HARRY Ellis heads back to college in Florida knowing his game is now in the best possible shape – four years after he was lauded as Hampshire’s next Justin Rose following his win in the English Amateur Championship at the age of just 16.
His latest success in the Mike Smith Memorial Trophy at Brokenhurst Manor was his third win in as many months, following victory in the Lagonda Trophy and the Peter Benka Trophy.
And the Florida State University ace is determined to keep crossing the winning line.
‘Obviously, winning the English Amateur at 16 was a fantastic experience and achievement,’ said Ellis.
‘But since then I have learned that despite having such a big win at an early age, it will be my achievements in strokeplay that are going to count in the long run as a golfer.
‘Last year at Florida State it was hard to even get in the Seminoles team and I have not played anything like my best golf for the past two years.
‘But it has been a long and gradual process working to improve, and things have just got better and better since I came home in May and won the Lagonda – and then helped Hampshire win the qualifier for the English County Championships.
‘My coaches back in Tallahassee know the strength of the events I have won this summer and they are monitoring my scores, so I will be in a really good place to get back on the team when I go back.
‘It’s a shame I cannot come back for the English County Finals at the end of September, but Hampshire have a really strong squad and I am confident they can win it without me.’
Victory meant the Seminoles star becomes just the third player to have won the Mike Smith Memorial Trophy more than once, joining Stoneham’s Ryan Henley (three times) and Martin Young (5).
Meon Valley member Ellis secured victory with two consecutive rounds of 68 at Brockenhurst.
That left him one shot clear of Blackmoor’s Colin Roope, who shot a 69 and 68.
Rowlands Castle’s Tillman Trophy winner, Billy McKenzie, was six shots back in fifth.
Meanwhile, Hayling’s Travis Yunk Hok took the handicap prize with nett scores of 70 and 71, playing off two.
Hayling’s Richard Harris, who reached the semi-final of the county championships back in early June, earning him his Hampshire league debut against Sussex, shot a second round 69 to jump up into sixth spot.
n Ellis could not sustain his form to claim the Stoneham Trophy for the first time.
With Corhampton’s British Amateur champion Scott Gregory playing in the US Amateur, it was left to county veteran Ryan Henley to land the Stoneham on his own course for a record fifth time.