Billy Watson follows in footsteps of Justin Rose to win Hampshire Junior Championships

Daily Echo: BILLY WATSON BILLY WATSON

While Bubba Watson was toasting a Masters win last week, another Watson was celebrating victory in the Hampshire Junior Championships.

Billy Watson, the son of former European Tour player Scott, triumphed by four shots at Royal Winchester, after posting a score of seven-under-par for his two rounds to claim the Pechell Trophy.

The 17-year-old from Basingstoke, who plays at North Hants, towered above his opponents both figuratively and literally, standing at 6ft 5in as he does.

Watson has been one of Hampshire’s young guns over the past two years, forcing his way into the under-18 team that reached the English Boys Finals for a second year running last summer.

His opening round of 70 had left him one behind the halfway leader, Josh Oddy, of Westridge, who was last year’s county under-16 champion.

But a 67 in the afternoon saw him pull clear, with La Moye’s Jason Stokes (-3) finishing second and Oddy (-1) third.

Watson, whose namesake Bubba claimed another famous Green Jacket at Augusta on Sunday, is only the third North Hants player to get his name on the trophy, following Justin Rose in 1996 and Sam Shipman in 2005.

“It’s great to win an event like this and receive a trophy with the names of Justin Rose, Richard Bland and Harry Ellis on it,” he said.

“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.”

As well as the main prize, Watson also won the Willard Trophy for the best handicap score over 36 holes and the John Hardy Bowl for the best scratch score.

Oddy’s one-under total was good enough to comfortably win the under-16 crown, while the under-14 prize went to Royal Winchester’s Robbie Flower.

He was run close by Stoneham’s Henry Sparks, but held him off to claim the Royal Guernsey Cup by five strokes.

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