SEVENTEEN England players made it through into the matchplay phase of the British Amateur Championship, after 36 holes of qualifying at Dublin’s Portmarnock and The Island GC.

Leading the qualifiers was Yeovil’s Tom Plumb, who shot a second round 71 at Portmarnock on Tuesday, to take the number one seed in the draw after tying with Denmark’s John Axelson, who carded rounds of 70 and 69.

The Yeovil ace’s four-under total included a three-under par 68 at The Island and saw him finish two shots better than West Cornwall’s Harry Hall, runner-up in the Brabazon two weeks ago at Alwoodley, in Leeds.

Castle Royle’s David Langley was the leading finisher from the South East thanks to a level-par 72 at Portmarnock, which is hosting the Amateur Championship for the first time since 1949.

Langley, who finished 12th at the St Andrews Links Trophy last week, opened with a 70 at The Island, which pre-dates Portmarnock by four years having been founded in 1890.

Tied on the same score was Wiltshire’s Jake Bolton, runner-up in the Hampshire Salver after losing a play-off at the Selborne Salver at Blackmoor, in April, continued his fine season as he pushes for England recognition.

The Ogbourne Downs member shot 72 at Portmarnock, on Monday, before adding a 70 at The Island.

Surrey’s Angus Flanagan is looking to claim the Amateur Championship three years after being crowned English Open Boys Amateur Strokeplay Champion, after winning the Carris Trophy at Hunstanton.

The St George’s Hill member clearly likes links golf with that pedigree – and is in good form after winning the 2019 Big Ten title while playing for the University of Minnesota.

Hampshire have a great recent history in the championship – which earns the winner a start in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, next month, but also the most coveted exemption in amateur golf… an invite to the 2020 Masters at Augusta.

Scott Gregory, from Corhampton, and Meon Valley G&CC’s Harry Ellis made history by claiming the Amateur Championship back to back in 2016/17 – no county had won the event with different players in more than 130 years since the event was founded by the R&A.

Rowlands Castle’s Billy McKenzie, who played in the same county boys team as Ellis and Gregory in 2012, is flying the Hampshire flag this week after taking a share of 29th place with rounds of 74, 71 – the latter at Portmarnock, which will host all the matchplay rounds including Saturday’s 36-hole final.

The other English qualifiers including St Andrews Link winner Jake Burnage (T29th), from Saunton, Hampshire Hog winner Matty Lamb (T57th), from Hexham, Somerset’s Tom Sloman, from Taunton & Pickeridge (T29th), who reached the 2017 Engllsh Amateur Final, and Northamptonshire County’s Ben Jones , who has won the Duke of York Young Champions and the Sir Henry Cooper Masters as a junior.

Yorkshire’s Walker Cup squad member Ben Hutchinson (74, 70), from Howley Hall, was in a share of 18th place with Redditch’s James Robinson (69, 75).

Twenty-four players, including Jones and Lamb and Hartlepool’s Jack Ainscough, went into the draw for the preliminary first round to complete the 64 places for Wednesday’s second round.

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