YORKSHIRE’S Dan Brown will face good friend Derbyshire’s George Bloor on Saturday in the final of the men’s English Amateur Championship at Ganton.
Brown will be attempting to keep the title in Yorkshire hands for the third year running, following on from Nick Marsh (Huddersfield) in 2014 and Joe Dean (Lindrick) last year.
The two finalists have been rooming together all week while at the championship.
“There was six of us to start with in the apartment, but only me and George made the cut,” said Brown.
“Neither of us have been in the final before and obviously we both want to win, but it’s nice to know that one of us will come out on top.”
Brown (Masham) had his nerves thoroughly tested in his semi-final against Jack Gaunt (Drayton Park).
The Yorkshireman got off to a flying start and was seven up after nine holes – but had to go to the 18th to close out the match two up.
It was a match that provided plenty of tense excitement for the mainly Yorkshire spectators but, as brown commented: “It was a little more stressful than I would have liked.”
He was on fantastic form over the opening holes, refusing to give Gaunt a look in as he rattled off five birdies over the front nine, reaching the turn at seven up.
But the tide turned with Gaunt’s birdie two on 10 and the Staffordshire player steadily reduced the deficit with a string of pars, as Brown visited the rough and found too many bunkers.
The Yorkshire county player stopped the run with a half on the 16th that kept him at two up.
But Gaunt’s challenge was not over and he holed a 20-footer for birdie on the 17th to get back to one down.
He tried for another birdie on 18, but ended up three-putting and conceding the hole and the match to Brown.
Brown commented: “I was really relaxed and I kept myself calm, but obviously it got a little bit tense. But now I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to the final.”
Earlier in the day he had defeated Tom Gandy (Rowany) 7&5 in their quarter final.
Bloor (Cavendish) was also quick off the mark against Jamie Mist (Hayling) and was five up after 11. He went on to win 3&2 to take his place in the final.
The 20-year-old has a string of solid results behind him this season and has been targeting a good performance in this championship, aiming to better last year when he reached the quarter-finals.
He achieved that on Friday, first beating Jack Singh Brar (Remedy Oak) 4&2 and then carrying his good form into his afternoon semi-final.
“I got off to a dream start,” said Bloor, who had an eagle two on the par-4 third as he moved towards a lead of five up after 11.
He lost the next two holes as Mist applied pressure with a winning par-birdie combination, but Bloor responded by driving the par-4 14th to set up his own birdie and get back to four up.
Mist came back again, winning the 15th and was in the driving seat on 16 when Bloor’s approach found a greenside bunker.
But Bloor delivered when it counted, saying: “I played probably the best bunker shot of my life, in the circumstances, to get up and down from four feet and win the match.”
The other quarter final results saw Gaunt beat Tom Robson (Weymouth) 5&4 while Mist defeated Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor) 2&1.
Saturday’s 36-hole final starts at 8.30am. Spectators are welcome.
Hallamshire’s Alex Fitzpatrick has been selected by England for the Boys’ Home Internationals next week
He will be part of an 11-strong team that will take on teams from Wales, Scotland and Ireland at Ballyliffin, Ireland, from next Tuesday to Thursday, August 2-4.
Fitzpatrick recently tied third in the Carris Trophy, was fourth in the Northern Boys’ county qualifier and last year he was third in the 2015 Italian Under-16 Boys’ championship.