CORHAMPTON’s Scott Gregory took the pressure of being the favourite on his home course to land his first Courage Trophy – winning by two shots from Blackmoor’s Mark Burgess on Sunday.
But both their efforts were overshadowed by the brilliance of teenage talent Jordan Sundborg, who broke the course record with a stunning second-round 62, after shooting a 76 in the opening 18.
That eclipsed the old record set by Corhampton’s former England international and Walker Cup player, Neil Raymond, who was among the spectators at the final county amateur strokeplay event of the season.
At the start of play, Brokenhurst Manor’s Martin Young was aiming to make it four Courage Trophy victories in a row.
But after leading at lunch thanks to a 68, it soon became a race between Gregory, Burgess and Sundborg to see who could finish on top around the downland course.
Gregory has been in fine form in recent weeks, after finishing fourth in the European Amateur Championship and collecting his first win of the season by retaining the Stoneham Trophy.
And from two back at the halfway mark, he set about reeling in defending champion Young by sinking a monster from 50 feet for an opening three.
By the 10th, the England A international was at five under for the tournament, while Young dropped shots at the fifth and seventh to take him back to two under at the turn.
With both players in the same group, Gregory knew exactly where he was and increased the pressure on his county team-mate with another birdie three at the 12th to counteract Young’s birdie four at the 10th.
But a four at the par-three 13th threatened to let the chasing pack get back at the new leader as Young also picked up another shot at the 14th.
Luckily, Gregory’s father Mike was walking the course and was aware of the charge by Burgess, who was looking to become just the fourth player to win the Courage three times.
The Blackmoor ace was four-under at the turn and a birdie at the 14th meant he and Gregory were tied on five under.
But while Burgess was unable to cash in on the final par five, Gregory holed a 17-foot birdie attempt to make his fifth three of the afternoon.
That crucially gave him a one-shot lead going down the last, and after finding the front of the green with his second, he cozied his first putt to six inches for a tap-in birdie and a two-shot win.
A delighted Gregory said: ‘Obviously, I wanted to win the Courage because it was being played at my home course at Corhampton.
‘I would like to thank all the members who have supported me over the last few years – without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.
‘I like to know where I am in a tournament and what I have got to do, so when dad came over and told me Mark had posted five under it was nice to play the last knowing that I had three putts to win it.
‘I have been playing well over the last few weeks, but it is very satisfying to pick up another big win, after failing to reach the levels I set myself after getting into the England A squad this year.
‘It’s a nice way to finish the season.
‘The greens were in superb conditions as usual and Jordan’s score was something else.
‘Now we can look forward to playing in the English County Finals at the end of September and the South East League Final in Dorset the week after, with the Colts final after that.’