County talents earn their chance

Hayling golfer Jamie Mist
Hayling golfer Jamie Mist
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Scott Gregory. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Richard Elmes believes Hampshire Golf can continue to reap what has been sown as a clutch of youngsters bid to step up to the full county side this year.

Local talents like Jamie Mist from Hayling and Rowlands Castle’s Billy McKenzie are among a group of teenagers eager to impress as they aim to join a team that has become one of the most feared amateur sides in the country.

Players of the calibre of Neil Raymond and Harry Ellis have put the county on the map with individual titles, while the team itself has excelled in recent years.

But the Hampshire captain believes there is a growing wealth of talent at his disposal, which is down to the investment that has gone on and ensures a bright future.

Elmes said: ‘Hampshire Golf is very strong at the moment.

‘But we have done a lot of work over the past few years.

‘It’s great we have these players coming through but I think a lot of it is down to the programmes we have put in place over the past few years.

‘Obviously, you have still got to have the players but we have put a lot of good programmes in at boys and youth level.

‘It has helped encourage the players and given them the opportunity to learn. They will get their chance.’

While Elmes expects Mist to turn out for the colts team this season, Corhampton’s Scott Gregory looks to be another golfer who could be given an opportunity.

And Rowlands Castle’s Mark Sawford has decided against turning professional for the time being and will be available again.

Elmes said: ‘Jamie Mist will probably be playing in the colts but Tom Robson is back in the UK after studying in USA.

‘Mark Sawford looked like he might be turning pro but now he isn’t, so I’m sure he will be involved again.

‘Scott Gregory is progressing well and has definitely put himself in with a shout.’

The county team survived the freezing temperatures to meet at Hockley Golf Club recently.

And they will get together again on April 13 at Liphook Golf Club.