Golf: Tenacity pulls Berridge through tough challenge: Amateur Championship

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The Independent Online
MATCH PLAY is blind to reputations and a golfer who is shorter than Willie Carson proved the point by knocking out one of the favourites in the second round of the Amateur Championship yesterday. June in the Highlands meant another bracing day and nobody ventured on to the links without several layers of clothing. Damion Berridge, 5ft 4in, was wind resistant.

Berridge, 22, from Aldershot, took the most spectacular scalp when he defeated Warren Bennett, from Ruislip, at the 18th. Bennett won the Australian Amateur Championship and the Lytham Trophy this year and was the next best qualifier here behind Stephen Gallacher. Bennett went two up after two but Damion was like a man possessed.

What happened at the 15th, which measures 305 yards, typified Berridge's tenacity. He drove out of bounds and when he teed it up again he drove the green and salvaged a half to preserve a two-hole lead. Bennett rallied but his putt at the last to take the match to extra holes lipped out. In the third round today Berridge takes on the Welshman Bradley Dredge, a beaten finalist at Carnoustie two years ago.

Gallacher, the 19-year-old nephew of the Ryder Cup captain, also fell at the second. Gallacher, who has won his last 11 matches for Scotland, went round in 71 but ultimately succumbed to 22-year-old Matthew Blackey of the Hayling club. Gallacher birdied the last to keep the match alive and looked like winning at the 19th. Blackey, whose putting throughout was exceptional, rolled one in from 30 feet for a half and won the match at the 20th, where Gallacher put his second shot into a bunker.

Gary Wolstenholme, who won this title in 1991, enjoyed rather more than 15 seconds of fame when his name appeared on the leaderboard during the first round of the Masters at Augusta two years ago. On that occasion he wore a straw hat to protect his head from the sun. Yesterday, in a cloth cap and waterproofs, he was beaten 4 and 3 by Martin Erlandsson, of Sweden.

A clan of Scotsmen went through to the last 32, including Allan Turnbull and Gordon Sherry. While shooting a rabbit from his car last Sunday, Crocodile Turnbull bruised his ribs with the shotgun. During qualifying here he had great difficulty swinging a club but yesterday he blasted Thomas Havemann from Denmark, 7 and 5.

Sherry, 6ft 8in, 18st, size 14 feet and built like a bodega, put out Gary Harris by one hole in another upset. Harris, from Broome Manor, recently won the English Amateur Championship by a crushing margin.