COUNTY champion Toby Burden became the first Hampshire player to be crowned England’s Champion of Champion after a dramatic play-off against Somerset’s Jake McGoldrick.
The former EuroPro Tour player from Hayling Golf Club, completed a club, county and country treble by landing the national title which had eluded the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Champion for 57 years.
Burden was playing with McGoldrick over Frilford Heath’s Red Course, in Oxfordshire.
Yet it was no surprise that the 32-year-old – who won his first Sloane Stanley Challenge Trophy at Aldershot’s Army GC in June – should win the play-off.
Burden has probably played more rounds on Frilford’s Red Course than any other – apart from Hayling – the Red Course has been used by both the EuroPro Tour and as a first stage venue for the European Tour Qualifying School.
The top two tied on four-under after two rounds, with Burden carding two rounds of 70, and McGoldrick firing an excellent 68 – the only player to break 70 all day.
They made the short walk from the 18th to the ninth tee, a tricky par three with water in front and trouble behind the narrow green.
And when McGoldrick’s six-iron on the 186-yard hole went long, leaving him with a tricky fast chip, the Hampshire champion eased a seven-iron to some 20 feet.
The Somerset ace left his second some two-and-a-half feet from the hole, while Burden eased his first putt to within three feet – but with a downhiller breaking from left to right remaining.
Burden holed out and then watched as McGoldrick’s ball broke from right to left and then lipped out, to hand Burden the crown.
Toby, who also won the Hayling Club Championship in June, said: ‘To find out I was the first ever Hampshire player since 1962 to win that trophy it was incredible feeling and rounds of a perfect year.
‘When you see the names of Sir Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Lee Westwood, and Tommy Fleetwood on that trophy – and think of the great Hampshire champions like Martin Young, Kevin Weeks and Hayling’s Matt Blackey, who all had more than one attempt to win it – that is great stat to have under my belt.’