Stephen Jensen booked his place in the last 16 of the inaugural English Senior Men’s Amateur Championship and admitted the event is a brilliant addition to the golfing schedule.
On a day when persistent rain replaced the blustery wind that had dictated scoring on the opening two days at The Leicestershire Golf Club, there was some fine play on show from the best seniors in the land.
England international Jensen (main image) blazed a trail for others to follow by winning his match against Grimsby’s Tim Seaton by a margin of 7&6.
The 56-year-old will now face Gareth Bradley in the last 16 after the Bramhall golfer won 3&2 against Richard Elmes from Stoneham.
After taking time to dry off, Jensen confessed that the players are hugely supportive of this new event on the calendar as it ticks a box for all competitors as well as England selectors planning for team events further down the line.
“I think it’s fantastic,” confirmed Jensen after a convincing morning victory in the worst of the rain.
“Last year I was fortunate to get into the England team and it’s all about foursomes and match play.
“This is great for people who are picking the team and for individuals who want to get into the team as it shows what they are like as a match player.
“Yes, it’s different to the normal stroke play events we play and I think it’s a brilliant idea.
“I can’t wait to play in it this year, next year and any other year.”
Jensen was five up at the turn and admitted after the panic of Tuesday as scores went through the roof and no player felt safe they’d make the cut, he was more at ease in the knockout phase.
“The gameplan was to make as few mistakes as possible,” added Jensen, who plays at The Wisley.
“The rain has helped and the course is wider. You don’t get pingy bounces and the greens are more receptive. It was easier as a golf course.
“My opponent was steady and so I kept it in play and played his game.
“I got a reasonable lead early and he made some mistakes chasing it. In fairness I played well and got the job done.”
Jensen and the other 15 winners from day three now face the prospect of four rounds in two days if they are to win the silverware.
It’s a gruelling week, but one the players are all fully embracing.
“You have to reserve energy and not blow yourself out,” confirmed Jensen.
“We know what to expect and if you get to the end you’ll be tired, but hopefully there’s some reward at the end of it and it’ll be worth it.”
Top seed Stephen Creed from Stratford-on-Avon survived a scare in his match against Chris Ingham.
Creed and Ingham traded two holes each on the front nine before the Warwickshire man edged ahead on the par three, 12th.
Ingham, from West End Halifax, refused to buckle though and took the match down the last. A sand save from a greenside bunker was enough to win Creed the hole and earn him victory by two holes.
The number two seed, Paul Griffiths, tumbled out at the hands of Castle Eden’s Stuart Brown.
Brown, the 31st seed, claimed a 3&1 victory on the 17th to end the hopes of the Enville golfer.
It always looked as if it was going to be tight when the 16th and 17th seeds met in the round of 32 and so it proved.
Ian Newlove from Wollaton Park edged ahead by winning the sixth and 15th holes. However, David Niven (pictured above) fought back to take the match down the 19th helped by draining a monster putt on the last.
With all the momentum going his way, Niven then closed out the win with a par on the first extra hole.
Andrew Smith’s match with Kevin Blow went even further – Smith, from Royal Ashdown Forest, eventually winning on the 20th hole
The stress levels were slightly reduced for Rupert Kellock when he recorded a 7&6 win against Trevor Gray from Royal Jersey.
The Sunningdale member remains one of the men to beat this week as he looks to add the Senior Men’s Amateur title to the stroke play crown he won in 2020 and again in 2021.
Other winners safely through to the last 16 included Alan Wright, Paul Jelly, Richard Woodhead, Todd Sothcott (pictured below), Stephen East, Guy Hindle, Steve Sansome, Paul King and Chris Audin.