Lamb puts Hampshire Hog record to the slaughter

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Hexham’s Matty Lamb the second Northumberland winner of the Hampshire Hog after John Metcale, from Arcot Hall, in 1990. Picture by MARK SANDOM

NORTHUMBERLAND’S Matty Lamb travelled further than any of the 72 competitors vying to put their name alongside Justin Rose’s on the Hampshire Hog honours board at North Hants GC.

And the plus-five handicapper, who is currently not a member of the England squad – gave the biggest hint possible that he should be on the Walker Cup selectors list to face the Americans at Hoylake, in August, when he shattered the course record at North Hants.

Rose famously won the trophy as a 14-year-old back in 1995 and within two years was the youngest ever player to be selected to face the Americans in the amateur equivalent to the Ryder Cup, at the age of just 16.

He was 17 by the time he faced the USA at Pine Ridge but just as Rose surprised the England selectors by winning the Hog by five shots 24 years ago, Lamb put the temporary course record to the slaughter with a superb 63 in the second round.

The Hexham ace’s round contained eight birdies – including four in his first five holes – but it had looked remote in the morning having had to settle for a one-over par70.

That was three shots behind the pacesetters down in equal 10th with 10 other players.

But the 21-year-old quickly hit a five-iron to 15 feet having started the second round at the 10th for a birdie two – only to give it straight back at the 11th, where he three-putted.

At the 12th, however, he left a seven-iron 12 feet from the pin while at the short par-four 13th, he splashed out of a greenside bunker to five feet and converted that chance after a booming drive of more than 300 yards.

A gap wedge to 30-foot gave him a fourth birdie at the 14th, and at the 18th he holed his third after hitting a nine-iron to 15 feet to get to the turn in 32.

Another towering nine-iron to 20 feet at the second meant he was now sharing the lead as lunchtime leader Joe Cass, from Fulford, made the turn in three-over, and Howley Hall’s Ben Hutchinson could not add to his total.

Lamb picked up another shot at the downhill sixth, where he drove the green some 377 yards long and two-putted.

He also birdied the eighth, hitting a wedge to 20 feet, but with a 61 in his sights, he found sand off the ninth and could do no better than a disappointing bogey five.

Lamb, who spent 18 months at North Carolina University in Charlotte, was pleased to join the likes of Justin Rose, Sandy Lyle and Michael Bonallack on the Hog trophy.

He became just the second Northumberland winner after Arcot Hall’s John Metcalfe – who is still the only player to have won the Selborne Salver, Hampshire Hog and Hampshire Salver in the same weekend.

Hallowes’ Sam Bairstow was looking to become jus the second ever Yorkshireman to win the Hog after Middlesborough’s Jon Lupton in 2001, but after matching Lamb’s slow start with a 70 his more than respectable 65, including seven birdies and two bogeys was two shy.

His score was matched by Whittington Heath’s Ryan Brooks who carded a second round 67 to go with his first round 68.

A shot behind them were 2010 Brabazon Trophy winner Darren Wright, from Rowland’s Castle, playing his first medal round of the year having got his amateur status back late last season, after calling a halt to his career on the European Challenge and EuroPro Tours after six years.

His blistering 64 was in complete contrast to his slow starting 72 – which was understandable as he shakes off the rust of little top level golf in two years.

Wiltshire’s Jake Bolton (Ogbourne Downs), who added a 66 to his morning 70, was edged out of the Hampshire Salver by Bairstow on countback, aiming to emulate Bowood’s European Tour winner Jordan Smith, who managed the feat in 2014.

It was a cruel weekend for the Wiltshire golfer – he did not do a lot wrong in losing a play-off to Ham Manor’s Charlie Strickland in the Selborne Salver, at Blackmoor, on Saturday.

Hertfordshire’s Robert Watkins (Hadley Wood), who shot 71, 67, and another Wiltshireman in Cumberwell Park’s James Cooper who carded 68, 70 both matched par to share sixth along with Lansdown’s Joe Long (68, 70) and Cass (67, 71).

North Hants’ 2017 British Mid Amateur Champion Matt Wilcox, who won the Berkhamsted Trophy a year ago, was 11th with a pair of 70s.

Former Hampshire captain Martin Young, from Brokenhurst Manor, posted a pair of 71s to take 16th spot., a shot ahead of Stoneham’s Alex Talbot (72, 71).

Last year’s Hampshire Amateur Champion Owen Grimes, from Stoneham, carded two 73s to end up in 35th place on his debut in the competition which started back in 1959.

Hexham’s Matty Lamb broke the course record with a six-unde par 63 including eight birdies at North Hants in the Hampshire Hog. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG Pictures
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