Blackmoor Golf Club

Sam Parsons became just the second Blackmoor member to win the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship

Credit: Andrew Griffin

SOUTHSEA golfer Sam Parsons became just the second Blackmoor member to win the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship with a superb scrambling display against county veteran Ryan Henley.

The 46-year-old, from Stoneham, was bidding to become the second most successful player in the county championship’s 130-year history, by claiming a fifth Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup in seven attempts, in Sunday’s final.

But 31-year-old Parsons, who joined Blackmoor nine years ago, put the four-time winner under huge pressure on the back nine, with some exemplary scrambling as his opponent struggled for energy playing his sixth round in three days, having had a suspected bout of COVID less than a week earlier.

That is not to make any excuses for his eventual 3&1 defeat as Parsons dealt with the pressures and expectations of playing in front of some three dozen Blackmoor members who came out to support him in his first-ever final with a bit of Pompey-Southampton rivalry thrown in for good measure.

Pompey-mad Parsons, who took up golf when his brother went for lessons when Sam was just eight, has always been one of the most unflappable members of the Hampshire County squad – he also bears a PFC crest tattoo on his right leg.

And his mettle was fully tested as the understandable nerves showed in the early exchanges as Henley – who beat Liphook’s Darren Walkley 4&3 at Hockley a year ago – went two-up after just three holes.

Parsons picked up the sixth and seventh to get back to all-square and sank a seven-footer at the short ninth after Henley birdied the first of only two par-fives on the heathland course, regarded as the toughest on the county championship rota.

Sam went in front for the first time at the 11th courtesy of a par as Henley missed another green. At the long par-three, 15th Parsons doubled his lead after Henley failed to get up-and-down after going long again over the raised green.

He then had to make a clutch 15-footer for birdie on the 16th after Parsons hit his approach stiff, but then found the bunker on the par-three 17th.

Henley generously conceded with a snaking putt of nearly 20 feet for the half, after Parsons rolled his birdie effort up to the hole to make Parsons just the second county champion from the Whitehill club.

It was the 10th time Blackmoor had hosted the championship – it waited 19 years after opening in 1913. Henley’s second win against Petersfield postman Ben Lobacz in 2013 marked the club’s centenary.

Defeat in 2024 means Hockley’s Brian Winteridge’s record of being the last player to successfully defend the county crown back in 1982, stands for at least another year.

Blackmoor’s only previous champion was Stuart Archibald in 2006, after his win at Hayling over Burden on his home course.

The other big winner of the weekend was Liphook’s Sam West. The former English Schools U16 and South of England Boys Open champion took the Pechell Salver for the best qualifying scores, thanks to rounds of 67 and 68.

That total of three-under-par, which would often be good enough to claim Blackmoor’s prestigious Selborne Salver – one of England’s premier 36-hole opens – also gave him the Hampshire Colts Championship for the best U21s score, and the Hunt Cup for the best round by a Colt.

North Hants GC’s James Atkins, who works as part of the management team at Wentworth, proved his two-under par total after two 68s was no fluke by going all the way to the semi-finals, before losing to Henley at the 19th hole.

Return to News Page

Created by intelligentgolf version 10.1.2.