‘Biggest day in our history’ as Cams Hall overcome selection crisis to stun giants Stoneham and win Hampshire County Sevens title
Cams Hall overcame a selection crisis to land the prestigious County Sevens title, beating mighty Stoneham in the final at Bramshaw.
As Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington was sending out his battered golfers for the Sunday singles at Whistling Straits, the seven golfers representing the Fareham club in the Hampshire Inter-Club Knockout were celebrating a famous victory.
Europe were about to suffer the biggest defeat in Ryder Cup history on the shores of Lake Michigan.
But Cams captain Michael Nasr, whose team play their golf overlooking Fareham Creek, watched his team mount a comeback worthy of Seve Ballesteros – if not quite the Miracle of Medinah – to win the Sevens title for the first time in their history, writes ANDREW GRIFFIN.
Nasr, who was unbeaten in all six of his Sevens matches, said: ‘At one point on the front nine, I was told by a referee that I was the only player in our team ahead.
‘I was looking at my fitness watch which was telling me to breathe – and then it started doing a check on my heart rate – it was that stressful!
‘But Brian Ives fought back from three-down, and Steve Trotman – in the top match – came back from four-down. So when I got to the 12th we were leading in four, and only down in two.’
Six-handicapper Nasr, playing just behind Fox, said: ‘Aaron was constantly asking me the score as we passed each other on the back nine.
‘When I won 5&3 on the 15th to make it 3-2 to us, Aaron was in speed-golf mode trying to finish his match,
‘He told me he was going to hole the winning putt, which he did by making a great par on 17.
‘It’s a massive achievement for the club – probably the biggest day in our history. I am just so proud of the team.’
Fox, off 13, was getting five shots by Stoneham’s Antony Robertson. From three-up after four, he then lost three in a row to find himself all-square after seven.
But Fox used all his cunning to build a lead around the turn, winning the 12th to go three-up for a second time – only to lose the 14th to be two up with four to play.
Nasr had also been in control against Stoneham captain Kevin McCann, who played in finals day in 2014 and 2015, the last time his club reached the last four.
He won the eighth to go two-up, but lost the ninth to reach the turn with a slender lead. Nasr then watched McCann shave the hole three times, but ultimately lose the 10th, 12th, and 14th to go four-down.
Anchorman Nathan Whittingham was never behind in his match with Stoneham’s former Sevens captain Paul Whitlock, who saw his side beaten in the last match at Lee-on-the-Solent GC seven years ago.
Cams’ ‘tail-end Charlie’ was two-up with three to play when the remaining match was called in to make it 5-2 to Cams.
The winners’ first-man-out Steve Trotman, playing off eight, only took the lead for the first time on the 15th before claiming a vital win, which was then matched by Ives’ comeback, as he won 4&2 against Tony Hobbs.
Eight-handicapper Darren Mullineaux, who was getting four shots from Stoneham’s Craig Sumpkin, and Cams’ six-handicapper Dean Waterman, who was giving three shots to Ollie O’Neil, lost by one and 3&2 respectively.
Nasr confessed to be very relieved, having spent the previous week just trying to find seven players who could take part.
‘We used 10 players in the previous four rounds, but I lost four of them in the build-up to the final, including Calvin Smith and Neil Crouch.
‘Andy Ogilvie was out and then Mark Etherton snapped aknee ligament playing golf last week.
‘I was not feeling overly confident with two injured and another two unavailable because of family commitments.
‘It was a lot to ask Brian Ives to come in and play for the first time, and I was not even able to take a reserve as Steve Carolin had to drop out at the last minute.
Having brushed aside Sandford Springs in the morning semi-finals, Cams – with a team made up of a combined handicap of 57 – went toe-to-toe with the Southampton club boasting a membership with the lowest handicaps in the county.
Stoneham have never won the County Sevens – the only major title to have escaped their grasp in Hampshire Golf’s long history.
Cams also completed a monumental double after Nathan Whittingham led his team to victory in the Gales League, featuring eight other Hampshire clubs, two weeks ago.
Cams opened during the golf boom of the late 1980s, after the late BBC commentator Peter Alliss designed the course, which has 27 holes, at the top of Portsmouth Harbour.
After suffering an early financial crisis in the 1990s, Cams became part of Crown Golf’s empire, owning more golf clubs than any other in the UK. It was sold nearly two years ago to
The Club Company.