Luke Poulter kept up the family tradition of never-say-die in match play to book his place in the quarter-finals of the English Men’s Amateur Championship.
The son of Ryder Cup legend Ian fought back from three down in his round of 32 clash with Southport and Ainsdale’s Jack McPhail to win on the FOURTH extra hole at Lindrick Golf Club.
In the afternoon match against Dainton Park’s Matt Millar, Poulter again showed real character to bounce back from the disappointment of letting slip a three-hole lead with three to play to win on the first extra hole.
After holing a 20-footer from off the green for birdie to put paid to the hopes of a charging Millar, Poulter looked shattered with his day’s effort.
But he was also justifiably proud of how he handled the pressure of the two matches.
“I don’t know what it is about extra holes,” he said with a laugh.
“This morning I was three down through 11 and managed to rack up some birdies and win on the fourth extra hole.
“Then in the afternoon I won on the 19th – I have a thing for extra holes.”
In between rounds, Poulter spoke to his father and hopes his dad’s habit for success in match play – especially in the heat of Ryder Cup battle – has rubbed off.
“I spoke to my dad after the first round – he was happy for me and told me to keep doing what I was doing and not take it to extra holes! But we did!” he confirmed.
“Dad’s match play record is not too shabby – undefeated in singles in Ryder Cup, so I hope I can keep it going.”
“It sounds good to be in the quarter-final, hopefully we can extend it for the next few days and hopefully I can be here on Sunday.
“Is it 36 holes Sunday? That’s potentially a lot of golf, but I’m excited.
“I’m not fatigued, but I do have a blister on my foot. I’ll see out the next few days and then I’ll be dead!”
Like many of the competitors who have exceeded pre-championship expectations, Poulter spent the minutes after his round searching for a hotel!
He added: “I only planned for the first two days and have extended it day-by day I think my hotel might be full tonight so we’ll see what happens.”
Poulter will face Joe Sullivan (pictured above) in the quarters after the golfer from Royal Ashdown Forest took the notable scalp of in-form England international Arron Edwards-Hill.
Sullivan had earlier disposed of Carl Banner by a 2&1 margin and repeated the margin of victory against Edwards-Hill.
Max Hopkins was gutted for brother Jon as he lost in the morning session – but rallied to ensure at least one of the family was in the quarters.
With mum, dad and Jon watching and girlfriend Sophie on caddying duties, Hopkins had plenty support as he first of all defeated Huddersfield’s Dylan Shaw-Radford and then Jack Ainscough from The Wynyard.
He said: “It feels like it’s been a long time coming to get a decent result. I’ve had a few, but I’ve come up short quite a few times in the big ones.
“I’m relieved and got the matches done fairly stress-free compared to yesterday.
“It’s a shame Jon got knocked out this morning, but I’ll take the Hopkins name forward!”
George Ash is quietly making his way through the field and can sleep well tonight on the back of two fine victories.
Top stroke play qualifier Sam Easterbrook could not halt the charge from Ash in the morning round of 32, going down 5&4 to the in-form Yorkshireman
Ash – supported by family and friends from Hallowes Golf Club – then put paid to the hopes of Chelmsford’s Ben Humphreys.
That match ended with a 3&2 win on the 16th green with Ash (pictured below) once again helped out by caddie Mia Eales-Smith, a competitor this week in the women’s championship and a member at Lindrick.
Ash will now face Tyler Weaver who showed a combination of nerve and talent to book his slot in the quarter-finals and continue his good run of form for the year.
The English Under 18 champion needed to hold his nerve to see off the threat from Hallowes’ Freddie Parlby in the round of 32.
Weaver holed a four-footer on the 18th to kill off Parlby’s chances after the Yorkshireman had fought back despite being three down with four to play.
In the afternoon, Weaver was three up through 10 holes against Chelmsford’s Carter Rowe and never looked like giving it up, eventually closing out the match on the 17th green.
Charlie Forster is another who can look forward to quarter-final action coming through two tough matches to make the last eight.
Forster beat Joe Buenfeld 5&3 in the round of 32 before a match against Jack Neill,that had been nip and tuck until Neill found trouble on 13, ended with a 3&2 win for the man from North Hants.
England men’s squad player Mason Essam also came through two tough matches – beating Tiverton’s Eliot Baker on the 19th hole in the morning before finishing off Worksop’s George Cordall on the final green in the round of 16.
Another match in the round of 16 to go to extra holes was that involving Matt Gauntlett and Wood.
Gauntlett won the 18th to extend the match and then got over the line with a birdie two on the third extra hole.
Saturday morning’s quarter-finals
- George Ash v Tyler Weaver
- Charlie Forster v Max Hopkins
- Luke Poulter v Joe Sullivan
- Mason Essam v Matt Gauntlett