ROWLANDS Castle’s James Plater followed in the footsteps of Justin Rose by claiming silverware at both the Hampshire Junior Championship and the county schools tournament in the same season.
The 16-year-old – who is now off scratch – shot one of the lowest rounds in the competition’s history with a scrambling 67 at Fareham’s Cams Hall.
The Havant and South Downs College pupil topped the leaderboard on four-under, having made five birdies on his way to breaking the junior course record by two shots.
James – who is also a member at Hayling GC and hails from Northney on the island – finished three shots ahead of fellow Hampshire U18 squad member Charlie Preston, who plays off three at Hartley Wintney GC, where Rose began his golfing career.
Having retained the Hampshire U16 Championship title at Lee-on-Solent GC at the end of the summer holidays, Plater made it a second victory on the Cams course, having won Hampshire Golf’s U16 championship there just over a year ago.
James, who is taking A-levels in maths, physics and PE, said: “It’s great to win another junior title at county level so soon after I retained my U16 title.
“I missed a few greens on the back nine – not by much – but had 13 one-putts, so I saved my score with some good up-and-downs.
“Obviously having won at Cams before, I felt confident about my chances. But I was still nervous on the back nine, having got to three-under after nine, so it was good to finish it off.
Plater did not get off to the best of starts, dropping a shot with a bogey five at the third. But he bounced back brilliantly with a two at the next, after hitting his four-iron to six feet on the long par-three.
He got under par with a four at the par-five sixth after chipping to seven feet, having just coming up short of the green in two.
James made another two from a similar distance at the 133-yard seventh, thanks to some razor-sharp wedge play.
Plater got to the turn in three-under with his fourth birdie at the ninth, chipping again to seven feet, after taking a four-iron off the tee on the short par four.
While the rest of the field were concentrating on getting as close to par as possible, the leader was trying to protect his score on the picturesque course overlooking the top of Portsmouth Harbour.
And luckily his scrambling was imperious as he made eight pars and one birdie on the back nine – a three at the 13th on the short par-four after hitting a little wedge to five feet.
James said: “There is still quite a bit of trouble over the last three or four holes at Cams, so I was not getting ahead of myself when I got to four-under.
“It’s just nice to get my name on another trophy that Justin Rose has won as a junior.”
Field, playing in the group behind, was trailing Plater by one at the turn after making birdies at the third and sixth, but a double-bogey seven at the 15th ended his run at the title, although he was the only other player in the field under par.
Hampshire Schools Golf Association president Frank Hayward confirmed during the presentation ceremony he could not remember such a good winning score as Playter‘s.
Hampshire Schools Championship (Cams Hall GC)
Boys Gross: 1st James Plater (Rowlands Castle) 67; 2nd Charlie Preston (Hartley Wintney) 70; 3rd Zach Riggs (Barton-on-Sea).
Boys U16:1st Connor Babington (Corhampton) 77 on countback; 2nd Alex Levine-Estridge 77.
Boys Nett: 1st Jamie Pang (Meon Valley) 59; 2nd Sam Goodridge (Corhampton) 64; 3rd Harvey Vaughan (Alresford) 65.
Girls Gross: 1st Gemma Burgess (North Hants) 74; 2nd Jenny Myers (Alresford) 76; 3rd Tia Brammer (Bramshaw) 82.
Girls U16: 1st Tia Brammer 82; 2nd Lily Stroud (Romsey) 86 on countback.
Girls Nett: 1st Millie Atthis (Lee-on-the-Solent) 68; 2nd Tia Brammer 69; 3rd Alima Kassim (Bishopswood) 70;