The first round of the 2022 Ayrshire Matchplay Championship was held at Ayr Belleisle on Monday evening, the 2nd of May, with the top seed Scott Brown (Turnberry) and holder Craig Telfer (Turnberry) both progressing to the quarter finals.Scott Brown (Turnberry) and Sandy Walker (Kilmarnock Barassie). Walker held a narrow lead for most of the match and by the time the players reached the final hole he remained one ahead. Whilst Walker found a bunker from the tee at the par five eighteenth, Brown hit a superb drive which gave him the opportunity to reach the green in two. Despite walker recovering to make par, Brown successfully two putted from just through the back of the green for a winning birdie four to take the match to extra holes, and it was brown who edged his way into the quarter finals by taking the nineteenth hole for victory.
Steven Wallace (Prestwick St Cuthbert) and Blair Morton (Royal Troon) and it too proved to be close throughout, with a single hole lead changing hands at various times during the tie. By the final hole Morton held a single hole lead and after Wallace found trouble the hle was conceded and Morton progressed with a two hole win.
Steven Stamper (Turnberry) and Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) were out third on the night and it was Stamper who held a two hole lead after eleven holes. Despite Smyth's best efforts, Stamper held off the challenge to record a 2&1 win.
Keith Hamilton (Royal Troon) and title holder Craig Telfer (Turnberry) had a closely fought contest with Telfer holding a single hole lead as the match reached the final hole. With Telfer on the green and Hamilton just on the front fringe in the same number of shots, Hamilton saw his putt agonisingly hit the pin and spin out of the hole, leaving telfer to successfully two putt for a single hole win.
The fifth tie on the course featured Harvey McDonald (Turnberry) and Adam Sweeney (Prestwick St Cuthbert) and it was Sweeney who took the lead by midway through the match, closing out his opponent and claiming his place in the quarter finals with an eventual 3 & 1 victory.
Shaun Hedger (West Kilbride) produced some outstanding scoring early in his tie against John Haggarty (Loudoun), holing a birdie putt on the eleventh green to go five up in the match, with scoring figures of 6 under par at that stage. despite Haggarty stemming the tide over the next few holes, Hedger claimed the quarter final place with a 5 & 4 win.
Max Barclay (Ayr Belleisle) and Stewart Russell (Royal Troon) and it was Barclay that had the best of the early stages, racing to a seven hole lead after eleven played, to go dormie in the tie. To his credit, Russell never gave up, and a birdie at the twelfth hole reduced the deficit and set him on the path of a winning run of four holes to reduce Barclay's advantage, before eventually losing the tie by 3&2.
Ian Brown (Largs) and Daniel Forbes (Irvine) proved to be the final match off the course on the opening night. Ian Brown took the initiative early on and led by four holes at one point before Forbes fought back to level the match after sixteen holes. With the final two holes of regulation play halved, the players proceeded to extra holes in the fading daylight. With the prospect of only one play off hole able to be played before darkness fell completely, it was Forbes who secured his place in the quarter finals with a two putt birdie four at the first extra hole, which Brown only just failed to match with his long birdie putt which came to rest inches from the hole.
The quarter final line up, with ties taking pace on Tuesday evening, the 3rd of May, is:-
SCOTT BROWN (Turnberry) Vs BLAIR MORTON (Royal Troon)
ADAM SWEENEY (Prestwick St Cuthbert) Vs. CRAIG TELFER (Turnberry)
DANIEL FORBES (Irvine) Vs SHAUN HEDGER (West Kilbride)
MAX BARCLAY (Ayr Belleisle) Vs STEPHEN STAMPER (Turnberry)