Monday 11th June 2018
Owen Grimes defeats Tom Robson in the County Championship final at Liphook Golf Club.
Tom Robson, John Moore (President) and Owen Grimes prior to the County Championship Final.
County Champion Owen Grimes with the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup
ROWLANDS Castle’s Tom Robson was left cursing his luck after he tasted defeat in the final of the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship for the third time in four years at Liphook, on Sunday.
The 29-year-old who won the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup the last time the championship was held at the East Hampshire club in 2009 found Romsey’s Owen Grimes’ a dogged opponent that he could not shake despite having been in front for five of the 18 holes in a see-saw final.
And the 19-year-old, who returned from his first year playing junior college golf in the States with an incredibly sharp short game, eventually made the key putt that counted for biride on the par five last, which handed him victory after Robson missed from around six feet.
Ironically, Robson had just completed his first year at Jacksonville State University in Alabama - the same college that Masters winners Danny Willett attended – when he won at Liphook, beating Hayling’s Toby Burden at the second extra hole nine years ago.
He believed his experience of quicker US greens helped him with Liphook dubbed the “Augusta of Hampshire” with putting surfaces running at around 12 on the stimp, making them quicker than most in the country and certainly the county.
Robson had taken the lead at the third hole with a birdie, but Grimes won the fifth only for the Rowlands club’s assistant secretary to get his nose in front on the sixth after the Murray State golfer made a bogey five.
Grimes, who attends Murray State, in Oklahoma, got up and down well from the back of the seventh to claw it back to all square and got his nose in front for the first time making a 15-footer for a birdie two at the par three 11th.
Robson looked to have a let off at the 12th as Grimes for once failed to convert from around eight feet.
A mistake by the youngster, who came into the championships believing he could win when few would have had him down as a possible champion, made it all square again as a five for par at the 13th was enough for Tom.
Robson then won the uphill 15th with a par four after a great second shot from the rough, and looked to be in charge with just three to play.
But having knocked out the defending champion Shanklin & Sandown’s Jordan Sundborg in Saturday’s quarter-final at the 19th – having been four down with seven to play – Grimes then produced a massive birdie putt at the par three 17th from all of 30 feet to draw level for a third time.
Just as he had the previous afternoon, he produced a Patrick Reed-like Ryder Cup response charging around the green as the emotion came pouring out.
And that tipped the momentum going up the last as both found the green in two – but when Grimes’ 30-footer curled from the top left of the sloping green to come up seven feet below the hole, his nerves held putting first, only for Robson’s six-footer for a four to slide up short.