‘I felt I was at rock bottom with my game’ – but Hampshire star Aman Uddin romps to Lee-on-the-Solent club championship win
This year’s club championship at Lee-on-the-Solent GC was a showdown between two of the top three players who represent Hampshire.
Former South West Amateur Champion George Saunders was the pre-event favourite – even though the University of Tennessee golfer has played very little competitive golf since his transfer from Texas Midland at the end of the 2019-20 season, writes ANDREW GRIFFIN.
With a relatively unique format of a 36-hole qualifier followed by two matchplay rounds for the top four, it was new college champion Will Green and Aman Uddin, the winner of the Hampshire Boys title two years ago, who met in the final watched by around 100 members including Will’s grandfather and father.
Uddin, who has become the No. 1 player at Dixie University playing in the NCAA Division One having started his golf scholarship two years ago, watched Green miss a birdie chance from eight feet at the first.
The three-time-in-a-row Cams Hall club champion hit his chip from 20 yards to just three feet at the fifth to set up a birdie and go one-up.
His opponent then missed a number of greens and handed two holes to Uddin on the front nine with pars good enough for the win.
Three-up at the turn quickly became four thanks to another missed green by Green.
A huge drive set up a birdie chance for Uddin with just a flick to the green on the 390-yard 11 th .
And a four-iron to eight feet on the 181-yard par three 14th set up another birdie chance for the Hampshire Colts player.
Green could not find the putting surface off the tee, giving Aman two for a 6&4 win and the title.
Uddin has struggled to adapt to UK conditions after returning from his university based in St George, a short drive from the bright lights of Las Vegas, in May.
The delighted 20-year-old said: ‘It was tough playing against Will, knowing how I had been playing – and missing out at the county championships a couple of weeks ago.
‘I sort of found something in the net before we teed off and made it work.
‘I have found adjusting to UK golf a lot harder than I did last year.
‘My typical ball flight and type of golf I play doesn’t really work here, but I’ve started to adjust now.
#It’s pretty frustrating that I couldn’t carry on with the form I was in at the start of the year.’
The former Cams Hall School pupil added: ‘I felt like I was at rock bottom with my game a couple weeks into being home.
‘But I’ve learned a lot from it and I’m certainly on my way back up to being at my best, which in time will be worth it.
“I think I can use my length to an advantage a lot more out in the States.
‘A lot of golf courses here don’t allow me to fully overpower them, but that’s just one of the differences in the type of golf you have to adapt to when coming home.’
Also watching the final was Martin Adams, the club pro at Swanmore GC who coaches both players.
Adams, a three-time Hampshire PGA Matchplay Champion, was a junior at Lee at the same time as Sam Hutsby nearly 20 years ago.
Martin, a past Hampshire PGA Order of Merit winner, said: ‘I was very proud to be stood there watching and supporting both players that I know so well as their coach.
‘I know how hard it is to win that club championship title. I qualified for the matchplay six times before turning pro – and never won it.
‘I even lost to Will’s dad one year – and Tom Robson beat me in the final in 2006, and he’s reached a few county championship finals since.’
But this was one final Adams, who was a late starter in golf, and ended up caddying for Hutsby at one point, could not lose.
Martin added: ‘I can’t think of many clubs that have 36 holes of strokeplay in one day, followed by two rounds of matchplay the next.’
Lee has produced some great players like Steve Richardson, James Ablett, a prolific PGA South Region winner, and Hutsby.
Several more like Jack Coulbert, Mark Francis and, most recently Lewis Scott, have all gone on to be successful Hampshire PGA pros after winning Lee’s club championship
Richardson won the title three times at Lee – first as a 15-year-old in 1982, defending his crown a year later.
His last came in 1989, weeks before he became English Amateur Champion, and two years before his Ryder Cup debut in the War on the Shore at Kiawah Island.
Hutsby won the title in 2004, having picked up some of the club’s men’s titles as an 11 and 12-year-old.