The Amateur Championship – 2020 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 30th August 2020

Joe LONG (ENG) won the 2020 Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale G.C. to become the 51st Englishman to lift the famous silver trophy.

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Joe Long (Photo: Richard Heathcote / The R&A / R&A via Getty Images)

Joe beat his namesake Joe HARVEY (ENG) 4&3 in the 36 hole Final.

Long built up a 3Up lead after 11 holes helped by birdies on the 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th holes. Whilst Harvey battled till the end Long steadied himself after a shaky opening nine in the afternoon to see out the match.

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Long v. Harvey (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Long and Harvey were well known to each other coming into the Final; hailing from the Gloucestershire County and golf clubs just 10 miles apart, namely The Kendleshire and Lansdown respectively.

It was the first all-England final since Graeme Storm defeated Aran Wainwright 7&6 at Royal County Down in 1999. The last English champion was Harry Ellis who won at Royal St George’s in 2017.

Joe LONG was the clear favourite before play commenced. At the beginning of the Championship he was ranked 102nd and 31st in the WAGR and SPWAR whilst Joe HARVEY was 897th and 387th.

With his victory Joe LONG secured exemptions into the Open, Masters Tournament and US Open in 2021. He also guaranteed a place in the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team.

Joe Long shot a 74 (-3) in the stroke play qualifying to finish tied 30th. In then reaching the Final he also had to care of three of England’s leading players Olly HUGGINS, Barclay BROWN and Jake BOLTON. All in all a well deserved victory for the 23 year old.

img_3759Joe Long’s Match Play Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Click here to follow the – 2020 Amateur Championship Match Play Scores

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Saturday 29th August 2020

Semi-Finals

Here are the results from Saturday afternoon’s Semi-Finals: –

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Semi-Finals Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Joe HARVEY (ENG) beat Mark POWER (IRL) by 3&2 in the first Semi-Final at Royal Birkdale G.C. The Bristolian made a good start and having moved into a 3Up lead after 6 holes saw out the match relatively comfortably despite Power improving down the home stretch.

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Harvey v. Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Joe LONG (ENG) beat Jake BOLTON (ENG) by 2&1 in the second Semi-Final at Royal Birkdale G.C. The standard of play doesn’t appear to have been as good as the first semi but at this stage it’s all about the result. After a demanding week perhaps Long’s much easier Quarter Final when compared with Bolton’s gave him an advantage.

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Long v. Bolton Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Quarter Finals

Here are the results from Saturday morning’s four matches: –

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Quarter Finals Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Joe HARVEY (ENG) did what was required to overcome an out of sorts Victor H.S. SVENDSEN (DEN) in the first Quarter Final.

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Svendsen v. Harvey Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Barclay BROWN (ENG) couldn’t find the game he had enjoyed yesterday and succumbed easily to a very steady performance form Joe LONG (ENG).

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Brown v. Long Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Five birdies in his opening 10 holes provided Mark POWER (IRL) with a strong foundation against Callan BARROW (ENG) and he saw out the match to secure the third semi-final place.

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Barrow v. Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

The fourth match proved to be the tightest with Jake BOLTON (ENG) taken all the way by Hamish W. BROWN (DEN).

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Bolton v. Brown Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Friday 28th August 2020

Round 4

Joe HARVEY (ENG), Callan BARROW (ENG), Mark POWER (IRL), Barclay BROWN (ENG), Joe LONG (ENG) and Jake BOLTON (ENG) all won their Last 16 matches to progress to the Quarter Finals.

Some of the results were a little more comprehensive this afternoon as the mental and physical stresses perhaps started to show up a little more in the play.

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Round 4 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

The SPWAR was updated after Round 4 of The Amateur so heading into the Quarter Finals I thought it would be interesting to review the current rankings of the remaining players: –
Joe LONG (ENG) – #8
Jake BOLTON (ENG) – #19
Mark POWER (IRL) – #34
Barclay BROWN (ENG) – #37
Callan BARROW (ENG) – #94
Joe HARVEY (ENG) – #151
Victor H.S. SVENDSEN (DEN) – #192
Hamish W. BROWN (DEN) – #236

Round 3

22 GB&I players became 11 after the completion of Round 3 this morning.

Three Danes, Victor H.S. SVENDSEN, Frederik KJETTRUP and Hamish W. BROWN make up the majority of the five overseas players still standing and are clearly finding Royal Birkdale to their liking.

Svendsen beat Ilari SAULO (FIN), who having won two matches yesterday, quickly fell back down to earth with a heavy defeat in the opening game of the day.

Callum FARR (ENG) enjoyed a solid 3&2 victory over his England teammate Tom PLUMB (ENG).

Mark POWER and Marc BOUCHER ensured Irish interest remained well and truly alive in the Championship overcoming the in form English pair Jack DYER and Matty LAMB respectively.

The other Irish player in the draw Tom MCKIBBIN saw his hopes ended at the hands of Barclay BROWN (ENG).

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Round 3 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Thursday 27th August 2020

Round 2

The ‘Curse of the Medalist’ struck Ruben LINDSAY (SCO) who lost 2&1 to Finland’s Ilari SAULO. Saulo, who won the 2020 Finnish Amateur in early August, had already given notice of his continued good form when he knocked out Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) in the Preliminary Round.

David RAVETTO (FRA), winner of the Brabazon Trophy last week, beat Jack COPE (ENG), the English Amateur champion, by 5&4 in an interesting match up thrown up by the draw.

Dubai-based Josh HILL (ENG) completed a long day on the links with a smile on his face after winning his second match on the 19th hole. His victory over Sam BROADHURST (ENG) suggests that he may now be ready to fulfil his undoubted potential over here.

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Round 2 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Preliminary Round 1

Day 3 of The Amateur Championship started with the Preliminary Round 1 which featured the eight lowest qualifiers. The four winners feeding into the Round 2 draw against the top four qualifiers.

Josh HILL (ENG) and Matthew MCCLEAN (IRL) were the two GB&I players to progress to Round 2.

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Preliminary Round 1 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Wednesday 26th August 2020

In form 16 year old Ruben LINDSAY (SCO), the reigning Scottish Boys’ Amateur champion, shot a 67 (-4) to win the 18 hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition.

Play started at 7.30am this morning with the original Round 2 tee times being used by the 120 players contesting this year’s Amateur Championship.

36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying was introduced in 1983 and this was the first time in 37 years that The R&A have been unable to complete it in full.

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Ruben Lindsay’s Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Four other players broke par at the challenging Lancashire links today. Mason ESSAM (ENG), 21, finished 2nd on -3 with Sam BROADHURST (ENG), 23, and Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), 18, a shot further back in tied 3rd with Jack DYER (ENG), 22, securing the 5th seed on -1.

The decision to reduce the Stroke Play Qualifying competition to just 18 holes saw The R&A extend qualifying to the leading 64 players and ties. The original competition rules had stated that a card count back approach would be adopted for the first time in the Men’s event this year.

As a result 68 players progressed to the Match Play Stage with the cut coming at scores of 76 (+5) or better.

The qualifiers comprise 29 English players, 7 Scottish, 6 Irish, 6 Danish, 5 German, 5 Italian, 4 Swiss, 2 Finnish and 1 each from Estonia, France, Norway and Wales.

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The Leading Stroke Play Qualifying Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Amongst the more notable players to narrowly miss out were England Internationals Harry GODDARD +6, Robin WILLIAMS +6, Max MARTIN +6 and Conor GOUGH +7.

Click here to view the – 2020 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

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Tuesday 25th August 2020

Round 1 of the Stroke Play Qualifying competition at the 2020 Amateur Championship was abandoned at 4.00pm. All of the scores that had been posted today, and there were some very good completed rounds in atrocious conditions, were cancelled.

Play had started on time at 7.30am but was quickly suspended at 7.50pm due to heavy rain and strong winds. It re-commenced at 9.50am before again having to be suspended at 2.50pm. No resumption in play was possible.

The R&A has decided to reduce the Stroke Play Qualifying to 18 holes which will now be played tomorrow. The top 64 players and ties will now go through to the Match Play Stage.

Assuming no time extension was possible I would have retained the 36 holes of stroke play and reduced the qualifiers to the top 32. The proposed one round of stroke play and six rounds of match play is now too lopsided a format for my liking.

18 holes of stroke play turns qualifying into a shootout and may not see all of the best players progress.

I would also have retained the new card count back rule that had been introduced to The Amateur this year. This is primarily because The R&A have historically not conducted the match play draw correctly when trying to accommodate a Preliminary Round, i.e. the medalist hasn’t played the 64th seed (or higher), etc. [These latter concerns proved to be unfounded on Wednesday evening as The R&A made the draw correctly this year – see above.]

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24th August 2020

The 125th Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale G.C. in Southport, England on 25th – 30th August 2020.

The Amateur 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.

The 2020 Championship was originally due to be co-hosted by Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire G.C.’s in England from 15th – 20th June 2020 but was re-scheduled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

West Lancs. is now hosting The Women’s Amateur Championship, being staged  concurrently with the men’s event, having replaced Kilmarnock (Barassie) G.C. for logistical reasons.

In order to receive Government and Local Authority approval to proceed The R&A have agreed that the Championship will be played behind closed doors with no spectators and only essential / authorised personnel on-site.

Format

The normal field of 288 players has been reduced to 120 this year.

Two stroke play qualifying rounds will be completed on Tuesday 25th August and Wednesday 26th August.

English Amateur champion Jack COPE (ENG) will hit the first shot of the Championship at 7.30am. With an 11 minute gap between tee times the final group will go out at 2.54pm on each of the opening days.

Click here to view the – 2020 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Tee Times

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores will advance to the match play stage.

In a welcome change by The R&A a Round 2 card countback will be used to ensure a clean 64 players advance. Ties for 64th place will not advance as they have done in previous years and as a result there will be no preliminary round and a standard match play draw will be made made.

The Match Play stage will then be played between Thursday 27th and Sunday 30th August.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for Sunday’s Final which will be contested over 36 holes. Extra sudden death holes will be used in all games if necessary.

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Royal Birkdale G.C.’s 18th Hole and Clubhouse (Photo: thetravellinggolfer.com)

Players

The 120 players have been firstly drawn from a number of exempt categories covering various historic Championship performances and representative team selections.

Thereafter places have been allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at Week 30 2020, i.e. the Wednesday 29th July release.

Players from 13 different countries will contest the 2020 Amateur Championship. 34 countries were represented in 2019 highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 travel restrictions and the 60% reduction in the field size.

England have 44 players in the field (37%), Scotland 17, Ireland 10 and Wales 4.

The COVID-19 travel restrictions mean that James SUGRUE (IRL) is unable to defend his title ahead of appearing in the 2020 U.S. Open Championship at Winged Foot G.C. on 17-20th September.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are Italy (10), Germany (9), Switzerland (9) and Denmark (8).

Notably there are no players this year from Australia, South Africa and USA.

Current circumstances mean this is probably the weakest field ever assembled for an Amateur Championship. There are just 9 players in the WAGR top 100 competing (as at 29th July). These are Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) #27, Ben JONES (ENG) #30, Conor GOUGH (ENG) #37, David RAVETTO (FRA) #52, Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) #62, Jake BOLTON (ENG) #77, Mark POWER (IRL) #81, Matty LAMB (ENG) #87 and Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) #93. The picture isn’t improved by looking further down WAGR either; there are 23 players starting the event in the top 200 and 31 in the top 300.

France’s David RAVETTO and Denmark’s Christoffer BRING, winner and runner-up in this week’s Brabazon Trophy at Sherwood Forest, will arrive in Southport full of confidence.

Host Course

Royal Birkdale G.C. is one of the most famous golf courses in GB&I staging numerous Championships and International Matches since coming to prominence after World War II.

Birkdale G.C. was formed in 1889 with the club moving to the current site in 1897.

Hawtree and former Open Champion J.H. Taylor set about routing the course between the sandhills in the 1930s. Major changes were subsequently made in the 1960s and 1990s to ensure the layout remained at the forefront of the game.

The Club received it’s royal patronage from King George VI in 1951.

Birkdale has previously hosted the Amateur Championship in 1946, 1989 and 2005.

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Royal Birkdale Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

The course will play to around 7,100 yards during the Championship and a par of 71.

The formidable final six holes will no doubt come into play during the match play stage.

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Royal Birkdale Course Map (Photo: Royal Birkdale G.C.)

Weather Forecast (as at Monday 24th August)

The weather forecast looks generally wet for the week with scoring unlikely to be helped by moderate to strong breezes throughout: –

Tues 25th – Heavy Rain. Wind 45 mph SE. Temp. Max. 19°C / Min 15°C.
Wed 26th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 26 mph NW. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 12°C.
Thurs 27th – Light Rain Showers. Wind 8 mph S. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 28th – Light Rain Showers. Wind 16 mph NE. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Sat 29th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 16 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Sun 30th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 11 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.

Click here to view the – Latest BBC Weather Forecast For Southport

Tee times between 7.30am and 2.54pm mean changes in the weather can have a material impact on the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Royal Birkdale G.C.’s 12th Hole (Photo: visitliverpool.com)

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the leading player in the stroke play qualifying competition, with any ties decided on the lowest second round score (or final nine, six or three or one if necessary).

The winner of the match play stage will become the The Amateur Champion receiving the Championship Trophy and a Gold Medal.

The runner-up receives a Silver Medal and each losing semi-finalist a Bronze Medal.

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into the 149th Open Championship being staged at Royal St. George’s G.C. in Kent, England in July 2021.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C. and also exempted into the 2021 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Torrey Pines G.C. in San Diego, California.

Finally, given the May 2021 staging of the next Walker Cup match any GB&I player who wins this Amateur Championship will be assured of a place in our team.

2019 Amateur Championship

James SUGRUE (IRE) won the 124th Amateur Championship at Portmarnock G.C. beating Euan WALKER (SCO) by 2 Holes in a competitive Final which went the full 36 holes.

James from Mallow G.C. was the 8th Irish winner of the title following in the footsteps of Jimmy Bruen, Max McCready, Joe Carr, Garth McGimpsey, Michael Hoey, Brian McElhinney and most recently Alan Dunbar in 2012.

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James Sugrue (Photo: The R&A / Sam Barnes / Getty Images)

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

Tom PLUMB (ENG) secured Stroke Play medalist honours at the 2019 Amateur after posting an aggregate 36 hole score of 139 (-4). Plumb shot a 68 at The Island in Round 1 and a 71 (-1) on Day 2 at Portmarnock. John AXELSEN (DEN) also recorded a 139 (-4) total but lost out by 4-shots on combined back nine count back.  

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

The top 64 and ties Match Play cut fell at 147 (+4) with a total of 76 players progressing. The 24 lowest scoring qualifiers participated in a Preliminary Round to establish the final 64 players.

A Short History of The Amateur

The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool G.C. 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 many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open Championship. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and as good if not better than most of the professionals of the day.

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 Stranahan (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.

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

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.

Prior to James Sugrue’s win in 2019 the previous 10 winners of The Amateur Championship were: –

2018  Jovan Rebula (RSA) – Royal Aberdeen G.C.
2017  Harry Ellis (ENG) – Royal St. George’s G.C.
2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl G.C.
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie G.L.
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush G.C.
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports G.C.
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon G.C.
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside G.C.
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby G.C.

A great achievement and honour for all of the players listed above. However, it’s also another reminder of how incredibly tough golf is and that wins in the biggest events are no guarantee of success in the professional game.

Click here to view a complete list of – Past Amateur Championship Winners

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Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2020 Preview, Reports & Results

21st August 2020

David RAVETTO (FRA) won the 74th English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy at Sherwood Forest G.C.

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David Ravetto (Photo: Leaderboard Photography / FFGolf)

Ravetto secured the title on the second sudden death play-off hole (the 2nd) with a birdie after he and Christoffer BRING (DEN) and Mark POWER (IRL) couldn’t be separated after 72 holes. Power fell out of the play-off on the 1st extra hole after he could only par it – Bring and Ravetto both birdied.

It was clear from today’s weather forecast that the conclusion of the Brabazon Trophy was likely to be far from straight forward and so it proved. Anything can happen when the wind is gusting up to 50mph.

Mark POWER, who had started the day tied for 12th, produced one of the best rounds seen for some time by a GB&I amateur to ask the question of the leaders playing behind him. His 66 (-5) included two eagles and three birdies. To put his score into context just 6 of the 68 players broke par today with the other five all recording 70’s (-1).

Power’s 274 (-11) total initially looked like it would be a little short of the necessary mark but as time passed by it became clear that his work may not be done for the day.

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Mark Power’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

David RAVETTO, playing in the penultimate three ball, looked to have stood up to the conditions and Power’s clubhouse pressure when he birdied the 16th to move to -11. However, a bogey on 17 saw him fall back into a tie with the Irishman on -10 with both players left to nervously wait to see how leader Christoffer BRING would finish.

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David Ravetto’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

Bring was on -13 after 12 holes when Power completed his round. With a three shot lead and six holes to play the Championship was the Dane’s to win. However, an untidy double bogey on the par 3 15th and a bogey on 17 saw him come back to the two chasers.

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Christoffer Bring’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

English pair Barclay BROWN and Jack DYER -8 finished tied for 4th with compatriots Enrique DIMAYUGA and Sam BAIRSTOW one shot further back in tied 6th.

Barclay Brown won The George Henriques Salver, awarded to the leading GB&I player under the age of 20.

Northern Ireland’s Tom MCKIBBIN -6 finished 8th after a consistent tournament, Joe LONG -5 9th delivered another strong result and Jack COPE -4 backed up his recent English Amateur victory with a tied 10th place alongside Josh BRISTOW from Kent.

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Leading Results (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

Click here to view the full – 2020 Brabazon Trophy Results

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20th August 2020

Christoffer BRING (DEN) shot a joint best of the day 65 (-6) to move into a share of the lead on Day 3 of the Brabazon Trophy. Two late bogeys, including one on his final hole, shows how good his round could have been. Nevertheless to record just five bogeys in the Championship to date is impressive stuff – just Sam Bairstow has less to his name (4).

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Christoffer Bring’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

England’s Enrique DIMAYUGA (-11) continues to enjoy himself at Sherwood Forest. The promising youngster from Walton Heath posted a 66, helped by an eagle and a birdie on the 16th and 17th holes, to join Bring out front.

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) posted a 67 to move into 3rd place on -10 whilst first round leader David RAVETTO (FRA) matched his opening round 66 to move back into contention alongside Jack DYER (ENG) in tied 4th on -9.

Barclay BROWN‘s (ENG) 66 included two eagles, one on the par 5 5th followed by a hole-in-one on the 7th. Having pared every hole coming home after his 1 the Stanford University student from Sheffield stands well placed in tied 6th (-7) to make a run at the title tomorrow.

English Amateur champion Jack COPE (ENG) took advantage of making the cut on the +1 mark in Round 3. His blemish free 65 (-6) lifted him up to tied 12th on -5.

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Jack Cope’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

Harry BUTLER (ENG) joined Cope in tied 12th after producing the other 65 of round 3. His eagle 2 on the 9th the standout in what appears to have been an exciting round of golf.

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Harry Butler’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

Here are the leading scores after 54 holes: –

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Leading Rd 3 Scores (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

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19th August 2020

Rain arrived in Nottinghamshire in the late morning and stayed until the end of play. Players with an early morning Round 2 tee time clearly had a major advantage over the later starters today.

Jack DYER (ENG) produced the best round of the week this morning to take the 36-hole lead on 134 (-8). His 64 (-7), which included eight birdies, equalled the course record at Sherwood Forest G.C.

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Jack Dyer’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

Other morning starters Mark POWER (-7) and Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) (-6) are on hot on Jack’s heels. Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) did very well to join Sam on -6 given his afternoon tee time where he played in the worst of the weather.

Andrew NI (SCO) matched David Revatto’s 66 (-5) from yesterday to march up the leaderboard on Day 2.

Experienced performers Tom PLUMB (ENG), Joe LONG (ENG), Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) -4 and Jake BOLTON (ENG) -4 are all nicely placed to mount an attack on the leaders in the coming days.

Here are the leading scores after 36 holes: –

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Leading Rd 2 Scores (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

68 players made the 60th and ties 36 hole cut which drifted out to 143 (+1) as the wet conditions took their toll later on.

Playing together English Amateur champion, Jack COPE (ENG), and the defending Brabazon champion, Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), both fought back after disappointing opening rounds with 69’s (-2) this morning to made it in on the +1 mark.

Conor GOUGH (ENG) +2, Matty LAMB (ENG) +3, Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) +3 and  Olly HUGGINS (ENG) +3 were amongst the players to miss the cut.

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18th August 2020

David RAVETTO (FRA), Matt McCLEAN (IRL) and Josh BRISTOW (ENG) all shot opening rounds of 66 (-5) to share the Round 1 lead at Sherwood Forest G.C.

Here are the details of the three leading rounds:-

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Ravetto, McClean and Bristow Scorecards (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

At the end of Round 1 there were 68 players on 71 (Ev) or better.

Here are the leading scores after Round 1: –

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Leading Rd 1 Scores (Photo: England Golf / Golf Genius Scoring)

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13th August 2020

The 74th English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Sherwood Forest Golf Club between Tuesday 18th and Friday 21st August.

Sherwood Forest Golf Club (Photo: Sherwood Forest G.C.)

Format

The competition consists of 72 holes of stroke play golf with 18 holes being played each day.

A 36 hole cut will take place with only the leading 60 competitors and ties progressing to the two remaining rounds.

In the event of a tie for the Championship on Friday, there will be a sudden death play off.

Click here to view the full – 2020 Brabazon Trophy Terms of Competition

Field

A 144 competitors will start the 2020 Championship.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic no regional qualifying tournaments have been staged this year. The field has therefore been determined by exemptions and a handicap ballot.

With the exception of those players who have been competing in the U.S. Amateur all of Great Britain and Ireland’s leading amateurs will be on show. A number of players from the Continent of Europe have also made the effort to travel over to Nottinghamshire.

Last year’s Brabazon Trophy was ranked as the 20th best amateur event by the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) based on the strength of its field. This represented a jump from 41st in 2018 but a fall from 17thin 2017.

Tee Times

Click here to view the – 2020 Brabazon Trophy Rounds 1 and 2 Drawsheet – use Menu filter

Play will start at 7.00am on the opening two days with the final tee time being 3.30pm.

Prizes

The Winner receives the magnificent gold Brabazon Trophy shown in the photo below.

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The Champion’s Prize and Brabazon Trophy (Photo: Golf Bible)

Prize vouchers will be awarded to those players finishing in the top three.

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition.

The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20.

The Philip Scruton Jug is normally awarded to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy. However, this year it won’t be presented as the latter event has been cancelled.

Sherwood Forest Golf Club

Sherwood Forest G.C. is located on heathland to the east of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire.

The Club can trace its roots back to 1895 and moved to its current location in 1911. The course was designed by Harry Colt and revised by James Braid in the 1920s. Further changes to the greens and tees were made in the 1980s by Cotton, Pennink, Steel and Hawtree.

Sherwood Forest G.C. Course Map (Photo: Sherwood Forest G.C.)

The course can be stretched to 6,800 yards with the front nine situated on more open land and the longer back nine tree lined.

Sherwood Forest G.C. Scorecard (Photo: Sherwood Forest G.C.)

Whilst the back nine is a little shorter it delivers a good finish with six strong finishing holes. The inward nine has the lower par of 35 and generally plays into the prevailing westerly wind.

Weather Forecast

The weather is looking a little mixed at the moment (as at 17th August) with fresh breezes expected to pick up throughout each day.

Tues 18th Aug – Light Showers / Wind 12 mph SW / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 14°C.
Wed 19th Aug – Thundery Showers / Wind 15 mph SE / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 16°C.
Thur 20th Aug – Sunny Intervals / Wind 15 mph S / Temp. Min. 23°C / Min 15°C.
Fri 21st Aug – Sunny Intervals / Wind 20 mph SW / Temp. Min. 21°C / Max. 13°C.

2019 Brabazon Trophy

Rotherham’s Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), just 16 at the time, won the 2019 English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship by 5-shots with a 271 (-13) finishing total.

Ben was the youngest ever winner of the Brabazon Trophy which was being played for the 73rd time at Alwoodley G.C.

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The Schmidt Family (Photo: Yorkshire Golf / Jonathan Plaxton)

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Ben Schmidt’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Harry HALL (ENG) -8 finished second, Euan WALKER (SCO) -7 third and Ben FIRTH (ENG) -4 fourth

Click here to view the full – 2019 Brabazon Trophy Results

Click these links to view other recent results: –

Frilford Heath – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Results

Woodhall Spa – 2017 Brabazon Trophy Results

London G.C. – 2016 Brabazon Trophy Results

History, Past Winners and Records

The English Amateur International Trophy competition was first played in 1947.

In 1957 the official title was changed to the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

The current trophy was donated by Lord Brabazon of Tara in 1948 and the event has come to be widely known as the Brabazon Trophy.

Click here to view the full list of – Brabazon Trophy Past Winners

The first player to successfully defend the title was Ronnie WHITE who won at Birkdale in 1950 and nearby Formby in 1951.

Shortly afterwards Philip SCRUTTON won the Brabazon three times in four years (1952, ‘54 & ‘55).

Sir Michael BONALLACK has four wins to his name. The first came at Royal Cinque Ports in 1964 and the last at Hillside in 1971. At Moortown in 1969, with play-offs having been discarded at this time, he shared the title with Rodney FOSTER.

Other well known British winners of the Brabazon include Gordon Brand Jnr, Sandy Lyle (2), Peter MCEVOY, Ronan Rafferty and Ronnie SHADE (3).

Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Western Amateur Championship – 2020 Preview, Reports & Results

1st August 2020

Pierceson COODY (USA) beat Rasmus NEERGAARD-PETERSEN (DEN) by 2&1 to win the Western Amateur Championship at Crooked Stick G.C.

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Pierceson Coody With The George R. Thorne Trophy (Photo: Western Amateur)

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) both lost in Round 1 of the ‘Sweet 16’ Match Play yesterda. Flanagan was beaten by 2 Holes by Austin HITT (USA) and Pagdin 5&4 by Davis THOMPSON (USA).

Here are results from the earlier Match Play rounds: –

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Click here to view the complete Western Amateur – Stroke Play and Match Play Results

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30th July 2020

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) came through on the final day of stroke play to achieve medalist honours at the Western Amateur.

He is the second Englishman to win the Cameron Eddy Trophy following in the footsteps of Sam Horsfield who achieved the honour in 2016.

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Angus Flanagan Receives The Cameron Eddy Trophy (Photo: Western Amateur)

Angus recorded a 277 (-11) total helped in no small part by a final round 66, the joint lowest of the competition. His 1-shot victory came over Sam BENNETT (USA) -10 who dropped two shots in his final three holes to fall out of the lead.

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Angus Flanagan’s Scorecard (Photo: Western Amateur)

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) finished 6th on 281 (-7) to complete an impressive qualification.

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Joseph Pagdin’s Scorecard (Photo: Western Amateur)

Austin HITT (USA), who had finished on 288 (Ev), earned the 16th and final place in the match play draw after successfully negotiating a 7-for-1 play-off. 2018 double champion Cole HAMMER (USA) was amongst those eliminated in this shootout.

Both the reigning European Amateur champion, Matthias SCHMID (GER) -9 3rd, and U.S. Amateur Champion, Andy OGLETREE (USA) -8 4th, made it through the 72 hole stroke play qualifying.

The third Englishman Jamie LI was unable to make up the necessary ground on the final day of stroke play and in trying to do so shot rounds of 76 and 73 for a 293 (+5) total.

There were conflicting fortunes for the overnight 36 hole leaders. Turk PETTIT (USA) made it through in 8th on -6 but Kyle HOGAN (USA) fell away after rounds of 74 and 82.

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 The ‘Sweet 16’ Match Play Competitors (Photo: Western Amateur)

Click here to view the full Western Amateur (use the ‘Menu’) – Stroke Play Qualifying Results

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29th July 2020

Turk PETTIT (USA) and Kyle HOGAN (USA) lead the Western Amateur stroke play qualifying event on 136 (-8).

46 players out of the 156 starters made the 36 hole cut on 144 (Ev).

Three of the four GB&I players made this first cut. Joe PAGDIN (ENG) -7 is tied 3rd after rounds of 68 and 69, Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) -3 is tied 15th (69, 72) and Jamie LI (ENG), who bounced back nicely on Day 2, Ev is tied 39th (75, 69).

John MURPHY (IRL) +4 and tied 81st wasn’t able to build on his round 1 69 (-3) and missed the cut after a disappointing 79 on Wednesday.

Day 3 will see a further 36 holes of stroke play completed by the qualifiers.

The lowest scorer after 72 holes of stroke play will receive The Cameron Eddy Trophy.

The leading 16 players will progress and make up the ‘Sweet 16’ match play field. The match play competition will start on Friday 31st.

Click here to view the Western Amateur – SP Qualifying Scores

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27th July 2020

The 118th Western Amateur Championship starts on 28th July at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana in the United States.

The Western Amateur is one of the world’s leading amateur golf tournaments. Only the U.S. Amateur Championship and the Amateur Championship could be considered more prestigious.

Put simply The Western has history and tradition, strong entry procedures, a superb format and arguably the best trophies in all of amateur golf.

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2018 Champion Cole Hammer With The Cameron Eddy Trophy (SP) and George R. Thorne Trophy (MP) (Photo: Western Amateur)

The Championship is run by the Western Golf Association (WGA). The WGA was established in 1899 and appropriately set up their headquarters in the town of Golf, Illinois. In addition to the Western Amateur the WGA also run the Western Junior Championship (since 1914) and the BMW Championship, the second oldest professional tournament in the U.S.A.

I will update this page with Results information as the Championship progresses this week.

Field

156 players are exempted or invited to compete.

In 2019 more players in the Top 300 of the SPWAR competed in the Western Amateur (114) than in both the U.S. Amateur (109) and the Amateur Championship (112). That is despite the two major Championships having much larger fields, 312 and 288 players respectively.

The Western Amateur normally sits uncomfortably in the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golf calendar, coming at the height of the European season. This tends to mean GB&I entries are limited but the event is of such standing that it is always worthy of our attention.

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG), Jamie LI (ENG), John MURPHY (IRL) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) are the GB&I entries this year. All four are making their debuts in the Championship.

2020 Draw

Click here to view the Western Amateur – SP Qualifying Startsheet
– use the menu at the top of the page to select the required Day / Round

Crooked Stick G.C. (Photo: Dave Samson Photography)

For more information take a look at the Championship website – www.thewesternamateur.com

Format

The current format, which was first adopted in 1961, is arguably the best of any amateur tournament in the world. It certainly offers a thorough examination for the players.

The field start by playing 18 holes of stroke play on each of the first two days.

A 36 hole cut to the low 44 scores and ties is then made.

The remaining players then play a further 36 holes of stroke play on Day 3.

At the end of 72 holes the low 16 finishers progress to the match play stage. A sudden death play off is used to separate those players tied for 16th place.

The “Sweet Sixteen” then play match play over the final two days of competition, the finalists having to play two matches on each day.

2020 Venue

Crooked Stick G.C., located in Carmel, 12 miles north of Indianapolis, in Indiana is staging the Western Amateur Championship for the first time in 2020.

The club was established in 1967 and enjoys a 7,500 yard par 72 course designed by Pete Dye.

Crooked Stick first came to prominence when John Daly, having started the week as 9th alternate for the field, famously won the 1991 U.S. PGA Championship there. It has subsequently hosted the 1993 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2005 Solheim Cup and the 2009 U.S. Senior Open.

Crooked Stick G.C. Logo and Scorecard (Photo: Crooked Stick G.C. Website)

2019 Western Amateur

Garrett RANK (CAN) beat Daniel WETTERICH (USA) 3&2 in the 18 hole Final of the 2019 Western Amateur at Point O’ Woods G. & C.C.

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Garrett Rank With The George R. Thorne Trophy (Photo: Western Amateur)

Rank, 31 at the time, is a full time National Hockey League referee in North America and with his golf largely restricted to the summer months was a surprise winner.

He was the first Canadian to win the prestigious title since 1977 and the first mid-amateur since 1997.

Davis THOMPSON (USA) 67 68 65 67 (-13) secured Stroke Play Qualifying medalist honours by 4 shots from Eric BAE (USA) 69 69 67 66 (-9) and Daniel WETTERICH 66 68 69 68 (-9) on Day 3 of the Western Amateur Championship.

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Davis Thompson Receives The Cameron Eddy Trophy (Photo: Western Amateur) 

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying and MP Results (Use Filter)

Ben JONES (ENG) and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) were the only entries from GB&I in 2019. Jones missed the 36 hole cut after rounds of 74 and 69 (+3 / T78) saw him finish outside the leading 44 players and ties mark. Lumsden reached the final stage of the stroke play competition but his scores of 70, 70, 70 and 73 (+3 / T44) meant he missed the ‘Sweet 16’ match play cut.

History and Other Past Winner’s

The Western Amateur was founded in 1899 and the 2020 event will be its 118th playing. It is the third-oldest amateur championship in the world.

Virtually all of the great names in U.S. golf have competed in and in many cases won the Western Amateur.

There has never been a GB&I winner albeit Florida-based Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) went close in 2016 at Knollwood C.C. Sam won the stroke play qualifying by 9 shots (63, 75, 67, 64 / -15) before losing to Dylan MEYER (USA) 3&1 in the Final.

Here’s a selection of former winners: –

Last 7 Years

2019 Garrett Rank – Point O’ Woods G. & C.C.
2018 Cole Hammer – Sunset Ridge C.C.
2017 Norman Xiong – Skokie C.C.
2016 DylanMeyer – Knollwood Club
2015 Dawson Armstrong – Rich Harvest Farms
2014 BeauHossler – The Beverly C.C.
2013 Jordan Niebrugge – The Alotian Club

Others

Jamie Lovemark – 2005 (youngest winner at 17 years, 6 months and 8 days)
Ryan Moore – 2004
Tiger Woods – 1994

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Tiger Woods (Photo: Western Amateur)

Justin Leonard – 1992 and 1993 (1991 Runner-Up)
Phil Mickelson – 1991

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Phil Mickelson (Photo: Western Amateur) 

Chris DiMarco – 1988
Scott Verplank – 1985
Hal Sutton – 1979 and 1980
Bobby Clampett – 1978
Andy Bean – 1975
Curtis Strange – 1974
Ben Crenshaw – 1973
Andy North – 1971
Lanny Wadkins – 1970 
Steve Melnyk – 1969 
Tom Weiskopf – 1963
Jack Nicklaus – 1961 
Tommy Aaron – 1960
Dr. Ed Updegaff – 1957 and 1959
Charles Coe – 1950 
Frank Stranahan – 1946, 1949, 1951 and 1952 (4)
Marvin Ward – 1940, 1941 and 1947 
Charles Yates – 1925.
Don Moe – 1929 and 1931
Francis Ouimet – 1917
Chick Evans – 1909, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1920, 1921, 1922 and 1923 (8) 
H. Chandler Egan  – 1902, 1904, 1905 and 1907 (4)

Bobby Jones first played in 1917 when he was just 15. He reached the match play stage before losing in Round 1 (32) to Daniel ‘Ned’ Sawyer. He played for the second time in 1920 where he was medalist before losing to Chick Evans in the semi-finals (36 holes in those days).

Future Venues

The Western Amateur will be staged at the following clubs over the next three years: –
2021 – Glenview G.C., Golf, Illinois
2022 – Exmoor C.C., Highland Park, Illinois
2023 – North Shore C.C., Glenview, Illinois

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

June 2020 Men’s Amateur Rankings

2nd July 2020

Throughout the year I analyse the two main amateur golf rankings, the SPWAR and the WAGR, to help us assess the performances of Great Britain and Ireland’s leading players.

This information is maintained on the Rankings page of the GolfBible website and is updated quarterly.

The latest update covering the June 2020 Quarter period has now been added.

No Player of the Quarter Award has been made in Quarter 2 due to the small number of events played in this period following the coronavirus outbreak.

Pease click this link to be redirected to my Rankings page – GolfBible Rankings

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

U.S. Amateur Championship – Preview, Reports & Results

16th August 2020 – Match Play Final

Tyler STRAFACI (USA) is the 120th U.S. Amateur champion. He beat Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA) in a high quality Final by 1 Hole.

Allowing for the usual match play concessions there were 23 birdies and 1 eagle in the 36 holes played. Strafaci shot rounds of 69 and 67 and Osborne rounds of 66 and 68.

2020 U.S. Amateur

Tyler Strafaci With The Havemayer Trophy (Photo: Steve Gibbons / USGA)

Tyler STRAFACI (USA), 22, started the Final as favourite based on his WAGR of 56th compared with Osborne’s 460th. Strafaci had also won the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst earlier this summer too.

There were two facts that made Tyler’s participation in the Final interesting. His late grandfather Frank Sr was a USGA champion, winning the U.S. Public Links Championship in 1935 and like the 2019 U.A. Amateur champion, Andy Ogletree (USA), he is a product of the Georgia Tech University golf program.

However, golf is no respecter of rankings or history. Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA), 20, a rising junior at Southern Methodist University (SMU), made a dream start birdieing the opening three holes and building a 5Up lead after 12 holes having played just 41 shots (6-under par).

Perhaps the key part of the Final were the next 5 holes where Strafaci found his form and reduced the deficit to just 1Up after the opening 18 holes.

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Strafaci v. Osborne Match Play Final Scorecard, 1-18 Holes (Photo: USGA)

Strafaci achieved parity on the second hole of the afternoon round with a birdie on the 2nd and moved into the lead for the first time on the 25th with another.

Whilst pegged back on the 31st birdies on the 32nd and 33rd appeared to have earned Strafaci the title. He was after all now 2Up with 3 holes to play.

However, the realisation of what he was about to achieve perhaps overcame him and bogeys on the 34th and 35th set up a nervy final hole decider. Strafaci recovered his composure and a 245 yard 4-iron to 25 feet set up a tap-in birdie which proved good enough to win the Championship.

The Final was the fourth consecutive match which Strafaci had won on Bandon Dunes’ 18th hole.

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Strafaci v. Osborne Match Play Final Scorecard, 19-36 Holes (Photo: USGA)

Conditions were again near perfect in Oregon with sunshine and a gentle breeze seen for almost all of the match. A sea mist drifted in as the players completed the final holes.

Here are the USGA’s video highlights of the Final: –

The two finalists earned an exemption into the 2021 U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines and the 2021 U.S. Masters Tournament.

By taking the title Strafaci also secured a place in the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s (if he remains an amateur) and a place on the USA’s 2021 Walker Cup team. Hailing from Davie, near Fort Lauderdale, in Florida Strafaci’s family home is a short distance from Seminole, the venue of the next May’s match.

Click here to view the full – 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship Results

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15th August 2020 – Match Play Semi-Finals

Playing conditions were perfect on Saturday with temperatures in the 70’s and very light winds.

Tyler STRAFACI (USA) was taken to the final hole for the third match running before overcoming Aman GUPTA (USA) 1Up. Strafaci had led 4Up after 12 holes but needed to win the 18th to take his place in the final.

‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA) took control of his match with Matthew SHARPSTENE (USA) with a birdie on the 9th, a winning par on the difficult par 4 11th and consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th.

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14th August 2020 – Match Play Quarter Finals

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Match Play Quarter Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

Tyler STRAFACI (USA), 22, beat mid-amateur Stewart HAGESTAD (USA), 29, by 1 Hole.

No mid-amateur has won the U.S. Amateur since John Harris in 1993. Hagestad has probably now done enough to secure a spot in the 2021 U.S.A. Walker Cup team, which will be his third consecutive appearance.

Philip BARBAREE (USA), 22 and Michael THORBJORNSEN (USA), 18, both lost thus losing the opportunity to join Tiger Woods as the only winner to date of both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur Championships. Barbaree won the Junior in 2015 and Thorbjornsen in 2018.

Aman GUPTA (USA), 21, is the highest stroke play seed remaining. He only earned a spot in the Championship when Ricky CASTILLO (USA) withdrew last friday.

Matt SHARPSTENE (USA), 21, won the opening hole of his match against Barbaree and was never caught.

Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA), 20, beat Cameron SISK (USA), 20, who had come through the stroke play play-off to earn the 62nd seed, by 2&1. Osborne led 4Up after 10 holes, lost the next four holes before recovering to take his place in the semi-finals.

For the first time since 2004 all of the quarter finalists were from America.

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13th August 2020 – Match Play Round of 32 and Round of 16

The winds picked up to gusts of over 30mph in the afternoon making conditions tough.

Of particular note in the Round of 16 was Tyler STRAFACI‘s (USA), 22, 1Hole win over Segundo OLIVA PINTO (ARG). With the match tied Oliva Pinto’s approach to the final green finished in a green side bunker and inexplicably when he reached the bunker his caddie jumped in and started rubbing the sand with his hand to test the depth. A loss of hole penalty was assessed and as a result Strafaci progressed.

Here are the afternoon Round of 16 results: –

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Match Play Rd of 16 Results (Photo: USGA)

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Sandy SCOTT (SCO) lost his morning Round of 32 match to Davis CHATFIELD (USA) by 2&1 thus ending GB&I interest in this year’s Championship.

Scott again got off to a bad start before recovering. However, Chatfield maintained his composure and two late mistakes from the Scotsman enabled him to regain the upper hand,

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Chatfield v. Scott Match Play Rd of 32 Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

Medalist Wilson FURR (USA) bogeyed the 18th and double bogeyed the 19th to hand his Round of 32 match to Harrison OTT (USA). No medalist has won the U.S. Amateur since 2003.

Conqueror of John Gough Segundo OLIVA PINTO (ARG) had a good win taking out McClure MEISSNER (USA) who had beaten Angus Flanagan in the previous round.

Here are the complete Round of 32 results: –

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Match Play Rd of 32 Results (Photo: USGA)

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12th August 2020 – Play-Off and Match Play Round of 64

Cameron SISK (USA), Evan KATZ (USA) and Aaron DU (CHN) came through the 18-for-3 play-off early on Wednesday morning. Sisk and Katz birdied Bandon Dunes’ 375 yard 10th whilst Du birdied the 435 yard 11th to finish affairs off relatively quickly.

From a GB&I perspective only Sandy SCOTT seeded 42 (SCO) was able to negotiate his Round of 64 match coming back from 3Down after 6 holes to beat Brayden GARRISON (USA) 23 by 3&2.

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Garrison v. Scott Match Play Rd of 64 Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

Scott should now be looking confidently towards the latter stages of this Championship. He won both of his singles in last year’s Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool, has a nice comeback win under his belt here at Bandon and he is the highest WAGR ranked player left in the field (6th).

Unfortunately Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) and John GOUGH (ENG) both came out on the wrong side of tight matches.

The Southern Amateur champion McClure MEISSNER (USA) 8 beat Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) 57 by 2&1. The American won the 16th and 17th holes with birdies to secure the win.

John GOUGH (ENG) 25 lost on the 19th hole to Segundo OLIVA PINTO (ARG) 40. Oliva Pinto birdied the 17th to regain parity before another birdie on the 19th hole saw him through to the Round of 32.

Medalist Wilson FURR (USA) continued his good form by beating Aaron DU (CHN) by 6&4. However, there were notable losses for highly fancied Davis THOMPSON (USA) and John AUGENSTEIN (USA) in Round 1.

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11th August 2020 – Stroke Play Qualifying Round 2

22 year old University of Alabama student Wilson FURR (USA) 132 -11 secured medalist honours after posting a course record 62 (-9) on the Bandon Trails course on Day 2. His 62 was the joint second lowest score in U.S. Amateur history.

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Wilson Furr (Photo: Steve Gibbons / USGA)

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Wilson Furr’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

James PIOT (USA) -9 and Ben SHIPP (USA) -7 finished second and third respectively after completing their qualifying with a 65 and 67 on Bandon Dunes.

Day 1 leaders McClure MEISSNER (USA) and Aman GUPTA (USA) were both over par in Round 2 but with their firm foundations in place still finished in the top 10.

Just three of the eleven GB&I players made it through to the match play stage of the Championship. John GOUGH (ENG) -2 finished tied 23rd, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) Ev tied 36th and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) +1 tied 48th. Sandy did well playing himself into the top 64 with a 70 (-2) around the Dunes course.

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John Gough’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

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Sandy Scott’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

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Angus Flanagan’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

The match play cut came at 145 (+2) with 18 players finishing on this score in tied 62nd place. An 18-for-3 spots play-off will therefore now be held tomorrow morning to finalise the match play field.

Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) both sadly bogeyed 3 of their last five holes to miss out on qualification and even a shot at the play-off.

Austin ECKROAT (USA) +3, Cole HAMMER (USA) +3, defending champion Andy OGLETREE (USA) +3, Preston SUMMERHAYS (USA) +4, John PAK (USA) +5 and Pierceson COODY (USA) +8 were amongst the leading home players to miss the cut.

Round 2 Average Scores: Dunes 72.931 (+0.931) and Trails 73.689 (+2.689). As with Round 1 the wind speeds picked up but not as significantly as on Day 1. As a result the score differential between the morning and afternoon starters was less material.

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GB&I Stroke Play 36 Hole Qualifying Scores (Photo: USGA)

Click here to view the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Results

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10th August 2020 – Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1

McClure MEISSNER (USA) -8 and Aman GUPTA (USA) -7 recorded the lowest rounds on Day 1 of the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship. Meissner was playing on the Dunes course whilst Gupta started his Championship on the Trails.

The wind picked up significantly in the afternoon and scores were around 3.5 shots higher on both courses from the second wave players.

Round 1 Average Scores: Dunes 75.583 (+3.583) and Trails 75.598 (+4.598).

At the end of Round 1 John GOUGH (ENG) -2 Dunes, Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) -1 Dunes and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) Ev Trails are all positioned in the all-important top 64.

These three and certainly the other 8 GB&I players still have work to do on Day 2 if they are to make the Match Play stage.

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GB&I Stroke Play 18 Hole Qualifying Scores (Photo: USGA)

Click here to view the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Results

ME.

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5th August 2020

Introduction

This year’s Championship is being played on Bandon’s Dunes and Trails courses.

Administered by the United States Golf Association (USGA) the U.S. Amateur is the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

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2020 Field

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic all Sectional Qualifying events were cancelled. In 2019 there were 96 36 hole events staged by the USGA with the qualifiers making up a large proportion of the final field.

The 2020 field is entirely made up of exempt players and has been reduced to 264 players – 312 normally compete. The entry fee for the U.S. Amateur Championship is $175.

Exemption categories, largely based on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), were established by the USGA with the aim of creating a field that most closely resembles those of a typical Championship.

Based on the main exemption categories originally announced 28 GB&I players earned a spot in the field – see Appendix below for more details. However, due to international travel restrictions many of these players have not been able to take up this opportunity. This in turn opened the door to six other GB&I players who were ranked lower in the WAGR but were based in USA.

On 30th July 14 GB&I players were confirmed by the USGA as being in the field. Barclay Brown, Tom McKibbin and John Murphy subsequently withdrew on travel grounds leaving us with 11 starters. They are: –

Dan BRADBURY (ENG)
Archie DAVIES (WAL)
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG)
Angus FLANAGAN (ENG)
John GOUGH (ENG)
Jamie LI (ENG)
Connor MCKINNEY (SCO)
Rhys NEVIN (ENG)
Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG)
Joe PAGDIN (ENG)
Sandy SCOTT (SCO)

There were 11 GB&I players at Pinehurst last year, 7 in 2018 at Pebble Beach, 9 in 2017 at Riviera and 11 in 2016 at Oakland Hills.

Sadly it will not be possible for any of the above GB&I entrants to play in the Brabazon Trophy (18-21 August) or the Amateur Championship (25-30 August) this year due to the current quarantining rules.

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The par-4 fifth hole at Bandon Dunes (Photo: USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Most of the leading USA players will be competing at Bandon Dunes and I expect the following to feature strongly: –

John AUGENSTEIN (USA) – 2019 runner-up
Pierceson COODY (USA)
Quade CUMMINS (USA)
Austin ECKROAT (USA)
Cole HAMMER (USA)
Meissner MCCLURE (USA)
Maxwell MOLOVAN (USA)
Andy OGLETREE (USA) – 2019 champion
John PAK (USA)
Tyler STRAFACI (USA)
Preston SUMMERHAYS (USA)
Davis THOMPSON (USA)

Click here to view the – USGA’s 2020 U.S. Amateur Information PDF

Click here to view the – USGA’s 2020 U.S. Amateur Exemptions List

Click here to view the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Draw Sheets

With Oregon being 8 hours behind the UK play will start in our late afternoon and proceed through the night.

Competition Format

On Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th August all of the competitors will play 36-holes of stroke play, one round on the Dunes Course and the other on the Trails Course.

The Top 64 qualifiers will then progress to the match play stage of the competition. Ties for the last qualifying place will be resolved by a sudden death play-off.

18 hole match play rounds will then be played on the Dunes Course between Wednesday 12th and Saturday 15th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 16th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

Host Courses

Bandon Dunes Course
7,218 yards (maximum), Par 72
Opened in 1999.
Designed by David McLay Kidd.

Bandon Dunes Course Video (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

Bandon Dunes Course Scorecard (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

Bandon Trails Course
6,883 yards (maximum), Par 71
Opened in 2005.
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Bandon Trails Course Video (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

Bandon Trails Course Scorecard (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is the realisation of a dream by golf-mad owner Mike Keiser, a greetings card millionaire. It now incorporates six courses, including a spectacular 13 hole par 3 set up, all built on sand dunes 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

The Resort has previously hosted the 2006 Curtis Cup Match, 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at 9th August) is positive for Championship week. Bandon Dunes in Oregon is on the north west pacific coast so temperatures will be cool and winds will be a factor.

Stroke Play Qualifying
Mon 10th August – Sunny / Wind 21 mph N / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 9°C.
Tues 11th August – Sunny Intervals / Wind 17 mph N / Temp. Min. 19°C, Max. 8°C.

Match Play Stage
Weds 12th August – Sunny / Wind 19 mph N  / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 9°C.
Thurs 13th August – Sunny Intervals / Wind 19 mph N  / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 10°C.
Fri 14th August – Sunny / Wind 21 mph N  / Temp. Min. 22°C, Max. 10°C.
Sat 15th August – Sunny / Wind 15 mph N  / Temp. Min. 23°C, Max. 13°C.
Sun 16th August – Sunny Intervals / Wind 11 mph NW / Temp. Min. 19°C, Max. 12°C.

UK Television Coverage

In recent years the Sky Sports Golf channel has taken the U.S. television feed, via the Red Button, over the final match play weekend.

Prizes

The 2020 U.S. Amateur champion will receive the following: –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the following year;

b) An exemption to play in the 2021 U.S. Open to be staged at [Winged Foot Golf Club or Torrey Pines];

and assuming they remain amateur,

c) An exemption to play in the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club;

d) An invitation to play in the 2021 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club;

e) An exemption to play in the 2021 – 2030 U.S. Amateur Championships;

and unofficially

f) Various invitations to play in PGA Tour and European Tour events.

A Silver Medal is awarded to the runner-up and Bronze Medals to the two losing semi-finalists.

A Bronze Medal is also awarded to the stroke play medalist(s).

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the U.S.G.A. on March 1895 in honour of the Association’s first President Theodore A. Havemeyer. This was lost in a fire at Bobby Jones’ home club, East Lake, in 1925.

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Bobby Jones Receives the Original U.S. Amateur Trophy in 1924

A new gold trophy was produced in 1926. This was retired in 1992 with a copy of the trophy being produced and passed from champion to champion ever since.

Sadly the original gold trophy was stolen from the U.S.G.A. Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

_____________________________________________

2019 U.S. Amateur Championship

Andy OGLETREE (USA) won the Final of the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship beating John AUGENSTEIN (USA) 2&1 in the 36 hole match.

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Andy Ogletree (Photo: @USGA)

Augenstein got off to a great start on Course No. 4, which was used for the first 18 holes. Three consecutive birdies helped him build a 4Up lead after just 5 holes.

Ogletree came back at the Vanderbilt player gradually on the back nine and a birdie on the final hole saw him go into lunch just 2Down.

The Mississipian was relentless as play moved on to Course No. 2 in the afternoon. He finally got the match back to All Square on the 31st and immediately moved to 1Up with a birdie on the par 5 14th. After two shared holes with pars a four putt from off the green on the par 3 17th by Augenstein handed the trophy to Ogletree.

Ogletree made just three bogeys in the 37 holes he played in the Final.

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) was for the second year running GB&I’s leading performer in the Championship. He eventually lost in the Round of 16 to Cohen TROLIO (USA) 5&4. Trolio recorded five birdies on his front nine to take a 4Up lead and eventually saw out the game with another birdie on the 14th.

Click here to view the – U.S. Amateur Match Play Results

Brandon WU (USA) won the Stroke Play Qualifying competition with rounds of 65 -5 (No. 4) and 72 +2 (No. 2).

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Brandon Wu (Photo: @USGA)

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was one of six players one shot back of Wu on -2. Thomas FORSTER (ENG) and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) -1 also qualified in the top 20.

11 GB&I players competed in 2019 with just five progressing to the Match Play Stage. Ben JONES (ENG), who finished tied 62nd, missed out after a 27-for-3 sudden death play-off on Course No. 4.

Here are the full GB&I Stroke Play Qualifying Results: –

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U.S. Amateur Championship Stroke Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Click here to view the – U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Results

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and 2020 will see its 120th playing.

It was first played in 1895, the winner being Charles B. Macdonald.

It has always been decided by match play save for an 8 year period between 1965 and 1972 when the winner was determined solely by stroke play.

Former U.S. winners include Walter Travis (1900-01-03), Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), W. Lawson Little (1934-35) Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959-61), Deane Beman (1960-63), Lanny Wadkins (1970), Craig Stadler (1973), Mark O’Meara (1979), Hal Sutton (1980), Phil Mickelson (1990), Justin Leonard (1992), Tiger Woods (1994-95-96), Matt Kucher (1997), Ryan Moore (2004), Peter Uihlein (2010) and Bryson DeChambeau (2015).

British players have won the Championship on six occasions but just twice in the last 100 years – H.J. Whigham (1896-97), Findlay Douglas (1898), Harold Hilton (1911), Richie Ramsay (2006) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013).

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) and Norway’s Viktor Hovland (2018) are the only player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

09-15 August 2021 – Oakmont Country Club,

15-21 August 2022 – Ridgewood Country Club, Paramus, New Jersey

14-20 August 2023 – Cherry Hills Country Club, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado

12-18 August 2024 – Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minnesota

11-17 August 2025 – The Olympic Club, San Francisco, California

10-16 August 2026 – Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pennsylvania

09-15 August 2027 – Oak Hill Country Club, Pittsford, New York

11-17 August 2031 – Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tennessee

Appendix – GB&I Players Eligible For The 2020 U.S. Amateur

Based on the main exemption categories originally announced by the USGA 28 GB&I players earned a spot in the field.

However, due to international travel restrictions many of these players were not able to take up this opportunity. This in turn opened the door to six other GB&I players who were ranked lower in the WAGR but were based in USA.

Here’s a list of the relevant exemption categories, the GB&I players initially caught by them and confirmation of the 11 who will be competing.   

Round of 64 from the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) ENTERED
Sandy SCOTT (SCO) ENTERED
James SUGRUE (IRL)

From the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, winners in 2016-2019; runners-up in 2018-2019 and quarterfinalists in 2019
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) ENTERED

Playing members of the United States and Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Teams, four year exemption once appointed to the team (2017 & 2019)
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG)
Conor GOUGH (ENG)
Thomas PLUMB (ENG)
Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL)
Sandy SCOTT (SCO)
James SUGRUE (IRL)

Winners of The Amateur Championship (five year exemption) (2016-2019).
James SUGRUE (IRE)

From the current Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) the top 225-ranked players as of 24th June 2020
Sandy SCOTT (SCO) #9
Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) #17
James SUGRUE (IRL) #19
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) #20
Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) #27
Ben JONES (ENG) #30
Conor GOUGH (ENG) #43
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) #63
Jake BOLTON (ENG) #69
Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) #73 ENTERED
Mark POWER (IRL) #81
Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) #116
John MURPHY (IRL) #127
Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) #136
Matty LAMB (ENG) #145
Joe LONG (ENG) #147
Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) #151
Thomas PLUMB (ENG) #153
Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) #157
Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) #158
Keith EGAN (IRL) #160
Harry GODDARD (ENG) #167
Max MARTIN (ENG) #173
Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) #178
Callum FARR (ENG) #188
Jamie LI (ENG) #205 ENTERED
Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) #224 ENTERED

From the current Men’s WAGR, the top 25-ranked players using the WAGR Age Filter as of 24th June 2020. Players must be age 25 on or before August 10, 2020. Player’s WAGR profile must include date of birth to be considered for this exemption category
Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) #17 (2nd)
Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) #157 (8th)
Colm CAMPBELL (IRL) #399 (24th)

[Matthew Clark (SCO) #319 – date of birth not added to WAGR biography so excluded]

Remaining spots in the championship field will be filled using the World Amateur Golf Ranking
Dan BRADBURY (ENG) #298 ENTERED
Barclay BROWN (ENG) #353
Archie DAVIES (WAL) #244 ENTERED
John GOUGH (ENG) #239 ENTERED
Rhys NEVIN (ENG) #346 ENTERED
Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) #326 ENTERED

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Robert Sweeny Jr

4th June 2020

Robert “Bobby” John Vincent Sweeny Jr was born on 25th July 1911 in Pasadena, California.

He was the youngest son of Robert Sweeny Sr (b. 9th July 1884) and his wife Teresa Hanaway (b. 12th June 1886), both strict Roman Catholics of Irish descent. Robert Sr was educated at University of Notre Dame and then Harvard Law School. He met Teresa, a talented singer and musician, whilst he was in Boston. She was studying at the city’s Conservatory of Music not too far away from Harvard. They married in May 1906. 

Robert Sr was the son of Charles Sweeny Sr and it was Bobby’s grand-father to whom the family owed their thanks for the wealth which set them all up for life. Charles made a fortune in mining and real estate in the late 19th century which Robert Sr built on through hard work and astute financial investments.

Bobby’s elder brother Charles “Charlie” was born on 3rd October 1909 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, his mother’s home town.

Shortly afterwards the Sweeny family moved to San Francisco where Robert Sr set up a new law firm which he then expanded in to Los Angeles. 

In 1916, with Bobby now 5, an increasingly ambitious Robert Sr moved the family to New York.

Charlie and Bobby attended Loyola School, an independent Jesuit school which opened on Park Avenue in 1900, and then Canterbury School, a catholic boarding school which had opened in 1915 in New Milford, Connecticut. Both boys were natural sportsman playing for Canterbury’s football, basketball, baseball and hockey teams. However, it was golf that quickly garnered most of their attention. In 1923 Charlie was captain of the school golf team and Bobby won the Most Promising Player prize.

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Ben Hogan and Bobby Sweeny at Seminole G.C.

It was a stroke of good fortune that accelerated the Sweeny’s golfing development. In 1925 the family were invited to holiday at the Le Touquet home of Kingsley ‘King’ Macomber in northern France. Macomber, a U.S. business associate of Robert Sr’s and a renowned racehorse owner, spent much of the holiday talking about horses and trying to persuade the Sweeny’s to buy a villa at the fashionable French resort. Macomber was confident he was going to win the Autumn Double, the Cambridgeshire and the Cesarevitch, at Newmarket with his two horses ‘Masked Marvel’ and ‘Forseti’. Macomber, having been unsuccessful in both persuading Robert Sr to have a bet or buy a villa, left France saying he would put a little on for him anyway. The horses duly came in for Macomber a few weeks later and he and his associates won over £1 million. In October Robert Sr received a cheque for £28,000, his share of the winnings. Robert Sr wanted to return the cheque but his wife Teresa suggested a compromise – why not use the money to acquire a villa in Le Touquet. As a result Charlie and Bobby spent the following summer of 1926 receiving lessons from pro Ted Green and playing golf on Le Touquet’s La Forêt and Le Manoir courses. The Sweeny boys would holiday at Le Touquet for years to come, occasionally playing golf with Edward, Prince of Wales who was also a frequent visitor.

In 1926 Robert Sr saw the opportunity to establish The Federated Trust and Finance Corporation in London to assist with new share issues on the Stock Exchange. Whilst Robert moved between the two cities Teresa remained based in New York; Charlie and Bobby continuing their educations at Canterbury and visiting their father in the summer holidays. 

Charlie played in the 1926 British Boys’ Amateur Championship, which had commenced in 1921, at Coombe Hill. He lost by 2&1 in the quarter finals to the eventual winner Scotland’s Eric McRuvie. In 1927 both Charlie and Bobby competed at Barnton, Royal Burgess in the same Championship. Bobby lost in the 4th round to a GNS Tweedale from Edinburgh whilst Charlie again lost to the champion, Eric Fiddian 5&4, this time in the semi-finals. With their entries stating either Canterbury, USA or Connecticut, USA they both must have been amongst the very first overseas entries. It doesn’t appear as if Bobby entered alone in 1928 at Formby or 1929 again at Barnton, Royal Burgess when he still would have been eligible.

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Bobby and Charlie Sweeny At the 1927 Boys’ Amateur Championship

Two of their New York friends, Boy and Buzzie Scheftel, found themselves in a similar family situation to the Sweeny’s in the late 1920’s and the four of them spent much of their summers together in Le Touquet. In 1930 Charlie graduated from Canterbury School and passed the entrance examination for Yale. However, the Sheftels persuaded both of the Sweeny boys to change their plans and follow them to Oxford University. After one or two issues Charlie finally received the offer of a place at Wadham College. Charlie soon made the Oxford golf team and ahead of the 1933 Varsity Match against Cambridge he stayed with his friend the Prince of Wales at Fort Belvedere and the two played and practiced at nearby Sunningdale G.C. in preparation.

Bobby Sweeny doesn’t appear to have been as academically accomplished as Charlie and when his time arrived it took him over two years to pass the Oxford entrance examination. It was only after his father threatened him with having to get a job that Bobby got through it and was able to join his brother at Wadham.

Helped by a monthly allowance from their father Charlie and Bobby both appear to have enjoyed a relaxed life at Oxford playing golf at the University’s Southfields course and else where, socialising in London at the leading clubs, Bucks and Whites, and regularly holidaying at the most glamorous resorts across Europe. In addition to the Oxford University Golf Club and Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society the Sweeny’s became members of The Addington, Berkshire, Prince’s, Stoke Poges and Sunningdale Golf Club’s. In passing Bobby also became a member of The R&A in the mid-1930’s.

Charlie (1930-1-2), who captained the Oxford team in his final year, and Bobby (1932 only) both earned golfing blues. They played in the same Oxford team that beat Cambridge 9-6 in the 1932 Varsity Match, pairing up in the foursomes (winning 5&3) before both won their singles, Charlie 4&3 and Bobby 5&4. Attending and representing Oxford at golf in the 1930’s brought them into contact with many of the leading golfers of the time as well as extending their business and aristocratic networks.   

Charlie was clearly the better golfer as a young man but it wouldn’t be long before Bobby would be asserting his dominance over his older brother. Writing in later years Bernard Darwin said Bobby “had always had a sound and elegant style and he had been a good but by no means an outstanding player for Oxford” which seems to sum up his standing at the time. Laddie Lucas was more effusive in his praise “Of the many golfing scholars I met in those week-end matches for Cambridge, Bob seemed to me to possess a golfing armoury of greater variety and quality than the majority of his contemporaries. Those with the eyes to see could tell then that here was a player who, before long, must surely prevail.”

Shortly after graduating Charlie fell in love with Margaret Whigham, considered the most attractive woman in the country at the time. To demonstrate an income ahead of a proposed marriage in February 1933, his father arranged for him to take a job at Charterhouse Investment Trust, a small merchant bank. Charlie’s new role in the City and the wedding preparations inevitably led to him practicing less and a gradual withdrawal from competitive golf. Charlie would join his father’s Federated Trust company in the mid-1930’s.

When Bobby graduated from Oxford he joined the investment banking firm of Philip Hill and Partners in London, no doubt with a helping hand from his father. As he always enjoyed socialising and playing golf more than he ever did working one assumes this was a flexible arrangement. Now a slim 6ft 3” man, with a fast improving game, he was determined to start making a name for himself in the golfing world.

Bobby was a semi-finalist in the French Open Amateur Championship in 1933 at Fourqueux and was runner-up in the New York State Men’s Amateur championship later in the summer at Garden City C.C. Two results which highlight his transatlantic schedule right from his early 20’s.

In 1934 he secured his first national win in Britain taking the H.R.H. Prince of Wales’ Cup played over 72 holes at Prince’s, the club he seemed to be most affiliated with at this time. He also made the semi-finals again in the French Amateur, this time at the Chiberta G.C. 

Bobby made his debut in the Amateur Championship in 1929 a month before his 18th birthday. However, it was not until 1935, playing in his fourth Amateur at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, that he was to reach the latter stages. He came through six rounds before losing in the semi-finals 3&2, having been 2Up after 12 holes, to the eventual champion W. Lawson Little.

Later in the summer of 1935 Bobby won the Gleneagles Silver Tassie, a leading amateur event at this time, having also come joint runner-up in the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase at the Berkshire G.C.  

Bobby was invited to play in the third U.S. Masters at Augusta in 1936. After rounds of 83-72-74-87 (+31) he finished tied 44th. He would go on to play in a total of ten Masters with his final one being in 1961. His best finish was tied 34th in 1954. His full Masters Tournament playing record is shown in an Appendix below. 

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Bobby Sweeny was a friend of Bobby Jones (Photo: Charles Sweeny)

1936 saw him make another good run at the Amateur losing in Round 5 to Australia’s Jim Ferrier on the 21st hole. Ferrier was runner-up that year falling to Hector Thomson at St. Andrews by 2 holes in the Final. Ferrier turned professional in 1941 and won the 1947 PGA Championship, the first golfer from the Southern Hemisphere to win a major title. 

The 1937 Amateur Championship was played at Royal St. George’s in Kent. Sweeny, about to turn 26, reached the final where he came up against Lionel Munn. Munn, a former Irish Open Amateur (1909-10-11) and Irish Close (1908-11-13-14) champion, had just turned 50 years old and whilst he hadn’t played much in the 1920s a move to Kent and membership at Sandwich had re-ignited his interest in the game. Despite both finalists having associations with local clubs the final was watched by a modest crowd totalling no more than 500. Peter Lawless writing in the Morning Post on 31st May 1937 reported that Sweeny had a “beautifully smooth swing, with the hands carried through unusually high.”

Bobby got off to a good start in the final moving 3Up after four holes. He took the first with a par but then holed long putts on the 3rd and 4th. The lead was reduced to 1Up after 9 holes as Munn settled down and it remained this way after all of the morning 18 holes had been played. At the 22nd hole Munn drew back level and on the next went 1Up. The 24th hole, the par 3 ‘Maiden’, would settle the match. Munn, in the ascendancy and with the tee, got caught between a 5 and a 6-iron and pushed his opening shot into a pot bunker on the right hand side. Sweeny also missed the green but chipped stone dead to secure a par his opponent was ultimately unable to match. When Bobby won the next hole too he was back on track and would eventually see out the match 3&2. It appears his greater length off the tee and extra fitness, in the sunny conditions, ultimately paid off against the older man. Bernard Darwin said Sweeny “played beautifully at Sandwich and was not only the winner but the dominating figure of the tournament.”

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Bobby Sweeny Jr Receives the Amateur Championship Trophy

Final Scores – Morning Round

Sweeny   4  4  2  4  5  3  5  3  4 = 34    4  4  4  5  4  5  4  4  5 = 39 [73]

Munn      5  4  3  5  4  3  5  3  3 = 35    4  4  4  5  5  5  3  5  4 = 39 [74]

Final Scores – Afternoon Round

Sweeny   5  4  4  6  5  3  4  3  4 = 38    4  5  4  5  4  6  2 = 30  (after 16 holes)

Munn      5  4  4  5  4  4  5  4  3 = 38    6  4  5  5  5  5  3 = 39  (after 16 holes)

Now full of confidence Bobby won the 1937 Golf Illustrated Gold Vase at West Herts G.C. by 7-shots with an impressive 137 36-hole total. He also won the Gleneagles Silver Tassie again in 1937 when he shot a course record 66 on the Queen’s Course and followed it with a 74 on the Kings Course to post a record 140 total.

Around this time it was reported that Sweeny had been dominating the White’s Club tournament in recent years, played annually over 36 holes at Royal St. George’s. Members enjoyed to gamble and it was said that Sweeny always left the event with thousands of pounds from winnings and side bets.

In December 1937 Sweeny announced his intention to file naturalisation papers and become a British subject. His sponsors were Lord Dudley and his employer Philip Ernest Hill. However, matters of the heart ultimately put an end to his plans.

Bobby Sweeny had been fending off women since University his looks, wealth and sporting prowess acting like a magnet to the fairer sex. Throughout both of their lives Bobby and his brother Charlie would repeatedly find themselves drawn to the fragile and spoilt debutantes they were exposed to on the circuit of high society balls and parties they attended. Sadly it was a weakness they would both repeatedly live to regret. 

In 1938 Bobby finally met a lady in London who he was interested in. Barbara Hutton was the Woolworth ‘five and dime store’ heiress and one of the wealthiest women in the world at the time. Both had lived in San Francisco, New York and now London and these shared experiences helped nurture an initial attraction. Matters were complicated as Barbara, 25, was in the process of separating from her second husband Count Kurt Haugwitz-Reventlow of Denmark, who she had given up her Amercian citizenship to be with and with whom she had had a son, Lance (now 3). Nevertheless the couple embarked on a romance touring France, Italy, Greece and Egypt during the autumn and winter of 1938/39. The couple became engaged but Reventlow wanted a settlement of $2.5m for a quick divorce. Barbara was happy to pay the sum but Bobby considered this black mail and suggested they wait him out knowing that having signed a separation agreement in July 1938 the Count would have to accept a lower settlement after 18 months when the divorce would be finalised under Danish law. In October 1939 with World War II developing at pace Bobby escorted Barbara and Lance back to New York and on to Palm Beach in Florida for the winter where Bobby relaxed by played golf at the Everglades Club. In February 1940 the couple returned to New York but by this time Barbara had started a relationship with the actor Cary Grant, whom she had first met in 1939, and Bobby was soon dispensed with. It is said he was given $350,000 by Barbara by way of a separation gift. 

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Barbara Hutton and Bobby Sweeny in Palm Beach

Bobby recorded his best finish in the Open Championship in 1939 at St. Andrews. Rounds of 74-75-80-79 giving him a 308 total and 33rd place result. He had made his debut in the Championship in 1932 at Prince’s and played in a total of ten Open’s before his last one 28 years later at St. Andrews in 1970. Whilst he was very much an also ran throughout one can not help but admire his competitive drive, fitness and longevity. His full Open Championship playing record is shown in an Appendix below.   

With World War II now underway Bobby quickly returned to Britain, keen to support the war effort in his adopted country. His brother Charlie had got a head start on him and had begun recruiting experienced American pilots to support the RAF. His ‘Eagle Squadrons’ were established in September 1940 and first saw action in July 1941. The Sweeny family raised $100,000 to fund the establishment of the Squadrons, primarily for getting the pilots to Britain and then paying them. At it’s peak the Squadron had 244 American volunteers trained up as spitfire fighter pilots. In September 1942 it was disbanded when those pilots still alive (88 died) transferred to the U.S. 8th Air Force after their home country had joined the allied forces.

Bobby was a qualified pilot with over 50 hours flying experience and now unattached wanted to quickly get into the thick of the action. Unfortunately his application to the RAF in 1940 to become a fighter pilot was turned down on the grounds he was too old at 28/29. Wanting to be involved with the Eagle Squadron he was made an adjutant, a lower ranking officer who assists a higher ranking officer with administrative duties. His job was to keep the U.S. pilots in order. Once in position he started to use his charm and influence to talk his way into the skies.

He was successful and ended up being posted as a Flying Officer to 224 Squadron Coastal Command tasked with flying four-engined B-24 Liberator planes. Wishing to continue living in the style he had become accustomed to he turned his back on the pilots’ encampment in Torquay, staying at the Imperial Hotel and commuting in his Bentley. He would go on to fly over 800 operational hours during which he and his crew destroyed two german U-Boat submarines and damaged a further five. During one of the successful attacks in the Bay of Biscay on 31st May 1943 his plane was shelled on it’s right wing. He managed to return the plane over 1,000 miles back to his base at RAF St. Eval in Cornwall flying at a very low altitude, fending off German plane attacks off the northern French coast and regularly throwing the plane’s contents out of the windows to reduce it’s weight as much as possible. For gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy Bobby received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) from King George VI in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 3rd September 1943. Whilst Bobby wanted to carry on flying Charlie was concerned that his luck would eventually run out so arranged for a friend, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands who was heading up the Free Dutch Forces, to request him as his new RAF Liaison Officer. As a result Bobby would safely see out the war at the FDF’s headquarters in a chateau on the outskirts of Brussels.

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Flying Officer Bobby Sweeny DFC

In May 1940 Bobby’s parents left London and sailed back to New York for their own safety. In July 1941 his mother, Teresa, died from a heart attack whilst undergoing an operation for the removal of her gall bladder. After the War his father, Robert Sr, returned to England but sadly died of cancer in December 1945. A family plot at Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking in Surrey, was acquired. Robert Sr was buried here and shortly afterwards Teresa was re-buried alongside him.

The War cost Sweeny six of his prime golfing years but he wasted no time getting back to the top of the game when play properly resumed in 1946. 

The Amateur Championship was staged at Royal Birkdale and Bobby reached the final where he came up against the pre-war star of GB&I amateur golf, Ireland’s 26 year old Jimmy Bruen. Bruen had won the 1936 Boys’ Championship at Birkdale and was an obvious favourite for the 1946 Amateur. Bruen came out on top, winning by 4&3. Henry Longhurst reporting on the final said Bruen was lucky to go in 2Up after the morning round after winning the 16th and 17th holes but not hitting a fairway until the 11th and generally finding favourable lies early on. On the 8th hole the powerful Irishman broke his steel shafted mashie niblick hacking out of the rough only to turn around and see a watching Henry Cotton using an identical club as a walking stick. The stick was quickly added to Bruen’s bag and he proceeded to use it to good effect throughout the rest of the match. The afternoon round was played in rain with Sweeny unable to make any in roads on the Irishman.

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Jimmy Bruen and Bobby Sweeny Ahead of the 1946 Amateur Final

Bobby continued to play in the Championship but only featured in the latter stages on one further occasion. Aged 52 he came through five rounds at Ganton in 1964 before losing to Martin Christmas 6&5 in the quarter finals. 

Sweeny played in his final Amateur Championship in 1974, just shy of his 63 birthday and what I believe to be a record 45 years after his first entry. In total he played in 25 Championships and 72 matches, winning 48 (67%) and losing 24. His full Amateur Championship playing record is shown in an Appendix below.  

Sweeny was the co-winner of the inaugural Berkshire Trophy in 1946 alongside GB&I Walker Cup player, John Beck. Laddie Lucas, who won it the following year, noted in his autobiography that it was Bobby who had donated the famous gold cup to the club.

A place in the U.S.A. Walker Cup team alluded Bobby throughout his long career. This was a shame as he clearly had experience and the game for links golf so would have certainly benefited most of America’s visiting teams to these shores. He was not helped by being based in England for most of the pre-War period and by his high profile love life which was often written about in the papers. The Americans viewed him as British whilst his friends in England saw him as an American so he almost didn’t belong to either side. The closest he got to honours was the 1947 match at St. Andrews where the USGA selected him as an alternate.

After the War and their father’s death Charlie and Bobby found themselves picking up the pieces at Federated Trust which they now owned 50%:50%. Whilst neither of them had a great deal of City experience they did have a lot of capital which was obviously a useful commodity at the time and gave them time to learn from their mistakes. Bobby, with little motivation and a lack of real interest in business, ultimately decided to return to America in the late 1940’s where he had many friends, particularly in the golfing world.

He first settled in New York where he carried on playing championship golf. He lost the final of the 1948 Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur at Winged Foot 8&6 to Ray Billows. He would also lose in the final of this competition again in 1957, this time 3&2 to Paul Kelly at Nassau G.C.

In 1948 Bobby met 18 year old Joanne Marie Connelley, who had been voted New York’s most beautiful debutante that season. Despite being over twice her age Sweeny married Joanne in 1949, her aspiring mother Margaret encouraging the arrangement. Soon after the couple moved to Palm Beach in Florida, an area Bobby knew well from spending time there with Barbara Hutton, where they had two daughters, Sharon (b. 1950) and Brenda (b. 1952). However, after a while the couple started to drift apart, Bobby playing more golf and Joanne, who was feeling as if she was missing out on life as a young mother, losing weight and partying. Matters came to ahead in 1953 after Joanne was allegedly caught in a compromising situation in a London hotel with international playboy Porfiro Rubirosa. Sweeny immediately sued for divorce in London and was able to divest himself of Joanne and gain custody of both his daughters whilst Rubirosa was left to pick up the costs of the legal proceedings.

In an aside, again encouraged by her mother, Connelley went on to marry Jaime Ortiz-Patiño in Paris in April 1954. Ortiz-Patiño, the French born son of a Bolivian aristocrat and tin magnate heiress, would go on to acquire Real Club Valderrama in Spain in 1984. This marriage was on the rocks within 2 months with Connelley attempting suicide and Ortiz-Patiño commencing divorce proceedings on the grounds of desertion by July. The matter took 3 years to resolve and with Connelley holed up in Swiss chalet throughout her unhappiness continued. She eventually died of a heart attack, allegedly brought on by a drug overdose, aged 27 in July 1957. Brenda inherited her mother’s drug addictions and eventually died in 2000 aged 49. 

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Joanne Marie Connelley – Life Magazine 10th January, 1949 

Bobby continued to live in Palm Beach and started to play more golf at the exclusive Seminole Golf Club, where he had become a member. Perhaps helped by his links golf experience he became a master of the course which could be transformed by the wind from round to round. Bobby became a good friend of Claude Harmon, club pro between 1945-57, and Ben Hogan who regularly played at the club, particularly in preparation for the Masters in the 1950’s. Bobby was used to mingling with the great and the good and Hogan appreciated the fact he could play with him and be treated just like one of the boys. They would regularly have $50 and $100 Nassau side bets during their games and it was general knowledge at the club that Bobby would more often than not win these and ocassionally agreed to give Hogan shots to help him. Bobby won a number of club competitions, including one alongside fellow member, H.R.H. Duke of Windsor, and kept the card when Hogan shot the lowest round of his life, a 61, in one of their four-balls.  

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Bobby Sweeny Seminole Trophy (Photo: GoldenAgeGolfAuctions.com)

In early 1954 Bobby started a relationship with another troubled society beauty and sometime actress, 24 year old Pamela Dudley Curran. Curran was at this point estranged from her husband Joseph A. Wade Jr who she had married in January 1951. In July 1954 it was widely reported that Wade and his private investigator had caught Bobby and Pamela in bed together at the Hotel Westburn in New York and that he would be seeking a divorce on the grounds of her adultery.

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Pamela Dudley Curran – Life Magazine 24th November, 1947 

A few weeks later Sweeny put the incident behind him and travelled to the Country Club of Detroit for the 1954 U.S. Amateur. Showing good mental strength Bobby, now aged 43, reached the final. The “graying millionaire playboy who is a celebrity on two continents”, as he was described by Herbert Warren Wind in Sports Illustrated, found himself up against a relatively unknown 24 year old paint salesman from Cleveland. His name was Arnold Palmer. Palmer started as slight underdog in the final having struggled in his semi-final against Edward Meister Jr. After Meister had missed a number of putts down the stretch Palmer made a stupendous up-and-down on the 36th hole before coming through on the 39th.

Recalling Sweeny and the final years later Palmer said “he looked like a movie star, he was as thin as a reed. Interestingly he recalled Sweeny having a female companion in the gallery (presumably Pamela but possibly not) “let’s put it this way, she was more than amply endowed”. Sweeny started the 36 hole final well, making putts of 35ft and 18ft at the 2nd and 3rd holes to go 2Up. On the 4th hole his ‘friend’ came through the ropes and gave Sweeny a big hug and kiss. He immediately holed a 20ft putt at the 4th to go 3Up. “I was already 3Down,” Palmer said. “It’s not enough that he’s rich, handsome, a bomber pilot, and gets the girl, he also makes every damn putt he looks at.” Palmer recalled that as they walked off the 4th green Sweeny whispered to him “‘Don’t worry Arnie, you know I can’t keep this up forever’. Bob was a real sportsman, a real gentleman. I appreciated that. Even during the nip and tuck of our match, I knew I would always have a good feeling about him.” Sweeny immediately three putted the 5th but was still able to take a 2Up lead into lunch.

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Arnold Palmer and Bobby Sweeny Ahead of the 1954 U.S. Amateur Final

Palmer eventually regained parity on the 27th hole, although Sweeny dropped another long putt on the 28th to regain the lead. Palmer caught him again at the 30th, holing a 6ft putt, and finally took the lead on the 32nd, when Sweeny bogeyed having missed the green with his approach. Palmer sank a 10 ft birdie putt on the 33rd hole to go 2Up with 3 holes to play. Sweeny, showing his fighting qualities got up and down out of a green side bunker on 35th with an 8ft putt to take the match to the 36th. 1Down playing the final hole Sweeny drove in the rough and shanked his 2nd out. He was still 7 ft away after his third. Palmer, safely on the green in two, putted up close from 45ft. and Sweeny made a quick concession. Whilst Palmer had clearly won the final 2Up referee Joe Day was so impressed with Sweeny’s play and sportsmanship he advised Palmer that he was calling the last a half and that the result would be recorded as a 1Up victory for him. The result would of course change Palmer’s live and arguably the future of both amateur and professional golf.     

USGA Highlights of the 1954 U.S. Amateur (0.00 – 1.41 mins.) 

Bobby played in ten U.S. Amateur Championships in total. His only other performances of note came in 1946 and 1949 when he lost in Round 4. His full U.S. Amateur Championship playing record is shown in an Appendix below.  

Bobby made his one and only U.S. Open Championship in 1955, aged 43, at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, benefiting from his 1954 U.S. Amateur runner-up exemption. He missed the cut after recording rounds of 80 and 77 for a 157 (+17) total. The Championship proved to be a memorable one as the unknown Jack Fleck beat Bobby’s friend Ben Hogan in a play-off. 

Bobby continued his on-off relationship with the now divorced Pamela for a number of years before marrying her in August 1957 at the Round Hill Community Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. They divorced in May 1961.

With good health and finances, Bobby continued competing in all of the main American and British Championships for a number of years but inevitably as he moved towards and beyond his 50th birthday successes were few and far between. 

Bobby returned to England on a permanent basis in the late 1960s as he wanted his two daughters to finish their educations in England. He was first diagnosed with cancer in 1979 and eventually died from it at his home in London on 21st October 1983 aged 72. He is buried, alongside his father, mother and brother in the Brookwood Cemetry. His older brother Charlie died ten years later in 1993.

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Bobby Sweeny’s Grave in Woking (Photo: Ian Wood)

Bobby Sweeny has been described as golf’s last ‘Great Gatsby’ and it’s easy to see why. He was a celebrity in both British and American society and a popular character in the golfing world. He was a natural who seemingly didn’t practice very often and frequently turned up for Championships the day before he would be teeing it up. Whilst he lived in an era and manner which is unrecognisable to most people nowadays his longevity at the top of the amateur game, if not his titles, make him worthy of further recognition.

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Appendix

1. Bobby Sweeny’s Complete Amateur Championship Record (Club Affiliation)

Royal St. George’s – 1929 (Club – Prince’s)
Rd 1 Lost to T.A. Torrance 8&6

Muirfield – 1932 (Club – Prince’s)
Rd 1 Beat Capt. J.R. Pelham-Burn 2&1
Rd 2 Beat R.H. Wethered 6&4
Rd 3 Lost to A.J. Peech 1 Hole

Royal Liverpool – 1933 (Club – Prince’s)
Rd 1 Walkover v. F.C. Harrison
Rd 2 Beat H.M. Dickson 5&3
Rd 3 Lost to EC Hatton 4&3

Royal Lytham – 1935 (Club – Prince’s)
Rd 1 Beat A.R. Walton 2&1
Rd 2 Beat P.W.L. Risdon 4&3
Rd 3 Beat J. Graham 5&4
Rd 4 Beat Brig. Gen. A.C. Critchley 5&4
Rd 5 Beat W.M. Robb 19th Hole
QF Beat A. Walker 1 Hole
SF Lost to W.L. Little 3&2 – Little beat Dr. W. Tweddell by 1 Hole in the Final

St. Andrews – 1936 (Club – Prince’s)
Rd 1 Beat JM Baillieu 3&2
Rd 2 Beat Lord C Hope 5&4
Rd 3 Beat J McLean 20th Hole
Rd 4 Beat E.F. Storey 2&1
Rd 5 Lost to J. Ferrier 21st Hole – Ferrier lost to Hector Thomson by 2 Holes in the Final

Royal St. George’s – 1937 (Club – R&A)
Rd 1 Beat H.G. Bentley 2&1
Rd 2 Beat M.W. Budd 1 Hole
Rd 3 Beat W.H.H. Aitken 5&4
Rd 4 Beat E. Bromley-Davenport 19th Hole
Rd 5 Beat Dr. H. Gardiner-Hill 2 Holes
QF Beat W Wehrle 3&2
SF Beat C Stowe 6&5
Final Beat L.O.M. Munn 3&2

Royal Troon – 1938 (Club – Prince’s)
Rd 1 Beat J.R. Hordern 4&3
Rd 2 Lost to W.M. Robb 5&4

Royal Liverpool – 1939 (Club – R&A)
Prelim Rd Walkover v. Hon. Denys Scott

1940-45 World War II saw six Amateur Championships cancelled

Royal Birkdale – 1946 (Club – R&A)
Rd 1 Beat R.J. Nauen
Rd 2 Beat W.C.I. Boulton 2 Holes
Rd 3 Beat R.F. Cottingham 5&4
Rd 4 Beat W. Sutton 20th Hole
Rd 5 Beat J.W. Jones 2 Holes
QF Beat H. McInally 19th Hole
SF Beat G.H. Micklem 5&4
Final Lost to J. Bruen 4&3

Carnoustie – 1947 (Club – R&A)
Rd 1 Beat C.G. Griffith 7&5
Rd 2 Beat F. Kammer Jr 5&3
Rd 3 Lost to W.E. Scott 3&2

Royal St. George’s – 1948 (Club – Meadow Brook, USA)
Rd 1 Beat F.G. Dewar 3&1
Rd 2 Beat Major Viscount Coke 7&6
Rd 3 Lost to S.B. Roberts 1 Hole

St Andrews – 1950 (Club – Meadow Brook, USA)
Rd 1 Lost to G.W. Mackie 1 Hole

Prestwick – 1952 (Club – R&A)
Rd 1 Lost to A.T. Kyle Walkover

Royal Liverpool – 1953 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Beat W.C.A. Stead 4&3
Rd 2 Beat J. Bennett 1 Hole
Rd 3 Beat J. Taggart 2 Holes
Rd 4 Lost to R.C. MacGregor 1 Hole

Muirfield – 1954 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Beat Lt. Col. A.A. Duncan 20th Hole
Rd 2 Lost to J de Bendern 4&3

Royal Lytham – 1955 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Lost to S.V. Tredinnick Walkover

Royal Troon – 1956 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Lost to M.M. McKeand Walkover

Turnberry – 1961 (Club – R&A)
Rd 1 Bye
Rd 2 Lost to J. Pirie Walkover

Royal Liverpool – 1962 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Beat R.M. de Lloyd 2&1
Rd 2 Beat J. Glover 1 Hole
Rd 3 Beat H.A. Wilton 5&4
Rd 4 Lost to D.J. Palmer 6&4

St. Andrews – 1963 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Lost to Dr. C.C. Bird 3&2

Ganton – 1964 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Beat M.E. Barker 6&5
Rd 2 Walkover J.M. Tweedy
Rd 3 Beat J.H. King 4&2
Rd 4 Beat R.H. Tupling 19th Hole
Rd 5 Beat P.D. Flaherty 2&1
QF Lost to M.J. Christmas 6&5

Royal Porthcawl – 1965 (Club – USA)
Prelim Rd Beat M.L. MacKenzie 2&1
Rd 1 Lost to P.D. Kelley 2&1

Carnoustie – 1966 (Club – USA)
Rd 1 Lost to D. Charmat 4&3

Formby – 1967 (Club – Sunningdale)
Rd 1 Beat G.B.B. Jeffrey 4&2
Rd 2 Lost to R.H. Webster 3&2

Royal Troon – 1968 (Club – Sunningdale)
Rd 1 Beat R.E. Faulkner 23rd Hole
Rd 2 Beat J.E. Behrend 2&1
Rd 3 Lost to R.W. Millen 3&1

Royal Liverpool – 1969 (Club – Sunningdale)
Rd 1 Lost to T.F. Connell 1 Hole

Royal County Down – 1970 (Club – Sunningdale)
Rd 1 Lost to B. Edwards 1 Hole

Carnoustie – 1971 (Club – Sunningdale)
Rd 1 Lost to R.C. Beaumont 3&1

Royal St. George’s – 1972 (Club – Royal St. George’s)
Rd 1 Lost to E.S. Proctor 1 Hole

Royal Porthcawl – 1973 (Club – R&A)
Rd 1 Lost to M.M. McKeand Walkover

Muirfield – 1974 (Club – Sunningdale)
Rd 1 Lost to G. Brand 4&3

2. Bobby Sweeny’s Complete Open Championship Record

Prince’s 1932   44th 78-74-77-78 = 307

St. George’s 1934   MC 80-79

Muirfield 1935   46th 72-73-82-80 = 307

Carnoustie 1937   MC 75-85

St Andrews 1939   33rd 74-75-80-79 = 308

St Andrews 1946   MC 85-77

Muirfield 1959   MC 78-73

Royal Liverpool 1967   MC 81-75

Carnoustie 1968   MC 79-77

St. Andrews 1970   MC 75-80

3. Bobby Sweeny’s Complete U.S. Masters Tournament Record

1936  T44  83-72-74-87 = 319 +31

1940  T39  76-78-73-78 = 305 +17

1949  52nd  82-80-79-77 = 318 +30

1950  T51  77-76-79-78 = 310 +22

1951  T55  80-79-78-78 = 315 +27

1952  T55  74-77-79-83 = 313 +25

1953  T34  75-76-72-75 = 298 +10

1954  63rd  81-76-79-76 = 312 +24

1955  WD  Pre-Tournament

Cut instituted in 1957 – Low T40 between 1957-62

1959  MC  81-77 = 158 +14

1960  MC  81-73 = 154 +10

1961 MC 74-77 = 151 +7

4. Bobby Sweeny’s Complete U.S. Amateur Championship Record (Club Affiliation)

Country Club, Cleveland – 1935 (Club – Sandwich, England)
Rd 1 Beat Robert W. Knowles 3&2
Rd 2 Lost to Roger S. Peacock  6&4

Baltusrol, New Jersey – 1946 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Beat Thomas W. Barnes 1Hole
Rd 2 Beat Edward L. Meister 20th Hole
Rd 3 Beat James Frisina 1Hole
Rd 4 Lost to Robert W. Willets 4&3

Pebble Beach GL, California – 1947 (Club – Meadow Brook, N.Y.)
Rd 1 Bye
Rd 2 Lost to Donald P. Kennedy 3&2

Memphis C.C., Tennessee – 1948 (Club – Meadow Brook, N.Y.)
Rd 1 Beat C. McVicker 4&3
Rd 2 Lost to William K. Barrett Jr 4&3

Oak Hill C.C., New York – 1949 (Club – Meadow Brook, N.Y.)
Rd 1 Bye
Rd 2 Beat John C. Owens 5&3
Rd 3 Beat Jack B. Key Jr 4&3
Rd 4 Lost to Charlie R. Coe 4&2

C.C. of Detroit, Michigan – 1954 (Club – Sands Point, N.Y.)
Rd 1 Beat Harry W. Easterly 2&1
Rd 2 Beat Stanton Shalar 6&5
Rd 3 Beat Gene Brehaut 4&3
Rd 4 Beat Clyde Oskin 1Hole
Rd 5 Beat M. Edward Merrins 3&1
QF Beat Dale Morey 4&3
SF Beat Dr. Ted N. Lenczyk 5&4
Final Lost to Arnold D. Palmer 1Hole

C.C. of Virginia, Virginia – 1955 (Club – National Golf Links of America)
Rd 1 Beat Thomas H. Pritchard 7&6
Rd 2 Lost to Willie P. Turnesa 19th Hole

Knollwood Club, Illinois – 1956 (Club – National Golf Links of America)
Rd 1 Bye
Rd 2 Beat William C. Scarbrough 6&4
Rd 3 Lost to Robert Shave Jr 6&5

Country Club, Brookline, Mass. – 1957 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Beat John C. Owens 4&3
Rd 2 Lost to Rober M. Bierne 5&4

St. Louis C.C., Missouri – 1960 (Club – Seminole)
Rd 1 Bye
Rd 2 Lost to Leslie R. Fowler 3&2

Bilbiography

1. Callaghan, Tom. ‘Arnie The Life of Arnold Palmer’. Arena Sport, 2017.

2. Caine, Philip D.. ‘Eagles of the RAF: The World War II Eagle Squadrons’

3. Darwin, Bernard. ‘Golf Between Two Wars’. Chatto & Windus, 1944,

4. The 55th Golfer’s Handbook, The R&A, 1958

5. Heymann, C. David. ‘Poor Little Rich Girl – The Life and Legend Of Barbara Hutton’. Pocket Books, 1986

6. Lawless, Peter (Ed). ‘The Golfer’s Companion’. JM Dent & Sons Ltd, 1937.

7. Lucas, Laddie. ‘The Sport of Princes’. Stanley Paul, 1980.

8. O’Connor, Ian. ‘Arnie & Jack’.  The Life of Arnold Palmer’. Yellow Jersey Press, 2008.

9. Rambler, Nash A (pseudonym), ’30th November 1939’. The Esoteric Curiosa.

10. Roberts, Charley & Haas, Charles.  ‘Charles Sweeny, the Man Who Inspired Hemmingway’. McFarland & Company, 2017

11. Sweeny, Charles & Goodson, Col. James A. Goodson. ’Sweeny: The Autobiography of Charles Sweeny’. Wingham Press, 1990.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

John Graham Jr

8th April 2020

History has marked John Graham Jr. down as the ‘Uncrowned King’, the greatest amateur golfer never to win a national Championship.

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‘Jack’, as he was known, was born in Liverpool on 3rd April 1877 to Scottish parents John Graham (1843-1921) and Mary Gilkison Allan (1851-1918). He had a younger brother, Allan, and two sisters, one older than him, Eleonora, and one younger, Molly.

His family were very wealthy. John Snr. was a Director of the Macfie & Sons sugar refinery which previous generations of his family had built up. He moved his family south to work at the new Liverpool branch in 1873. Meanwhile Mary was the grand-daughter of Captain Sandy Allan, whose Allan Shipping Line was one of the biggest shipping companies in the world in the early 19th Century.

The family lived primarily in south Liverpool near Sefton Park but also had a second home ‘The Croft’ on Stanley Road in Hoylake. 

Jack took to golf quickly as a young boy learning the game at Royal Liverpool G.C. where his father was a member. John Snr. would become captain of Hoylake in 1886-87.

He won the club’s Boys’ Medal (for the sons of members aged U15) in 1888, 1989, 1891 and 1892 and looked all set to follow in the footsteps of local amateur greats John Ball (b. 1861) and Harold Hilton (b. 1869). 

Jack was educated at Marlborough College, the prestigious public school in Wiltshire, for four years between 1891 and 1894. He was a natural sportsman and captained the College’s cricket and hockey teams as well as playing in their racquets team.

As a teenager he joined the Liverpool Scottish Volunteers and rose to the rank of Captain before stepping down due to the commencement of his business career in the sugar industry and increasing golf commitments.

When he left school he joined his father at Macfie’s as a clerk subsequently rising up the organisation during the rest of his career. He became Secretary of the Liverpool Sugar Refiner’s Association.

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Ogden’s “Guinea Gold” Cigarette Card Series Was Issued in 1901

On the golfing front he made his debut in the 1896 Amateur Championship at Sandwich losing in the semi-finals to Harold Hilton 4&3. His performances in Kent understandably saw him earmarked as a potential future champion but that elusive major win never came in the years that followed. 

It appears he was neither sufficiently consistent or mentally strong enough to ever get the job done. Horace Hutchinson in his Fifty Years Of Golf (1919) wrote it is “his constitutional misfortune that he is not able to last through a long sustained trial” and “Jack has never been able to last, and has been, beaten at that point by men whom he could give three strokes comfortably in ordinary circumstances and in the earlier stages of the tournament. He has been a terrible disappointment to us all, in this way, for a more brilliant amateur golfer never played. It is his health that has knocked him out every time – a lack of robust nerves”. 

During his career Graham played in 16 Amateurs between 1896 and 1914 winning 52 of his 68 matches (76.5%). He never reached the final losing five times in the semis – in 1896, 1900, 1901, 1905 and 1908 – and on many other occasions in the latter stages. 

The Amateur of 1898, played at Hoylake, seems to be indicative of his Championship play. Graham lost in the quarter finals by 1 hole to the eventual winner and his house guest that week Freddie Tait. Graham inexplicably missed two very short putts in the closing holes which would have ensured his passage to a semi-final against John Low. The second one on the 18th hole to take the match back down the 1st was described by the watching Harold Hilton, who Tait had beaten in the previous round, as “about the shortest I have ever seen missed in a Championship”.    

Jack Graham had three top-10 finishes in the Open Championship, an event which seemed to suit him better. He first played at Hoylake in 1897 and competed in a further 6 Opens up until his final one again at Hoylake in 1913. Graham’s best finish was fourth place in 1906. He finished 9th in 1901 and tied 7th in 1904. He was the leading amateur competitor in 1904, 1906, 1907 (tied 13th) and 1913 (tied 11th).

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Jack Graham’s Swing In 1902

Whilst the above analysis of his performances in our two main championships imply that Graham was a serial loser thankfully that was not the case.

In 1902 Royal Liverpool proposed an England v. Scotland International Match prior to their staging of that year’s Amateur Championship. At the behest of his father Jack chose to represent Scotland much to the disappointment of the other English players. Interestingly the Hoylake organising committee stipulated that Graham could not play either Ball or Hilton in this first series due to the local bad feeling it was believed it may cause. The Match became popular and in the ten games Jack played between 1902 and 1911 he won eight times.

He won 26 gold medals and 13 silver medals at Royal Liverpool between 1898 and 1914 most of which were played for during their Spring, Summer and Autumn Meetings. This was no mean achievement given the quality of the club’s membership at the time with the likes of Ball, Hilton, Hutchings, Hutchinson and Laidlay nearly always competing against him.  

Jack also won the prestigious St. George’s Grand Challenge Cup twice and his score in 1914, just two months before World War I broke out, of 146 was not equalled until 1928 and not broken until 1937 (144).

At the outbreak of World War I Jack, now 37, immediately volunteered to serve in the 10th (Scottish) Battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment. After fighting on the front line from November 1914, where he rose to Captain again, he was eventually killed on 16th June 1915 during an early morning attack at the Battle of Hooge in Belgium. Jack’s body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial near West Flanders in Belgium. 1,000 British soldiers died and 3,000 were injured in the Battle which lasted 12 hours.

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In his obituary Bernard Darwin described Graham as “a player of unquestioned genius” who “could not have left a more unforgettable or pleasanter memory”. A view seemingly shared by the membership of Royal Liverpool G.C. who commissioned a posthumous portrait by RE Morrison the costs of which were heavily oversubscribed for. The picture hangs in the famous old clubhouse to this day.

Jack never married and left the modern equivalent of over £2m in his will.

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Jack Graham by RE Morrison

Jack Graham appears to have had all of the golfing skills required to be a champion but a combination of family business commitments, bad luck and mental weakness repeatedly deprived him. The fact golfing historians have included him in a ‘Hoylake Triumvirate’, alongside Ball and Hilton, demonstrates that whilst he didn’t collect the trophies he certainly earned the respect of his golfing peers in the early 20th Century.

On all things Hoylake it is perhaps best to leave the final word to Guy Farrer, author of the first Royal Liverpool G.C. history in 1933. He wrote on Graham: “I think he hated Championships; the long drawn-out struggle, the clamour and the shouting, and all the other ordeals that a champion must face were repugnant to his rather shy and reserved nature. Golf, to him, was a game to be played far from the madding crowd, with some congenial friend, where new methods could be tried, with nothing resting on the match except the satisfaction of playing brilliant golf. Those who were privileged to play with him in these private games know what wonders he performed”.

Notes

Two of Jack’s siblings, Molly and Allan, were good players too.

Molly won the (British) Ladies’ Championship in 1901 at Aberdovey beating the defending champion Rhona Adair 3&1 in the final.

Allan famously beat Bobby Jones 6&5 in the 1921 Amateur Championship played at Hoylake. He went on to reach the final that year but his father, John Sr, died the night before and he ended up losing 12&11 to William Hunter.

Allan (1924) and his son John (1956) also became captain’s of Royal Liverpool G.C. like Jack and Allan’s father had been in 1886-87.

References
Golfer’s Handbook 1947 – John Graham Biography.
‘The Grahams of Hoylake’ – BGCS Through The Green March 2005 by Anthony Shone.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

March 2020 Men’s Amateur Rankings

3rd April 2020

Throughout the year I analyse the two main amateur golf rankings, the SPWAR and the WAGR, to help us assess the performances of Great Britain and Ireland’s leading players.

This information is maintained on the Rankings page of the GolfBible website and is updated quarterly.

The latest update covering the March 2020 Quarter period has now been added.

In a tight contest Ben SCHMIDT beat Joe LONG to my Player of the Quarter Award. Both players have made great starts to the new year and will be particularly disappointed with the curtailment to the 2020 season.

Ben Schmidt With The New South Wales Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: GolfNSW)

Pease click this link to be redirected to my Rankings page – GolfBible Rankings

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

John Laidlay

3rd February 2020

John Ernest Laidlay was born on 5 November 1860 at Seacliff House, near North Berwick in Scotland.

Johnny was the son of John Watson Laidlay FRSE, a wealthy indigo plantation owner and merchant and Ellen Hope. His brother was the cricketer and artist, William Laidlay.

Laidlay became aware of the game of golf and started to play whilst at Loretto School near Edinburgh between 1872–1878. Initially young John was called upon by a prefect to caddie for him but it wasn’t long before he too was swinging on the Musselburgh Links.  He played in the grounds of Seacliff and at North Berwick G.C. in the holidays.

In 1878 he joined the old Luffness Club for a brief spell before moving to England. In 1883 he joined the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield.

History has portrayed him as one of the ‘last of the gentlemen golfers’, reflecting his family’s wealth and his ability to play golf at his convenience.

John Laidlay (Photo: Fine Golf Books)

In 1884, after a poor run of form, John decided to make changes to his game. At first he started to grip well down on the shaft to improve his control and this then developed into an overlapping grip with a more open stance. Not only did he find this grip helped his long game but he also became a better putter with it.

This approach to holding the club, now widely used, became known as the ‘Vardon Grip’. While Harry certainly popularised this approach it is generally accepted that Laidlay first played at a high level with it. He explained his reasoning in an article for Golf Illustrated shortly afterwards stating “that my hands being more opposite each other were more likely to work together and swing the club like a pendulum, and less likely to operate against one another.”

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John Laidlay’s Overlapping Grip from Bedlam’s Great Golfers

The changes elevated his game to a position where he was welcomed as a member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews and quickly became capable of competing on a national level.

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John Laidlay at St. Andrews (Photo: Wrench Postcard)

Laidlay played in the Amateur Championship 28 times between 1885 and 1920. He won 65 of his 91 matches during this time with his record in the seven year period 1888-1894 particularly impressive.

He won the Amateur twice at St. Andrews, in 1889 and 1891, beating Leslie Balfour-Melville by 2&1 and Harold Hilton after 20 holes respectively. He was also runner-up in 1888, 1890 and 1893 and reached the semi-finals in 1892, 1894 and 1904.

He won around 140 amateur medals during his career and played in many exhibition matches which often drew large crowds. Many of his medals are now on display at the British Golf Museum in St. Andrews.

His popularity saw him feature in a few of the earliest cigarette card series at the start of the 20th century.

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John Laidlay Cigarette Cards (Photo: GolfBible)

He rarely practised – “golf can be overdone” he once said – and was known for playing his strokes off the front foot, for lurching forward threw impact and for his crouched putting stance.

He played in the Open Championship 16 times between 1885 and 1906. He recorded six top 10 finishes and was low amateur (LA) four times; 1886 Tied 8th LA, 1887 4th LA, 1888 10th, 1889 Tied 4th LA, 1893 2nd LA, 1901 Tied 7th. The closest he came to winning it was 1893 when he finished two strokes behind the winner, Willie Auchterlonie.

Laidlay represented Scotland every year from 1902 to 1911 in the international match against England. Scotland won eight of these 10 matches.

He was a member of many clubs and Captain of Prestwick (1894), Lundin Links (1894-6), Elie (1897), Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (1904-5), North Berwick (1906), Tantallon Golf Club (1906-08) and North Berwick New (1913-15).

John Laidlay (Photo: Sportfolio)

An all-round sportsmen he played cricket for Scotland on one occasion in 1878.

He married (Jane) Eileen Redmayne in Ambleside, Cumbria in January 1889. Their first son John was born there the following year. In 1891 the family moved back to Scotland and settled in Largo, Fife. The Laidlays had four more children, Richard Ernest in 1892 (who died after 15 months), (Eileen) Faith in 1895, Peter in 1896 and Robert in 1897 (who also died soon after his birth). In 1899 he returned home building the 10-bedroomed Invereil House overlooking the 8th fairway on the West Links in North Berwick.

Laidlay was a Justice of the Peace and sat at Haddington Sherriff Court.

After World War I Laidlay moved to Sunnningdale with his wife Eileen. He knew both Jack White, the club professional at the famous Berkshire club, and James Sheridan, the famous caddie master who both hailed from East Lothian and who had both caddied for him on many occasions.

In his book ‘Sheridan of Sunningdale’ James Sheridan said of Laidlay: “He was a most wonderful iron player, but wooden clubs were his weakness. Being a real wizard with the putter, the keener or more difficult the green the greater his artistry appeared. He seemed to revel in a big match and few men were his equal as a match player.”

Johnny continued to play the game at Sunningdale and recorded low scores well into his sixties.

He eventually died on 15 July 1940 aged 79 and is buried in Holy Trinity Cemetery in Sunningdale.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

December 2019 Men’s Amateur Rankings

6th January 2020

Throughout the year I analyse the two main amateur golf rankings, the SPWAR and the WAGR, to help us assess the performances of Great Britain and Ireland’s leading players.

This information is maintained on the Rankings page of the GolfBible website and is updated quarterly.

The latest update covering the December 2019 Quarter period has now been added.

No Player of the Quarter Award has been made in Quarter 4 due to the small number of events contested in this period

Pease click this link to be redirected to my Rankings page – GolfBible Rankings

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.