FLEETWOOD golfer Brian Laverty left it late to claim his place in the last four of the Gazette/Blacktax Matchplay tournament and with it a superb, expenses-paid trip to Portugal.
And regardless of the outcome in Portugal, he regards himself as a winner already.
In a long, drawn-out battle between two players from the same club, Laverty beat Glen Wellard on the 20th hole in his quarter-final at Shaw Hill Golf Club.
The outcome was not settled until the third extra hole when Laverty sunk a 15-foot putt to reach the semi-finals of the 2012 competition, which take place on September 28 at the Millennium Course in Vilamoura – the final takes place 24 hours later at the Old Course.
Laverty, 42, a property developer who lives in Garstang, said: “It was a close match and it could easily have gone either way, though neither of us played particularly well on the day.”
At one point, Laverty was three holes in front before Wellard pulled it back, and it was nip and tuck over the closing stretch.
On the 18th and the first extra hole, each player missed a putt to close it out, but the outcome was settled at the 20th when Laverty sunk his putt successfully.
The winner said: “It is a great competition and to win a four-day trip to Portugal is a big prize in itself.
“My wife Victoria told me before I went to Shaw Hill and that I would win in a close game, and she was right.”
Mrs Laverty should know all about good vibes as she is a psychotherapist, who is also involved in energy healing and hynotherapy.
Brian said: “I thought about asking her to hypnotise me before I went to Portugal, but it would probably make me want to play golf more and my wife thinks I play enough as it is.”
Joining him in the last four will be 2010 winner Chris Boyes (Knott End) Glenn Riches (Fleetwood) and Brad Sarjantson (De Vere, Herons Reach).