Kinsale’s John Murphy knocked out the world number five on the World Amateur Golf RankingTM Viktor Hovland to progress to the quarter finals of The 123rd Amateur Championship, where he will meet his fellow Irishman, and former college friend Robin Dawson.
In windy conditions at Royal Aberdeen, the 20-year-old Corkman, who was originally a reserve, defeated the field’s highest ranked player 6&5 to set up the all Irish match-up on Friday. Fresh from his St Andrews Links Trophy victory earlier this month, Murphy made light work of the Norwegian following his earlier third round win over American Walker Lee (4&2).
Commenting on his impressive win, Murphy said:
“I feel a lot more confident coming off the back of winning the St Andrews Links trophy, I guess you could say I didn’t really have a name for myself before St Andrews but I got out there and managed to pick up the win. I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking.”
Hovland faced a quick turnaround at lunch after he staged an impressive comeback in the morning to defeat Thomas Forster on the first extra hole. The Englishman had built a four-hole lead at the 13th but Hovland battled back to make the match all square down the last.
In a strong showing from the Irish, Conor Purcell also joined Murphy and Dawson in the fifth round. Dawson and Purcell eliminated Swedes Elis Svärd and Adam Blomé. Dawson, a member of the St Andrews trophy squad, with a 6&5 win and Purcell chalking up a 3&2 victory.
Robin Dawson spoke about the current strength of Irish golf following his win, stating:
“I don’t have to tell you Irish golf is strong at the moment, today really helped with the wind as we’re well used to that but it just goes to show how strong Irish golf is. It’s a pity we’ll have to play each other but it’s just another match really so we’ll see how we get on Friday.”
Purcell, who celebrated his 21st birthday this week, had earlier knocked out Walker Cup player Matthew Jordan following a stunning up and down on the 19th hole to close out the third-round match.
Purcell will now play the top ranked Australian David Micheluzzi. The world number 19 took down Mexico’s Raul Pereda 5&4 to book a spot in the fifth round.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Scandinavians as Christoffer Pålsson came through his tie with South Africa’s Luca Filippi 4&3 to ensure one Swede made the quarter finals.
Leading qualifier Wilco Nienaber departed the competition as he lost on the final hole to England’s Tom Sloman who produced a magical up and down in front of the 18th green gallery. Countryman Mitch Waite joined Sloman after defeating German Timo Vahlenkamp on the 19th hole.
Jovan Rebula was the only South African from the fourth round matches to survive and plays Sloman on Friday after a narrow one hole victory over England’s Ben Hutchinson.