British Amateur. With two days remaining, the place in the 2011 British Open at Royal St. George’s and the invitation to the 2012 Masters that await this week’s winner are just three matches away.
20-year-old Englishman Lewis, who plays at Welwyn Garden City, the home club of Sir Nick Faldo, reached the last eight by virtue of a resounding 6&4 victory over world No. 13 Andrew Sullivan. In doing so, he has gone one better than he did in 2010 at Muirfield, when he lost in the fourth round to eventual winner Jin Jeong.
Sullivan, another member of the 2011 GB&I Walker Cup squad, had progressed to the last 16 in style, with a 5&4 victory over Kenny Subregis of France, but he could not find the same form and succumbed to Lewis, who had beaten him 3&2 in the quarter-finals of the English Amateur Championship, last year.
“I thought it was going to be a really tough, close match,” said the 2009 Boys Amateur champion, “but Andy struggled a bit out there and I played pretty solid. I’m not hitting it quite as well as I know I can, but I’m still confident going into the quarters.
"It was nice to have a more comfortable match this afternoon, because it was a bit too close this morning,” said Lewis, referring to the last-32 match against David Booth, which Lewis won by one hole after a birdie-3 at the 437-yard 18th.
Stewart, meanwhile, earned a quarterfinal place with a two-hole win against Philipp Fendt of Austria. The 21-year-old Scot was never down during the match, despite it going all the way to the 18th.
“I was getting to the point where I thought I have to do something here, then I made birdies on nine and 11 to get my nose in front,” said Stewart, who defeated Lewis 3&1 while representing Scotland at last year’s Home Internationals. “Philipp will be disappointed with the way he played, but he hung in there and putted really well, and his short game was immaculate.
“My ball striking has improved as the week has gone on, and I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable. It’s going to be a really good game with Tom. I will be playing, in my opinion, with the best tee to green golfer in amateur golf. I’m just going to try and frustrate him.
“This and the U.S. Amateur are the two most important events in the calendar. If you win the Amateur Championship, it’s life-changing,” he added.
After needing 24 holes to reach the last 16, Alastair Jones won his afternoon match by two holes to reach the quarterfinals, as did France’s Sebastian Gros, at the 19th; Joakim Mikkelson of Norway, 4&2; and Spaniard Antonio Hortal, 2&1. Scot Greg Paterson also made his way through, courtesy of a 7&6 victory over England’s Jack Bartlett, while Bryden Macpherson progressed, after defeating Marc Dobias of Switzerland 2&1.
“It means a lot to be here,” said the Australian. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the most prestigious, and it’s called the Amateur Championship for a reason: This is it! “So, to be in the hunt still is fantastic.”