Cams Hall golfers bidding to become their club’s first ever Hampshire Sevens champions
While most people are getting ready to watch Sunday’s Ryder Cup singles between the USA and America at Whistling Straits, seven Cams Hall members will be fighting for pride on the biggest day of their golfing lives.
The Fareham club – whose course was designed by the legendary Peter Alliss, which opened in the late 1980s – have reached the last four of the Hampshire Sevens for the first time in their history, writes ANDREW GRIFFIN.
Sevens team captain Michael Nasr has seen his team of high handicappers defy the odds to reach Sunday’s semi-finals at Bramshaw GC.
The road to the New Forest venue began back in May when Nasr’s side won 5-2 at the mighty Hayling on their tough links track,
Cams Hall, who boast only a very small number of category one players with a handicap of less than five, will face Sandford Springs GC, from North Hampshire.
The winners of that semi will then face the winners of the tie between Stoneham, Hampshire’s strongest club in terms of low-handicappers, and Jersey’s St Clements club, one of the smallest on the island, in the afternoon final.
Nasr’s pride at reaching the last four has been tempered by some cruel luck, which has deprived his team of three of his regular line-up before this weekend’s crunch match.
He said: ‘We have used 10 players in the four matches so far. Three have played all four, including myself. But I have had to name two players who will make their debuts in Sunday’s semi-final.
‘Neil Crouch missed our quarter-final win because of an operation. He was rushing his recovery to play on Sunday but now has got an infection and can’t play. To lose Neil so close to the finals is a big blow. It has been such a team effort to get this far.’
Calvin Smith, a past Sevens captain, has a family wedding – he holed a 15-footer to beat Southwick when Cams had been 3-2 down.
‘The camaraderie has been unbelievable. We have got to the quarter-finals four or five times since I have been a member, but always lost when one more win would have got us to the finals,’ said Nasr.
Nasr, who is unbeaten so far in the Hampshire Inter-Club Knockout – which began in 1966 – has the lowest handicap off five.
He said: ‘I have captained the Sevens team for a third time this year. I’ve learned from previous years and gone with higher handicaps.
‘Our opponents have been giving us 50-60 shots across seven games, which has helped us win our three home games against Southwick, Lee-on-the-Solent and Freshwater.
‘I think I have picked up a trick or two from Ryder Cup captains, like Paul McGinley, in what order I put everyone out in to increase our chances of winning.
‘Winning 6-1 against Freshwater was a great reward and finally got us over that hurdle to make the last four.’
‘Our boys have been playing well, winning Cams Hall club competitions – while Nathan Whittingham has captained the club to victory in the Gales HSBC League before.’
Rowlands Castle have a record number of six wins in the Hampshire Sevens, while Southsea GC have three, the last of which came in 2010.
Cams Hall squad: Michael Nasr (capt), Mark Etherton, Aaron Fox, Nathan Whittingham, Steve Trottman, Dean Waterman, Steve Carolin and Brian Ives.