The Amateur Championship – 2015 Preview & Results

UPDATE – France’s Romain Langasque won the 2015 Amateur Championship, beating Scotland’s Grant Forrest 4&2 in the 36-holf final at Carnoustie Golf Links.

Romain Langasque

Romain Langasque celebrates with The Amateur Championship trophy (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images) 

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14th June 2015

288 golfers from 29 countries are competing in the 120th Amateur Championship which starts tomorrow.  All of them will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Scotland’s Bradley Neil, who won the 2014 event at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

 

History
The Amateur Championship was first held in 1885 at Hoylake and from humble beginnings has grown in both stature and tradition over the last 130 years.

Famous past winners include Horace Hutchinson, Johnny Ball Jr, Johnny Laidlay, Harold Hilton, Bobby Jones, Lawson Little, Joe Carr, Sir Michael Bonallack, Peter McEvoy, Jose-Maria Olazabel, Gary Wolstenholme, Sergio Garcia and Matteo Manassero.

‘The Amateur – The Story of The Amateur Golf Championship 1885-1995’ by John Behrend provides an excellent history of the oldest amateur championship in the world.

The Amateur

The Amateur by John Behrend

To date the competition has been held at 22 different courses across Great Britain. The 2015 Amateur is being held at Carnoustie Golf Links and Panmure Golf Club.  Both courses are situated near to Dundee, in Angus, on the east coast of Scotland.  This will be the fifth occasion, and the first since 1992, that Carnoustie has been afforded the honour of being the Amateur’s main course.  Past winners here include Willie Turnesa (USA, in 1947), Bobby Cole (RSA, in1966 aged 18), Steve Melnyk (USA, in 1971) and Stephen Dundas (SCO, in 1992).

Carnoustie and Panmure

Carnoustie and Panmure Links, Scotland

Competition Format
The Amateur Championship starts with a 36-hole stroke play qualifier which will be played over the first two days of the competition.  Each golfer will play 18-holes at Carnoustie and Panmure on either Monday or Tuesday.

As can be seen in the scorecards below, off the Championship tees, Panmure plays to 6,511 yards and a par 70, whilst the more famous Carnoustie Golf Links plays to 6,941 yards and a par of 72.

Panmure Scorecard

Panmure Scorecard

Following the stroke play qualifier the competitors with the 64 lowest total scores, as well as those tied for 64th place (if there are any), will progress to a match play stage.  This will be held, solely at Carnoustie, over the remaining four days – Wednesday to Saturday – to determine the Amateur Champion.  All of these matches are 18-holes save for the final which is played over 36-holes.

Carnoustie Scorecard

Carnoustie Scorecard

The Field
The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – 2015 Amateur Championship Draw.

The field is understandably strong with frankly any one of the competitors capable of lifting the trophy if form and luck favours them this week.

Unfortunate clashes with the Palmer Cup and Sunnehanna Amateur, both of which are taking place this week in the USA, have sadly deprived some players of the opportunity of competing.  Bradley Neil, the 2014 champion, is also unable to defend his title because the US Open is being played this week at Chambers Bay, for which his victory last year qualified him.  Likewise Sam Horsfield, who many were looking forward to see playing for the first time on this side of the Atlantic, has also withdrawn having last week pre-qualified for the same US Open.

The top 10 players who are playing – at least in terms of the current World Amateur Golf Rankings – are listed below: –
Marcus Kinhult (SWE / 3) – Winner of the 2015 Lytham Trophy and hot off the back of an impressive Nordea Masters in Sweden.
Austin Connelly (CAN / 8) – Winner of the 2015 Jones Cup Invitational
Ashley Chesters (ENG / 32) – 2013 and 2014 European Amateur champion. 2nd in Welsh Amateur recently.
Ryan Ruffels (AUS / 14) – Australian Boys champion in 2014 and 2015.
Mario Galliano (ESP / 15) – Winner of the 2015 European Nations Individual and Copa Beleares.
Will Zalatoris (USA / 17) – Consistent performer in US amateur and College golf.
Lucas Herbert (AUS / 20) – has shown good recent form at the Scottish Amateur and at the St. Andrews Links Trophy.
Cormac Sharvin (IRE / 26) – Recently placed at Lytham as well as the Irish and Scottish Amateurs.
Nick Marsh (ENG / 40) – Top 10s at the West of England, Welsh and Scottish Amateurs in 2015.
Josh Munn (NZ / 43) – Winner of the Lawnmaster Classic and Akarana Open back home in 2015.

Other notable players who should do well are: – James Allan (ENG), John Axelsen (DEN), Ivan Cantero (ESP), Rowin Caron (NED) Cameron Davis (AUS), Matias Dominguez (CHI), Paul Dunne (IRE), Ewen Ferguson (SCO), Grant Forrest (SCO), Rico Hoey (USA), Jack Hume (IRE), Jeroen Krietemeijer (NED), Romain Langasque (FRA), Lukas Lipold (AUS), Taylor MacDonald (AUS), Dermot McElroy (IRE), Antonio Murdaca (AUS), Bradley Moore (ENG), Gavin Moynihan (IRE), Jimmy Mullen (ENG), Jordan Niebrugge (USA), Marco Penge (ENG), Connor Syme (SCO), Ben Taylor (ENG), Ashton Turner (ENG), Robbie Van West (NED), Daniel Young (SCO) and Federico Zucchetti (ITA).

SkyBET are offering odds for the Amateur Championship which highlight who they see as the favourites for this marathon golfing event.  Click the link to view them – SkyBET’s Outright Winner Odds (but be quick as they will be removed at the start of play on Day 1).

Weather Forecast
Locals may be unhappy to see a weather forecast that looks relatively good for the Championship – very little rain and only modest winds are expected.

The current forecast as at 9.00 am on Sunday 14th June is: –
Mon 15th June – Mostly Cloudy. Wind 8 mph (West). Max. 12°C / Min 9°C.
Tues 16th June – Mostly Cloudy. Wind 12 mph (North). Max. 15°C / Min 11°C.
Wed 19th June – Partly Cloudy. Wind 20 mph (East). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 11°C.
Thurs 18th June – Partly Cloudy. Wind 18 mph (East). Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 11°C.
Fri 19th June – Partly Cloudy. Wind 11 mph (East). Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 11°C.
Sat 20th June – Partly Cloudy. Wind 9 mph (North). Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 11°C.

Prizes
Whilst trophies and cash prizes are awarded to the Amateur Champion these are not the primary rewards on offer.

The winner also receives a place in this year’s Open Championship, taking place down the coast at St. Andrews, and the 2016 US Open Championship, which is to be held at Oakmont CC in Pennsylvania.  Whilst not formalised, an invitation is always extended to the next available Masters Tournament at Augusta National GC too.  Additionally, many other Professional tournaments on both the US PGA Tour and European Tour are only to pleased to offer sponsor’s invitations to the Champion to compete.

Finally, should a home player win they will be assured of a place in the GB&I Walker Cup team, the 2015 match taking place at Royal Lytham in just 3 months time.

Event Coverage

The Royal & Ancient run the Amateur championship.  As one would expect there is an excellent webpage covering the Championship where the all important live scoring and draw information can be found – R&A Amateur Championship webpage.

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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