PAST winners Sophie Lamb and Marco Penge are through to the fourth round of the Sunningdale Foursomes.
The 2016 champions moved into the last 16 with a one-hole victory in Wednesday’s third round over Hertfordshire pro’s James Ruebotham, from Welwyn Garden City, and Porters Park’s Robert Watson, on Sunningdale’s famous Old Course.
Only six pairings have ever won the Sunningdale Foursomes twice in the last 86 years – the most famous was Peter Alliss and Jean Anderson – neé Donald – who achieved the double in 1961, three years after their first victory.
The last to do it were Wentworth’s Ross Fisher and Simon Griffiths who also were the last pair to claim the title back to back after their victories in 2003 and 2004, before the former turned pro.
Lamb and Penge, from Sussex’s Goodwood GC, had survived a tricky second round encounter with Belgium European Challenge Tour player Christopher Mivis and Danish amateur Paul Hansen, who works as a project manager at the European Commission, based in Belgium.
Penge won last year’s Prem Group Irish Masters on the EuroPro Tour, while Lamb, the former England international, from Clitheroe GC, is playing on the LET Access Series, after turning pro at the end of 2018.
Lamb, the 2016 British Ladies Amateur Strokeplay Champion, and Penge, who was a Carris Trophy winner at the 2013 England Boys Amateur Strokeplay Championship, were finding the speed of the greens on the Old Course harded to judge after a first round match on the New Course.
The former winners had beaten Stoke Park’s England junior Thalia Kirby, partnered by Harleyford’s Peter Handcock, on the last hole on Harry Colt’s longer and tougher New Course.
The large number of women player’s certainly found conditions harder on the New in Tuesday’s first round, before the top four matches in the second round draw ventured on to the Old, after lunch.
Lamb and Penge – who also won the Peter McEvoy Trophy as a junior – will now face another mixed pairing in the shape of European Tour player Tom Murray, from Manchester’s Dudsbury GC, who is playing with Gemma Clews, from Delamare Forest, in Cheshire.
They will battle it out over 18 holes of matchplay in the alternate shot format on the Old Course, on Thursday morning for a place in the last eight.
Murray is the son of European Tour winner Andrew Murray, while Clews is another LET Access Series player, who won the Welsh Ladies Open Strokeplay in 2017.
Murray and Clews knocked out Hampshire brother and sister pairing of Sam and Tracey Boyes in the first round winning 4&3 on the New.
They then claimed the scalp of Manchester pro Peter Finch and former LET-player-turned-Sky-TV analyst Sophie Walker, by winning the 18th on the Old to go two up and into the last 32.
Also through to the fourth round is European Seniors Tour stalwart Roger Chapman, playing with The Berkshire’s Ben Holden.
The two-time Senior Major winner and his amateur partner came through their third round match with Tyrrell Wood’s former EuroPro Tour player Adrian Stuart and Sam Smitherman, an assistant pro at Walton Heath.
That 2&1 scoreline on the Old followed one of the bigger wins of the day on the Old in Wednesday’s second round matches – 6&5 against Foxhills’ Adam Burwood and Ashley Dart – conquerors of St Andrews Trophy winner Jake Burnage, from Saunton, who has since turned pro, and Worplesdon member Simon Hudd.
Chapman and Holden’s march to the latter stages commenced with a 3&2 win on the New against Trevose G&CC’s managing director Nick Gammon and Gary Lenaghan.
They now face a tricky fourth round match against Andrew Inglis, a former Sunningdale Artisans member, who is now at Roehampton GC, and Gert Coetzee, from Cirencester GC.
The latter will get what could be a crucial shot on the 12th hole under the competition’s handicap system that sees the professionals off plus-one, the amateur men off scratch and the ladies off either two or four – depending on their status.
Hanson hoping to join ET winners
ANOTHER European Tour player who will be bidding to become one of the dozen or more whose name adorn the honours board at Sunningdale’s historic clubhouse, is Yorkshire’s Chris Hanson.
The Woodsome Hall member, who lost his tour card in 2018, is playing with Huddersfield GC member Adam Walker.
They knocked out the club pro pairing of Michael O’Connor, from Lambourne – who won the event in 1996 playing with Luke Donald – and Henley’s Narendra Yonjan.
Hanson and Walker also knocked out former European Tour regular Benn Barham, the current coach of the Kent county squad, who are the reigning English County Champions, playing with Prince’s Francis McGuirk.
There are three more former European Tour players still left in the competition.
Welshman Stuart Manley, from Mountain Ash – playing with club member Ian Flower – will face West Hove’s former England international Peter Tarver-Jones, partnered by Southport and Ainsdale’s Sean Towndrow, another ex-England cap, who has been playing on the EuroPro.
Tarver-Jones and Towndrow, who battled back from cancer treatment while still an amateur, produced the biggest shock on the second day, knocking out Woburn’s Solheim Cup winner Charley Hull, who was playing with European Challenge Tour player Ryan Evans, from Wellingboro GC.
The lost on the last to the pair who also accounted for Masters and Open champion Sandy Lyle, playing with Prestwick’s James Bunch, in the second round.
Andrew Marshall, from Bawburgh, is paired with Matthew Cort, from Beedles Lake, who has been to Qualifying School 12 times since turning pro in 1997.
They will face Castle Royle’s former EuroPro Tour player Ben Welch, who now works as a sales manager for Titleist,
Welch, who played from Cornwall and Dorset before turning pro and was crowned Cambridge Amateur Champion in 2018, is partnered by Achusnet pro Jack Yetton.
Humphreys eyeing another big title
ESSEX’S Irish Women’s Amateur Champion Lily May Humphreys had the biggest win in the first round playing with William Percival, a club pro at Orsett, beating Saffron Walden pro’s Sarah Smith and Rob McNicholas 7&6.
Humphreys, who also won the Welsh Ladies Open Strokeplay before finishing runner-up in the English equivalent, helped Percival beat European Tour player Matt Nixon, from Ashton-under-Lyme GC, and Stamford pro Mark Smith 4&2.
A two-hole win over Gareth Davies, from Abbeydale GC, and Blankney’s Robert Harris, booked their place in the last eight.
They will now face Bedfordshire’s South East Qualifier winner Jack Hawksby, from Millbrook, who is paired with Royal Lytham’s England junior Callan Barrow.
The pair knocked out Ryder Cup player Ronan Raffterty and his son Jonathan in the first round, winning 5&4.
Rafferty was the champion in 1986, playing with Roger Chapman – now a two-time Senior Major winner.
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