‘Beware the sick golfer’ is the age-old golfing adage and it was never more appropriate when Jordan Smith won the Hampshire Hog, the biggest title of his young career, at North Hants.
The England International shot rounds of 69, 67 for a four under par total of 136, finishing a shot clear of English champion Harry Ellis.
A week ago, Smith pulled out of an England training get-together after going down with a virus. So his victory was something of a surprise to the Wiltshire 20 year old.
“The virus laid me low last week so this win is a bit of a surprise,” he said. “I didn’t play that fantastic, just steady, but I holed a few birdies.”
He also eagled the par five 17th in his opening 69, holing from 12 feet, and almost repeated it in the afternoon but his 20-footer for another three left him with a tap-in birdie, one of four ne accumulated before spending over a hour waiting to see if anyone would catch him.
Ellis, bidding to become the first Hampshire player to win the title since Justin Rose in 1995, also opened with 69 and was on track until he double-bogeyed the par four 14th. He had the chance to repair the damage and catch Smith with an eagle at 17. But he had to settle for birdie and 68, which left him a shot short.
Three players, England internationals Jack Hiluta, Callum Shinkwin and Josh White, all scheduled for this weekend’s match with Spain, and British Boys champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, shared third place on 138.
So Smith adds his name to an illustrious honours board that includes former Open and Masters champion Sandy Lyle, Sir Michael Bonallack as well as Rose.
“When you see the likes of Justin Rose and Sandy Lyle as previous winners, these players are legends and you aspire to what they have done. If you start by winning events they won you know you are heading in the right direction,” added Smith.
Defending champion Callum Shinkwin once again showed his liking for North Hants with a course record 65 in the afternoon to win the Hampshire Salver, with an aggregate of 273 from the Hampshire Hog and the previous day’s Selborne Salver at Blackmoor.
Leading final scores:
136 J Smith (Bowood G&CC) 69 67
137 H Ellis (Meon Valley) 69 68
138 J Hiluta (Chelmsford) 69 69, C Shinkwin (Moor Park) 73 65, J White (Chipstead) 71 67, M Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) 69 69
139 S Robertshawe (Army) 70 69