Tommy Fleetwood will play Warren Harmston over 36 holes for the English Amateur Championship at Little Aston tomorrow. In the semi-finals, Fleetwood put out his England team-mate Tom Lewis 3 and 1 while Warren Harmston overcame Ross Dee 2 and1.
In front of a large crowd, and Lewis produced some stunning golf over the front nine befitting their reputations and their status within the amateur game. Play became a bit scrappy after the turn, no doubt reflecting a tough, relenting week.
“I’m relieved,” said Fleetwood. “I know Tom well. We were foursomes partners in the European Championships and I was on my knees going out this afternoon. But I just had to keep my head down and managed to get the job done. I knew that if I could shoot under par I would be hard to beat but I got a bit nervous on the back nine. I just hope now that I can win a national final. I’ve been in three and lost them all.”
Lewis rued the fact that his best game deserted him when he needed it most, especially when he got off to a flying start by winning the first two holes, one with a birdie. But Fleetwood got back on track with three successive birdies to go in front and he went 2up at the sixth when Lewis found the bushes then sand.
At the par four eighth, Lewis took three from the back fringe to fall further behind and from then on he was fighting an uphill battle. He got back to 2down with a birdie-three at the tenth but was unable to make further inroads as both players produced some scrappy holes, including a half in sixes at the long 12th.
Still 2down playing the 17th, Lewis had a 20-footer to stay alive and when he knocked his putt six feet past he shook Fleetwood’s hand.
“Tommy played good golf but I hit a lot of wild shots,” said Lewis. “I hope he goes on and wins and rounds off his amateur career in style. I got off to a good start but I gave away some holes and you can’t do that with someone like Tommy. But it just didn’t happen for me.”
In the other semi-final, Harmston lost the first hole but that was the only time he was behind. He won the second with a par which seemed to set the pattern as Dee suffered on the greens and made too many bogeys.
A birdie at three put the Surrey man in front while another Dee bogey at four put him 2up. He also won the short fifth with a 20-foot birdie but he gave that back with a bogey at six after failing to get up-and-down after flying the green.
Harmston was still 2up at the turn but again a faulty approach brought another bogey and trimmed his lead to one. But a Dee fightback was halted with a bogey at the 14th and the Essex man’s hopes ended in a watery grave on the 17th.
Dee’s drive got a bad bounce and he was blocked out by trees. In trying to draw his approach into the pin on the par four, he hit it too well and found water at the back of the green. After a drop it ended in a double bogey six while a par ensured Harmston his victory and a place in the final.
“I can’t believe I’m in the final,” he said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet but it probably will when I stand on the first tee in the morning. It was a scrappy match. I holed a couple of nice putts which probably got me through. It was one of the worst matches I’ve played this week, but typical match play. There were also some tricky pins, the hardest we’ve had so far.”
Dee, who couldn’t get his putts to drop, was nevertheless pleased to have got so far. “It’s been an awesome week,” he said. “I’m happy with the way I played but a bit disappointed as well. I couldn’t get the putts to drop this afternoon but Warren played pretty solid.”