Bramshaw's Buenfeld makes quarter-finals at the Hampshire Golf County Championships
BRAMSHAW'S Joe Buenfeld has given Hampshire captain Neil Dawson plenty to think about after reaching the knockout stages in the county championship for the first time.
Although the 19-year-old's route to the final was blocked by 2019 champion Toby Burden, his performance has put him into serious contention for a first-team call-up.
Burden beat Buenfeld three and one in the quarter-final at North Hants Golf Club, the home club of Olympic Champion Justin Rose.
But only after the US college golfer Buenfeld claimed the scalp of former EuroPro Tour winner Stuart Archibald in the first round with a four and two victory.
Dawson said: "I spoke to both Toby and Stuart after their respective matches against Joe. Toby is an important member of my first-team squad, and Stuart has played at nearly every level in the pro-game.
"They both gave me glowing reports on how well Joe played – and how he has improved since going to America – but also, just as importantly, how he handled himself out on the course.
"He hits the ball further now – but he knows when to use that power and when to rein it back a little to ensure he does not take unnecessary risks in a game.
"I have a lot of thinking to do before our remaining league matches and picking my squad to take to the south east six-man qualifier for the English County Finals next month."
Buenfeld, who spent two successful years on the golf team at Hartpury College before heading across the Atlantic, was pleased with his first crack at trying to win the famous Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup, first awarded 100 years ago.
He said: "I am learning how to use my power, and against Toby, we both played really good golf.
"He just played a bit better – he played in his fourth final last year and now he has reached a third in a row, so I can take a lot from that.
"I went to North Hants with the aim of winning the trophy. I think I did a good job reaching the last 16 and then playing well against Stuart and Toby."
Buenfeld recently returned to Hampshire from his first year in the USA on a golf scholarship at the University of the Incarnate Word in Texas.
The improvement in the talented New Forest golfer's game was evident as he took control of his first-round match against Archibald around the turn.
Joe was never behind and made five birdies in his round, coolly sinking a 20-footer from the middle of the par-three 15th to close out the match in style.
Archibald picked up three £10,000 winner's cheques on the EuroPro Tour in 10 years as a pro before getting his amateur status back 18 months ago.
Buenfeld's score of two over par after two rounds of 71 gave him fourth place in the 36-hole qualifier on Friday, with the top-16 contesting the matchplay over the weekend.
Brokenhurst Manor's Martin Young, looking for a fourth Hampshire crown, qualified in ninth place, on three over par.
But the 51-year-old, who has won the Sloane-Stanley three times over the last 10 years, ran out of steam in the rising afternoon heat.
He lost in the quarter-finals on the last to Hockley's Jack Bateman, after beating North Hants' reigning club champion Robert Wheeler at the 20th, having come from one down with one to play.