amateur golf
amateur golf

English Amateur Championship:
Dougherty aims to be driving on the highest plane
By Bill Meredith
of the Electronic Telegraph

NICK DOUGHERTY could be the new face of English golf. Not unlike his mentor, Nick Faldo, who has forecast a big future for the former world junior champion from Lancashire, Dougherty is tall, slim and bronzed - and dedicated to making a name for himself.

For the moment, though, at 18 he is learning his trade, just as Faldo was 25 years ago when he won the English Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Now the event is back at Lytham for the first time in a quarter of a century - and young Dougherty would dearly love to follow in Faldo's footsteps.

Yesterday, in a confident 4 & 3 second-round victory over Tom Peacock, of Dudsbury, Dougherty looked the part - a birdie on the sixth and an eagle on the seventh put him in the mood and he was well on the way by the 11th, five ahead and uncatchable. But there is a long way to go before the prize-giving on Saturday.

Like Dougherty, most of the 16 seeds survived fairly comfortably, but there were a couple of early shocks when Graeme Clark, of Doncaster, and Jamie Elson, of Kenilworth, bowed out in first-round matches.

Clark, 24, who has finished high on the leaderboard this year in the Berkhamsted, Lytham and Lagonda Trophies, was toppled 5 & 4 by Adam Ward, 23, of Whittington Heath. Ward has just finished a degree course at Hull University and is now concentrating on golf.

Last Sunday he won the Wollaton Park Stag with an eight-under-par 63 after dropping two strokes in the first three holes and, if he was not quite in that sort of form yesterday, he proved too good for Clark. The shy, 6ft 3in Ward just got on with the job quietly. "I played well, but just could not put any pressure on him," Clark said.

Elson, who reached the semi-finals last year, went out to Lee Corfield, 17, a Somerset county player from Burnham and Berrow who has the stamp of a young Lee Westwood about him. Sturdy and strong, Corfield was four up after seven holes and, try as he might, Elson just could not claw his way back and lost on the 17th green. "I played pretty solid," Corfield said, with no hint of arrogance.

Another seed bit the dust in a second-round match later in the day - and this was a real surprise because the victim was David Dixon, of Enmore Park in Somerset, who a few months ago had won the Lytham Trophy over this track. "That was a great scalp," enthused his conqueror, Edward Butler, another West Country golfer from Lansdown in Bath, who tied up the match on the 17th green.

One of the most exciting matches of a gloriously sunny day came when Stephen Lewton, 17, of South Beds, beat off the challenge of Chris Gill, the experienced Devon county player, on the 20th hole. It was a wonderful riposte from Lewton, who had just been dropped by the England boys' selectors.

He needed a 25ft putt to keep the match going beyond the 18th green, and then a par four at the second extra hole was enough to win a see-saw contest as Gill missed a 15-footer to survive.

Both Craig Stevenson and Daniel Wardrop, who are in the England boys' team for the Home Internationals at Portmarnock next week, failed to make the third day. Stevenson, 17, from Whittington Heath, succumbed to Robert Perrett, 18, of Clevedon, by 4 & 2, while Wardrop, who will be 17 next week, could not quite keep up with the seeded Jonathan Lupton, who won on the 16th green.

Whittington Heath, the Staffordshire club who have produced a crop of good youngsters in the past few years, appear to have yet another fine prospect in Chris Russell, the son of former touring pro D J Russell. He beat Stuart Fromant, the Essex county player from Orsett, by 4 & 3 and, for his pains, has a second-round match with Walker Cup player Gary Wolstenholme this morning.

Paul Casey, the holder, eased home by 5 & 4 against Mark Prue and lines up today against Stephen East, the 41-year-old Yorkshireman who holds the Logan Trophy. That should be quite a tussle.

Details 1st rd: D Barnes (Dudsbury) bt C McDonnell (Stocksfield) at 19th, P Thornton (St Annes Old Links) bt J Edwards (Chart Hills) 4 & 3, M Payne (Brickendon Grange) bt S Youngs (Worksop) at 19th, A Smith (Enville) bt A Hodges (Stinchcombe Hill) at 19th, A Ward (Whittington Heath) bt G Clark (Doncaster) 5 & 4, N Bell (Carlisle) bt M Jones (Heswall) 1 hole, B Smith (East Berkshire) bt B Welch (Weymouth) at 19th, D Skinns (Canwick Park) bt P Snowden (Sand Moor) 5 & 3. M Thomas (Hallamshire) bt S Gorry (Sudbury) 1 hole, G Cant (Wanstead) bt P Holmes (Headingley) 4 & 3, R Dinwiddie (Barnard Castle) w/o N Cottam (Wheatley), J Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City) bt B Whalley (Ifield) 4 & 3, D Ryles (West Hill) bt J Ambridge (Moor Park) 1 hole, R Finch (Hull) bt A Frayne (St Mellion) 2 holes, S Jackson (Bramall Park) bt A Fau-Goodwin (Onneley) 5 & 4, R Walker (Walton Hall) bt P Reed (Bristol & Clifton) 2 & 1, S Young (Seascale) bt M Unwin (Brickhampton Grange) 4 & 3, O Wilson (Coxmoor) bt J Horseman (Bearwood Lakes) 8 & 6, R Oldaker (Braintree) bt S Osborne (Wentworth) 1 hole, G Wolstenholme (Kilworth Springs) bt R Blaxill (Wanstead) 4 & 3, C Russell (Whittington Heath) bt S Fromant (Orsett) 4 & 3, L Godwin (Chart Hills) bt G Willman (Camberley Heath) 2 & 1, K Ollington (Addington Palace) bt P Gration (Chevin) 4 & 3, R Hynson (Walton Heath) w/o R Sullivan (Boyce Hill). N Peek (Sand Moor) w/o L Mallin (Coventry Hearsall), W Morgan (Sunningdale) bt J Farnsworth (Coxmoor) 1 hole, G Keates (Northampton) bt K Hudson (Grange Park) at 20th; R Hughes (Caldy) bt G Hastie (Dunscar) at 19th, S Grewal (Heswall) bt I Parnaby (Durham City) 6 & 4, R Roper (Catterick) bt P O'Donnell (Sand Moor) 4 & 3, J Kemp (John O'Gaunt) bt S Farrar (Wrag Barn) 3 & 2, A Richardson (St Annes Old Links) w/o D Kitteridge (Bishop's Stortford), D Peel (Stockport) w/o J Rodwell (Camberley Heath), J Phelps (Ruislip) bt T Abbott (Walton Heath) 3 & 2, G Davies (Abbeydale) w/o N Treacher (Shirley Park), S Lewton (South Beds) bt C Gill (Exeter) at 20th, R Perrett (Clevedon) bt C Stevenson (Whittington Heath) 4 & 2, T Whitehouse (Maxstoke Park) bt A Laud (Little Lakes) 4 & 3, A Paisley (Stocksfield) w/o J Simons (Coombe Hill), D Wood (Sand Moor) bt S Barwick (East Berkshire) 3 & 2, M Bugg (Selby) bt M Allen (Worksop) 3 & 2, R Ramskill (La Moye) bt F Kelley (Ganton) 5 & 4, N Soto (Northamptonshire Co) bt M Griffiths (Sandiway) 3 & 2, N Webb (Faversham) bt G Hyde (Wath) 6 & 5, L Corfield (Burnham & Berrow) bt J Elson (Kenilworth) 2 & 1, S Bell (Northcliffe) bt L Miller (Woodbridge) 3 & 1, M Hayward (Doncaster Town) bt D MacKinnon (Fairhaven) 5 & 3, C Shave (Cosby) bt I Ridgeway (High Leigh Park) 2 & 1, J Blome (Wanstead) bt D Clark (Richmond) 1 hole. 2nd rd: J Franks (Shirley Park) bt J Sutherland (Cirencester) 1 hole, S Dobbins (Sandy Lodge) bt A Gibson (Chart Hills) 3 & 2, N Dougherty (Shaw Hill) bt T Peacock (Dudsbury) 4 & 3, M Cox (Royal Birkdale) bt J Cockroft (Nelson) 1 hole, B Barker (Reddish Vale) bt P Taylor (Staverton Park) 3 & 2, M Nester (Hollinwell) bt B Willman (Camberley Heath) 3 & 2, J Lupton (Middlesbrough) bt D Wardrop (Marriott Worsley Park) 4 & 2, G Nixon (Brampton) bt M Lock (Weston Super Mare) 1 hole.A Colley (Ladbrook Park) bt J Marshall (Hesketh) 5 & 3, B Kruze (The Warwickshire) bt M Ramsdale (Formby) 5 & 4, E Butler (Lansdown) bt D Dixon (Enmore Park) 2 & 1, S Parry (Bolton Lostock) bt S Peel (Alwoodley) 4 & 3, R Cannon (West Derby) bt J Gray (Wearside) 3 & 1; R MacGregor (Perranporth) bt B Ellison (Hull) 3 & 2, J Holmes (Crewe) bt E Vernon (Branston) 2 & 1, P Rowe (West Cornwall) bt J Ackland-Snow (Winter Hill) 4 & 3, P Casey (Burhill) bt M Prue (Hillside) 5 & 4, S East (Moortown) bt R Duck (Northamptonshire County) 2 & 1.

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