Gregory to lead charge for success in Salver
England international Scott Gregory will lead the Hampshire charge at the traditional 72-hole opener to the domestic season at the weekend.
Blackmoor Golf Club plays host to the Selborne Salver on Saturday, with the Hampshire Hog at North Hants just 24 hours later.
And Corhampton ace Gregory will be keen to continue the pace he’s set this year to celebrate his call-up to the Great Britain & Ireland squad for this summer’s St Andrew’s Trophy in style.
That has capped an already impressive 2016 to date, which includes the runners-up prize at the Spanish Amateur Championships and his first win on foreign soil at the Kiawah Island Invitational Pro-Am.
But to add another notable achievement to his ever-improving CV, the 21-year-old will have to see off stiff competition from another quality field.
That includes the reigning Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Channel Islands amateur champion Darren Walkley, who finished six on his debut in 2014.
The Hayling Island players has also been in good form in recent weeks.
He warmed up for the new season by playing in the Europro Tour Qualifying School – as an amateur.
And although he missed the cut at the final qualifying round at Frilford Heath, his two previous rounds at the Players Club and last week’s 36 holes in Oxfordshire will have shaken off any competitive rust from the winter.
The two-time Hampshire Order of Merit winner, who left his engineering job to take a role at the pro shop at Hayling to support his amateur golf last year, will be defending his county crown at his home course in just over six weeks time.
He will, therefore, be keen to show some form and emulate Mark Thistleton and his boss, current club pro Mark Treleaven, as the third Hayling man to win the competition.
The last Hampshire winner of the Selborne Salver was Mark Burgess, the reigning Hampshire Mid Amateur champion, who is still the only Blackmoor member to lift the famous trophy with his remarkable win in 2009.
North Hants’ Billy Watson beat the county’s best club pros to win the Hampshire Open last summer, and will be bidding to be the first host club player since Justin Rose to win the Hog on Sunday.
But Lincolnshire’s bid to keep their stranglehold on Hampshire’s famous silverware – after Simon Richardson and Sam Whittaker’s success last year – will be boosted by the return of James Crampton, who won the Hog and the Hampshire Salver for the best 72-hole aggregate back in 2006.
He spends most of his time organising events for the country’s leading amateurs in his job of director of championships at England Golf, but is heading south to take part in the 50th anniversary celebrations.
He will also be bidding to become just the ninth player to win both the Hog and the Salver during their amateur career.
Spectators are welcome at both Blackmoor and North Hants. Play gets under way in the Salver at 8am, with the second round starting at 1.15pm.
There is free parking at both venues.