JIM HEMMINGS became the first man to reach the finals of the Examiner Matchplay Golf Tournament when he knocked out last year’s beaten finalist Robin Hanson at Meltham.
Hemmings had the benefit of home advantage, but soon found himself trailing to the Woodhall Hills man, playing off 16, who was aiming for a second consecutive final after just losing out to Andrew Mear in last year’s competition.
Hanson went two up after just three holes, but Hemmings gradually fought his way back and went on to win reasonably comfortably 4&3 to put himself into the finals days at Woodsome Hall, on Thursday, September 18, and with it, the chance to land himself the first prize of a week-long trip to Portugal in November.
And Woodsome are guaranteed a representative on finals days after Patrick Carmody (18) finally defeated another Meltham player, Chris Holmes (6), in a real tussle at Woodsome.
Holmes – the current Huddersfield Wednesday Society captain – had to forfeit home advantage, but took a two hole lead after six, only for Carmody to hit back winning three holes in succession to grab the lead. Holmes levelled almost immediately, and it was nip and tuck then until they reached the 15th when Carmody won that and the 16th to go dormie two.
However, the Meltham man took both the 17th and 18th to send the match into overtime, but it was Carmody who clinched the match at the first extra hole (which was the first hole, although they actually began the match on the 11th) to put himself into the last four.
Meltham, who went into the last eight with three players, were down to one representative in the final when Steve Whiteley bowed out to Crosland Heath’s Colin Hall, who edged the tie one up.
Hall, playing off 5, is now the lowest handicap player left in the competition.
The final place for the Woodsome showdown went to Fixby’s Nick Wilson, who won the Examiner tournament in 2004.
The seven-handicapper from Huddersfield played host to Marsden’s David Scott, who had earlier knocked out Halifax, Huddersfield Union player Edward Battye in the previous round.
Scott went two up after the first two holes and maintained the lead through the outward nine, but Wilson hit back by chipping in for a birdie at the 11th.
He also won the 12th with a par to level the match and then after chipping in again at the 13th to half in par, he went ahead for the first time when Scott lost his ball from his drive at the 14th.
Wilson also took the 15th, only for Scott to reduce the deficit to one by winning the 16th. A half on the next left Scott needing to win the final hole to send the match into overtime, but he put his second into the rough and Wilson ran out the winner, two up.
The four winners, Wilson, Hemmings, Hall and Carmody, now line up at Woodsome Hall on Thursday, September 18, when they will all be chasing a place on the Examiner Overseas Challenge to Portugal.
The semi-final draw will be made on the morning of finals day (9.15), with the matches starting approximately 9.30.
In the afternoon the third and fourth place play-off will lead out at 2.30, followed by the two finalists.