English champion Marsh leads in Australian Amateur

England’s Nick Marsh is the Australian Amateur Championship medallist after he returned a second consecutive 68 in Sydney to lead the qualifiers for the matchplay.

Marsh, who is the reigning English Amateur champion, finished on eight-under par – and one shot clear of Australian national squad members Ryan Ruffels and Cam Davis.

The number one seed (image © Leaderboard Photography) will be joined in the matchplay stages by Ben Stow and Paul Howard, the other two members of the England Golf squad who are contesting a series of Australian championships.

Marsh, from Huddersfield in Yorkshire, claimed his medallist honours with scoring which included ten birdies and an eagle over the two rounds, the first at The Lakes and the second at The Australian Golf Club.

It’s the form he wants for the matchplay, as he explained after his second round:“In matchplay you’ve got to make birdies … so I tried to do that today to be ready for tomorrow.

“I played all right, drove the ball much better and hit it quite close on the front nine. It was a steady round.

“It shows I’m in good form, but you never know in matchplay – I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ben Stow, the English stroke play champion from Rushmore, Wiltshire, qualified in 11th place after shooting a superb seven-under 65 in the second round, the joint low-score of the day.

He started the round with a birdie on the first but, after making bogey on the second and a double on the third, he looked to be in trouble, having shot four-over 76 in the first round.

But he then reeled off nine more birdies, including one on the 18th which brought him home with a back-nine 30.

Paul Howard also produced sparkling form in the second round, fighting back after an opening 78 with a three-under 69 to qualify with a shot to spare. Howard, from Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire, won the 2014 South American Amateur.