Australia’s Ian Stanley took a step closer to winning his second Seniors Tour title of the season when he defeated Spain’s Manuel Ballesteros 3 & 2 in the quarter final of the Daily Telegraph European Seniors Match Play Championship at Penina GC in Portugal.
Stanley, 51, from Melbourne, who won the Coca Cola Kaiser Karl tournament in Germany earlier this season, now meets America’s David Oakley, a two hole victor over England’s Maurice Bembridge, and could go on to meet another Australian, Ross Metherell, in tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) final.
Yesterday (Friday), Metherell, 52, from Perth defeated Scotland’s David Huish at the 20th and now faces Brazil’s Priscillo Diniz, a 4 & 2 winner over England’s David Creamer, in the semi-finals.
Stanley got his quarter finals match off to the worst possible start when he followed Ballesteros out of bounds off the first tee but he won that hole with a double bogey six and never looked back thereafter. He doubled his advantaged when his Spanish opponent failed to par the 189-yard par-3 8th, went to three up with a fine birdie four on 547-yard 10th and then all but sealed his victory with a marvellous 2-iron and a 16-foot putt for a birdie on the 190-yard par-3 13th. Ballesteros did rally briefly with a 35-foot putt for a birdie of his own on the 14th but the end came two holes later when Stanley recorded a regulation par-3 on the treacherous 16th hole.
For the second day running, Scotland’s David Huish was involved in the closest match of the day but, unlike 24 hours before, when he defeated America’s Kurt Cox at the 21st, this time he lost to Ross Metherell on the 20th.
Huish, a winner of two tournaments on this season’s Seniors Tour, led for much of the match but relinquished his one hole lead when he topped his drive into the water at the par-5 17th. Both men then birdied the 18th but the golf degenerated over the extra holes with both recording bogies the 19th before the Australian won the match when his Scottish rival hit his second shot to the 20th into the water which guards the front of Penina’s second green.
“It was a shame the matched ended the way it did,” said a relieved Metherell at the end. “For 18 holes, we played some great golf but on the last two we were like a couple of choppers. Never mind though, I suppose it gave the gallery something to talk about.”
Metherell’s opponent in the semi-final is to be Brazil’s Priscillo Diniz, who defeated Tommy Horton and Bernard Gallacher in the first two rounds and then took another notable scalp when he defeated David Creamer, winner of this season’s Energis Seniors Masters, 4 & 2 in the quarter final.
The Brazilian, who is still seeking his first Seniors Tour title, was steadiness personified, recording two birdies and 14 pars while overcoming Creamer. He is now guaranteed £7,500 but could take home £16,000 if he defeats Metherell and then goes on to win the final as well.