Super birdie sets up Lee Hopwood to land Plate

Well done: Hallamshire captain Steve Dodd, left, looks on as Sheffield Open Amateur champion Lee Hopwood receives the Sheffield Plate from Trevor Slack, President of the Sheffield Union of Golf Clubs.
Well done: Hallamshire captain Steve Dodd, left, looks on as Sheffield Open Amateur champion Lee Hopwood receives the Sheffield Plate from Trevor Slack, President of the Sheffield Union of Golf Clubs.
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THE yelp of joy that Lee Hopwood let out as his tee shot on the 17th nestled close by the pin signalled that he was on the brink of winning the Sheffield Union of Golf Clubs’ blue riband event, the Sheffield Open Amateur Championship.

Lee popped in his birdie and one hole later was able to look forward to lifting the coveted Sheffield Plate, having seen off a strong field of low handicap golfers from throughout the region and across Yorkshire at Hallamshire GC.

His final round of 68, three under par, meant he finished on 139 for a two-stroke victory.

Lee becomes only the second winner of this championship from Hickleton GC, the other one back in 1995 by Andy Herbert.

He follows some prominent past winners including European Tour star Danny Willett, recent Challenge Tour pro Matt Evans and former Yorkshire Amateur Champions Iain MacKenzie, Richard Jones and Shaun Tarplett.

The 64-player event, sponsored again by Sheffield Special Steels, saw the players out on a hot sunny day with the newly-lengthened Hallamshire course in fantastic condition and expectations were high for low scoring and the field didn’t disappoint.

After the morning round, young Tankersley Park GC member Lewis Hollingworth led the way with a two-under-par 69. One shot further back were two-time Yorkshire Boys Champion Sam Young (Rotherham GC) and George Forder from Fulford GC, York.

Hopwood, with a level-par 71, was in touch along with veteran SUGC golfer Steve Brennan (Wheatley GC) and reigning Sheffield Matchplay Champion James Smedley (Worksop GC).

First to make a move in the afternoon round was eventual runner–up Matt Langley from Sitwell Park, who soon found himself at five-under-par for his round and two under for the championship. He later dropped a shot on the back nine as the extreme heat started to get through to the competitors and finished on 141, one-under-par overall. His 67 was the round of the day.

Hallowes member Scott Campbell also finished on 141 after a second round 69 as did Forder, whose 71 made him one of only two players not to go over par in either round - Hopwood being the other.

The hopes of first round leader Hollingworth slipped away on the back nine and with others failing to mount a consistent challenge, it was left to Hopwood to show what could be done with a strong finishing three-under- par round of 68.

This was matched by Dominic Moon from Rotherham GC who finished sixth.