Roope at the double as switch pays off

Colin Roope
Colin Roope
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Blackmoor’s Colin Roope has become the first player to land both the Hampshire Order of Merit titles in a season.

The 36-year-old had to wait until the Courage Trophy scores had been added to the 36-hole qualifier at June’s county championship to be certain of completing the nett and gross prize double.

Roope needed a second-place finish at his club’s open, held at the end of August, to secure a lead going into the Courage – the final strokeplay event on the county calendar.

And while the former Europro Tour player still has ambitions to play for his new county after moving to Clanfield from Farnham, the two trophies he has won polished off a fine first season after his switch.

‘To win the order of merit was a thrill,’ said Roope.

‘I won the Surrey County Championships and their order of merit back to back before turning pro, so to win the Hampshire one in my first year back is pleasing.

‘I started the season not really knowing what to expect having played no golf at all – aside from one men’s open and probably 15 rounds maximum since I stopped playing professionally in 2009.

‘Since then I have started a new career, got married and had two kids, so golf has not been a priority at all.

‘Joining Blackmoor was a really good move as I was so unfamiliar with the course that my concentration levels improved as I was not going through the motions.

‘I finished ninth in the Delhi at Hockley back in May despite playing terribly and only a good attitude kept me going.

‘After that I realised I should be able to compete if I committed some time to practice.

‘I know I am not the best player in Hampshire – far from it. There are some incredibly-talented individuals in the county who are miles ahead of me.

‘That said, on my day I can compete and be there or thereabouts and that gave me additional motivation.’

Roope flagged up his potential to the county selectors when he qualified in sixth place at the county championships at Hayling back in June.

He then ended Darren Walkley’s hopes of retaining his county crown in the matchplay, with a superb putting display.

No player has won both the Surrey and Hampshire County Championships in more than 100 years but after beating the defending champion it took county colts captain Tom Robson, from Rowlands Castle, on his way to a second final in a row, to deny Roope that glory.

Roope added: ‘Tom is such a talented player and I took no shame in losing to him.

‘I took even more confidence from that and my results for the year – aside from the Hampshire Open – have been consistently good.’

Roope went into the Courage with an eight-point lead over Shanklin & Sandown’s Jordan Sundborg.

But it was Ryan Harmer who confirmed his place in the Hampshire team for last week’s England County Finals with victory at Hockley,

Roope’s only other rival was Stoneham’s Ryan Henley.

But a third place finish in the Courage left him runner-up in the season’s race for the Cullen Quaich – 4.5 points behind Roope, whose total of 37.5 points in the nett table left him clear of Blackmoor’s Ben Lobacz (30)

Roope will be presented with his two trophies at the Hampshire Golf AGM in December.