Blinkhorn beaten in English Amateur

SOUTHPORT & Ainsdale’s Sean Blinkhorn stumbled at the quarter final stage of the English Amateur Championship, supported by abacus at Saunton where he lost on the final hole to  Scott Gregory.

The Hampshire man will meet Yorkshire’s Nick Marsh over 36 holes at Saunton in tomorrow’s final if they reproduce the stunning golf they laid on today, everyone on the north Devon coast is in for a treat.

After beating Blinkhorn , Gregory then needed 16 holes to get past Suffolk’s Jack Cardy 3 and 2 on an afternoon of overcast conditions and slight rain.

Gregory  played some irresistible golf that gave Cardy little chance. He won the opening hole and despite quickly losing that lead, he won three holes in a row from the fourth which proved the foundation for his victory.

“I shot 31, which is five under, for the front nine and I had birdie chances on all nine holes,” he said. “Once I got to 4-up it was just a case of hanging in there and to get the job done.”

To Cardy’s credit he battled on, cutting the deficit to three and when he knocked it close on 16 it looked like he might made further inroads. But Gregory rolled in an eight-footer to close the contest which meant Cardy didn’t have the chance to take his birdie chance.

“Getting to the final makes all the hard work I’ve put in, in all weathers and it’s one more step on the ladder. Tomorrow I’ll just give it my best shot,” said Gregory.

Cardy, a 6 and 5 winner over Yorkshire’s Joe Dean in the quarters, didn’t produce his best form when it mattered, and said: “I was looking forward to holing that birdie but I just didn’t get it going this afternoon. I had too many unforced errors and after going four down it was always an uphill battle.

“Scott is a fine player and he played well,” added the man from Ipswich, who had his father Mark on the bag. “It’s been a good week and I would have taken a semi-final spot at the start.”

England international Marsh, who put out the host club’s Jake Burnage 3 and 2 in the morning, was given another tough match by Oscar Granstrom-Livesey after lunch. There was never more than one hole separating the pair throughout and although Marsh led on three occasions he couldn’t shake his opponent off.

However, the crucial moment came on the par four 16th when Marsh pulled his approach into whispy rough on a bank adjacent to the green with Granstrom-Livesey looking at a four-foot birdie putt. But the Yorkshireman played a superb recovery and when his rival didn’t take his chance, Marsh holed for a crucial half instead of going one down.

Then at the short 17th, Marsh rolled in another close putt to lead again and when Granstrom-Livesey fired his approach through the back of the 18th and saw his chip roll well past, he conceded the match with Marsh facing another close birdie attempt.

“What a match,” said Marsh. “It went down to the wire and credit to Oscar, he’s a fine golfer and a great fighter. I missed a few putts, particularly on 11 and 12, which could have pushed the match the other way.

“But it was swings and roundabouts. We both made mistakes and he let me off the hook a few times. But I’m pleased to get to the final. I’ve worked hard all year for this.”

Granstrom-Livesey paid tribute to Marsh by saying: “Nick played really well and hit a great up-and-down at 16. I felt my putt had to turn but it didn’t move.

“This is the end of a long summer for me and I’m off to college in Charleston in a couple of weeks. It’s a shame I haven’t reached the final because I’ve had my friend Louis Hirst on my bag and he cancelled a family holiday in the New Forest to be here.”



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