TOM Robson looked on course to replicate Danny Willett’s winning ways at Augusta as he closed in on his first national amateur title in the UK on Sunday.
That was until a disastrous double bogey seven at the penultimate hole at North Hants ruined his Hampshire Hog chances and ensured Royal Liverpool GC’s Matthew Jordan claimed victory.
Robson, who finished fourth at the weekend after rounds of 68 and 71 (one under) went to the same American college as the new Masters champion.
And while their college careers were a couple of years apart, there is clearly something in the Jacksonville State University coaching set-up that breeds winners.
Robson topped the leader board three times in his four years at the Alabama college (2009 to 2013), and ever since he took the decision not to pursue a life in the pro ranks, he has remained a key figure in the Hampshire amateur team and threatened to extend his illustrious list of titles.
Victory in the Hog would have topped all the Rowlands Castle’s assistant secretary’s domestic honours so far, including the Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Channel Islands Amateur Championships.
But the new Hampshire Colts team manager remained philosophical after coming up short in Fleet.
He said: ‘I hit my drive tight to the right fence on the par-five 17th. I had been four-under on the back nine, but dropped a shot at the 16th.
‘I didn’t know Matthew Jordan was leading on five-under going down the last in front of me but I thought I had to make at least a birdie and then try to find out where I stood going down the last.
‘I hit my two iron from a poor lie but I didn’t see the root of some heather and it squirted straight into the bunker some 50 yards from the green.
‘I then found the sand again in the green-side bunker.
‘I splashed out to 10 feet but missed the par putt and then missed a fiddler coming back, which left me stuffed.’
Worse was to follow when Robson found out that the double bogey had also cost him the prestigious Hampshire Salver for the best 72-hole aggregate in the Hampshire Hog and Selborne Salver – played 24 hours earlier at Blackmoor.
Instead, the trophy went to Bristol’s Josh Hilleard, who also took runners-up spot in the Hog with rounds of 69, 70 to go with his 71 and 68 at Blackmoor – a total of level par.
Tom, who finished the weekend on one-over, added: ‘If I had laid up on 17 and made sure of the birdie, I would not have given the Hampshire Salver to Josh.
‘I was trying to stay in contention for the Hog, but being two behind, the smart move would have been staying in contention in the Salver.’
Corhampton’s England A squad member, Scott Gregory, never recovered from his first-round 73, taking one shot more after lunch, to finish in 38th place.
In the Selborne Salver, a pair of 68s for two under by Yorkshire’s James Walker handed him victory.
Hayling’s Toby Burden (70 & 70) was the highest-ranked Hampshire player after he finished 11th. Robson (68 & 72) finished 13th on countback, Gregory (72 & 69) 15th, and Hayling’s Darren Walkley 16th (72 & 69).