HAYLING’S Toby Burden has the chance to create some Hampshire Golf history on Sunday, when he defends his Courage Trophy and the county’s Order of Merit crowns.
The 2019 Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Champion became the 11th player in the history of England’s oldest golf association to complete the strokeplay and matchplay double in their career, a year ago in the New Forest.
His one-shot victory over Ryan Moody in the 36-hole Courage Trophy at Brokenhurst Manor – the county’s stokeplay championship – also gave him the Cole Scuttle for the best 72-hole aggregate including the county championship qualifier, held at North Hants – the venue for the 2022 shootout.
Although Burden went on to lose the county championship final to Jersey’s Jo Hacker last June, he had the satisfaction of winning both his first Courage, and the Cullen Quaich – as the leading player in the Order of Merit.
Now Toby finds himself top of the points table again, and having the chance to become the second player to win the Cullen Quaich back-to-back, joining inaugural winner Darren Walkley, also from Hayling, who won it in 2014 and 2015.
And having finished fifth in the race for the Pechell Salver in county championship qualifying at Stoneham, in May, Toby can wrap up the season-long honours with a strong showing on Sunday in the 60th Courage Trophy.
Hockley’s Luke Hodgetts – who won the Selborne Salver at Blackmoor in April, and the Solent Salver for the best total in last month’s two Order of Merit events at Stoneham and Brokenhurst – is 5.5 points behind Burden in the race for the Cullen Quaich.
But Toby has a 14-shot advantage from the Pechell Salver, so even if Hodgetts can win the Courage, he is unlikely to gain enough bonus points in the Cole Scuttle to catch Burden – especially if he finishes inside the top six on Sunday.
There is also the added twist that Toby is eligible for the first time in the Hampshire Mid-Amateur Championship for the over 35s, which is played alongside the Courage.
Toby said: “I was desperate to play in the English Mid-Amateur Championship because it was played at Liphook, where I am also a member – and reached my second county championship final back in 2009.
“I turned 35 the day it finished, and it was very much a Hampshire affair with Martin Young and Stuart Archibald ending up in a three-way play-off for the Logan Trophy.
“Last year, I beat Stuart by seven shots in the Courage but he pipped Colin Roope to win the Hampshire Mid-Am in a play-off, so it would be good to claim my first one this weekend.
“Seeing two of my county team-mates contesting the Logan like that was quite tough to take, as I really wanted to play.
“Being at Liphook, I knew it would help the Hampshire guys, which it did – Colin was also in with a shout of winning going into the last round.
“Hampshire has hosted the English Mid-Am three times in the last 16 years. I can only hope it is not too long before it returns – but I will try and enter it over the next few years and see if I can follow Martin and Stuart by winning it.
“I played against Stuart in my first county final at Hayling in 2006 – the same year Martin won the Logan when it was held at my club – let’s hope it’s some sort of omen and I can put my name on the trophy alongside theirs at some point,” added Toby.
Good memories of winning at North Hants as a junior
BURDEN has some good memories of playing and winning at North Hants nearly 20 years ago.
Toby said: “I won the Green Cup for the best handicap score in qualifying, and my clubmate Mark Thistleton went on to win the Sloane-Stanley in the matchplay final, so it has been kind to Hayling players.
“In the last 10 years they have had quite a few changes to the course before North Hants held the county championship last summer for the first time since 2004.
“I reached the final for the third year in a row – hopefully I can pick up some more silverware this weekend.
“North Hants have had a new head greenkeeper for the last year or so, and he has done a fantastic job to get the course back to its absolute best.
“Obviously, we’ve had a heatwave, so the course will be playing very hard and fast.
“But you have to keep out of the heather regardless, and drive it on the fairway to play well – just like any top heathland course.”