MUIRFIELD, SCOTLAND (August 13, 2005) -- Two Englishmen - Steve Sansome and title-holder Daniel Perrett - one Scot, Bryan Innes, and one Frenchman, Jean-Jacques Wolff, are the last four still standing going into the last day of the 11th British Mid-Amateur Championship over the classic Muirfield links of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
Sansome, a 39-year-old plus-two player who will defend the English Mid-Amateur for the Logan Trophy at the end of next week, is shaping up as favourite for the title. He was eight under par in beating American Mark Thompson by 4 and 3 and then Anglo-Scot Sandy Twynholm from Morpeth, by 3 and 1.
Sansome saved up an eagle (at the ninth) and four birdies (at the second, sixth, seventh and eighth) for his quarter-final encounter and he needed them as 40-year-old Twynholme came back at him by winning the 13th and 15th.
Sansome will now meet 32-year-old French international Jean-Jacques Wolff from Paris, who is ranked No 4 in his home country - and that's not just among their mid-amateurs. The Frenchman won by 3 and 1 over Simon Stilwell (Sunningdale).
"Neither of us played very well ... we halved one hole in double bogeys," said the honest Frenchman who has a handicap of plus three. "Winning is the most important thing and I am pleased I am through to the semi-finals."
Defending champion Daniel Perrett from Somerset was the Hammer of the Scots. He beat Craig Elliot (Carrivale) by 4 and 3 in the morning and then eliminated Steven Armstrong by the same margin. In both ties Perrett swept into a big early lead.
"That was my game plan and it worked both times," said the 26-year-old accountant who plays off plus one. "I was four up after only five holes against Steven, and that gave me a big cushion for things going wrong later on."
Armstrong did rally to cut the deficit to two after 10 holes but Perrett raised his personal birdie count for the tie to six in winning the 13th and 15th to knock out the Scot.
Now Perrett will be going for a hat-trick of Scottish scalps against 32-year-old Aberdonian plus two player, Bryan Innes, a former Scotland cap making his debut in the tournament for over-25s. He wore down tough, experienced Frenchman Francois Illouz in a nip-and-tuck quarter-final.
"It was desperately close," said Innes. "I birdied the 13th with a 15ft putt to go ahead for the first time and even though he birdied the 15th to get it back to all square, I still fancied my chance if I could keep my nerve."
And keep his nerve he did through two gritty halves at the 16th and 17th. Then, with the wind rising, he knocked a two-iron second shot on to the heart of the green at the 449-yard 18th.
Illouz three-putted, missing from 4ft above the hole, for a bogey 5 and Innes wasted no time in holing from just under three feet for a match-winning 4.
"If you hang about with these short putts in situations like that, you tend to miss them. I knew it was a straight putt if I hit it hard enough and I just rammed it in," said Innes. "My wife's been ill for a while and I've not been able to play as much golf as I used to. This will be good for both of us."