TWO of the county’s leading teenage talents have dashed back from the Carris Trophy at Moor Park in time to take part in the 2023 Hampshire Junior Championship at Waterlooville, starting tomorrow.

Forty-six players will now tee it up for the 73rd Hampshire Junior Championship, which gets under way at Waterlooville for a fourth time in the competition’s long history, on Thursday morning, including Hartley Wintney’s Charlie Preston, who missed the cut in the Carris Trophy by a single shot after rounds of 74 and 76 left him on six-over par.

Stoneham’s Harrison Price was the only player from Hampshire to make the cut at Moor Park’s High Course, which hosts the Carris every five years having been the competition’s original home before it was officially adopted by the English Golf Union as the national open amateur strokeplay event for U18s.

The Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Boys’ Championship, which dates back to 1951, has been won by the likes of Ryder Cup star and US Open winner Justin Rose, and future European Tour players Richard Bland, Martin Le Mesurier, Jack Singh-Brar and Harry Ellis.

Future England internationals Kevin Weeks (1973/4), Roddy Park (1980/1) and David Porter (1999) have also lifted the Pechell Trophy.Interestingly, it was Rose who dominated the leaderboard, back in 1996, when he set the amateur course record as well as winning the Pechell Trophy when Waterlooville hosted the event for a second time.

Now there is also the John Hardy Bowl, awarded to the leading player U18, and the Willard Trophy for the best score by an U16s, while the John Rush Trophy goes to the best handicap score.

The Royal Guernsey Cup is awarded to the leading player U14, while the U12s and U10s will also compete, playing 18 holes while the U14, U16 and U18 competitions are decided over 36 holes.

Rose’s victory came in his purple patch as a rising junior star – having become the  first player to win the English Strokeplay titles at U18 and U16 level in the same season in 1995, taking the Carris at Burnham & Berrow (pictured).

With the McGregor and Carris Trophies to his name, he claimed the Hampshire title for the first time a year later, before helping Hampshire to win the English County Championship for the first time in the autumn, at Wooodall Spa, the home of the English Golf Union, then the national ruling body of the men’s game.

Rose, who was 16 by the time Hampshire were finally crowned English County Champions, became the youngest player to be selected for the Walker Cup, after being named in the Great Britain and Ireland team for the 1997 clash with the Americans, at Pine Ridge, although he would be 17 by the time the biennial match took place.

Harry Ellis junior champion

Meon Valley G&CC’s Harry Ellis won the first of his two Hampshire Junior Championships at Stoneham in 2010. Picture HAMPSHIRE GOLF

Ellis – who won the Hampshire Junior title in 2010 at Stoneham and again at Corhampton in 2013 – and Singh-Brar became the second and third county U18 champions to appear in the Walker Cup when they tackled an American team featuring future Major winners Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa at Los Angeles Country Club, the recent US Open venue, in 2017.

Seven players have won the Hampshire Boys title back to back- including Brokenhust Manor’s Weeks, Bland, who was a member at Bramshott HIll as a junior when he won in 1990 and 1991 and Hockley’s former England junior international Roddy Park, who claimed the title twice in a row 10 years earlier.

In the 21st Century, three golfers have won the trophy twice, but not in successive years. Ellis won in 2010 and 2013, while Jordan Ainley – one of nine Brokenhurst juniors to win the title – took the honours in 2009 and 2012.

His second win also saw him become the first Hampshire junior to win the Boys’ and Men’s county championship in the same season. Thirteen players have completed the double by winning the Hampshire Junior’s and Men’s Championship.

The last to complete the double was James Freeman who won the Boys’ trophy in 2018 and 2020, before getting his hands on the Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup in 2022 on his home course at Stoneham.

James Freeman Hampshire Junior Champion

Stoneham’s James Freeman won his second Hampshire Junior Championship title in three years in 2020. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

Freeman had the chance to become the first player to land the Pechell Trophy three times – having beaten Cams Hall’s Aman Uddin in a play-off at Sherfield Oaks five years ago, he was beaten by just a shot by the same player 12 months later at Barton-on-Sea, in very high winds.

He was glad to return to Sherfield Oaks 12 months later to prove the horses for courses adage when it comes to golf.

Waterlooville have produced three champions in the competition’s history – the last was Dave Bartlett back in 1997. The parkland course close to the A3 last hosted the championship in 2007 when Hartley Wintney’s Lee Hall was the winner.

Could that be an omen for Charlie Preston, who looks to become just the second player from the North Hampshire club, where Rose was a member before moving to Tylney Park and North Hants in the early 1990s, to win the blue riband event.

North Hants’ Sam Shipman won the 2005 championship on the Hartley Wintney Course where he had been a member, winning a play-off.

For R1 tee times click here.

error: Content is protected !!