HAMPSHIRE’S hopes of having their third finalist in English Amateur Championship in 11 years were dashed as North Hants Golf Club’s Charlie Forster lost on the last green of the semi-finals at Lindrick GC.

Basingstoke’s Forster – playing in the event for the first time – was beaten by Yorkshire’s George Ash as both players made bogey fours on the final hole.

Having made a par on 18 to book his place in the last four in the morning’s see-saw quarter-final tie, Forster could not repeat the trick when facing elimination against Ash.

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With both players showing understandable nerves, Ash went long and right of the green.

Meanwhile Forster went long on the other side after hitting a three-iron into the wind on the tough 210-yard closing hole in South Yorkshire.

Forster chipped up to leave himself an eight-footer for par, after Ash had barely made the green with his second.

The Yorkshire teenager cheered on by a large crowd – who had made the short journey from Sheffield’s Hallowes GC to Lindrick – left his par effort from 15 feet some 10 inches from the hole, as the pressure took its toll.

Forster, who had already seen a birdie putt horseshoe out on the second to cost him the hole, was not going to come up short.

But his third shot eased just past the hole when a par would have taken the match into sudden-death down the first.

With both players having tap-ins for their four, it was Ash who was left to face Sussex’s Joe Sullivan in Sunday’s 36-hole final, which the Royal Ashdown Forest player won 3&1.

Forster had gone to the last needing to win the 18th, after a mistake on the penultimate hole lead to a bogey, which effectively cost him his dream place in the final.

Forster, whose game has come on leaps and bounds after just one term at Southeast Louisiana University’s Lions golf team, never led in his clash with Ash.

But last year’s South of England Boys Open winner battled back brilliantly, having gone two down after just four holes.

The match was all-square with seven holes to play after Ash failed to get up-and-down on the par-three 11th.

But with the chance to join Hampshire’s two Amateur Champions – Harry Ellis and Scott Gregory – in also reaching the English Amateur final, the next three holes were halved, with both players making birdie-fours at the 14th .

The tension rose as both players made bogey at the 15th but another five after the 16th was halved in pars finally ended Forster’s dream.
Forster charge to the last four came 10 years after then 16-year-old Ellis became the youngest-ever winner – beating Sir Nick Faldo’s record set in 1975.

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He was bidding to join Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett and fellow Augusta Green Jacket winner Faldo, in claiming the English crown.

Justin Rose was the last North Hants player to reach the quarter-final in 1996, at nearby Hollinwell, when he was just 16.

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