Gregory retains crown as fine form continues

Scott Gregory accepts his trophy. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Scott Gregory accepts his trophy. Picture: Andrew Griffin
  • Corhampton golfer grabs play-off triumph in Stoneham Trophy
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Scott Gregory continued his late-season surge with a gutsy victory in the Stoneham Trophy.

The Corhampton man has blazed back to form in recent weeks and was brimming with confidence after his fourth place in the European Amateur Championship in Slovakia.

Although it’s been a season of disappointment until recently, his mood was then further boosted after being called up to the England A squad.

But after shooting two impressive four-under-par rounds of 68, Gregory still needed a three-hole play-off to edge past Ryan Henley to complete a successful defence of the title he lifted last year.

Gregory, who revealed he had made some adjustments to his mental approach to the game to get him back on track, required a courageous up-and-down on the 18th hole of his second round to match Henley’s total.

But he then played out a solid three extra holes in level par to Henley’s one-over as he sealed the title.

Both players had birdie chances on the par five first with Henley, who was looking to win the Stoneham Trophy for a fifth time, lipping out from 20 feet.

Henley then found the right-hand bunker some 25 yards from the flag on the par three second, leaving Gregory the option of finding the front of the green and two-putting as Henley failed to make his par.

Although the Stoneham man’s shorter drive on the uphill third gave him the chance to put the pressure on his opponent, his wedge went long to the back of the green and his 25-foot birdie putt did not threaten the hole.

That left the Waterlooville-based Gregory a comfortable two-putt from 18 feet to keep his hands firmly on the trophy he claimed after beating Hayling’s Ben Wall in a play-off that lasted six holes 12 months ago.

Gregory, however, was unable to find quite the same form on the following day at Brokenhurst Manor as Martin Young turned in a fine display on his home track to lift the Mike Smith Memorial Trophy.

Young shot a stunning seven-under-par 63 to equal the course record as he rattled in five birdies on the spin.

And after his opening 66, it meant he was always in control of the competition as he took the title by seven strokes.

Gregory’s two rounds of 71 left him in eighth place, which also saw him miss out on the Solent Salver – the trophy for the four-round total from both events – as North Hants’ Billy Watson took the prize.

Petersfield’s Ben Lobacz sealed second place in the Mike Smith Memorial Trophy to mark a welcome return to form after a poor 18 months as he shot rounds of 67 and 69 to take third place.

It saw him finish two strokes ahead of Hayling’s Darren Walkley.

Walkley’s 138 was matched by fifth-placed Harry Ellis (Meon Valley), who was edged out on countback.