Sam Parsons claims maiden Hampshire Order of Merit win
Sam Parsons made up for missing the county championship by claiming his first-ever Hampshire Order of Merit victory.
The Blackmoor member won The Bren Gun Cup over the Laffins Road course at Aldershot – pipping Stoneham’s in-form Alex Talbot by a shot.
It was a remarkable turnaround as he trailed by six shots at lunch, after carding a two-over par 73.
But an up-and-down round of par – which included five birdies and five bogeys – was enough to reel in the leaders.
Parsons, who lost his Hampshire first-team place last month, made his first birdie at the third, but dropped shots at the fifth and seventh to turn on one-over.
And every time he took a step forward, it proved almost impossible to maintain momentum – as each birdie was quickly followed by a bogey.
So after a three at the 10th, he made five at the tough 11th and could not make a birdie at the par five 12th.
The former Waterlooville junior, who took the nett title in the 2017 Order of Merit, made a three at the driveable 13th, but gave that shot back at the next – only to make another birdie at the 15th.
Frustratingly, another five at 16 looked to have killed his chances.
But a vital two at the 202-yard par-three 17th turned out to be the winning shot, as his rivals’ march to the title foundered in the tougher afternoon conditions.
Stoneham’s Harrison Pake had led by three, having been the only player to break 70 in the morning with a fine four-under par 67.
But he dropped six shots on the back nine on his way to a 78, finishing fourth overall.
Meanwhile, club-mate Owen Grimes – the defending champion, who was five behind – drifted with a 75 into fifth.
Alex Talbot, who was narrowly beaten by Grimes in the first Order of Merit event – Hockley’s Delhi Cup – could not improve on a first round 70.
He made four bogeys in the first six holes, carding a 75 to take second. But he leads Grimes by a point in the Order of Merit table after the first of 12 events.