Yorkshire teenager Ben Schmidt leads the international field in the Brabazon Trophy by three after shooting a record-equalling 64 at Alwoodley Golf Club, Leeds, today.
The 16-year-old from Rotherham Golf Club is nine-under after 36 holes of the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play.
Meanwhile, first round leader Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor) scrambled his way to 70 today and stayed well in touch in second place. A further shot back and sharing third place on five-under are England’s David Langley and Jake Hapgood of Wales.
Schmidt’s bogey free round of seven-under is his lowest score in competition and he said: “It all came together today, right from the first tee shot.” That set up the first of three consecutive birdies, which were followed by two more before the turn.
“Then it was just about not making mistakes on the back nine. I hit good tee shots and iron shots, kept the ball in play and holed a few putts when you don’t expect it. That’s when you get a good score,” he said.
And as for leading the Brabazon on his first appearance in the championship? “It’s nice,” said Schmidt, a member of the England boys’ squad. “But I’ve got to go away and try not to think about it. My first goal was to make the cut, because this is a big men’s event, and I’ve done that quite easily, which is good.
“Now I’ve got the weekend and two more rounds, so I’ve got to restart, not think about leading, but just do what I’ve been doing for the past two days and play good golf.”
Tomorrow, he’ll be paired with Strickland who added one under 70 to his opening 66. “Scrappy was the word,” he commented. “My short game saved me all day. But I’m in a good spot and I would have taken one or two under before I went out, so I’m pleased with it.”
David Langley raced into a share of third place after covering the first 10 holes in seven-under. He started birdie, eagle, dropped a shot on the fourth, and then had five consecutive birdies. The rest of the back nine proved tougher, but he eventually signed for four-under 67 – and put himself right in contention.
Langley, an England A squad player from Castle Royle in BB&O, said: “It was a good day’s work!”
Jake Hapgood was also on the birdie train, with four in a row from the fifth thanks to good mid and long-range putts. He reached the turn in three under and parred home to hold on. “On the back nine my short game saved me, there was a lot of scrambling. But I finished strongly and when you make pars on all those holes it’s a bit of a bonus.”
Scotland’s Jamie Stewart was another player who flew round the front nine, reaching the turn in seven-under 29 with the help of two eagles. Once again the back nine proved testing in the wind, but he completed his round in 65, which propelled him 32 places up the leaderboard.
“It was a good round and it was nice to find a little bit of form because I’ve been struggling the last few weeks,” said Stewart, who was runner-up in the 2018 Scottish Amateur.
He shares fifth place with Yorkshire’s Charlie Thornton (Fulford), who added 67 to his opening 71.
After today’s round the field was cut to the leading 60 players and ties. A total of 64 will return to play the final 36 holes over the weekend.
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