Thursday, May 10, 2018

AYRSHIRE MATCHPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP - Smyth & Hedger through to Thursday's final

The final of the 2018 Ayrshire Matchplay Championship on Thursday evening will be between Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) and Shaun Hedger (West Kilbride), following completion of the semi finals in the rain at Rowallan Castle GC on Wednesday night.

Michael Smyth
In the first semi final on the course, former champion Michael Smyth faced another past winner in Scott Brown (Prestwick St Cuthbert).

The opening two holes were halved with pars before Smyth took the lead when Brown failed to salvage a par five at the third. Another dropped shot at the sixth from brown allowed Smyth to increase his lead to two holes and when Brown failed to make par at the short eighth hole the deficit was increased to three holes. Despite the wet conditions, Smyth reached the turn in a very creditable one over par total of 36.

Smyth increased his lead to four holes with a four at the long eleventh hole and he soon closedf out the match and claimed his place in the final with a 5&4 victory.

Shaun Hedger
In the second semi final Shaun Hedger was up against the new Ayrshire Strokeplay Champion Jim Johnston (Ayr Belleisle), who was bidding to become the first player since Troon Welbeck's David Wilson to win both the strokelplay and matchplay titles in the same year.

The opening three holes were halved in pars before Hedger took the lead with a four at the fourth hole. Johnston however immediately squared the match at the fifth when Hedger was unable to match his par three there.

The remaining holes in the outward nine were halved, leaving the match all square at the turn.

A par three at the tenth was enough to restore Hedger's lead in the tie which was maintained until the fourteenth when a birdie three from Hedger increased his lead to two holes.

Again Johnston immediately hit back, taking the fifteenth with a par four to reduce the deficit to one hole again, with three to play.

The sixteenth proved to be crucial, with Hedger salvaging a par five despite finding trouble a couple of times on the hole but ending it with a good up and down, whilst Johnston could only manage a six, and Hedger moved to dormie two.

At the seventeenth, both players recorded par threes, resulting in the match, and the place in the final, going to Shaun Hedger courtesy of a 2&1 victory.

The final is scheduled to take place on Thursday 10th May at Rowallan Castle GC, with a 5.00 p.m. tee off.

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