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Ringwood and Brokenhurst Manor golfer Martin Young dumped out of Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup by Ryan Henley

RINGWOOD’s Martin Young played some of his best golf in all the 30 years he has been playing in the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship – but was cruelly dumped out in the semi-finals at Hockley.

The 53-year-old Brokenhurst Manor ace was dreaming of winning a fourth Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup – his first since 2016 – over the hilly course, where he won his second in 2014.

But cruelly, his luck ran out when his former county foursomes partner Ryan Henley, from Stoneham, played the first six holes of the back nine in six-under, in Sunday’s semi-final to end his title dream.

Young at county championships (photo: Andrew Griffin AMG Pictures)
Young at county championships (photo: Andrew Griffin AMG Pictures)

Henley (45) who reached his seventh final since 1999, sunk four birdies and an eagle, while Young fought back admirably with four birdies of his own in the first 13 holes before losing 2&1.

A disappointed Young said: “I played fantastically well on all three days – but I know if there is one player who is capable of putting a run together like that, it’s Ryan Henley.

“He beat me in my first final in 2005, and I beat him to win my first in 2011. We know each other’s game so well. We have played six English County Finals together for Hampshire.

“We also won the County Foursomes together in 2009 and 2018 – both at Hockley. And he’s also won six Delhi Cups around Hockley – it’s almost like he’s a member.”

Young won the Sloane-Stanley nine years ago on the only other occasion Hockley hosted the county championship.

Young, who usually skips May’s Delhi Cup even though it has become a curtain-raiser for the Hampshire Order of Merit since 2014, added: “I don’t think I have lost a matchplay round at Hockley since I won the final here.

“I did fancy my chances to get a fourth county championship,” said Young, believed to be the oldest champion after his last win seven years ago.

Their combined age for the semi-final was 98, but the skill and effort was 100 per cent for those lucky to have witnessed the match.

Young tamed the fiery fairways and firm greens that greeted the players for Friday’s 36-hole qualifier, but it was virtually impossible to hold the putting surfaces on the downwind, downhill holes.

He finished fifth with rounds of 71 and 75, with his level-par first round played in the worst of the wind before lunch might have taken a bit out of the veteran as he started the second round with four bogeys on his front nine before steadying the ship.

The groundworks company owner knocked out Stoneham’s George Daniels in the first round of Saturday’s matchplay – winning 2&1 – to book his place in the last eight.

He then ended 2020 champion Richard Harris’ hopes of becoming the 18th player to have claimed the Sloane-Stanley at least twice since 1921.

In the final, Henley beat Liphook’s 2015 champion Darren Walkley 4&3 in a high-quality final to win his fourth county title since 2004.

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