NEWLY-crowned amateur champion Sam Parsons believes his newborn son Milo can take a lot of the credit for his superb victory over defending champion Ryan Henley, denying a fifth Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup in the county veteran’s quest to write more pages in the Hampshire Golf record books.

Parsons, cradling his partner Sammy and Milo, found it hard to hold back the tears as he explained what had given him the belief and confidence to finally show that he has the game to match the likes of Corhampton’s Walker Cup ace Scott Gregory.

Sam, who played golf with Gregory at Waterlooville GC as a junior, said: “I was a bit older than the likes of Scott. But I have been in the county South East League team on-and-off for the past six years.

“I don’t know Ryan as well as some of the guys in the county team. But he’s really up there with the best, so I had to play well to beat him.

“Becoming a dad to Milo back in February has changed me. It’s given me a bit more perspective about how important golf is, or rather isn’t in the grand scheme of things,” said the Blackmoor member.

Sam has suffered some heartaches wearing the county colours – he made his Hampshire debut in the 2018 South East League Final when his Essex opponent grabbed a half to take the Daily Telegraph Salver when he was left as last man out on the course.

And back in October, he was trying to win a point on the last green to keep Hampshire’s hopes of winning the first Channel League Final alive, when the match was settled on the 17th behind him.

Parsons revealed: “It’s a different kind of pressure playing for the county. You really don’t want to let your team-mates down.

“But playing under that kind of pressure definitely helped me when it came to playing against Ryan, especially when I did not get off to the best of starts.

“Hopefully Milo will enjoy looking at the pictures of my win when he is older.”

Parsons beat Hampshire captain Toby Burden (Hayling) 3&1 in the first round – having qualified as the 12th seed thanks to an excellent second round of level par, adding that 69 to his first round 74, which left him struggling to make the top 16 who would progress into the weekend matchplay.

He then knocked out Hampshire U18 player Charlie Preston, from Hartley Wintney GC, where Justin Rose began his meteoric rise to the top.

It took until the last to book his semi-final clash with Rowlands Castle’s four-time finalist Tom Robson, which Sam settled with a monster birdie putt down the treacherous 18th green to win by one again, with the lead never having been more than a hole for either player.

Former mini-tour pro Darren Walkley, who left the amateur ranks after his first Sloane-Stanley win as a Hayling member back in 2015, was on course to reach the last 16 with a hole to go, despite an opening 75.

But an ugly triple-bogey seven on the last by the Westbourne-based carpenter undid his three birdies and an eagle after lunch, wrecking any chance of reaching a final for a second year in a row.

HIs two-over par 71 left him a shot shy of the qualifying mark in 21st place – a bogey on 18 would have put him in the draw.

Rowlands Castle’s former Great Britain and Ireland international was one who benefited from Walkley’s late lapse, taking 15th place with rounds of 68 and 76.

But the former EuroPro Tour winner, who beat a very young Jon Rahm when claiming the Brabazon Trophy at the 2010 English Amateur Strokeplay Championship, having already won the Carris in the Boys’ event four years earlier, lost to North Hants’ James Atkins 2&1 in the first round.

Robson, who claimed his first Sloane-Stanley title back in 2009, before losing three finals between 2015 and 2018, finished ninth in qualifying with rounds of 71 and 70.

The winner of the Pechell Salver for best qualifying score in 2011, 2012 and 2016 beat Shanklin & Sandown’s former Hampshire Colts manager Nat Riddett 2&1 to set up his last eight clash with West, which he won comfortably 5&4.

But Parsons prevailed in their semi-final thanks to that monster putt on the last setting up his date with destiny.

•Full results from the 119th Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship matchplay knockout here. Strokeplay results here.

Sam Parsons

County champion Sam Parsons, from Blackmoor GC, holds the Sloane-Stanley Cup with partner Sammy and son Milo. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

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