Jack Gaunt (left) and Todd Clements
[photo courtesy of England Golf]
BERKSHIRE, England (August 5, 2017) -- Todd Clements of Essex and Jack Gaunt of Staffordshire will meet in tomorrow’s final of the English Amateur Championship after winning hard-fought matches at The Berkshire.
They both won their semi-final matchsd by one hole after an afternoon of great golf made more interesting by a lightning delay of over an hourand a rules issue. The referee had to be called on the second hole when Clements’ opponent, Nick Poppleton of Yorkshire, realised he had a non-conforming club in his bag.
He’d added it at lunchtime, planning a practice session, and forgotten to remove it – and the error cost him a two-hole deduction, going from one up to one down.
“It’ll never happen again,” he said afterwards, but was characteristically upbeat and paid fulsome tribute to Clements’ golf. “He was fabulous, he beat me. I asked him some questions over the last couple of holes and he answered them.”
“It was a strange time of the match," Clements added. "But then we had the break for thunder and lightning and that let the dust settle.”
He was three up after five holes and, for the most part, the score stayed that way until the 15th, where Poppleton won with an eagle three. His lead was reduced to one hole on the long 17th where they both found heather off the tee. Clements eventually holed his 12-foot par putt but Poppleton, from half the distance, slotted in a winning birdie putt.
On the par three 18th, it was advantage Clements when Poppleton went through the green, into the rough, and chipped back a good 40-feet past the pin. But the Yorkshireman rolled the putt straight in for his par. Clements held his nerve and two-putted for the half and his place in the final.
“I’m over the moon,” said Clements, who paid tribute to his coach Zane Scotland for improving all aspects of his game. “This will be one of the best experiences of my life so far and I’m going to enjoy the moment.”
His opponent, Jack Gaunt has fulfilled his first ambition with today’s semi-final win. He lost on the 18th in last year’s semi, to eventual champion Dan Brown, and this time he was determined to go one better.
“Last year taught me a lot about keeping your head and not getting too bogged down thinking about past shots, but to try and stay in the moment,” said Gaunt.
He played Somerset’s Tom Sloman took the lead with a first hole birdie, was two up at the turn and looking comfortable.
But by then Sloman had found his stride and with a great birdie two on the 10th he reduced the deficit to one hole and, after another birdie on 14, the match was all square.
Gaunt came straight back with a winning birdie on the 15th and he also captured the 16th with a par after Sloman’s ball hit a sprinkler head and went long. But Gaunt’s lead was cut to one hole after he found the heather twice on the 17th and he had to par the 18th to secure the win.
“This is one better than last year and I’m excited about tomorrow,” he said. “Todd and I played together in the stroke play and I’m expecting a good game.”
ABOUT THE English Amateur
The English Amateur was played in its inaugural
year of 1925 at Hoylake when local golfer T
Froes Ellison captured the title. He successfully
defended the following year at Walton
Heath, a feat achieved by only six others: Frank
Pennink, Alan Thirlwell, Michael Bonallack, Harry
Ashby, Mark Foster, and Paul Casey. Sir Nick
Faldo is the most famous to have won the event
as the six-time major champion won the 1975
tournament at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
The tournament consists of two stroke
play rounds, after which the top 64 players
will advance to the match
play rounds, culminating in a 36-hole final
between two finalists.
View Complete Tournament Information