British Mid-Amateur: finals set

SOUTHPORT & AINSDALE, ENGLAND (August 20, 2006) -- John Carroll from the Huyton & Prescot club in Liverpool and Simon Young from Workington, who are both 27, had convincing victories in the semi-finals of the British Mid-Amateur Championship at Southport & Ainsdale, Carroll beating Frenchman Francois Illouz 5 & 4 and Young knocking out three-time champion John Kemp from the John O’Gaunt club in Bedfordshire by 5 & 3.

“I just did enough again,” said Carroll, a Merseyside painter and decorator who has only been taken to the final hole once in five match-play rounds this week. “I tried to hit it down the middle and find the greens as I have been doing all week. The wind was trickier today so it was harder to control the ball.”

His cause was helped by some indifferent play from his opponent, a 45-year-old Parisienne lawyer. Illouz failed to get up and down more than once and his putting throughout let him down.

Carroll was one up at the turn before winning four holes in a row. He won the short 10th when he splashed out to seven feet from a greenside bunker on the right and sank it, while Illouz failed to get up and down from the slope to the left of the green.

The Frenchman three-putted the 11th after they had both found the green in two. He missed the green left at the 12th and failed to get up and down, missing a six-footer for a half, then was over the back on the short 13th and again failed to get down in two.

In the second semi-final Young was in sparkling form making seven birdies in the tricky wind to beat Kemp, the championship winner in 1999, 2002 and 2003 and beaten finalist in 2000. “I played really well and the putter was working well,” said the bespectacled Cumbrian hospital porter, who sank what he estimated to be a 60-footer for a winning birdie at the 12th.

The strapping 6 foot and 17 stone former England squad man, who has carried his clubs all week, went behind at the second when Kemp chipped in for an eagle three but he was back level at the next when Kemp failed to get up and down from just off the green.

Young took a lead he was never to relinquish with a birdie at the 448-yard fifth, hitting a driver and three-iron to 10 feet. He then birdied the long seventh with two putts from 30 feet and the short eighth when he hit a five-iron to 20 feet just off the green and sank it. His third birdie in a row came at the long ninth, which Kemp matched to keep the deficit to three at the turn.

Young increased his lead with his sixth birdie at the 12th before Kemp had a rare success at the short 13th when Young failed to get up and down from back right of the green.

A drive, eight-iron and a 10-foot birdie putt got Young back to four up with four to play and his birdie putt at the next was conceded when Kemp could do no better than par.

For complete match play results, click on the tournament link above.

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