SAM Hutsby has enjoyed the high lows of golf at both professional and amatuer level and can now look forward to another shot at the big time after his 13th place finish at the DP World Tour Qualifying School, in Spain, this week.

ANDREW GRIFFIN looks backs at Sam Hutsby‘s journey from the young 12-year-old who could not stop winning trophies for adults and juniors at Lee-on-the-Solent GC, to playing internationals for England both at boys and men‘s level before becoming the first Hampshire-born player to feature in the biennial Walker Cup.

The 34-year-old was only the third player from the county to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the amateur‘s equivalent to the Ryder Cup back in 2009 at Merion – ironically where Justin Rose would become the first Hampshire player to win a Major, and the first Englishman to win the US Open in some 40 years.

Rose had been the youngest Walker Cup player in history aged just 17 – 12 years before Hutsby‘s debut.

But Sam missed out on his own piece of Hampshire golf history that same year, having been beaten by Italian teenage prodigy Matteo Manassero in the final of the Amateur Championship, at Formby.

Victory would have seen the player ranked at sixth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings that year, earn a start in the 2009 Open at Turnberry.

And Sam would have almost certainly been invited to play in the 2010 Masters at Augusta, if he had been crowned Amateur Champion.

No Hampshire player had won the world‘s oldest Amateur championship at that point – a record that would be broken by Corhampton‘s Scott Gregory seven years later, and matched by Meon Valley‘s Harry Ellis 12 months later as the huge silver trophy remained in the county.

Gregory and Ellis, who both came through the same junior coaching programme at the Hampshire School of Excellence, would amass six starts in Majors while still amateurs thanks to their victories in the Amateur.

For a while, Hutsby – who had also won Hampshire‘s Courage Trophy when he was just 17 – was tipped to follow Manassero as a success after the Continental star turned pro – and became the European Tour‘s youngest-ever winner at just 17, in 2010.

Having finished in the top 10 at the 2009 Castello Masters in Spain, playing on invites, Hutsby then finished second at Q-School the following month.

He was only pipped by a shot by Tour veteran Simon Khan, who would go on to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the following year.

Hutsby finished 118th on the European Tour Order of Merit in his first season – agonisingly one place outside what he needed to do to retain his card.

But he was back in the frame in Spain two years later as he again finished second at Q-School, this time pipped by a shot by Somerset‘s David Dixon, another former Spanish Amateur Champion.

Sam, who made his Tour debut as a pro in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, at St Andrews, would finish 48th on his first season on the Challenge Tour in 2011.

Prince Andrew Sam Hutsby Duke of York Trophy

Sam Hutsby receives the Duke of York Trophy from Prince Andrew, in 2006.

But after regaining his Tour card for 2012, he could only finish 206th on the Volvo Order of Merit, and had to settle for a card on the Challenge Tour after finishing 44th at Q-School.

Two top 10s on the Challenge Tour saw him in 59th place on its end of year ranking – with only the top 15 earning promotion to the European Tour.

But a maiden win in the 2014 Khazakstan Open, the richest event on the satellite circuit, earned Hutsby €72,000 – the biggest pay day of his career so far – and a ticket back to the top grade.

The former Bay House pupil, who also won the Duke of York Trophy at Scotland‘s Dundonald Links,  in the Isle of Man, had also earned another top 10 in one of his three starts on the European Tour in 2014 – the M2M Russian Open.

But 12 months later, he was again struggling against the cream of Europe, fresh from their resounding Ryder Cup win over the Americans at Gleneagles.

With Rory McIlroy having won two Majors in 2014, and Rose having claimed his first US Open title in 2013, Hutsby could not feed off the feelgood factor around golf in the UK, which had seen England‘s Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood picked alongside Scotland‘s Stephen Gallacher to join qualifiers Graeme McDowell, from Northern Ireland, and Wales‘ Jamie Donaldson in captain Paul McGinley‘s team.

Hutsby finished down among the also-rans in 189th place on the Order of Merit in 2015.

That would prove to be his last full season on the main European Tour, having earned €60,442 in 31 events, with expenses of more than €1,000 a week, covering flights, hotel and a caddy.

Hutsby‘s form on the Challenge Tour was no better, having been ranked 79th in 2016, he could not finish in the top 140 in 2017 or 2018.

With no success on the mini-tour events he played over the next 12 months, Hutsby returned to Lee-on-the-Solent Golf Club, and began his PGA training, teaching juniors as he had been coached more than 20 years earlier, when he won most of the club‘s adult trophies before he was aged 13

Now the circle has truly come round again as he prepares to head to South Africa for the start of the 2023 season in December.Full DP Tour World schedule

Sam Hutsby

Sam Hutsby dominated the adult and junior competitions at Lee-on-the-Solent GC when he was just 11 and 12 years old. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

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