Nick Poppleton (Golfing Union of Ireland photo)
LANCASHIRE, England (Aug. 2, 2018) – Brabazon Trophy winner Nick Poppleton kept alive his hopes of a rare double when he squeezed through his first match-play round in the English Amateur Championship at Formby Golf Club.
Poppleton went to the 20th before beating his friend and fellow Yorkshireman Lewis Hollingworth. Poppleton made his way into the final 32 when his shot from a greenside bunker finished an inch from the hole.
“Lewis played some nice golf, hats off to him. He scrambled nicely when he was out of position and never looked like he was going to give me a hole,” Poppleton remarked. That was never truer than on the 19th where Hollingworth holed it from 35 feet to keep the match alive.
But the 20th went Poppleton’s way – and his challenge for the title double continues. It’s over 20 years since the feat was last achieved by Mark Foster in 1995.
Top seed Sam Rook – another Yorkshireman, from Lindrick - was also involved in a tight match, before beating Daniel O’Loughlin by one hole.
Their game was a birdie fest, with at least three holes halved in birdie. Rook got one ahead with birdies on 14 and 15, only for O’Loughlin to square matters with a 17th-hole birdie. But Rook went through to the next round with yet another birdie on the 18th hole.
“It was a good match, good fun,” he said.
David Langley was also in top form, shooting 5 under for the 13 holes which his game lasted.
“I didn’t give him many opportunities,” he said. “This is a really good course for match play. It’s extremely fair and you have to hit good golf shots all the time.”
There was more spectacular stuff in the match between Angus Flanagan, a past winner of the Carris Trophy, and Jack Gaunt, an England international who reached the final of last year’s amateur.
Flanagan was 2 up after 16, but Gaunt eagled 17 and birdied 18 – where he holed a 25-footer – to take the game down the 19th. But Flanagan came back with his own winning birdie to join the 32 players who return tomorrow.
Other notable casualties of the first day’s match play included England international David Hague who lost, 4 and 3, to 12th seed Tom Forster. England A squad player Bailey Gill was beaten, 2 and 1, by Rhys Lawrence.
But other England players Jake Burnage and Andrew Wilson made their way safely through, winning 3 and 1 and 4 and 2, respectively.
Boy international Robin Williams few the flag for the under 18s, winning his game against Harry Butler by 4 and 3.
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