HAMPSHIRE’S hopes of claiming the Carris Trophy for the first time in more than 15 years looks set to be dashed for another 12 months after the first round of the English Boys Amateur Strokeplay Championship.
Hampshire Boys captain Tom Chalk led a small Hampshire contingent that made the long journey to Cumbria’s Silloth-on-Solway, hoping to emulate Darren Wright’s win at Sherwood Forest, in 2006, which propelled him into the England Boys’ team alongside county team-mate Sam Hutsby, from Lee-on-the-Solent.
The exposed links overlooking the Irish Sea has proved a happy hunting ground for Hampshire. It was on the course north of the Lake District that Harry Ellis claimed the English Amateur Championship crown 10 years ago early next month.
In coming through nine rounds of strokeplay and matchplay unbeaten, 16-year-old Ellis broke Sir Nick Faldo’s record of being the youngest-ever winner of the national title, by some two years in 2012.
With Britain gearing up for Gold fever on the eve of the London Olympics, Ellis raised the bar for Hampshire golf by smashing Faldo’s record set back in 1975.
But any hopes of Hampshire producing a fifth-ever winner of the Carris were virtually over by the close of the first round at Silloth.
Chalk, last year’s South East Junior Champion, was in a share of 62nd place, after a round of 74. His two-over par score was eight shots behind South African Jack Buchanan, who led after a stunning 66 on day when temperatures across the country were at record-breaking levels.
Stoneham’s Australian teenager Alex Maxwell – who led the Southern Qualifier for the Brabazon Trophy – the men’s English Amateur Strokeplay – matched Chalk’s 74.
But the Royal Freemantle golfer, who has spent the summer in England playing out of the Southampton club which hosted the county championship in late May, could have been in with shout but for a treble-bogey seven at the last.
Maxwell (pictured at top) had dropped three shots in his first six holes, including back-to-back bogeys after the fourth. But Alex bounced back brilliantly with a three at the eighth and an eagle at the par-five 13th.
A birdie two at the 16th – and with a par-five to follow – left Maxwell with a chance of keeping in touch with the leaders at least.
But a par at the penultimate hole was followed by a costly seven at the last, where the course returns to the clubhouse after a long out and in around the rugged links with sweeping views of the sandy Solway Firth.
Lee-on-the-Solent’s Max Caffrey – who finished 42nd at last week’s McGregor Trophy, in the English Boys U16 Championship at Ratcliffe-on-Trent, in Nottinghamshire – could only card an 82.
Caffrey, who would love to emulate Hutsby’s success as an England Boys and Men’s international, was left among the back markers with only the top 60 progressing into Thursday and Friday’s final two rounds.
Last week, Caffrey started well with a 71 in the McGregor, before rounds of 77, 80 and 81 saw him drop some 30 places on the leaderboard.
Rose record of winning Carris and McGregor in same year matched
NORTH Hants GC’s Justin Rose is the only Hampshire player to have ever won the McGregor in its 41-year history, claiming the win in 1995, when he also became the first player to land the double by adding the Carris at Burnham & Berrow, in Somerset.
Essex’s Harley Smith became just the second player to land the English junior double last season, winning the Carris at Bristol & Clifton after picking up the McGregor at Surrey’s Camberley Heath.
Hampshire’s other Carris Trophy winners include Hockley’s Paddy Hine in 1949 – when he also became the first player to do the Boys’ and Men’s English Amateur Strokeplay double in the same season.
Stoneham’s David Porter claimed victory in the Carris at Salisbury’s High Post GC, in 1999, and went on to captain England Boys, playing junior international golf over three years.
Rose and Hutsby, who came close to landing the Carris in 2005 – finishing joint second with future Green Jacket winner Danny Willett – became the second and third players from Hampshire, after Guernsey’s Bobby Eggo, to appear in the Walker Cup, the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup.
The pair were followed by Corhampton’s Neil Raymond in 2013. Four years later Ellis, a former Meon Valley G&CC junior, and Scott Gregory, also from Corhampton, joined former Hampshire junior Jack Singh-Brar, in the Great Britain and Ireland team that faced Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Connor Champ, Doug Ghim and Maverick McNealy, all now starring on the PGA Tour, with two already Major winners.
Gregory and Ellis had claimed The Amateur Championship back-to-back for Hampshire, as the county’ first two winners of the R&A event.
Victory for Ellis at Royal St George’s in 2017, not only earned an invite to play in the Augusta Masters and US Open the following year as well as that year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, it also saw him become the youngest-ever player to land the English and British Amateur double.
At the age of just 21, Ellis broke the record held previously by amateur legend Sir Michael Bonallack, who went on to become secretary of the R&A, who claimed the double aged 26, claiming the Amateur title five times between 1961 and 1970.
Bonallack also claimed the English Amateur five times between 1962 and 1968 and the Brabazon Trophy four times between 1964 and 1971. He also played in the Walker Cup eight times, only surpassed by Ireland’s Joe Carr.
Other winners of the Carris include European Tour winners Callum Shinkwin, Spain’s Pablo Martin, Graeme Storm, Mark Foster, Peter Baker, David Gilford, Sandy Lyle, Ken Brown.
Hallamshire’s Barclay Brown, who made the cut at St Andrews in the 150th Open Championship at the weekend, claimed the Carris in 2018.