The Dundalk star stole the headlines on Tuesday as he equalled the course record with a stunning 10-under par 62 and continued that form in match play. He was two-up after just three holes and kept that lead until the halfway stage. He then doubled his advantage after hole 12 before sealing a 5&3 victory.
“I was steady again,” said Rafferty. “Setting the course record at Prince’s gave me that extra boost knowing my game is there.”
This morning Rafferty meets Argentinian Alejandro Tosti for a place in the last 16.
“Par golf isn’t a bad result around here so tomorrow is just another fresh start. You can’t dictate what the other player does. You have to just go and play your own game around the course.”
Ireland’s highest-ranked player Stuart Grehan (Tullamore) joined Rafferty in the next round after seeing off Peter Melching (Netherlands) 4&2. He was one-up with three played and it stayed like that through to hole 12. Grehan then edged further ahead before sealing the win. Grehan now meets Ryan Lunsden.
However, it wasn’t all good news as five Irish players were sent packing.
John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) and Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell both lost in round one with Galbraith losing 3&2 to Casper Simberg of Finland and Purcell going down 3&1 to Sweden’s Fredrik Nilehn who is ranked 59 in the world.
Tramore’s Robin Dawson crashed out to Scotsman Lumsden in a second-round game he never had control of. He was two-down after hole three and struggled to fight back with Lumsden going four-up before going on to claim a 5&4 win. Naas man Conor O’Rourke was also well beaten as he lost 3&2 to Australia’s Min Woo Lee.
Sean Flanagan (Co Sligo) was given a tough challenge against England’s Jack Singh Brar and was three-down at the turn. Singh Brar went on to keep the lead and seal a 2&1 success.
However, Paul McBride (The Island), who made the semi-finals last year, managed to edge past David Micheluzzi (Australia) on the final hole in round one before breezing past world number 17 Oliver Gillberg, of Sweden, in the second round of match play.
It was all-square after six holes before McBride took control going two-up after nine. He doubled his lead with six to play before winning 4&2.
McBride’s next opponent is American Jimmy Stanger