Monday 3rd September 2018
Lots of winners at Basingstoke Golf Club
Bill Noble (Captain, Basingstoke Golf Club), Martin Young and John Moore (President, Hampshire Golf).
Andy Griffin reports from Basingstoke Golf Club........
FORMER county captain Martin Young continued his quest of breaking records with his fourth Courage Trophy victory in seven years after an immaculate display at Basingstoke, on Sunday.
The first-ever player to complete the Hampshire Slam – by winning all four major county titles in the same season – gatecrashed the shoot-out for the Hampshire Order of Merit title between his successor as Hampshire captain – Colin Roope, from Blackmoor GC, and last year’s vice-captain Tom Robson, who was defending the Cullen Quaich.
Young, from Brokenhurst Manor GC, ended the day on nine-under par to win by three shots from Roope, taking the Hampshire Mid-Amateur crown for the over 35s by the same margin.
The 47-year-old, who led Hampshire to their first English County Championship title in 21 years nearly a year ago at Trevose, said: “I thought Colin or Ryan Moody would get to 10-under, so that was my target for the afternoon.
“I missed a shortish putt on the 18th to get to 10 – in fact I missed a few birdie chances after lunch but it was pretty much faultless ball-striking.
“The tee shots are more demanding on the last eight holes which makes scoring less easy.
“But if you are prepared to hit driver then you can leave lots of wedges into the greens which is why I scored so well.”
Young, who has won the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup as Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Champion three times since 2011 – having spent some 20 years trying to win one – shows no signs of slowing down.
He revealed after collecting the trophy from Basingstoke GC captain Bill Noble: “Captaining the county for the last two years did have an affect on my game, there is no doubt.
“It was all geared around winning the English County Finals having been on the losing side sevens times having qualified as South East Champions.
“That was all I wanted to do, and we did it with a great squad and team which was I very, very proud to captain.
“Winning the Courage for a fifth time and the Mid Am for an eighth time has left me very, very happy.”
It was Roope, who set the pace with a brilliant 64 before lunch including six birdies to lead on six-under with Stoneham’s Ryan Moody impressing again after his fourth place finish in the Stoneham Trophy, with a 65 including just one dropped shot.
Playing so well in front of the Hampshire Captain who will shortly pick his eight-man team to face Essex in the South Eastern Group League Final at Frilford Heath, near Oxford, in early October, will have given Roope plenty to think about as several members of the team that won the South Division title for the first time since 2014 are now away at college and cannot return from the States for the game.
Young opened up with a fine 66 having started from the 11th with a dropped shot after going over the green with his second before making birdie threes at the 13th and 18th.
A run of seven consecutive pars on his back nine – the first seven holes on the course – took a turn for the better as he holed a birdie three on the eighth.
He then took on the 331-yard ninth driving the ball to 10 feet above the hole and took advantage of the read from Billy McKenzie’s slightly longer eagle try to make his two.
His second round was pretty flawless after getting on the 499-yard first in two for a two-putt birdie four and after giving a shot back at the third, his nine-iron to two feet on the fourth got him to five-under.
With Roope dropping three shots on his front nine on the other side of the course, Young accelerated away with a another chip to a foot at the par five sixth before getting up and down from the greenside bunker for a birdie three on the very short eighth at just 245 yards and was inside two feet again at the ninth to reach the turn in 31.
Young added: “I missed a couple more birdie chances at the seventh, 11th and 13th but hit a wedge to a foot on the 15th to make it nine-under.”
The drama was not over though as he hit a 25-yard flop shot to recover from behind the green to make his par from six feet before finding the sand by the green again from a 200-yard five-rion on the par five last, missing his putt for a four from six feet.
“It was the easiest 65 ever and I am back down to plus-three,” said a smiling Martin.
Rowlands Castle’s Robson, winner of last year’s Hampshire Order of Merit had to hand the Cullen Quaich back to Roope, the 2016 winner.
But having finished fourth a shot back from Moody, the Hampshire Colts manager had the consolation of winning the Cole Scuttle for the fourth time in eight years.
That prize for the best aggregate in the Courage and the 36-hole county championship qualifier was won by Basingstoke’s Craig Humphrey back in 2000 and the local member was 10th overall with rounds of 70 and 71, still playing off scratch nearly 20 years on.
The host club’s 18-year-old James Sankey picked up third prize in the handicap competition after the three-handicapper shot a nett 69 and 70 to finish four shots behind Young, who cleaned up the big prizes with a nett 135, playing off plus-two.
The victory was Young’s fifth win in the Hampshire strokeplay championship since 2004 when he tied with La Moye’s Richard Ramskill at Hockley.
He beat Darren Walkley in a play-off at the 50th Courage Trophy held at Hayling in 2012 – sparking three wins in a row.
Former England Amateur Champion Kevin Weeks, another Brokenhurst legend, has six victories, while record-holder David Harrison, the former R&A captain, from Stoneham, claimed seven of the first 11 Courage’s competed for by originally just club champions and players invited by the county golf union.
The Hampshire Mid-Amateur Championship, for those players aged over 35, was contested at the same time and Young sealed his eighth mid-am since 2008.
Only Stoneham’s former county captain Andy Bow (2010), Blackmoor’s Mark Burgess (2015) and Roope last year have prevented a whitewash in the category for the former England A squad player.
Photos: Bill Noble (Captain, Basingstoke GC) with Martin Young. Tom Robson and Martin Young.
Rowlands Castle's Tom Robson won the Cole Scuttle for the lowest aggregate score in the County Championship Qualifier and the Courage Trophy.
Consolation for Roope.....His second place finish at Basingstoke was enough to win the 2018 Hampshire Golf Order of Merit.