Max Hopkins of Hertfordshire carved his name in the prestigious Hampshire Hog Trophy by winning a one-stroke at North Hunts Golf Club on Sunday.
The 19-year-old from Bishops Stratford GC shot for a 3-under-par winning score of 137 in rounds 68 and 69 and went ahead of Joe Harvey (The Kendleshire) and Freddie MacArthur (Woolsthorpe Court).
A number of impressive wage shots and tidy play throughout the glorious spring day at Fleet Venue took Hopkins off the field – all but one of the eight birdies came from the usual tap-in – and despite two late dropped shots, Hopkins failed to catch.
To win the 64th Hampshire Hog, Hopkins joins a star cast of former champions, including the Walker Cup and Ryder Cup players, the Tour winners and the Major Champions. Including Justin Rose, who won the title in 1995 at just 14 years old.
Hopkins said: “I’m glad to know that the players you see on the board are on the same path as those who have come on the biggest stage. “It’s good to add my name to that list.”
After winning the Daily Telegraph Junior Masters in 2017 and representing the England Boys at the European Team Championship and Home International – winning the next event, Hopkins’ progress has stalled over the past two years during the Covid epidemic. So Sunday’s win is a timely improvement for his career as he pursues the dream of competing on the professional circuit with his older brother John, a +4 handicaper who is currently playing college golf in the United States.
Hopkins, coach of former European tour player Simon Khan, said: “A lot of the brothers didn’t compete at the top level, so it would be nice.”
Hampshire Salver has been awarded for the best combined score on 72 holes, including two rounds at Blackmoor Golf Club for Salbourne Salver and then two rounds at Hampshire Hog, given to England international Jack Brooks. The 31-year-old Blackmore from Bolton’s The Mere won 277 scores, including 72 and 67 in the North Hunts, following 67 and 71 rounds. Brooks is aiming for a spot in the US Mid-Amateur in September and his win marks a tough step towards that goal on Sunday.