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Darren Walkley roars home to win Brokenhurst Manor’s Mike Smith Memorial Trophy

Walkley made birdies at the sixth and seventh to turn in two-under before a run of three birdies in four holes from the 13th.

It left him on level par and one ahead of Hayling’s Hampshire vice-captain Toby Burden (74, 67).

Darren Walkley (Photo: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures)
Darren Walkley (Photo: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures)

A delighted Darren Walkley said: “I don’t know if it was the chicken and pasta we had for lunch or what, but I found something in my swing in the nets before I went out again.

“Something clicked, and I played very nicely after lunch. It was great to get the win.”

Walkley, who plays off plus-four, was delighted to win the Mike Smith Memorial for the first time, returning the trophy to Hampshire hands after Dorset’s Sam Roles’ victory a year ago.

Mike Smith was the second-youngest player to win the county championship in over 95 years when he claimed the Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup as an 18-year-old in 1989. But that winter, he died in a tragic car accident in the New Forest.

Brokenhurst Manor then replaced its annual scratch open – the Brokenhurst Bowl – in his honour from 1991 onwards.

Darren added: “I played a lot with Steve Richardson, the Ryder Cup player and European Tour winner before and after I turned pro.

“Steve won the English Amateur in 1989 – but Mike Smith beat him in our final to become county champion a couple of months earlier. I never forget Steve telling me just how good he was.

“He was an England Boys international and was beating the men hands down that year, so to put my name on his trophy is a great feeling.”

Darren Walkley with Brokenhurst Manor captain David Pack (right) (Photo: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures)
Darren Walkley with Brokenhurst Manor captain David Pack (right) (Photo: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures)

Many of the county’s great players over the last 30 years have won it, including Justin Rose, Matt Blackey and Richard Bland, who have all gone on to become winners on the European Tour.

Brokenhurst’s Martin Young has won the competition more times than anyone else, with six victories – four more than the four players with two wins. He was the highest finisher from the host club in 12th after rounds of 74 and 73.

The parents of the talented teenager, taken long before he reached his prime, could not make the prize-giving for the first time in the competition’s history, so club captain David Pack did the honours.

Brokenhurst Manor club manager Kevin Light added: “We had some great feedback from players praising the work done by Doug Spencer, who became our head greenkeeper two years ago, and his team to get the course into the condition it is in right now – given how challenging the weather has been this year.”

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