Hampshire Salver success for Saunders

Sam Whitaker and Michael Saunders

England’s Michael Saunders ticked off the first of his season’s goals with victory in the weekend’s Hampshire Salver.

The trophy is awarded to the player with the best combined total from the 72 holes played during Saturday’s Selborne Salver at Blackmoor Golf Club and Sunday’s Hampshire Hog at North Hants.

Saunders, from Dartford in Kent, was runner-up in the Selborne Salver (73 67) and tied fourth in the Hampshire Hog (71 70).

The Selborne Salver was won by Spalding’s Simon Richardson with a one-under par total (69, 68). The Hampshire Hog was captured by another Lincolnshire player, Sam Whitaker (Blankney), who was two-under for 36 holes (71, 67).

Saunders won the aggregate trophy by the narrowest of margins, denying James Allan (Chelmsford) on the basis of a better final round.

Afterwards he remarked: “I wanted to pick up a big win early in the year, then compete in the international matches and European Team Championships and then aim for the Walker Cup. After that, the goal is to get on The European Tour.”

The 24-year-old went on: “These have been two tough days with the wind swirling around the trees but I am delighted to win such a big title so early in the year, especially as it is Walker Cup year. You need wins like this.”

Saunders, a member of the England Golf men’s squad, was in England’s winning team at the 2013 Home Internationals and is a past winner of the Lagonda Trophy.

Caption: Hampshire Hog winner Sam Whitaker (left) and Hampshire Salver winner Michael Saunders (right).

Leading scores
Hampshire Hog (North Hants GC)
138 S Whitaker (Blankney) 71, 67.
139 A Plant (Sundridge Park) 70, 69
140 J Mullen (Royal North Devon) 69, 71
141 O Farrell (Evesham) 72, 69; J Allan (Chelmsford) 70, 71; M Saunders (Dartford) 71, 70
142 J Singh-Brar (Remedy Oak) 68, 74; J Merry (Birstall) 69, 73; B Westgate (Trevose) 72,70
143 N Watson (Stoke Rochford) 74, 79
144 F Price (Royal Blackheath) 69, 75
145 B Wall (Hayling) 74, 71; J Bower (Meltham)

Selborne Salver (Blackmoor):
137 S Richardson (Spalding) 69 68.
140 M Saunders (Dartford) 73 67; J Bush (Morlais Castle) 69 71; J Allan (Chelmsford) 66 74
142 A Chesters (Hawkstone Park) 72 70; R Lumsden (Royal Wimbledon ) 71 71
143 J Dick (Forest Hill) 75 68; S Edwards (Bigbury) 71 72.