JORDAN Smith pulled off a major upset in the second round of the British Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush today, beating highly-rated Italian Renato Paratore.
At number six in the world amateur golf rankings, Paratore was the highest-ranked player in the field, but 63rd-ranked Smith,from Derry Hill, got off to a fast start and eventually sealed a 3&1 victory.
"I got off to a bit of a flier with five birdies in the first nine holes to go four up," said Bowood's Smith, a member of the Walker Cup team in 2013. "I just played steady from there on in. I played for fairways and greens because I didn't have to do anything special after the front nine.
"I played with him in the qualifying rounds and he was awesome. He putted really well so I knew I was in for a really tough match."
Paratore, last year’s quarter-finalist, was hit by some superb golf from the Derry Hill man, who soared to the turn four up having taken just 30 strokes (five under).
Smith dropped strokes at the 10th and 16th to give his opponent a glimmer of hope before another birdie - his sixth of the day - wrapped up the match on the 17th.
He plays Iceland's Haraldur Magnus in tomorrow morning's third round.
East Knoyle's Stow came through this morning's preliminary round, made necessary to whittle the field down to the final 64, beating Denmark's John Axelsen 5&4.
He then led for the majority of the front nine in his match against Syme, but they were all square at the turn before back-to-back birdies allowed the Scottish player to take a two-hole lead.
The Wiltshire player briefly reduced the deficit, but a double-bogey to his opponent's bogey at the 15th proved decisive as Syme kept him at arm's length until the match concluded on the 17th.
MORE ON SMITH'S PROGRESS AT THE BRITISH AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP AT GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT TOMOROW