Lobacz shows Courage in bid to impress county
Ben Lobacz's mission to prove he is not the forgotten man of Hampshire golf sparked into life in the Courage Trophy '“ thanks to British Amateur champion Scott Gregory.
While the Corhampton man skipped the defence of the crown he won last year, Gregory was happy to lend the Blackmoor member one of his drivers.
And having reminded county captain Martin Young of his ability by landing the Hampshire Open crown in July, Lobacz was determined to try to give the selectors one more nudge that he was ready to play in the English County Finals later this month.
With Young keeping his cards close to his chest about his final selections for the seven-man squad, Lobacz burst out of the traps to fire a superb 66 in the morning round at Hockley to lead by one from Stoneham’s Ryan Henley.
Sadly, though, he could not maintain his stellar start in the afternoon.
He crashed out of contention by taking 10 shots more after lunch and finally finished seven shots behind Shanklin & Sandown’s Ryan Harmer (70 & 65).
A fifth-place finish for Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson (70 & 72) was enough to hand him the Cole Scuttle for the third time.
Lobacz admitted, despite his Hampshire Open victory in July, his game was not in the best shape approaching the end-of-season event.
The 25-year-old said: ‘Although I was delighted to win the Hampshire Open, it has been difficult keeping my game as sharp as I wanted for the last three or four weeks. I have just moved into my first house and working full-time has not left a lot of time for practice.
‘I got picked to play against Surrey in our last Daily Telegraph League match at Brokenhurst a month ago, and on Martin’s own course I thought I showed the county captain I am still here and can play well when Hampshire need me.
‘I quit my job in the shop at Petersfield and became a postman two years ago to try to improve. But I went over to a one-plane swing and I just did not know whether I was going to hit it left, right or out of the socket.
‘I got completely lost until I went to Scott Gregory’s coach, Simon Andrews, early last year.
‘I have worked really hard to get it back and I am continuing to work hard to get better. I’m really enjoying my golf at the moment and it is showing.
‘I was able to borrow one of Scott’s old Cobra drivers last week so I was hitting 12 degrees of loft instead of my normal 10.5.
‘I was able to swing at the ball rather than trying to steer it down the fairway and I had the ball on a piece of string for 18 holes. I only missed two greens in regulation in the first round.
‘Unfortunately, after lunch I felt like a different man.’
Young is awaiting confirmation of the availability of Hayling’s Jamie Mist before naming his team for the finals later this week.