Virus forces Hampshire golfing calendar to be rescheduled

By Colin Channon   |   Editorial manager   |
Monday 15th June 2020 9:52 am
@colinchannon
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HAMPSHIRE’S major amateur championships have now all been rearranged for later in the season.

But the county’s leading golfers have been warned by the PGA they still cannot guarantee the tournaments will go ahead.

And there will be major changes to the format to the county championship.

North Hants Golf Club was due to stage the 115th Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship last weekend.

But the county have been forced to put their blue riband event back until early September, following the lifting of restrictions on competitive golf by England Golf.

Instead of a three-day championship, Hayling Golf Club will now host the 36-hole qualifying event on Friday, September 4.

But only the top four will now qualify for the matchplay knockout 24 hours later, instead of the normal top 16.

The semi-finals will be played over 18 holes before the 18-hole final in the afternoon.

The county championship normally includes three medal competitions for higher handicap players played over the weekend – but they will not take place in 2020.

As well as the county championship, the Courage Trophy – Hampshire’s 36-hole stroke-play championship – and the Mid Amateur Championship (over-35s) will take place at Stoneham, on Sunday, September 20.

That will help county captain Neil Dawson in his plans to pick a four-man team to compete at the English County Finals at the end of September.

The usual four regional qualifiers – which take place in July and August – have been scrapped this year. Instead, England Golf has invited all 40 counties to send a team to the finals, which will also be played to a different format.

That will give counties who struggle to make it through the tough regional round a chance to get their name on the trophy – some for the first time.

Hampshire have the best record in the South East Division, having won the qualifier eight times in the 21st century.

But their victory at the 2017 finals was only Hampshire’s second English County Championship victory in their history – and came 21 years after a teenage Justin Rose was on the winning side.

But the County Foursomes – which offers the Hampshire captain a dress rehearsal when they reach the finals – has had to be moved from its original September date.

It will now take place at Waterlooville Golf Club on September 27 – the last day of the English finals.

The Hampshire Seniors Championship, played over 27 holes, will now take place at Hartley Wintney, on August 27.

The County Sevens inter-club knock-out – which has several rounds between March and August before the finals are held in September or October – were called off in March, along with the Royal Greenjackets – the junior equivalent.

The South East League matches in the under-16, under-18, colts, men’s and seniors’ divisions have also been cancelled, and will be replaced by a series of final days for all ten counties in October.

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