17-year-old Josh Armstrong, who plays his Pennant golf for The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney and is a member at Gold Creek Golf Club in Canberra, finished as the leading qualifier amongst the Australians over the opening two rounds of the stroke-play on Monday and Tuesday.
He continued that early form in today’s opening round of match play to defeat American Colin Bowles with a birdie at the 19th hole in a match where neither player was any more than 1 up.
While Armstrong advances to the round of 32, the news wasn't so good for defending champion Min Woo Lee of Western Australia. Lee was 2 up early in his match against Californian Noah Norton before the American won four consecutive holes from the 5th to go 2 up.
Lee, Australia’s leading ranked player on the domestic rankings, fought back and as the pair headed to the 17th tee, Norton led by just one hole. Lee, though, would bogey the par-three 17th to lose 2&1.
It was a surprise loss for the highly-ranked Lee, given his recent form, which had included a runner-up finish at the recent Sahalee Players Am.
“Pretty disappointed,” said Lee, who became the fourth international Junior Amateur champion last year. “I didn’t lose to a bad player. I just didn’t produce shots when I needed to.”
Lee's conqueror was also disappointed that he had to face Lee in round one as he knew he faced a tough opponent.
“I was kind of bummed when we had to play each other,” said Norton, who reached the Round of 64 in last year’s Junior Amateur. “It’s a match you don’t want to have in the first round, because he’s a great player.”
Victorian Cameron John is the current Australian Junior champion and safely qualified for the match play this week but his match would also be a close affair with neither player any more than 1 up at any stage before Californian Aaron Chen birdied the first extra hole to win 1 up.
Tomorrow, Armstrong faces 37th qualifier Trent Phillips of South Carolina who also survived a close encounter today, winning his match 1 up.
146TH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
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