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Ashman shocks Stow into first round exit
2nd August 2012

James Ashman pulled off the shock of round one of the English Amateur, supported by Abacus, with a 3 and 2 victory over international Ben Stow in the rain at Silloth-on-Solway.

James Ashman (Photo Tom Ward)

The 19 year old from Bognor Regis in Sussex (image © Tom Ward) paid scant heed to his opponents glowing reputation as he raced into a three-hole lead through six, but then faced a backlash from the Wiltshire man, who levelled the contest after 13.  However, Ashman eagled the long 14 th then took the next two holes with pars to run out a comfortable winner.

"I'm delighted," he said. "I got away early and I'm playing really well. I'd heard a lot about Ben but my coach Steve Rolley told me to do the best I could and my mum, Pat, pulled my trolley and gave me great support.

"I was happy to get into the tournament and to make the qualifying so we'll just see how far I can go," added the teenager from the Worthing club.

Stow's England team-mate Neil Raymond came through unscathed with a 4 and 3 win over Sam Robertshawe.

"The scoreline flatters me to be fair," said Raymond. "I played poorly for the first seven holes and we gave each other holes in that spell. But I birdied eight and nine to go one up and for the final 11 holes I played fantastic.

"I'm delighted to get through the first round as I've usually struggled in the early rounds. This is the first time I've gone past the first round since Woodhall Spa in 2008."

Seb Crookall-Nixon gave local fans plenty to cheer about when he comfortably won his first round match.  With a gallery following his every move, the 18 year old from Workington romped to a 5 and 3 victory over Alex Lodge from Berkshire as the rain lashed down on the testing Cumbrian course.

Showing that he has made a remarkable recovery from a serious car accident at nearby Carlisle two months ago, Crookall-Nixon birdied the second and third holes to go 2-up, added to that at the fifth and also birdied the 12 th to be four ahead.  When he won the 13 th with a par, it was just a matter of time before the contest was wrapped up and when was at the 15 th , he was four under par.

Crookall-Nixon, who is a member of Silloth and Seascale as well as Workington, said: "I'm playing good again and playing before a home crowd gives you an edge. After the accident I didn't think I'd come out alive, let alone be back so soon."

Boy cap Matthew Fitzpatrick from Yorkshire also survived with a 2 and 1 win over Hertfordshire's Matt Wallace which he described as an 'up and down round'.

"I had six birdies but he also played well," said Fitzpatrick. "I was one down after seven, level at the next, ahead at the tenth and two-up after 11 with a birdie. Then Matt lost a ball at 14 and when I lipped out for eagle at 17 it was over."

Reigning County Champion of Champions Jamie Rutherford admitted: "I played too many bad shots," after going out 3 and 2 to Sussex-based Peter Tarver-Jones, while boy cap Nathan Kimsey had an easy passage when his opponent Tom Wilde from BB&O retired with an injured shoulder.

Ed Richardson, an England international six years ago but back after battling serious illness, progressed with a string of birdies against Oxfordshire's Ben Cotton.  The Kent man won the first hole with a bogey but had four front nine birdies to be three-up and two more on the homeward stretch saw the 44 year old to a 5 and 4 success.

More information and scores for the Men's English Amateur can be found on the Championships section of the Engalnd Golf website.

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