MILTON KEYNES, England (July 28, 2011) -- Jack Senior is hoping to ring down the curtain on his amateur career by winning the English Amateur Championship, supported by abacus, over the Marquess course at Woburn. After reaching the quarter finals with two impressive wins he can be considered the favourite to lift the trophy on Saturday.
Having needed 19 holes to put out United States-based Charlie Bull in the morning, the Lancastrian produced his best game to get past Lincolnshire’s Dave Coupland 3 and 2 to reach the last eight.
Senior made a blistering start with four birdies in the opening five holes. Coupland birdied the seventh and won the eighth to reduce the deficit to two. Although they traded birdies over the closing stretch, Coupland conceded the match after finding a bad lie in sand on the 16th.
“This course suits me,” said Senior. “You need to drive the ball well and putt well and they are my main strengths. I’ve not got a good record in the English, just average, so this is my best year by a long stretch.”
Senior now meets Jamie Clare from Somerset, a pupil at Millfield School, tomorrow morning. Seventeen-year-old Clare beat Kent champion Michael Saunders 4 and 3 in round two then had to go to the 19th in beating Andrew Palmer from Chorley.
Palmer got his nose in front with a birdie at the tenth only to lose the next. A further birdie at 15 looked to have put the Lancashire player in the box seat but he bogeyed the 16th after finding sand while Clare just needed a par at the 19th to ease through.
Sam Claridge claimed the biggest win of the afternoon with a 5 and 4 victory over Paul Kinnear. The Hertfordshire 20 year old didn’t drop a shot and admitted he has turned his game around between the qualifying and the match play.
“I was hitting it shocking coming into the week and I played poorly in the stroke play but managed to qualify,” he said. “Then I got a tip from a colleague at my club and I’m hitting it really well again.
“I’ve qualified every time I’ve played the English but I’ve never got past the first round before,” he admitted.
Claridge will now meet England international Steven Brown in the opening quarter final tomorrow after the Surrey man put out his Wentworth colleague Warren Harmston 2 and 1 in the morning when came from behind to beat Mark Wharton in the last 16.
Brown found himself 2-down with six to play after Wharton birdied the 11th and 12th holes. But the Bedfordshire 48 year old, who only decided to enter because it was being played close to his home, three-putted the next two holes, while a Brown birdie at 17 settled it.
“Mark played solidly for most of the round but he let me back in with the three putts,” said Brown. “I birdied 17 from about 15 feet which was pleasing because it was a tough pin today.
“Playing Warren this morning was tough because it’s always hard playing your best mate. But I’m playing well, not giving holes away and if I can keep doing that I’ll be hard to beat.”
Wharton, who needed 19 holes to put out local man Sam Whitehead this morning, said: “I’ve learned a lot this week. This course rewards the longer hitters but the biggest difference is in the short game. But if I’d got through the next two holes against Steve it would have been interesting.”
Philip Ridden from Newcastle-upon-Tyne also reached the quarter finals by putting out two England internationals, Stiggy Hodgson by 1 hole after a comprehensive 5 and 3 win over Paul Lockwood.
Lagonda Trophy winner Ridden always held the upper hand against Hodgson, being 2-up after seven holes and 3-up through 14. The Surrey man staged a comeback by reducing the deficit to one but couldn’t improve on that.
Ridden now meets Tyrrell Hatton in the last eight after the BB&O man beat Tim Martin from Sussex 3 and 2 then came from behind to overcome Surrey’s Ben Taylor 2 and 1.
“We both played well and the difference was that I dropped only one shot but Ben dropped two,” said Hatton.