Basingstoke golfer Billy Watson wins Hampshire Junior Championship

Basingstoke Gazette: Billy Watson in action at the Hampshire Junior Championship Billy Watson in action at the Hampshire Junior Championship

SHERBORNE St John’s Billy Watson is celebrating after getting the better of the top young golfers in the county to win the Hampshire Junior Championship.

The 17-year-old, the son of former European Tour player Scott Watson, travelled to Royal Winchester for the event, trailed the leader by one shot after 18 holes, but a superb second round of 67 (-5) saw him lift the Pechell Trophy.

Watson’s opening round of 70 (-2) left him one behind halfway leader Josh Oddy, last year’s Hampshire Under-16 champion, but there was no stopping the Basingstoke player during the second round.

Watson used the considerable power generated by his 6ft 5ins frame to birdie the two par fives on the back nine, having started from the 10th tee after lunch.

He picked up a shot with a birdie four at the 10th but bogeyed the par-four 12th.

At the short par-four 14th, Watson hit his three-iron 210 yards before seeing his wedge from 42 yards curve around to the hole off the bank on the two-tier green and roll straight in for a stunning eagle two.

Another four at the 500-yard 16th got him to three-under-par and despite giving one straight back on the par three 17th, birdies at the first and fourth left Watson in a great position. His fifth birdie of the round came at his last hole, the par-five ninth, despite finding the greenside bunker.

A five-under-par round of 67 gave Watson victory by four shots over Jersey teenager Jason Stokes, with Oddy a further two strokes back in third.

Watson said: “Obviously it’s great to win an event like this and receive a trophy with the names of the likes of Justin Rose, Richard Bland and Harry Ellis on it. But it will take a day or two to sink in.

“I did not go out with a score in mind after lunch, and I didn’t want to hear about how anyone else was doing. I knew with a couple of holes to go that I would be in with a chance, but I just wanted to focus on the next shot and not get ahead of myself.

“I was hitting it close. Apart from the eagle on 12 which pitched on the green and ran on for about 35 feet and into the hole, my birdie putts were not that long. I lipped out for eagle on 12 in the morning but overall I was very pleased with the way I played.”

Watson, who started his career at Weybrook Park, also won the Willard Trophy for the best handicap score over 36 holes and the John Hardy Bowl for the best scratch score for that 137 total.

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