Day and Lobacz lead Colts charge

Ben Lobacz. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Ben Lobacz. Picture: Andrew Griffin
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Sam Day and Ben Lobacz will lead the Hampshire Colts challenge at Rowlands Castle this weekend in the South Eastern Group under-21 League Final.

Corhampton’s Day and Petersfield’s Lobacz have been named in the eight-man team to face Essex on Sunday but manager Neil Dawson’s team is missing some serious talent.

Billy McKenzie, who would have been a key man on his home track, has returned to his studies in USA.

Fellow US college golfers Steven Anderson, Joe Ellis and Sam De’ath have also returned across the Atlantic for the autumn term.

Scott Gregory is also unavailable as he is on England duty at the Spirit International in Texas, which starts on Monday.

Dawson would have loved to have been able to pick another member from last year’s championship winning team but Tom Robson is now over 25 and ineligible to play as one of two over-age players.

Robson has not only been a Rowlands member since his junior days but he is now the club’s new assistant secretary.

The colts manager said: ‘It would have been perfect to have Tom lead the team off on a course he knows so well but he is keen to help the boys win the title again and will be there for the practice rounds and on the day to help everyone prepare properly.’

Dawson was also hoping to be able to call upon Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Channel Islands amateur champion, Darren Walkley, as one of his overage picks but the 25-year-old has to work over the weekend in the pro shop at Hayling.

Dawson said: ‘Luckily, I can still call upon Sam Day, who played very well at the finals.

‘He did a fantastic job being around the team for the qualifier at Waterlooville and although he was not allowed to give advice to the players during play, he gets on so well with all our young players, he will be a big presence in the locker room.’

Lobacz has been quietly rebuilding his reputation after bursting on to the Hampshire scene after reaching the final of the county championships at Blackmoor two years ago.

That meteoric rise saw him picked for the full county side but a big dip in form in 2014 saw him fall back down the pecking order.

A number of top-10 finishes in Order of Merit events over the past three months has caught the selectors’ eyes again.

But Dawson will not fall into the trap of underestimating Essex, despite the home advantage.

The two teams will play four foursomes matches in the morning followed by the eight singles after lunch. Entry is free and spectators are welcome.