WATH’S Nick Poppleton and David Hague, of Malton & Norton, have journeyed extensively together this season, playing as team-mates for both England and Great Britain & Ireland.
But they parted ways at Formby on Thursday in the English men’s amateur championship on a day when Yorkshire’s presence was thinned from eight to just two by a disappointing set of results.
Among those was that of Hague, who suffered a 4&3 loss to Thomas Forster, of Elton Furze.
The North of England champion had claimed a place in the match play stage by adding a five-under-par 67 at Hesketh to his opening 75 at Formby.
But he was unable to take that stroke play form into the knockout phase, losing in the second round.
Even Poppleton’s victory came at a price to Yorkshire as he was up against Rotherham’s Lewis Hollingworth.
Brabazon Trophy winner Poppleton battled past his county team-mate at the second extra hole as he looks to become the fourth Yorkshire champion in the space of five stagings of the English men’s amateur – and having reached the semi-finals last year.
“Lewis played some nice golf, hats off to him,” said Poppleton. “He scrambled nicely when he was out of position and never looked like he was going to give me a hole.”
This was never truer than on the 19th where Hollingworth holed from 35ft to keep the match alive.
But the 20th went Poppleton’s way – and his challenge for the Brabazon and English men’s amateur title double continues. It is over 20 years since the feat was last achieved, by Mark Foster in 1995.
He is joined in the last 32 byLindrick’s Sam Rook, who had received a trophy to commemorate finishing top of qualifying with scores of 69 at both Formby and Hesketh.
Top seed Rook defeated Ruddington Grange’s Daniel O’Loughlin by one hole and he and Poppleton will carry the White Rose flag into round three.
Rook’s 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.
Moortown’s David Houlding, who had made the cut with two shots to spare despite dropping three shots in his last three holes of his second qualifying round, was roundly beaten, Lansdown’s Joe Long thumping him 6&5.
Lindrick’s Bailey Gill held the lead for much of his match against Coventry’s Rhys Lawrence, but the former Bernard Darwin Salver champion eventually succumbed 2&1.
Fulford’s James Cass was one of 18 players who had to play what was effectively a preliminary round early in the morning after 73 players met the top 64 and ties criterion.
He defeated Tiverton’s Bradley Scott 4&3 to advance to the second round where he met Chelmsford’s Ryan Tattan.
Cass fought back from a two-hole deficit to take the match to a sudden-death play-off, but was defeated at the 20th hole.