Hampshire Golf call up for Islander Hacker

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HAMPSHIRE Golf captain Neil Dawson has selected Islander Jo Hacker in his six-man team for this weekend’s South East Qualifier.

Hacker, who won the Hampshire County Championship last year, subsequently broke into Dawson’s team and impressed from the outset.

Upon selection for the 2021 South East Qualifier the Caesarean fired rounds of 68 and 69 for a total of three-under-par – tied second on the team.

Dawson said: ‘Jo has experience in this team. He came into the side last year for the six-man and performed really well.

‘The venue is very similar to last year, so I think it will suit him well.

‘I have selected some more inexperienced players, so Jo’s inclusion with a couple others is important to also have them guys involved who have been there before.

‘He has a great temperament, which is great from my point of view – he’s maintenance free.’

Suffolk’s Bury St Edmunds Golf Club will play host to the 2022 instalment and Jo’s inclusion in the Hampshire side will not be the only Island connection.

Caesarean Ted Ray, who won two major championships, designed the golf course, which was opened in 1924.

Last year Berks Bucks & Oxon Golf tore the field apart, led by their star, Conor Gough, who shot a remarkable nine-under-par 61 in the second round.

The golf on display in 2021 shows the strength of the teams within the south-east region of the country.

Hacker said: ‘It’s always nice to play in a team environment for Hampshire.

‘The six-man team feels a little more like college golf, whereby you compete for yourself and the team at the same time.

‘The course sounds like it will be quite tight and tree-lined, much like last year – so I think that will suit me.

‘I think it’s great that Neil [Dawson] has chosen some younger guys in the team. There are three or four players that are my age.

‘For me, it is important to get off the Island and test myself against the best players in the country.

‘We have a tough region full of great counties and players, so it’s these events that I’ll learn so much from.’

Out of the 11 counties that compete on Saturday, just one will progress to the finals – highlighting the challenge ahead for Hampshire.

However, Dawson confessed that this selection was his toughest one yet, as golf in the county continues to flourish and more players put their name in the hat for selection.

Hacker will be looking to improve on his individual finish of tied 11th last year to help lift Hampshire to the finals for the first time since 2017.

Hampshire team: Martin Young [Brokenhurst Manor], Toby Burden [Hayling], Jo Hacker [La Moye]; Ryan Moody [Stoneham], George Saunders [Lee-on-the-Solent], Charlie Forster [North Hants].

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