Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, England (July 29,
When you hit your opponent with four successive birdies on the back nine it can prove crucial. That was the case for James Burnett and helped him to a 3 and 1 victory over fellow boy cap Chris Lloyd in round three of the English Amateur Championship at Little Aston.
The pair, who were England team-mates in the recent European Boys Team Championships in Turkey, were locked in a tight match which looked like going Lloyd’s way when he went 2up after seven holes. But Lincolnshire’s Burnett trimmed the lead and the first of his quartet of birdies at the 12th got him back to all square. He then delivered the decisive blow with three more birdies and although Lloyd won the 16th with a par four, the end was near.
It came at the 17th where Bristol-based Lloyd fired his wedge approach over the green and into the lake. He took a drop and chipped back then, with Burnett’s ball safely on the putting surface in two, shook his hand.
“That win has given me a great confidence boost,” said Burnett. “Chris is a fine player and it’s nice to beat the best. But the birdie at the 14th was crucial when I came out of a bunker and holed from 15 feet.”
Lloyd was philosophical about his defeat. “It wasn’t my day,” he said. “At the end it came down to a putting contest. I didn’t play badly but he hit me with four birdies.”
Burnett will now play Ross Dee from Essex in the quarter finals, Dee having pulled off a sensational 3 and 2 victory over Brabazon Trophy winner Darren Wright.
Dee, at 31, one of the oldest players left in the championship, went 2up after four holes and was never pegged back, confirming his victory by winning the 14th and adding two halves.
“This is awesome,” he said. “I didn’t believe I could do it but this the biggest win of my career and I’ve never got this far before. I was so nervous over the last few holes because I played with Darren in the South of England at Walton Heath and he is quality.”
Wright, who was looking to add the English title to his Brabazon success, said: “I felt I could do ‘the double’. I was playing good enough but every putt this afternoon got to the hole and burned the edge. But I can’t fault Ross, he played very steady.”
Derbyshire’s Nick Newbold, another boy cap, was on the wrong end of a 3 and 1 scoreline against Warren Harmston. The Surrey man won the first and stayed 1up to the 11th which Newbold won to square matters. But Harmston took the next and gradually increased his advantage to clinch his place in the quarter finals.
Andrew Sullivan, perhaps the dark horse of the championship, also won the first against Nick Maddison and went further in front at the third and fourth. Maddison, the Northumberland County Champion, hit back but Sullivan restored his 3up advantage on the ninth and eventually won 4 and 3.
Tom Lewis, last year’s British Boys Champion, fell 2down through four holes against Adam Hedges, conqueror of international Laurie Canter in round one. But Lewis, who got past boy cap Max Smith on the final green in the morning, won the sixth and the seventh with an eagle-two, holing a 30-yard pitch, to level matters. He went ahead for the first time with a birdie-three at the 11th, added another at 12 and took the 15th on his way to a 3 and 2 success. Lewis, who was about six under par for 16 holes, will now meet Sullivan in the quarter finals.
In the bottom match, Tommy Fleetwood, who cruised past Luke Cornford from Sussex in the morning, was given a tougher match by James Doswell and it wasn’t until the seventh that the Lancastrian edged in front. However, once Fleetwood gets ahead he is tough to dislodge and after going 3up through 14 holes then losing 15, he had a chance from a foot to close out the match at 16 but missed. But he made amends at the next, firing a nine iron to three feet for a 2 and 1 victory.
Sam Edwards, the Devon junior, ended the hopes of international Jamie Abbott. The Suffolk man was 1up playing the last but took three from the back fringe which meant the match went into extra holes. It lasted five more before a par at the short 23rd ensured Edwards' victory as Abbott's par putt shaved the hole. Edwards will now meet Fleetwood.
Play starts at 7.30am each day and admission is free.