HAMPSHIRE will field a very strong line-up when Liphook hosts the Logan Trophy, starting on Friday – including former county captain Martin Young, who won the English Mid-Amateur 16 years ago.
Young, who qualified for the British Senior Open at Sunningdale last summer, claimed the English Mid-Am title when Hampshire last hosted the Over-35s championship at Hayling GC, in 2006.
At that point Young (pictured above), who was 36 at the time, had not managed to win his own county championship – a feat he managed three times between 2011 and 2016.
A year later he would lead Hampshire to the English County Championship for only the second time in the county’s history, surely his finest achievement in more than 25 years of playing for the county.
But to win a second Logan Trophy some 16 years after his first, would certainly rank as his finest achievement as an individual for Young, who has nine Hampshire Mid-Amateur titles to his name.
Not only does he have to beat a formidable challenge from within the Hampshire’s own borders, but Young must take on some of the very best golfers of a generation, who are younger than him, and who can still go toe-to-toe with some of the best amateurs in the country, let alone those aged over 35.
The most decorated player from Hampshire after Young is Stoneham’s Ryan Henley, who has also won the Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup three times in his amateur career – and how is nearly 10 years younger than Young, his regular foursomes partner for the county’s first team over the past 20 years.
But it doesn’t end there – there are another two regulars from the current Hampshire first-team in the Logan field, and who have experience of winning at Liphook.
Blackmoor’s Mark Burgess only has a short trip down the A325 to take on Liphook’s famous greens, which are unrivalled in Hampshire, and are some of the fastest you will find in the country, let alone county.
Burgess is the only Blackmoor player to win the Selborne Salver, one of England’s top strokeplay events, in its long history as hosts, and also has two Courage Trophies – the Hampshire strokeplay championship to his name.
Rowlands Castle’s Colin Roope, who succeeded Young as Hampshire captain four years ago, has won the Pearson Trophy – Liphook’s own Mid Am Open – as well as the Surrey County Championship in 2006, the same year as Young’ s Logan triumph.
Roope has won Pearson Mid-Am at Liphook
Roope, who has played in the English County Finals twice for Surrey, as well as appearing for Hampshire five years in the win at Trevose, has the game and experience to land the Logan. He won the Hampshire Order of Merit in 2018 picking up wins in the Courage and the Army GC Open..
Equally, Sandford Springs’ James Knight has plenty of pedigree as a former England Amateur international. Knight played in the Hampshire team that claimed the English County Championship in 1996, alongside a certain Justin Rose.
He also claimed the Berkshire Trophy – one of England’s top three 72-hole strokeplay championships – in 1996 as well as claiming the Berkhamsted Trophy in 2003, after his return to the amateur ranks, following a short spell as a pro in the late ’90s.
Knight made his second return to the county championship when it was played at Liphook in 2018, reaching the matchplay stage, so plays the course well enough to get in the mix come Sunday.
Another player with plenty of winning pedigree in both the professional and amateur game is former county champion Stuart Archibald.
Archibald’s reigning Hampshire Mid-Amateur champ
The former Blackmoor player, who started playing golf in Basingstoke, is now a member at Test Valley He spent a number of years on the EuroPro Tour, picking up two victories before a spell on the MENA Tour in the Middle East, before quitting the pro game.
Archibald returned to the amateur ranks two years ago after helping Hampshire’s first team when they got to the English County Finals in 2016 and 2017.
He claimed the county crown at Hayling in 2006 just a couple of weeks before Young lifted the Logan, perhaps another portent.
Archibald won last summer’s Mike Smith Memorial Trophy at Brokenhurst, another strong Hampshire heathland layout and then returned there a month later to win the county Mid-Am title.
But Stuart, who is now a father and works at European Tour events for Foresight Golf, will need to be in good shape physically to stand up to three rounds in three days, if he can make the cut on Saturday, after years of niggling back injuries.
Only the top 45 and ties will play in Sunday’s final round to decide the new champion over 54 holes.
Another Basingstoke golfer, who came close to lifing the Sloane-Stanley Cup is also in the field – Craig Humphrey, who lost to Henley’s young brother Darren in the 1999 final at Brokenhurst Manor.
Former Scottish defender Paul Telfer is more famous for playing with a football, but the retired Southampton, Celtic and Coventry player is no mean golfer.
He has made the knockout stage of the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship twice in the last five years, knocking out Shanklin& Sandown’s top seed Conor Richards, who is now a member at Liphook but too young to play in the Logan, not having reached his mid 20s yet.
Telfer is not one for blowing his own trumpet about his prowess on the golf course, but the Hockley member will not be out of place among the country’s top mid-amateurs.
The other two Hampshire golfers in the 143-strong field are Basingstoke’s Lance Forster, the father of current Hampshire Junior Champion Charlie, who made his first team debut against Sussex at the weekend.
Charlie is a member at North Hants Golf Club, where teenager Rose made his name as the youngest-ever Walker Cup player in 1997, a year before qualifying for the Open at Royal Birkdale, where he finished tied fourth while still an amateur.
Steve Bland will fly the flag for the Fleet club this weekend, and completes Hampshire’s 10-strong entry.
The most decorated player in the field is Woburn’s former England international John Kemp, who won the now defunct British Mid-Amateur trophy three times as well as the English Mid-Amateur crown, which he claimed in 2013.
The 54-year-old packaging salesman, who has also won the Sunningdale Foursomes, with regular Bedfordshire partner Mark Wharton, who is now on the European Seniors Tour, finished runner-up twice in the Logan before finally completing the double at Worcestershire Golf Club nine years ago.
Like Young he would love to win a second Logan, as would former B.B.&O. ace Geoff Harris, who is one of three other past English Mid-Am champions teeing it up at Liphook. along with Durham’s Richard Aisbitt (Brancepeth Castle) and Neil Williams, from St Anne’s Old, at Lytham.
Mew has a record three Logan Trophies
But none of the quintet of returning champions can get to three wins this weekend. That feat was achieved by Hampshire’s current England Seniors captain Alan Mew some 30 years ago.
The Stoneham member, who played on the European Tour after leaving college in the 1970s having been raised in Trinidad, and then earning a European Seniors Tour card nearly 20 years ago, had a sparking amateur career in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.
As well as playing in that Hampshire team with Knight and Rose, Mew claimed the Logan Trophy three times in the first five years after the competition was founded by former England Golf Union president George Logan, in 1988, when Peter McEvoy was the first winner.
Mew’s wins came in 1989 at Moortown, 1990 at Wentworth and at King’s Lynn in 1992. Mew also won the county championship twice between 1987 and 1991 – and lost in four more finals between 1988 and 2001.
Gloucestershire’s Colin Banks (1995-97), Yorkshire’s Stephen East (1998-99 & 2001) and Cumbria’s John Longcake (2003, 2008-09) have matched that hat-trick of victories in the competitions 34-year history.
Another Hampshire winner in 2022 on home soil would be fitting and by no means out of the question.
And that home challenge could have been even stronger. Hayling’s Toby Burden, who has reached three of the last four county finals, and lost in a play-off to Tom Robson in 2009 – turns 35 on Sunday, making him just a couple of days too young to be eligible.
Toby, who became the first player to reach three finals in a row since Richard Bland in the 1990s, also lost to Archibald in that 2006 final on his home course.
After learning he would be ineligible for the 2022 Logan Trophy, he said: “I was absolutely gutted. Liphook is my favourite golf course, even though I have been a member at Hayling all these years.
“And you could say I have some unfinished business after losing the county final to Tom Robson in a play-off after he holed a big birdie putt. I really, really wanted to play in this when I heard it was coming to Liphook.
•For the first round draw at the 2022 English Mid-Amateur Championship click here.
Sky TV’s Ewen Murray: Liphook’s my favourite
THE Liphook course has been remodelled with five new holes completed during the pandemic in 2020.
Sky TV commentator Ewen Murray is a member who attended the official opening, and believes the changes to Arthur Croome’s original design have been nothing but beneficial, also helping to create a safe crossing point for players who have to cross over the old A3.
He said the changes had introduced a “new level of fun, drama and strategy,” at the East Hampshire club, which is celebrating its centenary this year.
Murray, who commentates on all four Majors and gets a bird’s eye view of the world’s finest courses, said: “I’m often asked if I had one course to play for the rest of my life what would it be.
“If it was this heathland gem, I’d be a more than happy golfer. I often realise how privileged I am to be a member.”