THE Gazette/Blacktax Matchplay golf tournament is down to the last-eight stage.
And battle will be well and truly joined at Shaw Hill Golf Club tomorrow.
At stake will be the four finalists’ places – the lucky quartet will travel to Portugal on September 27 for the grand decider.
The semi-finals and final will be played on the Millennium Course and the Old Course at Vilamoura on the Algarve.
The final four will enjoy three nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at a superb, four-star hotel courtesy of tournament sponsors Blacktax Taxis.
Among those through to Shaw Hill is Iain Brown, who plays out of Staining Lodge.
He made it into the quarter-finals with a 4 and 3 victory over Adam Lee of Blackpool Park.
Brown, who works in audit control in corporate banking, has entered the event for the first time and is an enthusiastic supporter, with the enticing incentive of the chance to play at two outstanding courses.
He said: “It is a really good competition. It is only £10 to enter and you get that back in a taxi voucher from the sponsors.
“I have also been able to play other courses, like Stanley Park and Knott End, as well as Shaw Hill tomorrow.
“It would be good to get to Portugal, though I would need a few brownie points from my wife because we have just had our second baby, Isobel, who is just over three weeks old.”
Brown made a rapid-fire start in his last-16 match at Stanley Park, winning the first three holes before Lee pulled a couple back at the eighth and ninth.
Brown, a former defender with Lytham FC who only returned to golf a couple of years ago, really hit form on the back nine and clinched victory with wins on 13, 14 and 15.
One golfer who won’t be making the return trip to Portugal is last year’s winner Andy Nurse, from Fleetwood. He lost at the last 16 stage against Chris Boyes of Knott End. The draw for the last eight will take place at Shaw Hill tomorrow.
LAST 16 RESULTS: Brian Laverty (Fleetwood, handicap 6) beat Peter Chamberlain (Blackpool Park, 17), Iain Brown (Staining Lodge 9) beat Adam Lee (Blackpool ParK, 11), Chris Boyes (Knott End 7) beat Andy Nurse (Fleetwood 7), Glen Wellard (Fleetwood 11) beat Peter Bush (Fairhaven 5), Brad Sarjantson (De Vere Herons Reach 7) beat Carl Cohen (Blackpool North Shore 9), Paul Davison (Lytham Green Drive 12), beat John Walker (Fleetwood 6), Glenn Riches (Fleetwood 9) beat Guy Holland (St Annes Old Links, 5), Tom Mercer (Fairhaven 6) beat Mark Townsend (St Annes Old Links 8).