US OPEN winner and Ryder Cup ace Justin Rose hailed Hampshire’s sterling comeback to snuff out Sussex to the memory of the county’s former president and secretary Keith Maplesden.
The one-time teenage Hampshire prodigy dedicted the victory to his long-time friend Keith – who passed away unexpectedly a week earlier.
After Hampshire bounced back having trailed by a point after the foursomes to win 8-4 by going unbeaten in the afternoon singles, Rose took to Instagram to say: “That one was for Keith. Well played lads.”
And it was a Liphook player – in the shape of former county champion Darren Walkley – who helped tame Sussex’s star player during an inspired comeback win at East Brighton GC.
Nearly all the eight members of the team that travelled to Sussex for the county’s second South Division clash of the season, knew Keith well.
They wore black ribbons on their blue Hampshire shirts in tribute to the golf administrator, who was widely respected throughout the game.
Captain Lawrence Cherry, who is the youngest player to lead Hampshire in more than 70 years, was delighted to see his team bounce back from a 2½-1½ deficit at lunch, to win the singles 6½-1½ and claim the two points.
Lawrence said: “There was no doubting that the boys went out after lunch to win that match in tribute to everything Keith did for Hampshire, and the way he went about it.
“Everyone that knew Keith well speaks of his very friendly and helpful manner. He was very rarely without a smile on his face, and would always come out and support the county when Hampshire played in East Hampshire, long after he stood down as president.
“He was at the AGM when I was formally voted in as captain, and he wished me every success.
“Hopefully we can now go on and reach the South East League Final and win the Daily Telegraph Salver for the first time since 2012 – for Keith and his family.”
Walkley, who finished second in April’s Selborne Salver – and was runner-up in the county championship less than a month ago – marked his return to the Hampshire first-team with a stunning win against Sussex’s talisman Joe Sullivan, the reigning English Amateur Champion.
Hampshire’s 2021 champion Jo Hacker, from Jersey, had fought back brilliantly to win the final three holes to snatch a half from Ollie Smith in the top match, making birdies on 17 and 18 to cap a great fightback.
Hayling’s Toby Burden had been one-up after winning the 16th, but was pegged back for half after Basingstoke’s Charlie Forster put the first blue point on the board with a 4&3 win over Drew Sykes in the third match out.
Burden and Hacker’s half meant Hampshire still trailed, but they were up in all five matches left out on the course.
Walkley, who regained his amateur status last year after six years in the pro ranks, could afford a six at the par-five 15th, having been two-up with four to play.
Darren was keen to avenge his 3&2 defeat in the foursomes against Sullivan and Smith, playing with Burden, who regards Liphook as his favourite course in the county.
A par four at the 17th sealed a 2&1 win for Walkley, whose hot putter prevailed making five birdies.
Then Bramshaw’s Joe Buenfeld, and Stoneham’s Ryan Henley – who denied Walkley a second Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship in the final at Hockley – both won by 4&3.
That guaranteed Hampshire the outright victory with 61/2 points before former Blackmoor member Stuart Archibald – who won the Logan Trophy in the English Mid-Amateur Championship at Liphook nearly a year ago – hung on for a half against Bognor Regis’ Harry Malin, having been three-up on the front nine.
And veteran Martin Young, who lost the Over 35s title to team-mate Archibald in a play-off for the Logan Trophy last July, ensured Hampshire remained unbeaten in the afternoon.
The 2017 English County Championship-winning captain beat former Blackmoor member Steve Mitchell, who now plays at Midhurst’s Cowdray Park, 3&2.
Hampshire aiming for league title in tribute to Keith
THE final 8-4 winning margin leaves Hampshire in a very strong position going into their title-decider against Surrey at Blackmoor, in August.
Hampshire have collected 16 game points out of a maximum 24 games in beating Kent and Sussex, meaning a draw might be enough to claim the South Division title for the 16th time in the league’s 60-year history.
And that would be a fitting tribute to Maplesden, who was also Liphook’s club captain in 2007 – his first year as Hampshire president.
Maplesden had been a member at Liphook since 1978 while working for IBM. After leaving the Hampshire-based computer giants he moved into golf club management for a short spell.
He then became Hampshire Golf Union secretary, for more than a decade until he retired at the end of 2005, before serving as president for three years from 2007.
Rose had known the long-serving Liphook member since his meteoric rise through the Hampshire ranks as a junior – from becoming the youngest player selected to play in the Walker Cup against America at just 16, in 1997, to finishing in the top five at the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, while still an amateur
Keith kept in touch regularly with Justin after Rose turned pro in 1998, struggling for two years on the Challenge Tour, missing some 21 cuts in a row before earning his European Tour card in 1999.
Justin won four times in 2002, including the British Masters at Woburn with his family by his side, including mum Annie, dad Ken, his golf mentor and guide, who had been receving treatment for leukaemia for some time.
Keith’s chosen charity for his Captain’s Day at Liphook in 2007 was the Ken Rose Foundation, which raised money to fight leukaemia after Justin’s father passed away later in 2002.
The Hampshire golf administrator and his wife Sue would often watch the Rose, when the European Tour played in Dubai, where they had a holiday home, as well as in the Algarve and the USA.