Williams, who was a semi-finalist last year, posted a level-par 71 at Royal Portrush today to finish on three-under-par overall, the same mark as Irishman Power, who compiled a three-under-par 69 at nearby Portstewart. Williams was confirmed as the leading qualifier following a card countback.
The 16-year-old England boys international started poorly with a dropped shot at the first but bounced back with a birdie at the next and gained another shot at the 8th. He bogeyed the 17th but produced a nice up and down from a hollow to the right of the 18th green to secure his par.
Power, the two-time Irish Boys Amateur Champion, played well from tee to green but was frustrated with not taking more of his birdie chances after several putts went abegging. The 18-year-old did, however, see his putts drop on the 14th and 15th after an earlier birdie at the 7th.
Another Irishman, Tom McKibbin finished on two-under-par alongside Spain’s Hugo Aguilar Puertes. Making his debut in the championship, the 15-year-old from Holywood enjoyed an eventful round at Portstewart, trading seven birdies with three bogeys for a four-under-par 68. Puertes’ round at Royal Portrush was similarly up and down but he holed from 15 feet at the last for a closing birdie and a one-over-par 72.
Italy’s Andrea Romano was one of three players on one-under-par along with overseas-based Englishmen Josh Hill and Joe Pagdin.
Nicolai Højgaard, who moved into the top ten of the World Amateur Golf RankingTM today and is the highest-ranked player in the field, finished on level-par to comfortably qualify for the match play stage. The leading Scottish qualifier was Gregor Graham, from Blairgowrie, on one-over-par, while defending champion Pedro Lencart, from Portugal, finished on three-over-par to progress.
The cut fell on six-over-par with 64 players progressing to the match play stage. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes before concluding with a 36 hole final on Sunday.