Grimes Grinds His Way To Top As Romsey’s Rose
Owen Grimes produced one of the biggest shocks in the Hampshire Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship over the last 20 years, by becoming the first golfer from Romsey to land the title in its 125-year history.
The 19-year-old who has just completed his first year in junior college golf in the States, beat Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson on the 18th with a birdie four after a tense final on Liphook’s notoriously fast and sloping greens that make it the Augusta of Hampshire.
Grimes made a number of long birdie putts including one to seal a comeback from four down with seven to play against defending champion Jordan Sundborg, from Shanklin and Sandown, in the quarter-finals.
Grimes, who plays for Murray State in Oklahoma, knocked out US college graduate Sam De’Ath, from North Hants, in the semis winnng 2&1, while Robson ended Meon Valley’s West of England Amateur Champion George Saunders hopes of a first final appearance with a 4&3 victory.
It was Robson’s third final in four years – he was the last golfer to win the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup when it was contested at Liphook in 2009, ironically at the end of Robson’s first year at Jacksonville State University – where he played alongside European Tour winner Matt Wallace at the same Alabama college where Masters winner Danny Willett had just spent two years.
But 21 years after future US Open winner and Olympic Gold winner Justin Rose lost in his only Hampshire final as a 16-year-old, it was teenager Grimes, who held his nerve and hand a hefty to hint to watching county captain Colin Roope, from Blackmoor who has some big selection decisions for key tournaments the reigning English County Champions play in the coming month as they also chase the South East England League title for the first time in six years.