Walkley raises glass to success

Darren Walkley. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Darren Walkley. Picture: Andrew Griffin
  • Hayling man storms to Delhi Cup defence
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Darren Walkley proved that meticulous preparation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as he continued his hot streak of recent form with a dominant defence of his Delhi Cup title.

The Hayling amateur became the sixth player in the competition’s 40-year history to retain the trophy as he earned a three-stroke victory at Hockley with the Isle of Wight’s Josh Oddy earning the runners-up spot.

I had a couple of beers and then had a bit of a late night

Darren Walkley

Fresh from earning his place at the Brabazon Trophy last week, Walkley picked up an early 25th birthday present with a blistering five-under-par 66 in his first round, which was the only sub-70 round of the 36-hole event.

Although he wasn’t quite able to repeat the fireworks with a second-round 74, he knew that his rivals were playing catch-up.

It probably should have been a bigger margin of victory but for dropped shots in the closing holes, but he had plenty in the bank to hold off the other contenders.

After his near faultless display, Walkley admitted that a few factors had contributed to minor errors in the closing holes.

He said: ‘I dropped four shots in the last seven holes but I got a bit tired towards the end.

‘I was carrying my bag and I don’t normally do that.

‘I played in the Hayling pro-Am the day before. I got up at 6am, then played, then I worked in the pro shop until 7.30pm and then had to go up for the prize-giving as our team came second.

‘While I was up there, I had a couple of beers and then had a bit of a late night so I forgot to charge my battery for my electric trolley.

‘I can’t handle those pull-along ones – they bug me. So I knew I had to carry for 36 holes and it started to get to me towards the end of the round as we’d only had a light lunch – maybe I should have had a beer with it!

‘At least I could have a couple after I won.’

Walkley, who goes for the Lagonda Trophy next week, excelled in breezy conditions at the Winchester course as he rattled in six birdies in his opening round.

But he took nothing for granted, despite boasting a four-stroke advantage at the midway point to eventually post his winning total of 140.

He said: ‘I was quite confident going into it as I feel that Hockley suits my game.

‘I seem to always play well round there.

‘I played with Ryan Henley and he was only four shots behind me and there were a lot of good players behind me as well so you just try not to make mistakes.

‘If you do make mistakes, you have to try to make them bogeys and not doubles.

‘We were playing in the final group so I was trying hard not to get involved in a matchplay scenario with Ryan.

‘With people like Tom Robson and Harry Ellis in the field, there were plenty of players behind us who could shoot a really low one, if we got too wrapped in each other’s score.’

Meon Valley’s Ellis shot 73, 72 to finish in fourth place, while Ed Welton (Southwick Park) was a further stroke behind with 146 total.