Robson gets a Liphook lift in Brabazon quest

Tom Robson. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Tom Robson. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Scott Gregory

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Tom Robson has been given a boost in his hopes of going for Brabazon Trophy glory this year after Liphook Golf Club was named as a qualifying venue.

The Rowlands Castle ace has won the last two major Hampshire amateur championships held at the course.

And England Golf have announced Liphook will host the Southern Qualifier for the English Amateur Strokeplay Championship on May 12 – just six weeks before one of the top five amateur events in Europe is held at Hollinwell, in Nottinghamshire.

Robson said: ‘There is just something about Liphook I love.

‘I won the county championship final in a play-off against Toby Burden, from Hayling, after winning three rounds in the knockout over the weekend, having played 36 holes of strokeplay on the Friday,

‘It was great to win the Courage there two years later – I had such positive feelings from my earlier win.

‘I love the greens, which are always super fast. I think I read them and putt on them very well.

‘Maybe after four years in America where the greens tend to be that bit quicker than in England, I am more used to those conditions.

‘The Liphook greenskeeper, David Murdoch, likes to play in some of the county open events and he is a top, top greenkeeper who always has that course in fantastic condition whenever Hampshire holds an event there.

‘Even though our events tend to be a little later in the summer, I cannot believe the course will play anything like other than it normally does.’

Corhampton’s Scott Gregory and Rowlands Castle’s Billy Mckenzie both made it through to the main event at Seaton Carew.

Gregory does not have to worry about qualifying having finished seventh in the England Golf Order of Merit in 2014 after his famous run to the final of the English Amateur Championships at Saunton, in Devon.

Robson was exempt from qualifying last year but the 25-year old was forced to give up his place in the field because of work commitments.

But his record at Liphook has got him licking his lips at the prospect of earning one of the 30 qualifying places up for grabs and then the chance to follow in club-mate DarrenWright and former county team-mate Neil Raymond’s footsteps as a winner of the main event.

The Liphook date may not be so attractive for three of the county’s top players who have followed Robson’s lead by heading to the States on a golf scholarship.

Meon Valley’s Harry Ellis – a former English Amateur champion – and Mckenzie, along with Hayling’s Jamie Mist are all eyeing the chance to play in their respective national college finals, which clash with the Brabazon qualifiers.

Mist, who surprised many people by reaching the last eight of the English Amateur alongside Gregory at Saunton, would love the chance to catch the England selectors’ eye again.

Ellis, who was 33rd in the Brabazon in 2013 – 12 months after breaking the all-time record as the youngest-ever English Amateur champion, will be desperate to play in the NCAA finals for the Florida State University team he joined a year ago.