Hampshire Golf Limited

The County Champs heads to Blackmoor GC

THERE are seven other past champions in the field, with nine titles between them – on top of the five held by Walkley and Henley – making it arguably one of the strongest championships on paper in the championship’s 119th staging, having been founded 130 years ago.

Jo Hacker (pictured), from Jersey’s La Moye, the winner three years ago at North Hants GC, was the first player to take the trophy back from the mainland across the English Channel since Guernsey’s former Walker Cup player Bobby Eggo who won the title in 1984 and 1986.

Hacker, who has graduated from Jacksonville University, where he played for the Sawgrass-based Dolphins, is bidding to become the first Jersey player to be crowned champion twice.

Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson (2009) is a little unlucky not to have had more than one win from his three final appearances, but has missed a lot of competitive golf since COVID, having also started a family.

But having joined the management team at Basingstoke GC, he has managed to keep his handicap at Rowlands in very good order, and is the second lowest ranked player at plus-4.1, just 0.2 behind Hacker.

Hayling’s Toby Burden was the first player to reach three finals in a year since US Seniors PGA Champion Richard Bland in the mid 1990s, when he lost to Hacker on the last in 2021, after his maiden win at the third attempt at Army GC in 2019.

But he now has the added responsibility of the county captaincy after taking over from Lawrence Cherry earlier this month, after the youngest captain in Hampshire’s history took a job at The Montgomerie GC, in Dubai.

Stoneham’s James Freeman is back in Hampshire’s South East League side having graduated from the PGA course at the University of Birmingham, and keen to kick on after his win in 2022 on home soil.

But his best friend – Joe Buenfeld, from Bramshaw – will be keen to get his hands on the trophy for the first time.

Buenfeld’s US college golf rival Charlie Forster, from Basingstoke GC, misses his second championship in three years.

But this year, he will be making his debut in the St Andrews Links Trophy, won by the Corhampton’s Neil Raymond (2013) and Justin Rose (1997), who both went on to player Walker Cup that summer.

Other former champions in the field, that tees off from 8am on Friday, are Hayling’s Rich Harris (2020), three-time winner Martin Young (2011, 2014 and 2016), and Test Valley’s Stuart Archibald.

The 2022 English Mid-Amateur Champion (over 35s) is a three-time winner on the EuroPro Tour having joined the paid ranks three years after his sole county championship victory in 2006.

Stuart beat Burden on his home course in that final, after Toby had been up at the crack of dawn in his role as a member of the greenkeeping staff at Hayling before playing the semi-final and final.

Archibald is also the host club’s only champion, having been a member there in 2006. This year’s hopes for the members rest on Channel League players Robbie Boxall and Sam Parsons, a winner of the Blackmoor Bowl, the Hampshire Order of Merit event, held every August.

County veteran Mark Burgess will look to overcome some injury hit years having been a feared opponent in matchplay over the last 20 years – he is the only Blackmoor player to have won the Selborne Salver, the leading 36-hole open held at the East Hampshire club every April.

Spectators are welcome on all three days – 36 holes of strokeplay on Friday, followed by four rounds of matchplay over the weekend. The final will start just after lunch, depending on how many holes are played in the two semi-finals.

For live scoring and tee times follow this link


Return to News Page

Created by intelligentgolf version 10.1.2.