Matchplay clash goes to third extra hole

Blackpool Gazette amateur golf match play tournament semi final at Shaw Hill Golf Club in Whittle le Woods'Front row, winners, Chris Boyes, Raymond Birnie, Andrew Yule and Michael Wright, back row, beaten semi finalists, Mike Harkness, Phil Horrocks, Dave Brown and Norman Heywood
Blackpool Gazette amateur golf match play tournament semi final at Shaw Hill Golf Club in Whittle le Woods'Front row, winners, Chris Boyes, Raymond Birnie, Andrew Yule and Michael Wright, back row, beaten semi finalists, Mike Harkness, Phil Horrocks, Dave Brown and Norman Heywood
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TODAY is the final day for players to complete their third-round matches in the Gazette Matchplay tournament.

The latest round of our tournament, sponsored by Blacktax taxis, produced more thrilling contests, but none more so than the match between Phil Horrocks of Blackpool Park and North Shore’s Roger Hesketh.

The pair shared nine birdies over the 18 holes in a match so close that it wasn’t until the third extra hole that Phil clinched victory to seal an excellent fightback.

The match was staged at Phil’s home course, where he played off a handicap of seven and Roger off eight.

Roger, who lives in Thornton and is five years Phil’s senior at 54, was two up with two holes to play only for Phil to birdie the 17th.

But when Phil drove out of bounds on the last, Roger thought he was home and dry. But Phil still recovered to win the hole as Roger shot a six.

After both players parred the first two extra holes, Roger conceded on the third after a wayward drive.

Gracious in defeat, he said: “I have been playing for 40 years and it is one of the best games I have ever had.”

Phil only took the sport up seven years ago, having played amateur football in his younger days, and is entering the Gazette Matchplay for the third time. He reached the quarter-finals on the last two occasions and this year aims to go further and join the final four at Vilamoura on the Algarve.

Phil and Roger had never met before, though there is an amazing connection between them.

Roger explained: “I learned to play the game with Phil’s father, Jack. Now his son has gone and beaten me.

“What a great way to meet up. That was worth the entrance fee to the competition alone.”

Phil, from central Blackpool, said: “Yes it’s an amazing coincidence. My dad was still playing until he had his hip operation.”

Both competitors agreed it was excellent match played in the best of spirits.

The draw for the fourth round will appear in The Gazette next Wednesday.