WATH’S Nick Poppleton and Hallamshire’s Alex Fitzpatrick have kept alive hopes of a fourth successive Yorkshire victory in the English men’s amateur championship.
Masham’s Dan Brown had his title defence ended in the third round at The Berkshire when he was beaten by fellow England international Bradley Moore (Kedleston Park) 3&2.
But Poppleton gained a measure of vengeance for the White Rose contingent when he followed a 6&5 last-16 defeat of Jack Dyer (Rochford Hundred) by ousting Moore 2&1 in the fourth round.
The Lee Westwood Trophy holder had knocked out top qualifier David Langley (Castle Royle) on Thursday and made an astonishing start Friday morning against Dyer, being six under through six holes – and this after missing a five-foot putt at the second that cost him the hole.
By the turn he was five up and when Dyer could not find his ball on the 13th after his five-minute allowance he conceded the match to Poppleton – at which point a gust of wind brought a ball down from a nearby tree, which proved to be the one Dyer had hit from the tee.
Brown warned his Yorkshire county team-mate that Moore’s morning defeat of the champion had owed much to a hot putter so Poppleton was unsurprised when putts fell regularly for his opponent in the afternoon.
But with a combination of some fine work on the greens himself and outstanding approach play, Poppleton progressed 2&1.
“I knew I was up against a proper player, he’d knocked Dan Brown out,” said 23-year-old Poppleton, “but it was a clean slate.
“Dan said he’d hit it quite nicely and holed a lot of putts. Against me he didn’t hit is as great as he could, but he holed some putts when he needed to; he holed a lot of putts to keep pinning me back.”
Poppleton explained the mind set that ensured he did not let his opponent’s rescue acts on the green get to him.
“I’m the type of guy who will just say, ‘that was great, well done’,” he said. “I’m not going to be stood with my head in my hands worrying, ‘how did he hole that?’
“If he plays good golf, hopefully it spurs me on to play even better golf.
“I want to win a match in eight under with him shooting seven under. I don’t want to win with him shooting three over and me shooting two over.”
Fitzpatrick got off to a lightning start in his third-round tie with Bridgnorth’s Conor White to go four up after the first four holes.
It provided the platform for an overwhelming 8&6 victory for the Yorkshire Boys’ champion and the youngest player left in the field followed it with a 2&1 win over Martin Young (Brokenhurst Manor), the oldest.
Young was two up after an eagle on nine and a birdie on 10, but Fitzpatrick clawed back the holes and then made his winning move with a par on 16 and a birdie concession on 17, where his pitch finished two feet from the hole.
Malton & Norton’s David Hague had not been down at any stage of his third-round match until Aaron Siddell (Castle Royle) won the 18th for a one-hole triumph.
Only one England international remains in the field, 2016 Amateur champion Scott Gregory, of Corhampton.