Bairstow's salver triumph
HALLOWES’ Sam Bairstow became just the second Yorkshireman to claim the Hampshire Salver for the best combined 72-hole score in the Hampshire Hog and the Selborne Salver. Bairstow took the prize on countback from Wiltshire’s Jake Bolton after finishing third in the Hampshire Hog courtesy of a superb 65.
His four-under round after lunch was only bettered by Hog winner Matty Lamb (Hexham), who broke the course record with a superb 63, and Hampshire’s Darren Wright, who fired a 64 in his first competitive weekend of golf since quitting professional golf two years ago. Bairstow, who lost to Sam Rook in the final of last year’s Yorkshire Amateur Championship, started from the 10th playing in the group behind Lamb.
His approach to the 12th hit the flag then settled some eight feet from the pin, before he got up and down from the bunker for birdie at the par-five 17th. He sank a 20-footer for a three at the 18th to get to three under at the turn. But hopes of becoming just the second Yorkshire player to win the Hampshire Hog in its 63-year history after Jon Lupton in 2001 were dashed after bogeys at the first and third. He bounced back brilliantly with three birdies in a row – holing a six-footer at the fourth, draining a 30-footer at the next and then picking up another from just two feet after missing his eagle putt on the 377-yard downhill sixth, at which the top players were all taking a dig.
Three pars to finish left him two adrift of Lamb on three under, but he edged out Whittington Heath’s Ryan Brooks for third place on countback after the latter carded 68 and 67. Ironically, Bairstow carded a one-over par 70 in the morning at the course where Justin Rose famously won the Hog as a 14-year-old in 1995 – and took the Salver for the best aggregate in the Selborne Salver two years later – and 70, 65 were the same scores Bairstow had posted at Blackmoor 24 hours earlier.
Bolton had lost a play-off to Sussex’s Charlie Strickland in the Selborne Salver on Saturday, with two 67s, and shot a 66 on Sunday afternoon to go with his one-over par 70 before lunch. That left Bolton and Bairstow tied on six under on the Hampshire Salver leaderboard. But that extra shot in the fourth round ultimately counted against him, and prevented him from joining Bowood’s European Tour winner Jordan Smith as a fellow Wiltshire winner.
Bairstow joins the likes of Sand Moor pair Simon Dyson and Ben Mason, who won back-to-back after Rose’s success in the Hampshire Salver in the late 1990s.
Another former Sand Moor boy and English Amateur winner Stuart Cage, who now helps manage Hampshire’s former British Amateur Champion Scott Gregory on the European Tour for the Octagon group, was the first Yorkshire winner in 1992 – 13 years after Peter McEvoy became the first-ever winner of the 72-hole competition, which is one of only two club strokeplay events in the UK that earn points in the Official World Amateur Rankings.