Castle’s Robson misses out on Duel in Sun glory

Tom Robson. Picture: Innes Marlow
Tom Robson. Picture: Innes Marlow
Scott Gregory

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Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson’s bid to win a second Hampshire Amateur Championship came up just short as he lost the Duel in the Sun over a sun-baked Hayling links to his county captain Martin Young, on Sunday.

Robson lost in the final for a second year in a row – 12 months ago Hayling’s Darren Walkley lifted the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup at Brokenhurst Manor where Young is a member.

The decisive shot was Robson’s tee shot on the 18th, which cannoned off former county captain Alan Mew, and landed in the gorse on the right, while Young was 20 yards further forward in the light rough.

Robson had to take a penalty drop and when his par putt from eight feet came up a two ball rolls short he graciously conceded the match giving Young his third title since 2011.

The pair had shared a topsy-turvey back nine after Robson had started poorly just as he had against Walkley.

This time he was three down after five but fought back to all square by the turn and went ahead for the first time on the 10th – only to see Young roll in a 15-foot downhiller on the tricky par three 11th to get level.

Young fluffed a bunker shot on the 16th to surrender a slender lead but then made a superb up and down from the greenside trap on 17 to take the match up the last all square.

Robson had to settle for the consolation of claiming his third Pechell Salver in six years for the best qualifying score on Friday, shooting 67, 66 to finish Friday’s qualifier on nine-under – a record since the trophy was introduced back in 1960.

The host clubs hopes of an all-Hayling final in the 111th Hampshire Amateur championship were ended when Robson beat Kevin Hickman 4&3 in the semis while Young beat former Pompey Academy striker Richard Harris 3&1.

Seven Hayling members qualified to make the top 16 who went into Saturday’s matchplay knockout.

Walkley’s title defence was ended by former Surrey county player Colin Roope, from Blackmoor, who won at the 19th after a birdie barrage in their first round match.

Hickman ended Toby Burden’s hopes of making a third final since 2006, while Robson knocked out Jamie Mist, and Ben Wall was beaten by North Hants’ Billy Watson.

Steve Clapp, who beat Liphook’s Sam Lemon 2&1 then faced Hickman in the quarter-finals but was beaten by two holes while Robson ended Roope’s run with a 3&2 win.

Harris knocked out Watson by holing a stunning 40 foot putt on the 18th to book his place in the last four, having knocked out Delhi Cup winner George Saunders from Meon Valley G&CC in the first round.

His performance sent out a heavy hint to the watching county selectors, backing up many observers’ calls that he is the best player in Hampshire yet to be selected by the county.

– ANDREW GRIFFIN