How Toby Burden kept his nerve after previous county final pain

Toby Burden Picture: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures
Toby Burden Picture: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures
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Toby Burden lost in his first two Hampshire Isle of Wight and Channel Islands final appearances – including one at Hayling in 2006.

Back then he was working as a greenkeeping assistant – he and fellow member Mark Thistleton had to get up before dawn and help prepare the course he was about to play the biggest 36 holes of his life on, writes Andrew Griffin.

Not surprisingly he ran out of steam and lost 5&3 while three years later, it was heartache again as he lost to Tom Robson at the second extra hole to a long birdie putt.

So there was understandably some nerves and after a mishit tee shot, he lost the first to a birdie four in Sunday’s final against Colin Roope.

But he bounced back immediately making a birdie at the second while mistakes at the third and eighth by Roope opened the door.

Burden pressed the accelerator, hitting his nine-iron to a foot at the ninth and a gap wedge to two feet at the 10th to double his lead to four with eight to play.

On the par five 12th, Roope found the ditch down the left, which forced him to take a drop.

He calmly chipped across the green and hit the flag hard for what would have been a four.

Burden, having hit the green in two, converted comfortably for his four and when he hit a pitching wedge to just two feet again on the 13th, the game was up for Roope.

That was a run of four-under par in six holes – as good as it gets in the amateur ranks.

Pompey fan Burden took great delight in knocking out former Southampton defender Paul Telfer 4&2 in the quarters to reach the last four.

Burden, who qualified in eighth on five-over par, had a real battle to beat fellow former EuroPro player Darren Wright, from Rowlands Castle, 2&1 in the first round – to set up the showdown with Telfer.

Toby then ended hopes of an-all Blackmoor final beating Ben Lobacz 4&3 in the semi-final – six years after the postman produced all the headlines before losing in the final.