Young’s Courage And Colin’s Quaich
COLIN Roope’s persistence paid off as he claimed his second Hampshire Order of Merit title in three years – thanks to a double second place in the final strokeplay events of the season, at Basingstoke GC.
The county captain, from Blackmoor, finished second in both the Courage Trophy and the Hampshire Mid-Amateur Championship (Over 35s) as his predecessor Martin Young won both events by three shots after reaching 10-under par with 66 and 65.
But Roope, who won both the Courage and Mid-Am at Aldershot’s Army GC 12 months ago, would not let go of his titles easily, as the race for the Cullen Quaich in the Order of Merit came down to a battle with Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson, who won back-to-back at Brokenhurst and Stoneham to complete the Solent Slam last month.
That had given last year’s Order of Merit winner a 13-point lead, but Roope reeled Robson in with two second places in Petersfield’s Wishart Trophy and the Blackmoor Bowl to lead by nine going into Sunday’s showdown.
Roope raced out of the blocks with a stunning 64 at Basingstoke. The greenkeepers ironed the greens at lunch making them even quicker to get them up to 12 on the stimp – as fast as at the county championship at Liphook in June.
Roope rattled off birdies at the first, second, fourth and driveable eighth, with two more at 10 and 18 to get to six-under.
But starting from the 11th after lunch, he dropped three shots in his first 10 holes, but salvaged his second round with three birdies coming home to card a level-par 70.
The Horndean golfer was delighted – especially given how he he had surrendered a six-shot lead at Petersfield just two weeks earlier after a seven-under par 65 in the first round of the Wishart Trophy.
Colin, who ended up losing a play-off to club and county team-mate Ben Lobacz, said: “I had never gone 65-78 in my life.
“My mind just wandered – I got far too far ahead of myself, thinking about the Order of Merit, which I really wanted to win again to match the two I won in Surrey more than 10 years ago.
“I was determined to not think about anything else this weekend – either tournament or the Order of Merit. I just focused on one shot at a time.
“I played really great. I made three birdies from 10 feet, a couple from four feet plus a two-putt on the par five 18th.
“I also made a six-footer for par on the 15th and had a couple of more chances inside 10 feet in the first 18.
“I am generally not great on low-scoring courses. Most of my wins have been when level par gets it done.
“I could have maybe got to eight or nine-under with a better start in the second round, but 134 is my best 36-hole total in a long time so I am very happy,” added the 37-year-old, who won the Hampshire Open at Hayling, in July.
Robson (71, 66) finished fourth but picked up the Cole Scuttle for the fourth time in eight years for the best aggregate at the county championship and the Courage.
It was Young’s fifth Courage in seven years but his first since 2014 – the year he completed the first-ever Hampshire Slam winning all four county titles.
It was also his eighth county Mid-Am crown in 10 years – he won the English Mid-Am at the first attempt at Hayling in 2006.