Thursday, May 05, 2016


The Semi finals of the 2016 Ayrshire Matchplay Championship took place at Western Gailes on Wednesday 4th May, with defending champion Michael Smyth (Royal Troon) winning through to a final showdown against John Shanks (Irvine).

The first semi final featured Craig Hamilton (Ballochmyle), a former winner of the title over the Western gailes course, and John Shanks, who was seeking to add one of the few Ayrshire titles to his portfolio which has so far eluded him.

The players both opened with pars at the first two holes but successive birdies at the third and fourth gave shanks an early two hole lead, which was extended to three when Hamilton bogeyed the eigth hole.

Shanks was still three ahead playing the eleventh but let a few shots slip over the next three holes, allowing Hamilton to winn all three and square the match by the thirteenth.

Despite the setback, Shanks rallied with a winning birdie four at the fourteenth only to see Hamilton square the match again with a par three at the following hole.

The telling blow in the match came at the sixteenth where Shanks forged a winning birdie three to go one up in the match once again. The players matched each other with pars at the remaining two holes leaving Shanks the winner of the semi final tussle with a one hole victory.

The second semi final featured Michael Smyth and Adrian Orton (Kilmarnock Barassie)

Orton had stormed of to a great start in the opening two rounds of the championship earlier in the week, but was unable to produce the same form against Smyth in the semi finals, dropped shots at the second, fifth and sixth, coupled by level par figures by Smyth over the same run of holes, saw orton four down against the title holder. Despite winning the seventh with a par three, Orton dropped a further shot, and hole, at the eighth and with both players having pars at the ninth, Smyth turned for home with a four hole lead.

2016 Ayrshie Matchplay Finalists
John Shanks & Michael Smyth
Orton birdied the tenth to reduce the deficit to three but a further bogey at the twelfth from the Barassie player let Smyth restore his four hole lead with six to play.

Despite covering the next three holes in ten shots, including a birdie four at the fourteenth, Orton was unable to make any further inroads into Smyth's lead, and the title holder progressed to his second successive championship final with a 4 & 3 victory.

The final on Thursday evening at Western Gailes tees off at 5.00 p.m.

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