IT IS 70 years ago that 17-year-old Paddy Hine, from Stoneham Golf Club, wrote history in Hampshire and England’s amateur golf records by completing a unique treble – claiming the county championship and England’s Boys’ and Men’s Strokeplay titles in the same season.

To this day no one has ever won the Brabazon and Carris Trophies in the same year – barely 10 people have ever won them in their amateur career, including Rowlands Castle’s Darren Wright.

So it is appropriate that Stoneham’s Owen Grimes will defend the title he won last year at Liphook, pulling off a big shock in beating Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson, when the championship gets under way at Aldershot’s Army Golf Club, on Friday.

Ironically, Hine won both the Brabazon and Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship at Stoneham, where he was a member as well as at Hockley, near to Winchester’s Peter Symonds College where he was a pupil before joining the RAF, rising to Air Chief Marshall.

Stoneham was originally due to host the 114th county championship but as a result of the multi-million pound upgrade to the heathland course which borders the M27, Hampshire Golf moved it back a year on the championship rota.

Grimes was not eligible to take his place in the international field bidding for Brabazon glory in Leeds at the weekend.

It did mean the 20-year-old could complete his preparations for his defence of the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup, which gets under way with a 36-hole qualifier on Friday, with the top 16 progressing into the matchplay on Saturday and Sunday.

Grimes is looking forward to tackling the Laffant Road course – which borders on Farnborough Airport – having headed up the A31 to Aldershot the week after his upset at Liphook, having knocked out the defending champion – Shanklin & Sandown’s Jordan Sundborg in the quarter-final.

He has been in great form this season – he was the only Hampshire player in the top 10 at the Selborne Salver in April, having finished in the top five at the season’s opener at the The Berkhamsted Trophy, in Hertfordshire.

Since then he has played in both Hampshire’s two South East League victories over Dorset and Kent and claimed the Delhi Cup – the first Hampshire Order of Merit event of 2019 – at Hockley, three weeks ago.

Grimes shot 67, 73, in The Bren Gun to win Army GC’s Order of Merit 12 months ago. Before that Hampshire captain Colin Roope had taken the trophy in June 2016 and 2017 – before returning to take the 2017 Courage Trophy when Aldershot hosted the Hampshire Amateur Strokeplay Championship at the end of that season.

Grimes said: “It’s very hard to play two good rounds at the Army as it’s a very tough course that you can rack up some big numbers on. I’ve kept my game plan fairly similar to my win last year with a few touches with how my form has been recently.

Grimes was planning a practice round in midweek to see if he needs to change by the way of club choice on key shots.

Owen, who called time on his golf scholarship at Murray State University before Christmas after his grandfather became seriously ill, said: “My first aim is to qualify – it’s a strong field again this year, so making the top 16 is all that matters.

“Then it’s one game at a time after that – providing I make the matchplay. With my recent form I am very pleased with my long game – the putting needs work but I’ve been flat out with practice recently – non-stop in fact.”

Grimes is up against another piece of history on the anniversary of Hine’s historic win at Stoneham. The last player to win the Sloane Stanley Challenge Cup back to back was Brian Winteridge in 1982.

In another twist, Winteridge, like Hine, was a member at Stoneham before switching to Hockley, perched up on Twyford Down.

Botley’s Texas Midland golfer George Saunders – who is No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletics Association rankings – will miss the county championships.

He will be competing in the St Andrews Links Trophy at the Home of Golf, in Scotland, instead – bidding with fellow county team-mate Billy McKenzie, from Rowlands Castle, to become just the third Hampshire player to land one of Europe’s most prestigious amateur titles, after Justin Rose, in 1997, and Corhampton’s Neil Raymond, in 2013.

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