Poppleton tops Yorkshire amateur leaderboard with 67

Wath's Nick Poppleton (Picture: Chris Stratford).
Wath's Nick Poppleton (Picture: Chris Stratford).
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WATH’S Nick Poppleton, one of 12 players to beat par, leads after day one of the Yorkshire men’s amateur championship at Cleveland.

Poppleton, who recently reached the semi-finals of the English men’s amateur championship, carded a five-under-par 67 to lead by two shots from a group of four players.

Josh Morton (Huddersfield), James Cass (Fulford), Ben Gill (Shipley) and Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) all shot 69.

Four players are three back of Poppleton on 70 including last year’s England Boys’ order of merit winner Charlie Thornton (Fulford) and Malton & Norton’s David Hague, who last week made his Home Internationals debut for England at Moortown.

Sam Bairstow (Hallowes) and Woodsome Hall’s George Heath are also on the two-under-par mark.

Completing the dozen who defied par are George Muscroft (Otley) and two players who made good use of local knowledge, Cleveland duo Sam Millington and Tom Coulson.

Poppleton, who had seven birdies and two bogeys on his card, said: “Some lovely iron shots were really the foundation for what I did today.

“I picked up two birdies on the par-5s, and realistically that’s what you’re trying to do if there are four par-5s, so I can’t grumble.

“I think the longest I had approach-shot wise in regulation was 157 yards, on the 12th, where I actually hit it the closest that I’d hit, so if that’s the longest approach shot you’ve got, you’re alright.

“I pitched it a foot short with eight-iron and that went about a foot long. I don’t know how it missed going in, it pitched right in front of the pin.”

Poppleton’s second round is not due to start until 12.57pm on Wednesday – and he thinks it might be even later because of a forecast storm.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re going to have a delay; there’s two hours where they’re predicting thunder,” he said.

“Cleveland could be a different beast in the second round. If it’s windy and there’s rain then it might show its teeth.”

Last year Poppleton won the Alvin Trophy for the lowest first 36-hole total in the championship before Howley Hall’s Ben Hutchinson passed him to take the title.

Yorkshire women’s champion Megan Garland (Selby) and England international Olivia Winning (Rotherham) head the White Rose challenge after the first round of the English women’s open amateur stroke play championship on the Hotchkin course at Woodhall Spa.

Garland and Winning both shot two-over-par 75 to trail joint leaders Annabell Fuller, of Roehampton, and Clandeboye’s Jessica Ross by six shots.

Woodsome Hall club-mates Rochelle Morris and Nicola Slater are two shots further back on 77, and a third Woodsome player, Melissa Wood, carded 78, as did Lightcliffe’s Hannah Holden.

Lindrick’s Mia Eales-Smith and Ellie Goodall (Selby) both shot 79.

Fuller recorded seven under on the back nine to play her way to a share of the lead. She was four over after four holes, complaining that she “could not hit the ball”, and was three over at the turn. But on the back nine the 15-year-old came home superbly in seven-under 30, finishing off with an eagle three on the last.

Huddersfield’s Charlotte Heath won both her morning and afternoon matches as England Girls beat their Swiss counterparts 5-1 at Pannal.

Heath partnered Daisy Kennedy (Stoke Park) to a 3&2 win in the foursomes and triumphed by the same scoreline in her singles game with Switzerland’s Anouk Casty.