YOUNG Salisbury and South Wilts golf stars Sam Elkins and John Haugh were among a triumphant Wiltshire team which won the south west boy's under-18 team golf championship by a devastating margin of 15 shots.

The convincing win takes the team forward to the national finals in September, where they will face the finest up-and-coming golfing talent from Kent, Yorkshire and Warwickshire.

The strong performance represents a breakthrough in the team's fortunes, taking it into the national finals for the first time in ten years.

Elkins carded 71 in the morning round, then came back to better his performance by one shot in the afternoon, picking up the runner-up prize in the individual south west championship.

Haugh recorded consistent scores of 74 in both rounds. At one point, with three holes to go, and two strokes adrift of the standard he responded with two birdies to finish five over par. Team coach Mark Lawrence said: "I am really proud of the boys.

"Let's hope we do well in September but, at the moment, being in the top four in the country feels great."

All the members of the Wiltshire team are aged 16 and under and still have a year to play in junior golf.

Also enjoying a good run of form is Mark Searle, who finished fifth in the South Western Counties Championship at Burnham and Berrow, before taking the High Post Open.

His winning afternoon round of 65 brought him tantalisingly close to breaking the course record, a 64 set by his father Roger which has stood for many years.

Needing a birdie at the last to beat the record or a par to tie, he missed out, taking a five to complete the round.

Earlier in the day, he carded a 71 in the morning round.