HALLOWES GC’s Sam Bairstow prevented Jake Bolton from becoming the second Wiltshire winner of the Hampshire Savler in six years at North Hants Golf Club.
The Yorkshire amateur took the prize on countback after finishing third in the Hampshire Hog on Sunday, courtesy of an excellent 65.
His four-under round after lunch was only bettered by Hog winner Matty Lamb (Hexham), who broke the course record with a superb 63, and Hampshire’s Darren Wright, who fired a 64 in his first competitive weekend of golf since quitting professional golf two years ago.
Bairstow, who lost in the final of last year’s Yorkshire Amateur Championship, started from the 10th playing in the group behind Lamb.
His approach to the 12th hit the flag before settling some eight feet from the pin, before getting up and down from the bunker for birdie at the par five 17th. He sank a 20-footer for a three at the 18th to get to three-under at the turn.
His hopes of becoming just the second Yorkshire player to win the Hampshire Hog in its 63-year history after Jon Lupton in 2001 after bogeys at the first and third.
But he bounced back brilliantly with three birdies in a row – holing a six-footer at the fourth, before canning a 30-footer at the next and then picking up another from just two feet after missing his eagle putt on the 377-yard downhill sixth, which the top players were all taking a shy at.
Three pars to finish left him two adrift of Lamb on three-under but edged out Whittington Heath’s Ryan Brooks of third place on countback after the latter carded 68 and 67.
Ironically, Bairstow carded a one-over par 70 in the morning at the course where Justin Rose famously won the Hog as a 14-year-old in 1995 – and took the Salver for the best aggregate in the Selborne Salver two years later – and 70, 65 were the same scores Sam posted at Blackmoor 24 hours earlier.
Bolton had lost a play-off to Sussex’s Charlie Strickland to win the Selborne Salver on Saturday, with two 67s, and shot a 66 on Sunday afternoon to go with his one-over par 70 before lunch.
That left Bolton and Bairstow tied on six-under on the Hampshire Salver leaderboard.
But that extra shot in the fourth round ultimately counted against him, and prevented him from joining Bowood’s European Tour winner Jordan Smith as a fellow Wiltshire winner.
Lamb had to settle for third place in the Hampshire Salver as he missed out on becoming the eighth player to have landed the Hampshire Hog and Salver double since the 72-hole prize was introduced in 1979.
Bairstow joins the likes of Sand Moor pair Simon Dyson and Ben Mason, who won back-to-back after Rose’s success in the Hampshire Salver in the late 1990s.
Former English Amateur winner Stuart Cage, who now helps manage Hampshire’s former British Amateur Champion Scott Gregory on the Euorpean Tour for the Octagon group, was the first Yorkshire winner in 1992 – 13 years after Peter McEvoy became the first-ever winner of the 72-hole competition, which is one of only two club strokeplay events in the UK that earn points in the Official World Amateur Rankings.
Past winners of the Hampshire Salver also include Ross Fisher (2004), Callum Shinkwin (2013), Smith (2014) and Jack Singh Brar (2017), who are all now playing on the European Tour.
Ryder Cup player Andrew Sullivan, who is a member at Nuneaton GC, is the only player to win the trophy twice – picking it up in 2010 and 2011.
European team-mate Matt Fitzpatrick missed out by a shot in 2012, 24 hours after claiming the Selborne Salver.
It is 14 years since a Hampshire player last claimed the Salver – Stoneham’s Ryan Henley, who won at Blackmoor that year, when he also won the county championship at the East Hampshire heathland course which celebrated its centenary that year.
Hampshire did claim the Salver three years in a row in the mid 1990s – Hayling’s Mark Treleaven winning it in 1995, followed by Sandford Springs’ James Knight a year later before Rose completed the hat-trick, having finished runner-up in the Hog to Gary Wolstenholme, England’s most capped international, who is now playing on the European Seniors Tour.
Aldershot-based Army Golf Club member Ian Gray was the first Hampshire winner to claim the trophy back in 1982, having won the Hog – he returned home to defend both titles 12 months later having spent six of them stationed at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
He had arrived home having not played a single round while based down in the South Atlantic.
Former Hampshire captain Martin Young is the host county’s only other winner of the Hampshire Salver in 2000 – a year when rain redcued the Selborne Salver to 18 holes, allowing the Brokenhurst Manor man to take the trophy after being in contention at both Blackmoor and North Hants.