Jamie Mist revealed how he got an unexpected reminder of sweet home Alabama during his terrific run to the English Amateur Championship quarter-finals.
The Hayling golfer has just finished his first year at Jacksonville State University in Alabama on a golf scholarship, combining it with his studies in exercise science
But after travelling the 5,000 miles back home for the summer break, the 19-year-old was then drawn against his Jacksonville team-mate and fellow Englishman, Tomasz Anderson, after the pair qualified in the top 64 for the knockout phase of the competition.
Mist said: ‘We were sitting at dinner together after the qualifier and we knew we might be close to each other in the draw.
‘I got the message through on my phone and we laughed about it – but then we didn’t talk to each other for the whole round.
‘It was more him than me and I think he just wanted to focus on his game.
‘But it was good to beat him and then we started chatting again afterwards.
‘Then he said he would caddy for me for the next two days.
‘But it was bizarre to be playing against him.’
After a 3&1 win over his class-mate, Mist then despatched Sean Towndrow 6&4, before claiming the scalp of highly-rated Goodwood amateur Toby Tree with another 3&1 victory in the last 16.
Mist then also made a miraculous recovery in his quarter-final showdown against Oscar Granstrom-Livesey, but was eventually edged out by just one hole.
The Hayling teenager said: ‘I was two down with two to play, but then I holed a 35-footer for birdie on the 17th.
‘Then I lipped out for a birdie with a chip on the 18th, which was a shame.
‘But it was a really good week and I gained a lot of experience.
‘I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to make it through the qualifier.
‘But I definitely would have taken the quarter-finals at the start of the week.’
Mist has ambitions to turn professional when he finishes his scholarship.
He now believes a productive summer has set him up for another year of progress across the pond, after seeing the improvement in his game recently.
Mist added: ‘It’s been really enjoyable. When I went out there, I was very surprised by the intensity.
‘I get up at 6am to go to the gym, I study all morning and then it’s golf all afternoon.
‘So it’s been nice to have a bit of a break over the summer.
‘I believe it has improved my game massively.
‘When I go around to different states to play in the events, the way of golf is very different, the grass is different and you have to play different kinds of shots.
‘It makes you think a bit more.
‘My standard of play has definitely improved.’
n A host of the leading amateurs in the region will battle it out for the Solent Salver this weekend – one of the top prizes in the county.
The event incorporates the 36-hole Mike Smith Memorial Trophy at Brokenhurst Manor on Saturday.
This is followed by another 36-hole scratch competition at Stoneham the following day.