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Thomas doesn't tank it in Matchplay

SHIPLEY’S Dan Thomas leant on his experience as a former EuroPro Tour player to defeat Fulford 17-year-old George Robson in the Yorkshire amateur match play final at Woodsome Hall.

Thomas’s tournament experience surfaced at the 18th when – trailing by one hole – he took the risk-and-reward line over trees on the right with his drive, wedged to 20ft and holed for a birdie that took the battle to a sudden-death climax, in which he won after two extra holes.

Both players made four at the first additional hole before Thomas parred the next to claim the championship after Robson had put his drive behind a tree, an error that led to a bogey.

The Fulford teenager had shown commendable composure in the face of Thomas’s quick start that saw the latter two up after four thanks to birdies at the second and fourth holes. Thomas was snared by a fairway bunker at five and then a greenside bunker at six, leading to Robson winning consecutive holes to restore parity, but a superb 35ft birdie putt up the tiered eighth green had Thomas ahead again – although not for long.

Robson birdied the next to turn all square and when Thomas failed to get up and down from the edge of the 12th the youngster led for the first time. A sand save at 13 kept him in front but, after the 14th was halved with bogeys, a conceded close-range birdie at 15 enabled Thomas to pull level.

Robson found himself in front once more when more sand trouble cost Thomas a shot at 16, but the former professional showed his mettle at 18 to set up his ultimate sudden-death triumph.

It was the second time in his five matches that Thomas had needed additional holes to get the better of an opponent, Otley’s Oliver Young taking him to the 22nd in round three.

He had defeated Huddersfield’s James Edwards 4&2 in the first round, Cleckheaton’s Oliver Tasker 4&2 in the second, and another Fixby player Adam Walker 2&1 in the semi-final.

Robson, who had a walkover in round one, eased past Halifax-Huddersfield Union team manager Frank Greaves 7&6, defeated Phoenix’s Oliver Sullivan 2&1 and then Ganton’s Jamie Gregory 3&2 in the semi-finals.

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