Mark Power was meant to be with Nairn’s Sandy Scott and England’s Jack Dyer in a Walker Cup trio in the strokeplay section of the Amateur Championship.
However, Scott – with a World Amateur Golf Ranking of seven – had no choice but to withdraw on Sunday night due to the ongoing wrist injury which kept him out of last month’s Great Britain and Ireland v United States showdown.
That meant 15-year-old Oliver Mukherjee (Gullane) joined Dyer and Irishman Power on Monday and yesterday as the chase for spots in the top-64 matchplay part of the Amateur Championship gathered pace.
Dyer almost topped the qualification board, beaten to that by one shot after a brilliant 62 from Matthew Clark from Kilmacolm. He faces Norway’s Markus Braadlie at 12.54pm today.
Power coasted through, finishing just eight places behind Clark. He starts at 11.19am against Connor Wilson from Castle Park.
Talented Mukherjee was 15 shots over par by Tuesday night and missed the cut, but he will have gained a lot from being with two players with Walker Cup pedigree.
Power said: “It was a pity that Sandy had to pull out, but it was great to meet Oliver.
“He’s only 15, but he has got great potential. It’s good to see young guys like that get the chance to play in a big event like this.
“I was very impressed with his game and, when he grows up, he will definitely be one to watch.
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“I have been in his shoes where you’re just trying to gain experience. Now it’s a bit different and I feel I have got much better in terms of handling expectation and pressure. That comes with experience.”
‘Stress-free’ run towards matchplay qualification
Power is friends with Dyer and that worked well out on the Nairn course.
He explained: “Myself and Jack fed off one another. He got off to a great start on the front nine, which I did not.
“I know Jack very well and it was pretty stress-free coming in on the back nine.”
He was thrilled to have done more than enough to qualify for the matchplay.
Power explained: “When I was two over on Monday and, after a bit of a shaky start on Tuesday, I knew there was no need to panic. As long as I made the top-64.
“The closer to the top you finish, it makes you feel a wee bit better. Anything can happen in the matchplay.”
All golfers going for glory over next four days in Nairn
Only the first round of matchplay action takes place today, with rounds two and three tomorrow, the quarters and semi-finals on Friday and the 36-hole final on Saturday.
See here for the live matchplay scoreboard.
The Amateur champion receives full exemptions to The Open Championship and US Open, an invitation to the the Masters Tournament, as well as a place in a European Tour event.