FORMER EuroPro and MENA Tour winner Stuart Archibald topped the leaderboard after the first round of the Logan Trophy, at Liphook GC.

Archibald is the reigning Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Mid-Amateur Champion after his win at Brokenhurst Manor, in September.

But he admitted he has been struggling again with his old back problems after firing a three-under par 68 to share the lead with Surrey’s Dominic Griffiths.

Archibald, who made six birdies – three on either side of the course – to counter two costly three-putt bogeys after the the turn to post the leading score with a large part of the 143-strong field still out on the course.

But the Test Valley member revealed how hard it had been to carry on after hitting a wedge into the seventh, had left him in severe pain.

Stuart, who won the county championship at Hayling in 2006, said: “I have been struggling again with my back in th the last month or so.

“After I did not complete my second round at Stoneham in the county championship at the end of May, it was even worse when I played in our club championship last weekend. I could only complete 25 holes.

“Jamie Flewin had never won it before and he said he wanted to by beating me, so I agreed to play. But it did not end well.

“There was a hot water bottle on my lower back during the drive from Basingstoke to Liphook and I did lots of stretching in the warm-up, before taking plenty of Ibuprofen before playing.

Conservative play helped overcome back pain

“I was able to hit the ball well enough off the tee – hitting up is not the problem. It is hitting down with my irons and wedges which is the issue.

Stuart explained: “I hit a lot of three-quarter shots which did not put too much stress on my back, so was able to play well. Hitting my eight-iron to about a foot on the par-three third helped a lot, and I made a two-putt birdie on the fifth.

“And I bounced back well with another birdie four at the seventh after dropping a shot at six. But the wedge on seven was off an upslope – I had to commit to it to control my ball flight, but it hurt like hell.

“There were tears in my eye for a bit and my playing partners asked if I was OK to carry on. I wasn’t really sure, but I managed to roll my back out on the 10th tee and took some more anti-inflammatories.

The prognosis did not look good as he made back to back bogeys at 10 and 11 to drop back to level-par.

Stuart Archibald EuroPro winner

Stuart Archibald won three times on the EuroPro Tour between 2010 and 2015

Archibald, who won three times on the EuroPro Tour between 2009 and 2015, and enjoyed four years on the MENA Tour from 2013-17, hit another wedge to eight-feet for a birdie two on the short but deceptive 12th.

After driving the greenside bunker on the 15th, he got-up and-down for his three to move to two-under and then hit his shot of the day with a five-iron over the front bunker on the last from 190 yards.

Even when he saw it had ran out through the back of the green, he was pleased with the result and got up-and-down again to make four.

Stuart added: “I played 10 and 11 okay but three-putted both, or the score could have been even better. I was lucky the back pain eased off after four or five holes after that shot on the seventh.”

Former champ Young in Archibald’s slipstream

Archibald did not look at the leaderboard after heI came off the course, adding: “I need to see how my back is in the morning, and see where I am going into Sunday.”

Brokenhurst Manor’s Martin Young, who is just a shot behind Archibald on two-under, played a stress-free round with Hampshire captain Neil Dawson, from North Hants GC on the bag.

Young was the last Hampshire winner of the Logan Trophy, when the English Mid Am was last played in the county at Hayling in 2006, just two weeks after Archibald beat Toby Burden in the final to win the Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup.

Griffiths from Walton Heath, whose brother Simon was an Asian PGA Tour player for many years and partnered Ross Fisher to two Sunningdale Foursomes wins, matched Archibald’s score with five birdies and two bogeys.

Two past winners are in the chasing pack including Woburn’s John Kemp, the 2013 champion, who won three British Mid-Amateurs between 1999 and 2003 before the R&A pulled the plug on their over-25s event in 2007.

Geoff Harris, a left-hander who played for B.B.&O. 20 years ago, the winner in 2019, who now plays out of Formby, carded a one-under 69.

Of the other eight Hampshire players in the field, former Surrey Amateur Champion Colin Roope, from Rowlands Castle, was tied for eighth on one-over.

Blackmoor’s Mark Burgess is in a share of 12th spot after a 72, while former England amateur international James Knight, from Sandford Springs, is a shot back, alongside North Hants’ Steve Bland, who got in as a reserve earlier in the week.

Other scores: T25 Paul Telfer (Hockley) 74; T48 Lance Forster (Basingstoke) 76; T62 Craig Humphrey (Basingstoke) 77; T69 Ryan Henley (Stoneham) 78.

•For full scores go to England Golf’s official website. The top 45 and ties will make the cut after Saturday’s second round and play in Sunday’s third and final round.

Rowlands Castle’s Colin Roope who will face Dorset

Colin Roope is in a share of eighth place at the English Mid-Amateur at Liphook. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES



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