The Amateur Championship – 2016 Preview & Results

18th June 2016

UPDATE

Scott Gregory (ENG) today beat Robert MacIntyre (SCO) 2&1 in the 36-hole final of The Amateur Championship on a dry day at Royal Porthcawl GC.

Scott Gregory Amateur Champion 2016

Scott Gregory (Photo: R&A / Getty Images)

Gregory shot 72 at Royal Porthcawl and 71 at Pyle & Kenfig in the Stroke Play Qualifying. This saw him finish tied 13th with a +1 total.

Seeded 13th he then proceeded to beat Andre Nel (RSA) by 2 holes, Pierre Mazier (FRA) by 1 hole, Harry Hall (ENG) 4&3, Javier Sainz (ESP) 5&4 and Adrian Meronk (POL) to reach the Final.

Click this link to review all of the Match Play results – Amateur Championship MP Results

14th June 2016

UPDATE

The Stroke Play Qualfying stage of The Amateur Championship was completed this evening.

Click this link to view the Stroke Play Results and Seedings – Amateur Championship SP Results

The top 64 and ties cut fell at +5 with 79 players progressing to the Match Play stage which is being played exclusively at Royal Porthcawl GC.

11th June 2016

The 121st Amateur Championship starts on Monday at Royal Porthcawl and Pyle & Kenfig Golf Clubs in South Wales.

It is the most prestigious amateur golf event played outside of the United States and without question the highlight of the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur season.

Royal Porthcawl Amateur 2016

Royal Porthcawl GC (Photo: @Royal_Porthcawl Twitter)

Format
Entry is limited to 288 players with the event administered by the Championship Committee of The R&A.

Two qualifying rounds of stroke play, one round on each course, will be played on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th June. Tee times will start at 7.00 am and end at 3.52 pm on both days.

To view the stroke play draw click here – Amateur Championship SP Draw

The 64 players with the lowest stroke play scores, and ties for 64th place, will be seeded in line with their finishes and will advance to the match play stage. All other players will be eliminated at this point. This second stage will be played solely at Royal Porthcawl between Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th June. Matches will be played over 18 holes except for the Final which will be over 36 holes.

Royal Porthcawl Golf ClubBridgend County South Golf Activities and Sports

Royal Porthcawl GC (Photo: welshgolfvacations website)

Players
Players from 32 countries will contest the 2016 Amateur.

The leading players that are competing, based on their Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (Nationality / SPWAR*), are: –
Matthias Schwab (AUS / 7)
Jack Hume (IRE / 9)
Grant Forrest (SCO / 13)
Harrison Endycott (AUS / 23)
Conor Syme (SCO / 24)
Antoine Rozner (FRA / 27)
Jamie Bower (ENG / 30)
Travis Smyth (AUS / 33)
Robin Sciot-Siegrist (FRA / 36)
Cameron John (AUS / 40)
Albert Venter (RSA / 43)
Craig Ross (SCO / 44)
Craig Howie (SCO / 45)
Herman Loubser (RSA / 46)
Aubrey Beckley (RSA / 49)

* All SPWARs quoted were correct as at 11th June 2016

Whilst there are some American’s playing, including 2015 Walker cup mid-amateur Mike McCoy, it remains the case that the vast majority sadly continue to skip the Championship. Without their participation it will always lack a little something despite the ‘prizes’ on offer. This year, with the Palmer Cup taking place at Formby GC in a few weeks time, I had hoped that one or two might make the extra effort to come over early.

Unfortunately Wales’ No. 1 amateur David Boote (SPWAR 29) has his Stanford graduation ceremony on Monday so is unable to play. Fellow Palmer Cup player Sam Horsfield (ENG / SPWAR 6) was always unlikely to enter but at least he now has the excuse of qualifying for the US Open at Oakmont which also takes place next week.

This latter point begs the question, even allowing for the exceptional challenges of this Olympics year, why do the R&A schedule the Amateur Championship against a professional men’s Major ? It’s hardly likely to help with media coverage and interest as the event reaches it’s climax next week is it ? 

Courses
The Championship is being staged at Royal Porthcawl and Pyle & Kenfig, two of the best courses in Wales.

Pyle & Kenfig Golf CourseAerial South Golf Activities & Sports

Pyle & Kenfig GC (Photo: welshgolfvacations website)

This will be the seventh time Royal Porthcawl has been the lead course at The Amateur Championship. It has also hosted the Curtis Cup (1964) and Walker Cup (1995 – GB&I beating a US Team including Tiger Woods 14-10).

Porthcawl plays to 7,065 yards and a par of 72 from it’s black championship tees. Pitched down to the shore it famously allows golfers to see the sea from every hole on the course but also feel the wind on most of their shots too.

James Mason’s Plant Golf Review of Royal Porthcawl GC

Neighbouring Pyle & Kenfig has co-hosted The Amateur with Royal Porthcawl on two previous occasions, 1988 and 2002.

P&K has a total yardage of 6,860 from it’s blue championship tees. It is a par 71 course of two different halves; an inland parkland start gives way to a final 9 played across a road amongst sand dunes nearer to the coast.

James Mason’s Plant Golf Review of Pyle & Kenfig GC

The Amateur Championship has been played at Royal Porthcawl on six previous occasions. The winners then were: –

1951 – Dick Chapman (USA)
In the first Amateur to be held in Wales and with comedian Bob Hope in the field Chapman beat fellow American Charles Coe 5&4. Chapman had lost in two Finals in the previous four years so was certainly deserving of his eventual win.

1965 – Sir Michael Bonallack (ENG)
Sir Michael made a terrible start to the Final against Clive Clark, finding himself 7 down after 8 holes. At lunch he won the jackpot on the club’s fruit machine before completing his comeback to win 2 and 1.

1973 – Dick Siderowf (USA)
Siderowf, a 34 year New York stockbroker, beat England’s Peter Moody (24) 5&3. He went on to win The Amateur again in 1976, this time at St. Andrews.

1980 – Duncan Evans (WAL)
Playing in heavy rain on a flooded course Evans (21), who had beaten a 16 year-old Ronan Rafferty in the semis, became the first Welshman to win the Amateur in front of a home crowd. His 73 in round 1 of the final was particularly memorable given the conditions. He beat South Africa’s David Suddards 4&3 on a day that gradually improved weather wise.

1988 – Christian Hardin (SWE)
Hardin beat South Africa’s Ben Fouchee 1Up in the Final.

2002 – Alejandro Larrazábal (ESP)
Caddied by his brother Pablo, now a successful European Tour golfer, Alejandro beat Wales’ Martin Sell 1Up.

Weather Forecast
As at Saturday 11th June, 17.00pm the weather forecast looks reasonably positive: –

Mon 13th June – Light Rain PM. Wind 7 mph S. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.
Tue 14th June – Light Cloud. Wind 13 mph W. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 12°C.
Wed 15th June – Light Showers. Wind 9 mph W. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Thu 16th June – Sunny. Wind 10 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 17th June – Sunny. Wind 9 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Sat 18th June – Sunny. Wind 8 mph W. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.

Just like at The Open players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.52pm on Monday and Tuesday so the weather may very well play a part in the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Betting Odds
SkyBET released their Amateur Championship ‘Outright Winner’ Odds on Monday 6th June.

As they are removed from their website when play starts I have taken photos of the original odds so we can look back at them once the results are known.

Amateur 2016 skyBET 1Amateur 2016 skyBET 2Amateur 2016 skyBET 3Amateur 2016 skyBET 4

Ireland’s Jack Hume was the 28-1 initial favourite with SkyBET when they released their original odds.

The current SkyBET odds can be accessed here – Amateur Championship Outright Winner.

Prizes
The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon.

They will also be exempt into the 2017 US Open Championship, which is for the first time being played at the stunning Erin Hills in Wisconsin.

_ hole at Erin Hills a (Hurdzan/Fry and Ron Whitten design) daily fee golf course in Erin, Wisconsin.  September, 2010.  PM shoot.  Photo by Paul Hundley.

Erin Hills Golf Course (Photo: http://www.erinhills.com)

Traditionally, the Amateur Champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

A Short History of The Amateur 
The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool GC. Allan Macfie (SCO) was the first champion beating Horace Hutchinson (ENG) 7&6 in the Final.

Up until the Second World War it was a hugely prestigious event and in a many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and better than most of the professionals of the time.

With only modest rewards available in the professional game many of the better players simply stayed amateur. The great American Bobby Jones, who won The Amateur in 1930 on the way to his Grand Slam, remains the most well known career amateur.

Even after the war players remained amateur for much longer and famous names like Frank Stranhan (USA), Joe Carr (IRE), Sir Michael Bonallack (ENG) and Peter McEvoy (ENG) all built their reputations on Amateur Championship wins.

With the growth and transformation of the professional game from the early 1980s onwards both the better players and the media increasingly started to turn their backs on the amateur game. Save for exceptional cases like Gary Wolstenholme (ENG) all continuity has been lost over the last 30 years and most of the young golfing stars of today rarely play any more than 2 or 3 Amateurs before being lured into the pro ranks by the huge rewards on offer. With the sports media facing their own challenges most of their resources sadly have to be directed towards the superstar players and the Major Championships leaving the amateur game scrambling for any coverage it can get.

Past Winners
The greatest player in the history of The Amateur is Johnny Ball. The Hoylake man won the Championship a record 8 times between 1888 and 1912.

Only three other players have won the competition more than twice; Sir Michael Bonallack (5), Harold Hilton (4)and Joe Carr (3). Bonallack amazingly won it three years in a row between 1968-1970. The last person to retain The Amateur was Peter McEvoy in 1977 and ’78.

France’s Romain Langasque beat Scotland’s Grant Forrest 4&2 in last year’s final staged at Carnoustie and Panmure in Angus, Scotland.

The last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

2015 Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie GL
2014 Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush GC
2013 Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports GC
2012 Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon GC
2011 Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside GC
2010 Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009 Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby GC
2008 Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry
2007 Drew Weaver (USA) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC
2006 Julien Guerrier (FRA) – Royal St. George’s

A great honour for all of the players listed above but perhaps when one reviews where most of them are now another clear reminder that golf is an incredibly tough game and career to pursue at the professional level.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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