FRILFORD, England (Aug. 2, 2013) -- Man-of-the-moment Matthew Fitzpatrick will meet Callum Shinkwin in tomorrow’s 36-final of the English Amateur Championship after both came safely through two more testing matches on the penultimate day at Frilford Heath.
Fitzpatrick overcame Nathan Kimsey 2 and 1 in the morning’s quarter final then demolished Tomasz Anderson 7 and 6 in the semi-finals. Shinkwin endured two much closer ties, beating Chris Halley 3 and 2 in the quarters then edging home against Max Orrin by 1 hole.
Having thrilled the galleries at Muirfield a fortnight ago in the Open, Fitzpatrick now has the opportunity to do the same to a slightly smaller audience and add the impressive trophy to the silver medal he collected in Scotland.
But Shinkwin will do his utmost to deny him and both are aware this is Walker Cup year while they both have the same coach, Mike Walker at Rotherham.
In the quarter finals, played in ideal conditions that began under overcast skies but finished in warm sunshine, Fitzgerald was given his toughest contest by Kimsey. But the afternoon semi-final against Anderson from Hertfordshire proved a different story.
Anderson started poorly with two bogeys in the first three holes and while a Fitzpatrick birdie at the second put the Sheffield lad 3-up. Anderson settled after that but further Fitzpatrick birdies at the sixth and short ninth saw the Yorkshire youngster 5-up at the turn.
The end was in sight and a par at the short 11th followed by a birdie-three at 12 saw Fitzpatrick home 7 and 6. “It looks an easy win but no match is easy,” said Fitzpatrick. “But whatever happens tomorrow the last year has been special for me after winning the British Boys last August, then the silver medal at The Open and now this.”
Anderson, who had romped through to the last four, was pulled up short in the semi-final. “I played rubbish,” he said. “I am really disappointed because I played so differently from this morning.”
Anderson, who captained Hertfordshire to the Boys County Championship at Goswick in 2010, now has the European Amateur to contest before returning to his college team in Jacksonville in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, Shinkwin (pictured driving, Image © Leaderboard Photography) and Orrin were locked in a close encounter although Shinkwin twice held a 2 hole advantage only to see Orrin hit back in determined fashion. “It was a tough match,” said Shinkwin.
“We are both members of the England squad, good friends and we see each other quite regularly. But it’s been a good week for me. I reached the semi-finals at Woburn two years ago and lost to Jamie Clare, I didn’t qualify at Silloth last year, but this time the luck is going my way.
“The English Amateur has been a great event for me but tomorrow is a different story. I am playing the World No.3 but my ranking should be in the top 20 now.”
The opening couple of holes were fairly scrappy but the pair soon got their games in order and back-to-back birdies saw Shinkwin 2-up after six holes. But he missed a shortish putt on the short ninth to see his lead cut then Orrin birdied the tenth to draw level.
They swapped birdies for the next couple of holes but a birdie at 14 followed by a par-four at 15 put Shinkwin two ahead again. But just when he thought he had the match won, Orrin birdied the 16th then holed from 20 feet for a winning par at 17.
At the last, both drove just off the green at the 305-yard hole then chipped close. Orrin missed from around four feet for birdie but Shinkwin sank his to seal victory.
“It was close all the way,” said Orrin. “It wasn’t the best way to lose but Callum did make birdie. I thought my putt was straight but it broke right. But it’s been a good week and now I’m looking forward to the US Amateur.”