SANDWICH, England – Alejandro Tosti survived a rules row to make it through to the quarterfinals of the British Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s while three American hopefuls exited the tournament on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Tosti, a rising senior at the University of Florida, needed seven extra holes in his third-round match to see off medalist Caolan Rafferty of Ireland before posting an easier 4-and-3 win over England’s Charlie Strickland in the Round of 16. Tosti nearly didn’t face Strickland because of a questionable rules decision in his Rafferty match.
Tosti was 1 down playing the 18th when the Irish player hit his tee shot into the right rough. With an R&A official on hand, Rafferty began searching for the ball. Tosti felt the search went longer than the allowed five minutes, and had no qualms about venting his feelings to the referee.
“The referee made a big mistake,” Tosti said. “We started looking for the ball and after a few seconds I had to tell him to start the clock. He did and we started looking for the ball, and then I asked him the time and he said 4 minutes and 20 seconds. We looked for another 30 seconds at least, and then a guy finds the ball. The ball was looked for for more than five minutes.”
Tosti holed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th to take the match to the 19th hole. He hit his tee shot down Royal St. George’s first hole and then confronted the referee.
“I told him ‘thank God I made birdie (on 18) because I would be out of the tournament and it wouldn’t be fair because that ball was lost,’” Tosti said.
The Argentine also wasn’t happy about being left out on the golf course during a suspension of play. He and Rafferty were on the fourth playoff hole when lightening suspended action. Tosti and Rafferty were left stranded at the back of the fourth green.
“I had to ask to come back to the clubhouse” Tosti said. “I said, ‘I’m a human. I’ve been out here for five hours. I need to eat.’ I was pretty upset about the decision they took. We were standing next to the green so what was the difference between whether we were playing or standing there?
“You could make a movie from that match. It was the longest game I ever played.”
Tosti, who just finished his junior year for the Gators, now faces TCU’s Stefano Mazzoli after the Italian defeated Australia’s Zach Murray, 3 and 2.
Texas Tech’s Hayden Springer went furthest in the championship among the three Americans who made the match-play stages. He lost his fourth-round contest to Australia’s Dylan Perry on the first extra hole.
Springer went 3 up after seven holes and was still 3 up after 13. However, he lost the 14th and 15th holes with bogeys and was pegged back to all square when Perry birdied the 17th. The 20-year-old Springer bogeyed the first extra hole and conceded Perry’s 5-foot birdie putt.
Americans Jimmy Stanger and Josh Seiple lost in the third round. A recent Virginia graduate, Stanger lost by two holes to Ireland’s Paul McBride, a Wake Forest player. Seiple, who attends Ole Miss, bowed out with a 6-and-5 loss to England’s Harry Ellis, who plays for Florida State.