JUST one more victory stands in the way of eight Examiner Matchplay golfers and a place in the Grand Final at Crosland Heath in September as they all chase the massive prize of a FREE golfing holiday to Spain.
Out of the remaining eight players, two hail from Fixby and two from Crosland Heath, and they will be joined by a former winner, Andrew Mear, from Cleckheaton and three golfers from Pudsey’s Woodhall Hills club, two of whom are ladies.
All eight are chasing the same goal – a place on the Examiner Overseas Challenge, which this year visits Fuengirola for five days of golf at the La Cala complex and the twin courses as Mijas.
Nine-handicapper Mear knows that it’s like to win the Examiner holiday after winning the Matchplay event at Dewsbury in 2007, which coincidentally won him a place on the trip the last time the Examiner headed for Fuengirola.
Standing in his way of a second appearance at finals day will be Ray Hitchcox of Woodhall Hills, who in the last round defeated the two-time Examiner Overseas champion Denis Walters at Blackley.
The Woodhall man was four up after nine holes before Walters levelled by winning the next four on the trot, and after halving the 14th, proceeded to swap holes to finish all square at 18. And so it was down the first extra hole, which ended with levels pars, but Hitchcox had the benefit of stroke and therefore shaded the contest.
The clash between two Crosland Heath players, John Quinn and Paul Marsland was even tighter as the two battled away through 21 holes before Marsland finally got the win at the third extra hole, while another Heath man, Paul Land had an easier time of it against Ian Colleton at Longley Park, winning 6 and 5.
Fixby’s Jonny Heyes found himself embroiled in controversy against Simon Mear (brother of Andrew) after a couple of rules disputes which left the end of the contest shrouded in a somewhat ‘tetchy’ atmosphere.
Leading by one hole, Heyes cranked up the tension on the seventh green, when he absent-mindedly putted with the flag still in, which is not a penalty unless the ball hits the pin, but nevertheless caused some concern as he reached the turn two up.
Both players missed short putts at 12, 13 and 14 leaving Heyes one up, before Mear pulled off a brilliant par four on the 15th after driving into the rough to level the match, and then go one up with a nett birdie at the 16th.
But problems ensued on the par three 17th when Mear drove wide into a ground under repair area, and after some to-ing and fro-ing and arguing over the rules, he fired a chip over the green into a bunker and then shanked into the wood thereby conceding the hole to go back to level.
And Heyes went on to win the 18th and the match, and will now head to Crosland Heath to take on Marsland.
Fixby’s Keith Stones beat Gary Shuttleworth on the 19th at Bradley Hall, while Andrew Mear beat Michael Havis in a thriller atDewsbury.
With Mear three up, Havis his back with some fine putting, and trailing by one hole on the uphill par three 18th, the home player drove the green and holed a 20-footer for a birdie two.
Mear had also driven very close to the hole, but as he admitted: “I was left with a very nervous one-foot putt to hold on for the win.”
Of the two Woodhall ladies, Mandy Lange beat Bradley Park’s Eddie Doherty 4 and 3, while Julie Whiting (both having home advantage) had an up and down battle against Steve Hnatkiwskyj from Longley Park before winning 3 and 2.
The full draw for the quarter-finals is:
Paul Land (Crosland Heath) v Mandy Lange (Woodhall Hills)
Paul Marsland (Crosland Heath) v Jonny Heyes (Fixby)
Julie Whiting (Woodhall Hills) v Keith Stones (Fixby)
Andrew Mear (Cleckheaton) v Ray Hitchcox (Woodhall Hills)
To be played by August 29.
Although there has already been plenty of bookings for theExaminer’s Overseas Challenge, there are still a limited number of place available, and the holiday is open to anyone with an official handicap.
The seven-night holiday, staying at the four star Confortel in Fuengirola, with five days of competitive golf, departs on Thursday, November 10, returning on Thursday, November 17.
The cost of the holiday is £729 (£479 for non-golfers) and includes flights from Leeds/Bradford, airport transfers, prize-giving dinner, resort and golfer transfers, green fees, and is fully escorted throughout.
For further details or booking please call Hanson Travel Worldchoice on 0113 2393300.