U.S. Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Daily Reports & Results

Sunday 20th August 2017

Final Results

Doc REDMAN came back from 2 Down with two holes to play to beat Doug GHIM in the 36 hole U.S. Amateur Final at Riviera Country Club.

Redman eagled the 17th and birdied the 18th to force extra holes. Ghim, presumably in shock, then made a mess of the tricky short par 4 10th, the 37th hole played, and having made a bogey conceded Redman his birdie putt and the Championship.

img_8417Doc Redman, 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion (Photo: USGA)

Click here to review the full Stroke Play Qualifying Match Play results – U.S. Amateur Championship Live Scoring

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Final Preview

Doug GHIM (21) will play Doc REDMAN (19) for the Havemeyer Trophy in today’s 36 hole U.S. Amateur Final at Riviera Country Club. The Final will tee off at 7.45am (3.45pm GMT).

The champion will also receive a Gold Medal, whilst the runner-up a Silver one.

Both finalists are now exempt in to the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills G.C. The champion will also be exempt in to the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links and can expect an invitation to play in the 2018 Masters at Augusta National G.C.

img_8405Finalists Doug Ghim (l) and Doc Redman (r) with the U.S. Open Trophy (Photo: USGA)

Both players are US College students; Ghim plays for the University of Texas and Redman for Clemson University.

Doug Ghim is ranked 1st in the SPWAR (updated as at 19/08/17) and 7th in the WAGR (as at 13/08/17). Ghim has enjoyed a very strong season and was already a very likely Walker cup pick for the U.S.A.

Doc Redman is ranked 7th in the SPWAR (as at 19/08/17) and 70th in the WAGR (as at 13/08/17). Redman has come on strong in the last few weeks. He was runner up in the Final of the Western Amateur a couple of weeks ago and has now backed it up with a great run at the U.S. Amateur. He must therefore be right in the Walker Cup picture too.

Sophia Schubert, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last week also studies at Texas. Whilst I am sure Doug Ghim won’t be thinking too much about it never in the history of the USGA have their reigning men’s and women’s amateur champions attended the same College.

ME.

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Saturday 19th August 2017

Semi-Finals (4)

Doug GHIM (USA) beat Theo HUMPHREY (USA) 2&1

Mark LAWRENCE Jr (USA) lost by 1 hole to Doc REDMAN (USA)

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Friday 18th August 2017

Quarter Finals (8)

In a game where neither player was at their best Connor SYME eventually lost 2&1 to Doug GHIM (USA) in the Quarter Final match.

Connor was 5-over par for the 17 holes played, albeit a double bogey on the 16th hole makes this appear worse than it really was. A single birdie on the 8th only produced a half for the Scotsman and against an in form and confident Ghim this was unlikely to be enough.

In his post round interview with the USGA Connor said “I just didn’t quite have my best stuff today. I was grinding away as much as I could. It was a good Championship but I’m obviously disappointed to lose today.”

Nevertheless a great week for Connor and he can now positively look forward to the Walker Cup down the road at Los Angeles Country Club.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

img_8396Match Play Quarter Finals Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Thursday 17th August 2017

PM – Match Play Round 3 (16)

Connor SYME beat Norway’s Kristoffer VENTURA by 1 hole in their Round of 16 match.

In the previous round Ventura beat Stroke Play medalist Hayden WOOD (USA) 3&2.

In a tight match it took a forty yard chip in on the 18th hole for Connor to come out on top.

Connor was 1-under par for the round and continues to play very well.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

After the round Connor spoke with Shane O’Donoghue on Fox Sports.

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AM – Match Play Round 2 (32)

Connor SYME beat Ricky CASTILLO (USA) 4&3 in a very impressive performance. Teeing off at 7.25am Connor wasted little time in taking the lead, birdieing the 493 yard 1st. A sequence of birdies on holes 6, 7 and 8 put the Scotsman 4 Up and cruising. The match finished on the 15th with Connor -4 for the holes played and bogey free. Let’s hope he can maintain that kind of form for a little while longer.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

Robert MACINTYRE lost 3&1 to Dawson ARMSTRONG (USA) in their Round of 32 match. Robert made a great start – two birdies helping him into a 3Up lead after four holes. However, Armstrong, one of USA’s strongest players, won the 5th with a birdie before winning five holes in a row between the 7th and 11th to lead 3Up. Unfortunately he didn’t have to work too hard for this match turning run as MacIntyre bogeyed four of the five. The end of the line for Robert but he can take comfort in a good Championship which must surely have secured his GB&I Walker Cup place.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

img_8352Match Play Round 2 (32) & Round 3 (16) Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

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Wednesday 16th August 2017 – Match Play Round 1 (64)

The day started badly for GB&I with Harry ELLIS losing out in the play-off on the famous short par 4 10th hole at Riviera Country Club. His double bogey 6 in the second group out sadly saw him fall out of contention quickly.

Some better news was to come when the Round of 64 started in earnest.

Connor SYME beat Maverick MCNEALY (USA) 2&1. Connor won his match around the turn, winning the 9th with a par, the 10th with a conceded eagle 2 and the 11th with a birdie 4. 3Up at this point he was able to see out the match, albeit bogeys on 13 and 14 gave McNealy some hope. However, the American then proceeded to bogey the short 160 yard 16th and after shared birdies on the par 5 17th the match was over. Connor finished 2-under for the 17 holes played.

img_8321Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

Fellow Scot Robert MACINTYRE then beat Cameron YOUNG (USA) by 1 hole. In what appears to have been a high class game our man from Oban had to be at his match play best to overcome Young who battled all the way to the finish line. Robert finished 2-under for the 18 holes played.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

In the final GB&I match to finish Jack SINGH BRAR lost by 3 & 1 to Joey VRZICH (USA). As can be seen from the scores below Jack had a bad day at the office, starting very poorly and not really improve. He finished 7-over par for the 17 holes played. Worryingly in the context of the forthcoming Walker Cup this is the second time in three weeks, following the English Amateur, that Jack has qualified easily in stroke play before falling to a relatively unknown player in the first round of match play.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

Here are the hole locations for the Round of 64 Match Play at Riviera Country Club: –

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Match Play Round 1 (64) Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Tuesday 15th August 2017 – Stroke Play Round 2 

Jack SINGH BRAR, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME have all qualified for the Match Play Stage of the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Harry ELLIS will contest a 13 player for 8 spots play-off tomorrow morning to see if he can join them.

Here are the Round 1 GB&I scores from the U.S. Amateur Championship which started today.

GB&I Round 2 Scores (Photo: USGA US Amateur Scoring)

The Stroke Play Medalist was Hayden Wood who broke the U.S. Amateur Championship 36-hole qualifying record with a total of 131. Wood followed his 64 at Riviera with a 67 at Bel-Air to beat the 132 shot by Hank Kim (1994), Gregor Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).

Wood said. “To play that way these last two days has been good. I like where my game is. I feel comfortable on this course (Riviera) and it fits my game. I am looking forward to it because the tournament starts tomorrow.”
ME.

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Monday 14th August 2017 – Stroke Play Round 1 

Here are the Round 1 GB&I scores from the U.S. Amateur Championship which started today.

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GB&I Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA US Amateur Scoring)

Here are the hole locations for the 36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying at Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club: –

Stroke Play Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Sunday 13th August 2017

The 117th U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow in Los Angeles, California.

This year the championship is being staged at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.img_8291Administered by the United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) the U.S. Amateur is the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

Competition Format

On Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one at Riviera and the other at Bel-Air.

The Top 64 qualifiers will then move forward 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 between Wednesday 16th and Saturday 19th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 20th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

2017 Field

A field of 312 players from 29 different countries will contest this year’s Championship.

251 players are from the U.S.A. with Australia (11) and Canada (7) the next best represented countries.

This year 100 (2015: 99) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too.

The introduction of a European Sectional Qualifier, like the U.S.G.A. stage for the U.S. Open Championship, is long overdue. Perhaps it could be rolled into the South of England Open Amateur Championship ? Walton Heath have staged the U.S. Open one for many years so I am sure they would be pleased to extend their relationship with the U.S.G.A. further.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.39 (2016: 22.29).

The oldest player being George ZAHRINGER (64, b. 23rd April 1953), who successfully came through Sectional Qualifying and will be playing in his 19th U.S. Amateur.

The youngest Alec NACHMANN (15, b. 27th March 2002) will be one of three 15 year olds competing. One of them Karl VILIPS (AUS), who is certainly one to watch, turns 16 on 16th August.

There are nine GB&I players competing this year. There were 11 in 2016 at Oakland Hills.

Here is a list of them with their exemption category or sectional qualifying event noted: –

David BOOTE 22 (WAL) – QF 2016 U.S. Amateur, Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

Harry ELLIS 21 (ENG) – 2017 Amateur Champion

Scott GREGORY 22 (ENG) – 2016 Amateur Champion, 2017 U.S. Open Qualifier, Top WAGR 21/6/17

Stuart GREHAN 24 (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

Robert MACINTYRE 21 (SCO) – WAGR 21/6/17

Alfie PLANT 25 (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

Jack SINGH BRAR 20 (ENG) – Qualifier at New City, New York (07/07/17)

Daniel SUTTON 21 (ENG) – Qualifier at Iowa City, Iowa (17/07/17)

Connor SYME 21 (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

2017 Stroke Play Qualifying Draw

The draw for the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition was confirmed yesterday and can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur SP Draw

Interestingly the two Scots in the field, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME, have been drawn together.

Host Courses

Riviera Country Club
7,284 yards, Par 70.
Opened 1927.
Designed by George C. Thomas and William P. Bell.

Riviera has hosted one U.S. Open (1948 Ben Hogan), two P.G.A. Championships (1983 Hal Sutton & 1995 Steve Elkington) and one U.S. Senior Open (1998 Hale Irwin) as well as serving as the perennial host of the US PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open.

img_8292

Riviera Country Club (Photo: California GOLF)

Bel-Air Country Club
6,785 yards, Par 70.
Opened 1926
Designed by George C. Thomas and William P. Bell, assisted by Jack Neville.

Bel-Air has previously hosted the U.S. Amateur (1976 Bill Sander) and 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur (2004 Mark Bemowski).

Bel-Air Country Club (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Weather Forecast (as at 7.00pm 13th August 2017)

Stroke Play Stage

Mon 14th Aug – Sunny. Wind 8mph (N). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 18°C.

Tues 15th Aug – Sunny. Wind 8mph (N). Temp. Max. 23°C / Min 17°C.

Match Play Stage

Weds 16th Aug – Sunny. Wind 7mph (N). Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 15°C.

Thurs 17th Aug – Sunny. Wind 7mph NW). Temp. Max. 27°C / Min 15°C.

Fri 18th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (W). Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 16°C.

Sat 19th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (NW). Temp. Max. 27°C / Min 17°C.

Sun 20th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (NW). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 17°C.

As one would expect in California in August the weather is expected to be perfect for golf all week.

UK Television Coverage

Sky Sports normally take the US television feed, via the Red Button, over the final weekend.

Prizes

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following (assuming they remain amateur): –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the ensuing year.

b) An exemption to play in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills G.C.

c) An exemption to play in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.

d) An invitation to play in the 2018 Masters at Augusta National G.C.

e) An exemption to play in the 2018 – 2027 U.S. Amateurs; and no doubt

f) Invitations to play in a variety of PGA Tour and European Tour competitions.

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

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.

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 USGA Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

The 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship

The 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship was played at Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit.

Curtis LUCK (AUS) won beating Brad DALKE (USA) 6&4 in the 36-hole Championship match.

img_6613

Curtis Luck (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Alex SMALLEY (USA) earned medalist honours in the Stroke Play Qualifying. His 133 (-7) total came after two impressive rounds; a 65 on the North Course (NC), followed on Day 2 by a 68 on the tougher South Course (SC).

In the Stroke Play 56 players scored +1 or better to progress. A further 23 players finished with a +2 total and were required to participate in a sudden death play-off to determine the final 8 qualifiers.

Collectively Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) enjoyed a relatively successful Championship. Six of our players progressed to the Match Play Stage including one from each of the four home nations.

Here is a summary of the GB&I performances (in order of success): –

David BOOTE (WAL)
MP – Brad DALKE (USA) won 3&2 in the Quarter Finals.
SP – Tied 57th, SC 70 / NC 72 (+2)*

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG)
MP – Dylan MEYER (USA) won 19th hole in Round of 16.
SP – Tied 11th, NC 66 / SC 72 (-2)

Scott GREGORY (ENG)
MP – Nick CARLSON (USA) won 19th hole in Round of 32.
SP – Tied 6th, NC 69 / SC 68 (-3)

Connor SYME (SCO)
MP – Dylan MEYER (USA) won 2Up in Round of 64.
SP – Tied 30th, SC 70 / NC 70 (Ev)

Bradley MOORE (ENG)
MP – Dawson ARMSTRONG (USA) won 1Up in Round of 64.
SP – Tied 57th, NC 71 / SC 71 (+2)*

Jack HUME (IRE)
MP – Bryson NIMMER (USA) won 1Up in Round of 64.
SP – Tied 41st, SC 72 / NC 69 (+1)

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 80th, SC 71, NC 72 (+3)

Ewen FERGUSON (SCO)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 80th, NC 72, SC 71 (+3)

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 99th, NC 68, SC 76 (+4)

Grant FORREST 23 (SCO)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied185th, NC 73, SC 75 (+9)

Jamie BOWER (ENG)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 243rd, SC 74, NC 77 (+11)

* David BOOTE and Bradley MOORE both birdied the 11th in the Stroke Play Qualifying play-off to progress to the match play stage, holing putts of 20 and 45 yards respectively on the 465 yard par 4.

To review all of the U.S. Amateur Championship results click this link – 2016 U.S. Amateur Results

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 117th 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 US 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) is the only  player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

2018 – Pebble Beach Golf Links, California.

2019 – Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina.

2020 – Bandon Dunes, Oregon

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2017 Preview, Daily Reports & Results

18th August 2017 – Day 3 

The Men’s Home Internationals came to a dramatic conclusion this afternoon at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds.

The Raymond Trophy was won by IRELAND. They drew the deciding match with ENGLAND 7.5 – 7.5 but in doing so pipped the home nation by a half point in total match points earned, 26.5 against 26.0.

Game 6 – IRELAND v. ENGLAND – Results

This was Ireland’s fourth consecutive victory in the event, a national record for them in the long history of this competition.

img_8391-1Ireland (Photo: Leaderboard Photography) 

Earlier in the day Wales beat Scotland 9.5 – 5.5, consigning the Scots to the wooden spoon.

Game 5 – WALES v. SCOTLAND – Results

Click here to view the detailed – Men’s Home Internationals Results

Here is the final Points Table with the ‘Countback’ information at the bottom: –

Points Table (Photo: England Golf Event Microsite)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) and Jamie STEWART (SCO) were the ‘Most Valuable Players’ for the four competing countries as can be seen in the following analysis: –

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 19.18.01Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 19.19.11

ME.

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17th August 2017 – Day 2

Game 3 – IRELAND v. SCOTLANDResults

Ireland beat Scotland 10-5 to remain on course for a fourth consecutive Raymond Trophy win.

Ireland won the Foursomes 4-1, with only Ryan LUMSDEN and Euan WALKER able to come out on top for the Scots.  The Singles were much closer with the Irish narrowly winning the series 6-4.

Paul MCBRIDE followed up a morning Foursomes win with Conor O’ROURKE with a notable 5&4 against fellow Walker Cup hopeful Liam JOHNSTON.

Game 4 – WALES v. ENGLAND – Results

England beat Wales 9.5-5.5 to secure a winner takes all match against Ireland tomorrow.

Wales had the better of the Foursomes winning the series 3-2. However, England came back strongly in the afternoon Singles (7.5-2.5) to run out comfortable winners in the end.

Jack DAVIDSON beat Matthew JORDAN 3&2 in the top Singles game.

David HAGUE beat Llewellyn MATTHEWS 8&6 to remain the only player in the competition with a 100% Win record.

The Day 2 Points Table (Photo: England Golf Website)

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16th August 2017 – Day 1

Game 1 – IRELAND v. WALES – Results

Ireland overcame Wales 9-6 on Day 1 of the Men’s Home Internationals. Wales won the morning Foursomes series 3-2 but struggled in the Singles, losing 7-3.

Paul MCBRIDE, having won his morning Foursomes with Conor O’ROURKE, was rested in the afternoon presumably due to a minor injury.

Jack DAVIDSON beat Conor O’ROURKE 2&1 in the afternoon Singles.

Game 2 – ENGLAND v. SCOTLANDResults

England also beat Scotland 9-6. England took a 4-1 lead into the afternoon and looked for a while as if they may run away with the match but the Scots fought back to reduce the deficit to 3 points.

Craig HOWIE beat Dan BROWN by 1 hole whilst Matthew JORDAN halved with Liam JOHNSTON.

ME.

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12th August 2017 – Preview

The 2017 Men’s Home Internationals will be contested between 16th and 18th August at Moortown Golf Club near Leeds in England.

Ireland will travel to Yorkshire hoping to win the Raymond Trophy for a fourth consecutive year.

A competitive series of matches is guaranteed as all of the players will be looking to impress ahead of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team announcement which is expected to be made on 21st August.

Moortown Golf Club (Photo: Moortown GC)

The Competition

11-man teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales play against each other annually, taking it in turns to the host the event.

Over three days all of the countries play each other once. There are five foursomes and ten singles match play games in each series.

The winner is the country with the highest number of match points. 1 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a half and 0 for a loss. Ties are resolved by considering the number of individual game points secured in the three matches played.

2017 Players

The four national golf unions have selected the following players to represent their countries this year: –

ENGLAND
Jack BURNAGE
Dan BROWN
Todd CLEMENTS
Jack GAUNT
David HAGUE
Josh HILLEARD
Matthew JORDAN
Bradley MOORE
Gian-Marco PETROZZI
Tom SLOMAN
Will WHITEOAK

IRELAND
Colm CAMPBELL
Robin DAWSON
Colin FAIRWEATHER
Alex GLEESON
John-Ross GALBRAITH
Rowan LESTER
Paul MCBRIDE
Peter O’KEEFFE
Conor O’ROURKE
Conor PURCELL
Colin RAFFERTY

img_8282The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

SCOTLAND
Matthew CLARK
Rory FRANSSEN
Craig HOWIE
Liam JOHNSTON
Sam LOCKE
Ryan LUMSDEN
Chris MACLEAN
Craig ROSS
Sandy SCOTT
Jamie STEWART
Euan WALKER

WALES
Ben CHAMBERLAIN
Jack DAVIDSON
Joshua DAVIES
Owen EDWARDS
Evan GRIFFITH
Jake HAPGOOD
Matthew HARRIS
Tim HARRY
Llewellyn MATTHEWS
Lewis SANGES
Tom WILLIAMS

It remains a frustration to followers of amateur golf that this prestigious international  match continues to be scheduled directly against the US Amateur Championship.

This year David BOOTE (WAL), Harry ELLIS (ENG), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Alfie PLANT (ENG) and Connor SYME (SCO) are all playing in the US Amateur, thus weakening their respective national teams and reducing the importance of this historic competition.

Moortown Golf Club

Founded in 1909 Moortown was designed by the famous golf course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie.

One of the finest inland golf courses in England it is noted for it’s large greens and superb bunkering.

The courses measures 6,980 yards from the Blue Championship tees, playing to a par of 71.

img_8280Moortown Golf Club Scorecard

Moortown hosted the 1929 Ryder Cup, the first on British soil, as well as many other professional tournaments between 1929 and 1986.

On the amateur circuit it has hosted the Boys’ Amateur Championship (1934, 1958, 1966 & 1972), the English Amateur Championship (1938, 1962, 1980 & 1994), the English Ladies Championship (1955), the Brabazon Trophy (1957, 1968, 1974, 1999 & 2009), the Ladies’ Home Internationals (1978), the Ladies’ British Amateur Open Stroke Play (1983 & 2015) and the Boys’ Home Internationals (2001).

2016 Men’s Home Internationals

Ireland won the 2016 Home Internationals after a nail biting 8-7 victory over England on the final day at Nairn Golf Club.

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Ireland with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Kenny Smith)

England had led the match 3-2 after the morning Foursomes but Ireland came out fighting in the afternoon Singles. Early on they appeared to be leading virtually all of the matches. England did well to recover a few of the games but at the end of the day the Irish were able to carry their early momentum through to secure a crucial 6-4 series win.

Man of the moment was Colm CAMPBELL who birdied the last to secure a narrow 1 hole win over Adam CHAPMAN. Playing in the final Singles it proved to be the crucial winning point.

Please click the link to review the full competition results – 2016 Men’s Home Internationals Results.  [Click on the match results to see the individual game scores]

I include below the Individual Performances Analysis from last year as much so we can reflect on who played as to how well each player did: –

1. IRELAND

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.22.57

2. ENGLAND

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.23.48

3. SCOTLAND

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.25.02

4. WALES

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.25.48

I am looking forward to this week’s competition and to some of the match ups, which may very well end up being unofficial Walker Cup deciders.

Good luck to all the players and teams.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

European Men’s Amateur Team Championship – 2017 Preview, Results & Reports

15th July 2017

ENGLAND lost 4-3 to Spain in today’s Final of the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship at the Diamond CC in Austria. Whilst I am sure they are all disappointed  the Silver Medal still represents a very good achievement for the English team.

The two morning Foursomes were shared. Harry ELLIS and Alfie PLANT beat Angel Hidalgo and Javier Sainz 2&1 but Scott GREGORY and Matthew JORDAN lost on the 19th hole to Adria Arnaus and Victor Pastor.

HARRY ELLIS lost the first afternoon Singles game 2&1 to Alejandro Del Rey.

After a late afternoon 35 minute suspension in play due to the risk of lightning the remaining Singles were quickly resolved.

Scott GREGORY beat Manuel Elvira by 1 hole but Alfie PLANT, losing his first game in the match play stage, lost 2&1 to Victor Pastor. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, playing in the final Singles game, won for the second day running beating Javier Sainz 3&2.

This meant the match came down to the Matthew JORDAN and Adriá Arnaus game. Arnaus held on bravely to win by 1 hole to secure the title for the Spaniards.

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The England v. Spain Final Match Results

Earlier in the day SCOTLAND secured 5th place with a 3-2 win over France. Singles wins for Robert MACINTYRE (4&2), Craig HOWIE (4&3) and Conor SYME (3&2) won the match for the defending champions.

IRELAND finished 7th after a 3-2 win against Norway on the final day. As with Scotland three Singles wins were responsible for the narrow victory. Stuart GREHAN (4&3), Conor O’ROURKE (3&2) and John Ross GALBRAITH (2&1) did the business for the Irish.

WALES lost their final Flight B match 3-2 to Switzerland and were sadly relegated in last place.

Here’s my assessment of the individual GB&I performances at the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship: –

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 09.22.39

European Team Championship Results

Men’s – Diamond CC, Austria
Stroke Play Qualifier – Individual and Teams
Match Play Knockout – Flight A and Flight B

England won the Silver Medal, losing 4-3 to Spain in the Final.
Scotland finished 5th, Ireland 7th and Wales 16th (R).

Boys’ – La Manga, Spain
Stroke Play Qualifier – Individual and Teams
Match Play Knockout – Flight A and Flight B

Ireland finished 6th, England 8th and Scotland 13th.

Ladies’ – Mondago GR, Portugal
Stroke Play Qualifier – Individual and Teams
Match Play Knockout – Flight A and Flight B

England beat Italy 5.5-1.5 to secure the Gold Medal.
Ireland finished 9th and Scotland 11th.

Girls’ – St. Laurence GC, Finland
Stroke Play Qualifier – Individual and Teams
Match Play Knockout – Flight A and Flight B

England beat France 5-2 to secure the Bronze Medal.
Ireland were 10th and Scotland 14th.

ME.

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14th July 2017

ENGLAND beat Italy 6.5-0.5 in their Flight A Semi-Final today. They will play Spain in tomorrow’s Final after they overcame Sweden 4-3 in the other Semi.

England got off to a great start winning both of the morning Foursomes, perhaps helped by Italy choosing to rest their best player Luca Cianchetti. Harry ELLIS and Alfie PLANT (1 hole) paired up successfully as did Scott GREGORY and Matthew JORDAN (2&1).

Gian-Marco PETROZZI came into the Singles line up and with all of the Foursomes players sent out again Josh HILLEARD ended up sitting out the whole day. The decision was vindicated as England delivered an unbeaten Singles series. ELLIS beat Cianchetti (1 hole), GREGORY halved with Lorenzo Scalise, PLANT beat Stefano Mazzoli (2&1), JORDAN beat Philip Geerts (4&3) and PETROZZI saw off Alberto Castagnara (1 hole).

SCOTLAND beat Norway 3.5-1.5. Having lost the morning Foursomes much depended on their more experienced Singles line up. Pleasingly they all delivered. Robert MACINYTRE beat Jarle Volden by 2 holes, Liam JOHNSTON halved with Markus Braadlie, Craig HOWIE turned over Kristoffer Reitan by 2 holes and Conor SYME confirmed the unbeaten series with a 1 hole victory over Viktor Hovland. Scotland will play France, the conquerors of Ireland, tomorrow in a match to determine 4th and 5th places.

IRELAND lost to France 3-2. Colm CAMPBELL and Robin DAWSON won the Foursomes match but only Conor O’ROURKE could gain a point in the Singles series; he beat Pierre Mazier by 1 hole. Ireland will play Norway tomorrow to see who finishes 7th and 8th.

WALES were relegated to Division 2 after a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Belgium today. David BOOTE had to work hard for his 2 holes win over Cedric Van Wassenhove after a shaky start but only Tim HARRY could join him; Tim beat Alan De Bont 4&3. There was a surprising 7&5 loss for Jack DAVIDSON in the final game to Adrien Dumont De Chassart. Wales will hope to beat Switzerland tomorrow to avoid leaving Austria with the wooden spoon.

ME.

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13th July 2017

ENGLAND beat France 4-3 in their Flight A Quarter Final. Not for the first time in recent years it was Alfie PLANT who saved the day for the stroke play medalists. Having combined well with Harry ELLIS in the morning Foursomes for a 4&3 win he won the all-important deciding Singles by 1 hole. There were also good Singles wins for Scott GREGORY (3&2) and Matthew JORDAN (5&4) in the afternoon.

SCOTLAND, the defending champions, and IRELAND both lost their Quarter Finals and with them any hope of a medal.

Scotland left themselves too much to do against Sweden after losing both morning Foursomes. Robert MACINTYRE (4&3), Liam JOHNSTON (4&2) and Connor SYME (4&2) salvaged some pride in the afternoon Singles but ultimately couldn’t prevent a 4-3 defeat.

Ireland lost 4.5-2.5 to Italy. Stuart GREHAN and Paul MCBRIDE earned a useful point in the first Foursomes but only Conor O’ROURKE could win his Singles in the afternoon. Italy will now play England in the Semi-Finals.

WALES lost their Flight B match 3-2 against home nation Austria. Having lost the morning Foursomes David BOOTE (6&5) and Evan GRIFFITH (5&4) gave the Principality hope enjoying good Singles wins. However, it proved to be in vain as Jack DAVIDSON (1 hole) and Owen EDWARDS (19th) both came out on the wrong side of tight matches. Wales now need to guard against relegation in their remaining consolation fixtures.

ME.

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12th July 2017

The first stage of the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship came to a close at the Diamond Country Club in Austria today.

ENGLAND (-8) finished 1st in the 36 hole stroke play qualifying event where the 5 best scores from the 6 man team’s counted towards a national aggregate total.

IRELAND (+7) and SCOTLAND (+15) also qualified for the Flight A match play stage finishing 5th and 6th respectively.

WALES (+28) finished 10th and will therefore play in the Flight B match play stage. They must avoid finishing 14th or lower to stay in Division 1.

The Flight A match play consists of two morning foursomes games followed by 5 singles whilst the shorter Flight B matches have one foursomes and four singles. Teams continue to play each other over the next three days to determine the exact finishing positions.

Great Britain & Ireland’s leading contributors in the stroke play event were Paul MCBRIDE (IRE), Matthew JORDAN (ENG) and Alfie PLANT (ENG) who all finished tied 2nd on -3.

Harry ELLIS (ENG) shot the best score of the qualifier; a bogey free 65 (-7) in round 2 which included an eagle and 5 birdies. This helped the 2017 Amateur Champion to a tied 8th individual result on -2.

Connor SYME (-2) also tied 8th and was Scotland’s best individual. Craig HOWIE (+2) was Scotland’s next best performer in tied 20th,

Jack DAVIDSON (Ev / tied 12th) just pipped David BOOTE (+1 / tied 16th) to the top Welsh individual title. Both will be hoping for strong match play performances over the next few days as they press their cases for inclusion in our Walker Cup team.     

ME.

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10th July 2017

The 34th European Men’s Amateur Team Championship will be played between Tuesday 11th and Saturday 15th July 2017 at Diamond Country Club, Atzenbrugg, in Austria.

Amateur teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will all be competing this week. 

Scotland are the double defending champions having won at Halmstad Golf Club, Sweden in 2015 and Chantilly, France last year.

The European Ladies’, Boys’ and Girls’ Team Championships are also being played elsewhere in Europe this week.

Format / Schedule

16 national teams of 6 players contest the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship.

The Championship is run by the European Golf Association, this year in association with the Austrian Golf Association.

The leading 13 teams from last year’s Division 1 Championship are joined by the host nation (if not otherwise qualified) and 2 or 3 promoted teams from the 2016 Division 2 Championship. Wales were one of the promoted teams last year.

Two rounds of stroke play qualifying are completed on the first two days, with the lowest five scores from each team counting.

Click here to view tomorrow’s – European Men’s Amateur Team Championship Round 1 Stroke Play Draw.

These results determine a seeded match play draw. The top 8 qualifying teams will play in a first flight, which will determine the medalists, with the others competing in a second flight. In Fight A it is therefore 1st v. 8th, 2nd v. 7th, 3rd v. 6th and 4th v. 5th.

Additionally the teams finishing 14th to 16th in the stroke play stage will be relegated to the Division 2 Championship for 2018.

The teams in Flight A play 2 foursomes and 5 singles whilst those in Flight B play 1 foursome and 4 singles.

A win earns 1 point, a draw half a point and a loss no points in all of the matches.

2017 Teams

The teams competing in the 2017 Championship are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and Wales.

Czech Republic, Iceland and Wales were all promoted to the Division 1 Championship this year.

The 2017 home nation teams are made up of the following players: –

ENGLAND – Harry ELLIS, Scott GREGORY, Josh HILLEARD, Matthew JORDAN, Gian-Marco PETROZZI, and Alfie PLANT.

IRELAND – Colm CAMPBELL, Robin DAWSON, John Ross GALBRIATH, Stuart GREHAN, Paul MCBRIDE and Conor O’ROURKE.

SCOTLAND – Craig HOWIE, Liam JOHNSTON, Ryan LUMSDENRobert MACINTYRE, Jamie STEWART and Connor SYME.

WALESDavid BOOTE, Ben CHAMBERLAIN, Jack DAVIDSON, Owen EDWARDS, Evan GRIFFITH and Tim HARRY.

In this Walker Cup year it will be interesting to see which players qualify well, who is paired together in the foursomes and finally how some of the singles pan out in the match play stage. 

Diamond Country Club

The Diamond Country Club is generally accepted as being Austria’s best golf course.

It has hosted the Lyoness Open on the European Tour for many years and has recently extended this agreement until 2020.

It hosted the European Boys’ Team Championship last year.

The Diamond Country Club’s 18-hole championship course was created by Jeremy Pern. It is a parkland layout with numerous water hazards. It plays to 7,458 yards and a standard par of 72.

Diamond Country Club (Photo: golfinfo.at)

Weather Forecast

As at Monday 10th July, 19.00pm the weather forecast generally looks good: –

Tue 11th July – Showers. Wind 10mph W. Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 21°C.
Wed 12th July – Sunny. Wind 6mph S. Temp. Max. 30°C / Min 20°C.
Thur 13th July – Sunny. Wind 14mph NW. Temp. Max. 24°C / Min 15°C.
Fri 14th July – Cloudy. Wind 7mph E. Temp. Max. 24°C / Min 17°C.
Sat 15th July – Cloudy. Wind 11mph N. Temp. Max. 23°C / Min 16°C.

2016 European Men’s Amateur Team Championship – Division 1

Scotland retained the Team Championship title at Golf de Chantilly in France with a 5-2 victory over Sweden in the final.

Scotland qualified 2nd on count back behind France with a 713 (+3) aggregate team score.

Prior to beating Sweden, Scotland despatched Spain 5.5-1.5 in their match play quarter final and Italy 5-2 in the semi finals.


 The Victorious 2016 Scottish Team At Chantilly (Photo: European Golf Association) 

Ireland, who qualified in 6th place on 720 (+10), lost their Flight A quarter final match 4.5-2.5 to Italy. They eventually finished 6th after beating Spain (3.5-1.5) but losing to France (4-1) in the consolation matches.

England had a disappointing tournament, initially qualifying in 10th place on 728 (+18). They then lost 3-2 to Switzerland in the Flight B match play before regaining some pride by beating Portugal (4.5-0.5) and Netherlands (3.5-1.5) to retain their Division 1 status with a 13th place finish.

Wales were promoted in the Division 2 competition led by a near perfect display by David BOOTE.

Here is my summary of the 2016 Individual performances: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 18.01.22

History / Previous Results

The European Men’s Amateur Team Championship was first played in 1959.

It was played every second year until 2007. Since then it has been played annually save for 2012 when no Championship was held.

To date England have won 11 times, Scotland 8, Ireland 6, Spain 3, Sweden 2 and Wales, Italy and France once each.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The European Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

1st July 2017

Alfie PLANT (ENG) today won the European Amateur Championship on another beautiful day for golf on the perfectly presented Old Course at Walton Heath.

With his win Alfie earned an exemption into this month’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and certainly made a very well timed and strong statement with regard to his inclusion in the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team.

Scheduled the week after the Amateur Championship in nearby Kent the field was the strongest it has even been, helped by a high number of non-European entries. The SPWAR expects to rank it the 5th strongest event in 2017, after the NCAA Division I Championship, The Amateur and the forthcoming Western Amateur (US) and US Amateur.

All in all what a win for Alfie, the biggest of what has been a very good amateur career.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. You’ve got to take the highs and the lows and I know I’ve been playing really good golf so it was only a matter of time.” said Plant beside the 2nd green as he reflected on what had largely been a disappointing season to date. “I can also have a few days off now as I don’t have to go up to Hollinwell tomorrow” where he had a 6.45am tee time in Tuesday’s Final Qualifying event for The Open.

img_4890

Alfie Plant, 2017 European Amateur Champion (Photo: GolfBible)

Play-Off

Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA), Afie PLANT (ENG) and Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA), who had all tied on -15 for the 72 holes of stroke play, qualified for the play-off.

Plant, who is probably the best supported amateur golfer in the world, had the strong backing of ‘Alfie’s Army’ who were certainly out in full force for what was a ‘local’ event for them. In a family affair his brother Albert was also caddying for the Kent man.

Alfie’s Army (Photo: @lad_golf)

A 3 hole aggregate score play off over holes 1, 2 and 18 was the order of the day. If this proved to be insufficient to separate the players then a sudden death play-off would commence over the same holes.

So off we went. Last year’s Championship took 7 play off holes to decide and with three experienced players contesting the 2017 version no one expected this one to be over quickly.

On the 235 yard par 3 1st hole Plant and Scalise both found the heart of the green but Cianchetti pulled his tee shot well to the left, short siding himself and finding a poor lie in long grass thirty feet from the green. Cianchetti hacked out well on to the green but was ultimately unable to save his par. Plant misjudged his long first putt allowing it to run well past the hole. Scalise who was last to play, and foreseeing an early advantage, lagged his effort down the hill to comfortably secure his par. In what would prove to be a critical moment Plant bravely stepped up and holed his 10 footer back up the hill to huge cheers from the spectators.

On the 472 yard par 4 2nd hole, a sweeping down and up right handed dog leg the players all pared. However, this was the moment you felt Cianchetti’s race may be run. He had played a superb second shot up the hill leaving himself a short four footer for birdie and the opportunity to regain parity with his playing partners. It was an unexpectedly bad miss in the circumstances.

On the 404 yard par 4 18th Plant found the green, albeit some distance from the flag, as did Cianchetti who was much closer. Scalise was unfortunate to bounce through the back with his approach. The Tennessee University man was unphased however playing a beautifully judged chip which ended up a matter of inches from the hole. Plant two putted to ensure that at least he and Scalise would progress with their Even par scores. Cianchetti’s birdie putt was hit too firmly and missed the break. He bravely holed for his par putt but at +1 he had to step down.

Cianchetti’s consolation being that he had already qualified for the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale via his 2016 win. Last year’s Championship in Estonia was played in August after The Open was staged at Royal Troon. The European Golf Association, in conjunction with The R&A have subsequently brought the Championship forward so in the future the winner can enjoy their Open exemption almost immediately.

Meanwhile, Plant and Scalise crossed the road back towards the clubhouse to play the 1st hole again, this time in a sudden death format. Both players found the green. Plant putted first and having learned from his near identical putt half an hour earlier was unlucky to lip out, a tad too much pace preventing the ball from dropping. Scalise had a bit of a rush of blood to the head with his first effort, misjudging the slope as Plant had done earlier, and needed to bravely hole from four feet to allow the fun to continue.

Alfie Plant Lips Out On The 4th Play-Off Hole

Both players found the fairway on the 2nd hole, albeit Scalise pulled his drive, leaving a slightly longer approach than he would have liked. The Italian came up just short of the green. Plant seized the advantage and played his iron into the centre of the green, about 15 feet from the flag. Scalise putted up to 6 feet leaving the stage free for the Englishman. Plant prevented Scalise suffering the ignominy of potentially losing the play-off with a bogey by confidently holing his left to right putt for a winning birdie.

The cheers from Alfie’s Army were long and loud and continued all the way back to the clubhouse where the celebrations could properly begin.

Alfie Plant Holes The Winning Putt On The 5th Play-Off Hole With Brother Albert Watching 

Alfie Plant, the 2016 Lytham Trophy winner, who also holed England’s crucial silver medal winning putt at the World Amateur Championship in Mexico, once again showed nerves of steel. He birdied the 18th to put pressure on the Italian leaders before outlasting them, by simply not missing a shot, in the play-off.

Round 4

After bogeying his first hole of the day our winner Alfie PLANT produced an unblemished card with five birdies to shoot a fine 68. He saved his best hole till last though. Knowing he needed a birdie on the par 4 18th to have any chance of making a play-off he played a magnificent approach to 4 feet and calmly holed the putt.

He had just watched his playing partner Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) bogey the hole, unable to recover from a drive into the left hand fairway bunker which required a sideways chip out. Scalise, who shot 69, had something of a rollercoaster round littered with 6 birdies and an eagle but sadly for him five bogeys.

In the final group the defending champion Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) looked well placed after he eagled the par 5 14th and birdied the 15th to move onto -16. However having watched Scalise bogey in front of him he was unable to secure the par he needed to win the 2017 Championship. His approach to the elevated 18th found a tricky spot on the greenside bank above the left bunker. A slightly clumsy chip left him 10 feet for the title but he missed.

Luca Cianchetti Misses His Putt On The 72nd Hole

A few groups further back Victor PASTOR (ESP) had made a late run for the title. He stood on the 17th tee in Round 4 on -15, -7 for his round, but again fell foul of the 18th. His bogey left him on -14 after a 66 and a tie for 4th place.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) also shot a final round 66. His bogey free effort lifted him up to -14 where he set the early clubhouse mark before Pastor joined him. Robert must surely have secured his Walker Cup spot now.

GB&I’s most in form player Matthew JORDAN (ENG) once again delivered on the big stage. His final round 66, which included a holed mid-iron from the fairway of the 485 yard par 4 4th, finished on -13 and tied 6th. Interestingly he had failed to par the 4th, dropping four shots in the process, during the first three rounds.

John-Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) also enjoyed strong finishes, tieing for 7th place. Both players shot 8 birdies in their rounds with Galbraith recording a best of the day 65 and Singh Brar a 66.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 70 and Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) 68 tied for 10th place on -11. Both of these young lads have big futures.

View the Results here – 2017 European Amateur Championship Results

ME.

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30th June 2017

Round 3

At the end of 54 holes Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA), Jeremy GANDON (FRA) and Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) share the lead at the European Amateur, tied on -12 (204).

Lorenzo SCALISE and Zan Luka STIRN (SLO) both shot best of the day 7-under 65’s on another day of very good scoring at Walton Heath GC.

Alfie PLANT (ENG) backed up his 66 of yesterday with a 67 today. On -11 he is well placed to make a push for the title in tomorrow’s final round.

Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) 69 -10, Joshua MCMAHON (ENG) 70 -9, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 67 -9, Daniel BROWN (ENG) 66 -9 and Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) 70 -9 are Great Britain and Ireland’s (GB&I) other leading players.

Jack SINGH BRAR, who this week chose to has pass on the European Amateur Team Championships to try and qualify for the US Amateur, shot 66 to move up to tied 21st on -6. Connor SYME (SCO) 67 -6, JR GALBRAITH (IRE) 66 -5, Scott GREGORY (ENG) 66 -5 and Owen EDWARDS (WAL) 67 -4 were the other GB&I players to enjoy their rounds.

Sean CROCKER (USA) finally sorted himself out and shot a 66 to move onto -3 (tied 45th), securing himself another round and no doubt an even higher finish.

The Top 60 and Ties cut fell at -2 (214) highlighting the standard of play this week. 64 players achieved this mark or better.

Notable players to miss the cut included James WALKER ENG, 2015 champion Stefano MAZZOLI ITA, Alex GLEESON IRE, Min Woo LEE AUS, Marco PENGE ENG (all -1), Josh HILLEARD ENG (Ev), Harry HALL ENG (+4), Jack DAVIDSON WAL, Charlie STRICKLAND ENG, Jamie STEWART (all +5) and Craig ROSS SCO (+11 Rd2 WD).

ME.

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29th June 2017

Round 2

Day 2 ended at Walton Heath GC with a three way tie for the European Amateur lead. Victor PASTOR (ESP), Jeremy FREIBURGHAUS (SUI) and Dylan PERRY (AUS) shot 64, 66 and 69 respectively to all move onto -9.

The best round of the day, and for that matter the week so far, came from Matthias SCHMID (GER). His 63 (-9) included two eagles and seven birdies.

Defending champion Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) shot a 67 in Round 2 and is nicely placed in tied 6th on -7.

Despite this strong start from a number of the overseas entries there is still plenty of hope for the Great Britain and Irish players in the field.

England’s boys from the Wirral Matthew JORDAN (-8) and Joshua MCMAHON (-7) lead the way. Jordan shot a second 68 whilst McMahon went one better with a 67. Compatriots Alfie PLANT (-6) moved into contention on -6 after a 66 today whilst Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (-6) held firm after a 71.

Scotland’s Liam JOHNSTON (-7), Rory FRANSSEN (-7), Robert MACINTYRE (-6) and Craig HOWIE (-5) as well as Ireland’s Conor O’ROURKE (-7) and Paul MCBRIDE (-5) are also doing well.

After tomorrow’s third round there will be Top 60 and Ties cut.

ME.

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28th June 2017

Round 1

Italy’s Lorenzo SCALISE leads the European Amateur after Day 1. The University of Tennessee student shot a bogey free 64 (-8).

On a day of generally low scoring 61 players in the field of 144 recorded under par scores in Round 1.

Toby BRIGGS (ENG) and Keegan DE LANGE (RSA), both of whom had eagles in their round, are both one shot back on -7.

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG), who played well at The Amateur last week, continued his form at Walton Heath. His 67 (-5) saw him finish the day in tied 6th place with Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) and Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) for company.

Daniel BROWN (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) and Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) all shot 68’s in Round 1. Their -4 scores leaving them nicely placed in tied 9th with 54 holes still to play.

ME.

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25th June 2017

The 31st European Amateur Championship starts on Wednesday 28th June at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.

This prestigious international Championship is being run by the European Golf Association (EGA), assisted this year by England Golf.

Competition Format

The European Amateur is a 72-hole stroke play event. 18-holes are played daily over four days.

A 54-hole cut will be in force with the 60 lowest scores and ties qualifying for the final round on Saturday 1st July.

Entries

144 players will contest the Championship this week.

All of the players must have handicaps of 0.0 or better with an entry ballot applied based on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Exemptions were also available to the defending champion, a single nomination from each EGA member nation, competitors in the most recent Bonallack Trophy, St. Andrew’s Trophy and Jacques Léglise Trophy events as well as four players from England, the host nation.

All of the leading European and Great Britain and Irish (GB&I) players will be on show. Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) will be defending the title he won in Estonia last August and new Amateur Champion Harry ELLIS (ENG) will also be competing.

Whilst some of the Australian and South African touring parties have now returned home a number of their top players are entered at Walton Heath, notably Min WOO LEE and Albert VENTER respectively.

Amongst the United States entries are highly ranked Sean CROCKER, who made the cut at the BMW International on the European Tour last week, and Jimmy STANGER. Stewart HAGESTAD had entered but withdrew prior to the event commencing.

Walton Heath Golf Club

The 2017 Championship is being staged on Walton Heath’s famous Old Course. 

Seve Ballesteros 16th hole, Old Course, Walton Heath GC (Photo: Walton Heath GC)

This heathland masterpiece in Surrey, known for it’s superb turf, heather fringed bunkers and large greens, has hosted many major amateur and professional golf events in its illustrious history.

The par 72 championship course stretches to 7,406 yards, as the scorecard below shows, and is noted for it’s strong finishing holes.

img_4772Old Course Scorecard (Photo: Walton Heath GC)

Weather Forecast

A generally dry week is forecast in the south east of England this week (as at Tuesday 27th June 7.00 pm): –

Weds 28th June – Showers. Wind 9 mph (SW). Max. 22°C / Min 13°C.
Thurs 29th June – Showers. Wind 5 mph (NW). Max. 19°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 30th June – Showers. Wind 7 mph (NW). Max. 23°C / Min 13°C.
Sat 1st July – Cloudy. Wind 12 mph (N). Max. 23°C / Min 14°C.

Prizes

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the Top 3 finishers.

The winner also receives an invitation to compete in this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Lancashire, England.

The Championship Trophy is held by the winning player’s national golf authority.

2016 European Amateur Championship

Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) beat Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) on the seventh play-off hole to win the 2016 European Amateur Championship.

Luca Cianchetti (Photo: Italian Golf Federation)

Both players were tied on -16 at the end of the 72 hole stroke play event which was taking place at the Estonia Golf & Country Club.

Scotland’s Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) -13 and Connor SYME (SCO) -12 were the best of the GB&I players, finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) -9 finished tied 9th.

Click here to view the – 2016 European Amateur Championship Results

History

The competition was first contested in 1986.

It has been hosted in 18 different countries to date.

2017 will be the seventh time it has been played in GB&I and the second time in England. The previous courses to host the event being Hillside (1991), Dalmahoy (1993), Celtic Manor (1999), Nairn (2003), Carton House (2012) and The Duke’s St. Andrews (2014).

Former winners who have gone on to enjoy very successful professional careers include Stephen GALLACHER (1994), Sergio GARCIA (1995), Gregory HAVRET (1999), Carl PETTERSSON (2000), Rory MCILROY (2006) and Victor DUBUISSON (2009).

In addition to Gallacher and McIlroy other GB&I past winners include Jim PAYNE (1991), Paddy GRIBBEN (1998), Stephen BROWNE (2001), Brian MCELHINNEY (2003), Matthew RICHARDSON (2004), Rhys PUGH (2012) and Ashley CHESTERS (2013 and 2014).

Chesters is the only player to have won the Championship twice.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

24th June 2017

England and Florida State’s Harry ELLIS today won the Amateur Championship on the 38th hole at Royal St. George’s G.C.

4 Down with five holes to play the odds were well and truly against the 21 year old Hampshire man. However, his opponent Dylan Perry (AUS) bogeyed four of the last five holes to let Ellis back in.

On the second extra hole Perry got into trouble and Ellis was able to secure the famous trophy with another par, his seventh in a row.

img_7757Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA)

Here are the hole-by-holes scores for what proved to be a titanic: –

img_7747Harry Ellis will now receive exemptions into the 2017 Open Championship and 2018 U.S. Open Championship as well as an invitation to the 2018 Masters. He has also guaranteed himself a spot in Great Britain & Ireland’s 2017 Walker Cup team.

This was Ellis’ second major amateur victory. In 2012, aged just 16, he became the youngest player to win the English Amateur Championship.

Following in the footsteps of fellow Hampshire player Scott Gregory, Ellis said in his post round press conference: “I can’t believe what I have just done but you should never give up and never give in. I just kept giving myself chances down the stretch and luckily played much better than I had all day. It has always been a dream to play in Majors and I get to play in three now. My game is in a good play so hopefully I can do something (at Royal Birkdale).” 

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Final Results

ME.

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23rd June 2017

Semi-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Semi-Finals Results

Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Luca Cianchetti (ITA) 3&2 in their semi-final match.

Cianchetti took an early lead after Ellis bogeyed the 4th hole but a par on 6 helped the Englishman regain parity. The Italian retook the lead on the 8th after Ellis’ approach found a greenside bunker but a birdie on 9 and a good par save on 10 from the 2012 English Amateur champion, which he won when he was just 16, meant the players were level with 8 holes to play.

The next two holes were to prove pivotal. Cianchetti bogeyed the long par 3 11th before Ellis birdied the par 4 12th to move ahead. Ellis defended this 2Up lead well before winning the 16th, with a nerveless up and down from the right hand bunker, and securing a 3&2 win.

ellis rsg 2

Harry Ellis (Photo: Andrew Griffin / @griffinongolf)

In the first semi-final Dylan Perry (AUS) got into a 3 Up lead early on against Alejandro Tosti (ARG) and like Ellis held on to see out a 3&2 victory. Dylan is the first Australian to play in the Final since Bryden Macpherson became champion in 2011 at Hillside G.C.

Quarter-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Quarter Final Results

In a close match this morning Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) by 2 holes to set up a semi-final with Italy’s Luca Cianchetti.

Alejandro Tosti (ARG) will play Dylan Perry (AUS) in the first semi-final.

ME [with some additional reporting by Andrew Griffin].

                 ___________________________________________

22nd June 2017

Play on Day 4 of the 122nd Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s finished later than expected due to a two hour thunder and lightening weather delay around lunchtime.

We started the day with 14 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) players. Read my reports below on Rounds 3 and 4 to see how we ended up with just two left standing.

Round 4 (16)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 4 Results

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) was the first of our six remaining players to lose. Alejandro Tosti (ARG), clearly not the worst for wear after his Round 3 exertions, set up a Quarter Final match with Stefano Mazzoli (ITA) with a 4&3 win.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) was next to go succumbing to Norway’s Jarle Kaldestad Volden by 2 holes.

In the England-Ireland match Paul MCBRIDE beat Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 hole. McBride who lost to Robert MacIntyre on the 20th hole of an epic semi final match last year at Royal Porthcawl is round by round playing himself into the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Like McBride Harry ELLIS (ENG) isn’t doing himself any Walker Cup harm at Royal St. George’s either. This evening he beat fellow European Arnold Palmer Cup team member Kristoffer Ventura (NOR) 3&1.

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Harry Ellis of Florida State University (Photo: Ross Obley / seminoles.com)

Is it possible that tomorrow’s Quarter Final match between Paul McBride and Harry Ellis may end up being a Walker Cup eliminator ?

Scotland’s last man Robert MACINTYRE was 1Up with 2 to play before the GB&I nemesis Fredrik Niléhn (SWE) disappointingly won the last two holes with birdies to prevail by 1 hole.

Tomorrow morning’s Quarter Final line up is therefore: –
Alejandro Tosti (ARG) v. Stefano Mazzoli (ITA)
Dylan PERRY (AUS) v. Jarle Kaldestad Volden (NOR)
Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) v. Harry ELLIS (ENG)
Luca Cianchetti (ITA) v. Fredrik Niléhn (SWE)

Round 3 (32)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 3 Results

Prior to the weather delay four matches were completed. In the first of those Jordan SUNDBORG was comprehensively beaten 6&5 by Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), the 2015 European Amateur champion, who has just finished his sophomore year at Texas Christian University in the United States (U.S.), appears to be enjoying his time on the Kent links.

It was better news for Jordan’s compatriot Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG). He fought back from 2 down with 3 to play to record a memorable 1 hole win against Min Woo Lee (AUS), the reigning US Junior Amateur champion.

Perhaps reinvigorated by their extended lunch break Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Alejandro Tosti (ARG) seemed as if they wanted to play 36 holes in their match. Game 1 ended up being one of the last to finish, Tosti finally winning on the 25th hole. Given the 7th is right on the coastline, nearly as far from the clubhouse it is is possible to be, I hope they had buggies on hand to return them home.

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) put up a good fight before being edged out by Australia’s Zach Murray on the final hole.  The Nottinghamshire man, who has just completed his freshman season at McNeese State in U.S., continues to show improvement.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) beat Stuart GREHAN (IRE) by 1 hole in one of the more interesting Round 3 encounters. The London-based Lumsden is on a scholarship at Northwestern University and this win will further enhance his growing reputation in our amateur game.

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) both moved in to the next round to set up a game against each other. Singh Brar overcame U.S.-based Perry Cohen (SUI) by 1 hole whilst McBride had a notable 2 holes win against highly ranked Floridian Jimmy Stanger, a member of the U.S. Walker Cup squad.

img_7724Paul McBride of Wake Forest University (Photo: wakeforestsports.com)

Another American Joshua Seiple, albeit one not in the same league as Stanger, found himself on the end of a 6&5 defeat by Harry ELLIS (ENG). Ellis was, in my opinion, on the periphery of the GB&I Walker Cup team prior to The Amateur starting so this run of match play form is certainly well timed and most encouraging for him.

The three Englishman Tom SLOMAN, George BAYLIS and David LANGLEY all fell in Round 3. All of them can be pleased with their efforts. Sloman lost to Finland’s Matias Honkala and Baylis to Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), both narrowly by 1 hole. Langley lost 4&3 to Sweden’s Fredrik Niléhn who is frankly starting to annoy me – Langley being the third straight GB&I player he has defeated after Conor Purcell and David Boote.

In an interview with the R&A after his match with Baylis MacIntyre said: “It was a rollercoaster from the word go. I mean to get 3Up early doors and then to come down the last there was just..I hung on. Nerves every time. Last year getting to the Final doesn’t mean anything because it’s just another guy in front of you. It’s one v. one and you’ve got to wear the guy down.”

Craig HOWIE (SCO) was unfortunate not to join Messrs. Lumsden and MacIntyre in Round 4. He lost to Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura on the 20th hole after a tight match.

So at the end of a stop-start Round 3 there were just 6 GB&I golfers who advanced to Round 4.

ME.

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21st June 2017

77 players started the day in with a chance of winning The Amateur Championship. That number quickly became 32 as the Match Play stage progressed.

Here’s the story of Rounds 1 and 2, with the normal Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) bias you would expect.

Round 2 (64)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 2 Results

The 7 GB&I players who negotiated Round 1 (see below) were joined later in the day by 20 more from the home nations, all of whom were amongst the stronger stroke play qualifiers.

Medalist Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) showed no hangover from his heroics at Prince’s yesterday. He made quick work of David Ravetto (FRA), winning 5&3 before lunchtime.

England had the beating of Scotland in four ‘auld enemy’ matches this afternoon. In one of the day’s more interesting games Charlie STRICKLAND beat Sandy SCOTT 2&1. Shortly afterwards Jordan SUNDBORG got the better of Euan WALKER 3&2. Daniel O’LOUGHLIN held on to record a 1 hole victory over Craig ROSS before Chris MACLEAN then lost by 1 hole to Somerset’s TOM SLOMAN.

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Charlie Strickland – Winner of the 2017 Peter McEvoy Trophy (Photo: Golf Bible) 

Later in the day there were further English wins for Harry ELLIS (2&1 over Tim Harry’s conqueror Kim Koivu), George BAYLIS (who easily beat Iceland’s Gisli Sveinbergsson 5&4) and David LANGLEY who backed up his great morning win with an easier 5&3 victory over Alberto Castagnara (ITA).

It proved to be a bad afternoon for Wales with all of their four remaining players losing out. Evan GRIFFITH (4&2 to Hayden Springer USA), Ben CHAMBERLAIN (2&1 to Hurly Long GER), Llewellyn MATTHEWS (3&1 to Luca Cianchetti ITA) and David BOOTE (3&2 to Fredrik Niléhn).

After their early losses Ryan LUMSDEN gave Scotland something to cheer about. He produced one of the best performances of Round 2 despatching Ireland’s Robin DAWSON 5&3.

Stuart GREHAN and Paul MCBRIDE quickly turned the tide for Ireland. Stuart beat Peter Melching (NED) 4&2 whilst Paul recorded his second win of the day, this time against Sweden’s Oliver Gilberg (4&2). However, another Irishman Sean FLANAGAN was unable to prevent the in form Jack SINGH BRAR from progressing, the Englishman winning 2&1.

Later on Scottish amateur stars Craig HOWIE and Robert MACINTYRE moved through to Round 3 relatively unscathed. Craig beat Zan Luka Stirn (SLO) 4&2 whilst Robert sent the Scottish born Ben Ferguson (AUS) packing with a 3&2 result.

Other GB&I second round losers included Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), who lost to Florida University’s Alejandro Tosti (ARG), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) who had the misfortune to be paired with US Junior Amateur champion Min Woo Lee (AUS) and  Matthew JORDAN (ENG) whose run of great results finally came to an end on the Kent coast.

Other remaining International players not mentioned above to keep an eye on tomorrow include Harrison Endycott (AUS), Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), Zach Murray (AUS), Dylan Perry (AUS), Jimmy Stanger (USA) and Kristoffer Ventura (NOR).

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Harrison Endycott – Winner of the 2016 Porter Cup (Photo: Jon Scott)

2017 Brabazon Trophy winner Kyle McClatchie (RSA) can consider himself a little unlucky to go out in Round 2. He lost on the 3rd extra hole of his match with Casper Simberg, the Finnish player holing in one on the 239 yard par 3.

We now have 14 GB&I players left standing. Good luck to them all in Round 3.

Round 1 (Preliminary)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 1 Results

26 players, including 13 from GB&I, were called upon to contest the Preliminary Round 1. 24 of these qualified on -1, with the remaining two having finished on -2 after the 36 holes of stroke play (the latter two were included after a count back was applied).

Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) was out first at 7.00am and he delivered a strong win, taking out much fancied Australian David Micheluzzi by 1 hole.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) in game 4 had to fight hard for his 20th hole win over Mateusz Gradecki from Poland.

Llewellyn MATTHEWS (WAL) beat Franck Medale (FRA), one of the two -2 qualifiers, by 1 hole.

In the two all-England games Tom SLOMAN beat Will WHITEOAK by 2 holes and George BAYLIS comfortably beat Josh HILLEARD 5&4.

2016 finalist Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) took out the other -2 qualifier Zheng Kai Bai (CHI) 3&1.

In the final game David LANGLEY (ENG) took the Round 1 plaudits with his 1 hole victory over GB&I No. 1 Connor SYME (SCO).

Other GB&I first round losers included Tim HARRY (WAL), who having led for much of his match fell on the 19th to Kim Koivu (FIN), JR GALBRAITH (IRE), who succumbed 3&2 to another Fin, Casper Simberg, and Conor PURCELL (IRE) who was beaten 3&1 by Fredrik Niléhn (SWE).

ME.

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20th June 2017

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

The big story on Day 2 of The Amateur Championship was Caolan RAFFERTY‘s (IRE) amazing round at Prince’s Golf Club. His new course record 62 (-10), with a bogey on the 448 yard par 4 18th, lifted him 82 places and helped him achieve medalist honours in some style.

77 players qualified for the Match Play Stage with the Top 64 and Ties cut falling at 141 or 1 under par.

Welsh pair Ben CHAMBERLAIN and Evan GRIFFITH showed earlier in the day that Prince’s was again going to be very scorable. Ben’s 65 (-7) and Evan’s 66 (-6) helped them to tied 23rd (-3) and tied 4th (-7) finishes respectively in the Stroke Play Qualifying Stage.

David BOOTE (-3), Llewellyn MATTHEWS (-1) and Tim HARRY (-1) made it five Welsh qualifiers in total. Boote had left himself some work to do after a 71 at Prince’s yesterday but will be pleased with his 68 (-2) at Royal St. George’s today.

In addition to Rafferty Ireland will be represented by Robin DAWSON (-5), Stuart GREHAN (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), Sean FLANAGAN (-2), Conor PURCELL (-1), JR GALBRAITH (-1) and Paul MCBRIDE (-1) in the Match Play draw.

Harry ELLIS (ENG) -8 and Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) -7 both secured their match play qualification on Day 2 with best of the week 65’s (-5) at Royal St. George’s. Ellis finished 3rd and Endycott tied 4th with Evan Griffith.

Chris MACLEAN (SCO), who was medalist at the Spanish International Amateur, once again demonstrated his qualifying prowess with a second 68, this time at Royal St. George’s. His -6 total secured a tied 6th finish. Fellow Scots Craig HOWIE (-5), Sandy SCOTT (-5), Craig ROSS (-3), Euan WALKER (-3), Ryan LUMSDEN (-2), Robert MACINTYRE (-1) and Connor SYME (-1) all joined him.

English pair Matthew JORDAN and Josh HILLEARD both dug deep to make the cut. Matthew started the day on +4 but delivered a 67 at Prince’s to finish on the -1 mark. Josh shot a par 70, never to be sniffed at particularly under some pressure, at Royal St. George’s.

In addition to Harry Ellis, Josh Hilleard and Matthew Jordan, Jack SINGH BRAR (-4), Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (-3), Jordan SUNDBORG (-2, who like Jordan shot 67 at Prince’s to bounce back well), Charlie STRICKLAND (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-2), Tom SLOMAN (-1), George BAYLIS (-1), David LANGLEY (-1) and Will WHITEOAK (-1) all live to fight another day.

Notable players, mainly in the context of the Walker Cup, to miss the cut included Bradley MOORE (ENG) Ev, Alfie PLANT (ENG) Ev, Jamie STEWART (SCO) Ev, Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) +1, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +2, Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) +3), Dan BROWN (ENG) +5, Peter O’KEEFFE (IRE) +5, Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) +6, James WALKER (ENG) +6, Marco PENGE (ENG) +7, Alex GLEESON (IRE) +7, Harry HALL (ENG) +8, Owen EDWARDS (WAL) +12 and Barry HUME (SCO) +12.

ME.

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19th June 2017

The Amateur Championship started at 7.00am today with 288 players embarking on this marathon event.

The leading 64 players and ties after 36 holes of stroke play, 18 on each of the adjacent host courses in Kent, will progress to the match play stage.

In near perfect playing conditions it quickly became clear that scoring was generally going to be very good. This was particularly true at the shorter and less demanding Prince’s. The only caveat to this being the late starters who faced stronger winds in the evening and as such some of their scores drifted upwards.

Gils SVEINBERGSSON (ISL) led the field with a superb bogey free 64 (-8), a new course record at Prince’s.

There were plenty of players queuing up behind him too. From GB&I Tim HARRY (WAL) 66 (-6), Joshua MCMAHON (ENG), George BAYLIS (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all 67 (-5), Tom GANDY (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Sam BROADHURST (ENG), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Matt MYERS (ENG), Craig HOWIE (SCO) and Jeff WRIGHT (SCO) all 68 (-4) have also made good starts.

Next door at Royal St. George’s (RSG) scoring was understandably tougher. Zach MURRAY (AUS) shot 7 birdies in his 66 (-4) to lead the way on this course. Craig ROSS (SCO) 67 (-3) was the second best at RSG with Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68 (-2), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) all 69 (-1) not too far behind.

For what it’s worth the current Top 64 and Ties cut line sits at -1, with 82 players currently ‘qualifying’. To highlight the difference in the scoring just 17 of these played at RSG today.

ME.

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15th June 2017

The 122nd Amateur Championship starts on Monday 19th June at Royal St. George’s GC and Prince’s GC in Kent.

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.

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Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Getty Images)

 Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th June. Tee times will start at 7.00 am and end at 3.52 pm on both days.

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

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores, and ties for 64th place, will be seeded in line with their finishes and will advance to the match play stage.

This second stage will be played solely at Royal St. George’s between Wednesday 21st and Saturday 24th June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for the Final which will be over 36 holes.

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Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Photo: Golf Bible)

Players

Players from 40 countries will contest the 2017 Amateur.

20 of the 21 players in the GB&I Walker Cup squad are competing as are many of the other hopefuls.

Scott GREGORY (ENG / SPWAR #78), the defending champion, is unfortunately the missing player. He has been playing in the US Open Championship at Erin Hills this week so is unavailable.

Connor SYME (SCO / SPWAR #15), David BOOTE (WAL / SPWAR #17), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO / SPWAR #21), Matthew JORDAN (ENG / SPWAR #26), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG / SPWAR #30), Craig HOWIE (SCO / SPWAR #32), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO / SPWAR #47), Robin DAWSON (IRE / SPWAR #52), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL / SPWAR #53), JR GALBRAITH (IRE / SPWAR #70 and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE / SPWAR #74) are the leading GB&I players competing.

Our Walker Cup captain Craig WATSON (SCO) is also in the field, exempt as a past champion. He of course won The Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s in 1997.

Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA / SPWAR #2), Jimmy STANGER (SPWAR #27), Alejandro TOSTI (ARG / SPWAR #28), Min Woo LEE (AUS / SPWAR #29), Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS / SPWAR #31), Dylan WU (USA / SPWAR 33), Garrick HIGGO (RSA / SPWAR #34), Viktor HOVLAND (NOR / SPWAR #35), Kristoffer VENTURA (NOR / SPWAR #43) and Travis SMYTH (AUS / SPWAR #48) are the highest ranked international players on show.

Whilst there are some Americans playing, notably USA Walker Cup squad member Jimmy Stanger, it sadly remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the ‘prizes’ on offer.

Host Courses

The Championship is being staged at Royal St. George’s and Prince’s in Sandwich, Kent.

This will be the 14th time Royal St. George’s has been the lead course at The Amateur Championship. Only Royal Liverpool (18) and St. Andrews (16) has hosted it more often.

Founded in 1887 it has recently been invited to host The Open Championship for the 15th time in 2020. It has also previously staged The Walker Cup (1930 and 1967) and The Curtis Cup (1988).

Royal St. George’s plays to 7,204 yards from the championship tees and has a par of 70.

Neighbouring Prince’s was established in 1906 and hosted The Open for the first and last time in 1932, That Championship was famously won by Gene Sarazen. It also hosted The Curtis Cup in 1956.

It plays to 6,880 yards over the Shore and Dunes nines and a par of 72.

Weather Forecast

As at Saturday 17th June the weather forecast is very nice, albeit the wind looks like it will be moving around a little: –

Mon 19th June – Sunny. Wind 7mph NE. Temp. Max. 24°C / Min 15°C.
Tue 20th June – Light Cloud. Wind 10mph NE. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 15°C.
Wed 21st June – Sunny. Wind 14mph NE. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 15°C.
Thu 22nd June – Light Cloud. Wind 9mph SE. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
Fri 23rd June – Sunny. Wind 12mph SW. Temp. Max. 23°C / Min 16°C.
Sat 24th June – Sunny. Wind 13mph NE. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 14°C.

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

Prizes / Exemptions        

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

They will also be exempt into the 2018 US Open Championship which is being held at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York State.

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

It is also an unofficial rule that should The Amateur be won by a GB&I player in the year of a Walker Cup match then that player will be selected for the team. 

2016 Amateur Championship

Scott GREGORY (ENG) beat Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) 2&1 in the 36-hole final of the 2016 Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl GC.

Scott Gregory Amateur Champion 2016

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

Gregory shot 72 at Royal Porthcawl and 71 at Pyle & Kenfig in the stroke play stage to qualify 13th (+1).

He then proceeded to beat Andre NEL (RSA) by 2 holes, Pierre MAZIER (FRA) by 1 hole, Harry HALL (ENG) 4&3, Javier SAINZ (ESP) 5&4 and Adrian MERONK (POL) to reach the Final.

Click this link to view the – 2016 Amateur Championship MP Results 

Click this link to view the – 2016 Amateur Championship SP Results

A Short History of The Amateur 

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

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

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

Even after the war players remained amateur for much longer and famous names like Frank 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.

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 Gregory’s win last year the last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.SaveSave

The St. Andrews Links Trophy – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

11th June 2017

Royal Liverpool’s Matthew JORDAN continued his amazing run of form by today winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy.

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Kenny Smith)

He must now be assured of a place in the 2017 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team.

Final day rounds of 69 and 70 took Matthew to a finishing total of -11. He bogeyed the last two holes in round 4 as he played in conservatively.

JR GALBRAITH (IRE) shot 70 and 71 (-10) to secure second place with Ben FERGUSON (AUS) finishing 3rd on -9.

From a GB&I perspective there were also encouraging results for Laird SHEPHERD (-8) 4th, David BOOTE (-8) 6th, Liam JOHNSTON (-6) 7th , Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-5) 8th and Jack DAVIDSON (-5) 9th.

Click here to view the – 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy Results

ME.

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10th June 2017

JR GALBRAITH (IRE) retained his 1 shot advantage over the field with a 71 (-1) over the Old Course.

Six players are 1 shot back on -6. These include Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 68 and Jamie STEWART (SCO) 71.

Recent Brabazon Trophy winner Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) 69 moved up into tied 8th place on -5, alongside the impressive Alejandro TOSTI (ARG).

English pair Bradley MOORE (66) and Laird SHEPHERD (67) shot the best two rounds of the day to get their tournaments back on track. They’ll both start the final day on -2.

Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Robin DAWSON (IRE) both -4 , Craig HOWIE (SCO) -3, David BOOTE (WAL), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO), Alfie PLANT (ENG) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all -2, Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) both -1 and Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) Ev also made the cut and will be hoping to boost their Walker Cup claims tomorrow.

Unfortunately Connor SYME (SCO) had to withdrawal early in his second round due to a severe migraine.

The Top 40 and Ties cut fell at Even par with a total of 45 players progressing.

With 32 players on -2 or better, i.e. within 5 shots of the lead, an exciting final day’s play appears guaranteed.

ME.

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9th June 2017

Day 1 of the the St. Andrews Links Trophy on the Jubilee Course was dominated by the weather. A rainy and windy morning giving way to improved conditions in the afternoon enabling the later starters to shoot some impressive numbers.

Having started with two bogeys Ireland’s JR GALBRAITH reeled off 8 birdies in his remaining 16 holes to shoot a best of the day 66. His -6 total being good enough for a 1-shot lead over David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Claudio CONSUL (GER).

On a good day for GB&I Walker Cup hopefuls, Craig HOWIE, Robin DAWSON (both 69 -3), Matthew JORDAN, Jack SINGH BRAR (all 70 -2), Jake BURNAGE, Jack DAVIDSON, Liam JOHNSTON, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME, (all 71 -1) also finished round 1 in the Top 25.

ME.

7th June 2017

144 golfers from 21 different countries will tee off on Friday 9th June in the 29th St. Andrews Links Trophy.

This Championship has quickly established itself as one of the ‘Majors’ in men’s amateur golf.

A list of all the past winners can be found in an Appendix at the end of this article. The most famous is Justin Rose who won the Links Trophy in 1997.

St Andrews Clubhouse

R&A Clubhouse, St. Andrews (Photo: R&A Website)

Competition Format

The Links Trophy is a 72 hole scratch stroke play competition normally played over a combination of the Old and New Courses at St. Andrews in early June.

After various National Golf Union nominations the field is determined by World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) rather than handicap as is normally the case.

This year Round 1 will be played on the Jubilee Course and Round 2 on the Old Course.

Following a top 40 and ties cut the leading players will play 36 holes on the Old Course on Sunday.

The Jubilee Course plays 6,742 yards to a par of 72. The front nine is 3,238 yards long with a par of 36 whilst the tougher back nine is 266 yards longer also with a par of 36.

Jubilee Course Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

The Old Course is 6,721 yards off the white tees and has a par of 72. Both nines have a par of 36 and have similar yardages – the front is 3,336 yards long whilst the back is a little longer at 3,385 yards.

Old Course Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

The winner will be the player who returns the lowest 72 hole score. In the event of a tie a sudden death play-off will be held over holes 1 and 18.

Ties for other places are decided by the lowest score for the last 18 holes or the last 9 or 6 or 3 or 2 or 1 hole if necessary.

The Field

The start sheet can be viewed here – 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy Rounds 1 and 2 draws

The Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed the Links Trophy 6th in its 2016 Amateur Tournament Ranking based on the strength of it’s field. The 2017 field is impressive so there is no reason to think it will be any lower in this year’s list.

18 of the 21 members of the GB&I Walker Cup squad are in action this weekend. Many of them drawn together in the opening rounds to help the selectors follow them all closely. David BOOTE (WAL), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) and Connor SYME (SCO) will all be looking to continue their good play whilst the others will be hoping to kick start their selection claims.

Of the missing trio Scott GREGORY (ENG) is preparing for the US Open and Stuart GREHAN (IRE) is competing in the Arnold Palmer Cup in Atlanta.

Other GB&I players who have been doing well this year, like Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) and Jamie STEWART (SCO), are all playing.

The attraction of St. Andrews ensures a strong overseas entry. Players of particular interest to me this year are Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS), Min Woo LEE (AUS – 2016 US Junior Amateur champion), Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Travis SMYTH (AUS), Alejandro TOSTI (ARG – Florida University) and Albert VENTER (RSA).

Weather Forecast (as at Wed 7th June)

Fri     9th June – Showers. Wind 13mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 10°C.
Sat   10th June – Showers. Wind 13mph SE. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.
Sun 11th June – Showers. Wind 18mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 11°C.

Tee times in Rounds 1 and 2 start at 7.00am and end at 3.10pm so as with any links course the draw could play a big part in the outcome.

Prizes

The winner receives The St Andrews Links Trophy and a cheque for £500.

The runner-up and third place finisher also receive commemorative medals.

Reducing cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 finishers in all.

In addition to the main prizes The Ian Forbes Memorial Cup is awarded for the best aggregate score on the first two days of the event.

2016 Event

In something of a surprise Ireland’s Conor O’Rourke won the 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy with a magnificent performance that saw him lead from start to finish.  

Conor O'Rourke St Andrews Links Trophy 2016

 Conor O’Rourke (Photo: Kenny Smith / @TheHomeofGolf)

Conor shared the lead after a round 1 65 on the New Course and followed it up with rounds of 69, 71 and 70 on the Old to pick up by far the biggest title of his amateur career with a 275 (-12) total.

Prior to play commencing O’Rourke was ranked 1,245th in the SPWAR. He was a higher 549th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

Home players Sandy SCOTT (-11), who is the 2017 field, and Ewen Ferguson (-10) pushed the Naas man hard eventually picking up 2nd and 3rd spots respectively.

Click here to view the full results – 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results 

Appendix – Past Winners & Notable Past Performances

As one would expect for a competition held at the home of golf the list of past winner’s is impressive:-

2016  Conor O’Rourke (IRE) 275
2015  Federico Zucchetti (ITA) 214 (54 holes only)
2014  Grant Forrest (SCO) 278 (after play-off)
2013  Neil Raymond (ENG) 282
2012  Daan Huizing (NED) 264 (lowest 72 hole score)
2011  Tom Lewis (ENG) 279
2010  Matthew Southgate (ENG) 275
2009  Alan Dunbar (N.I.) 285
2008  Keir McNicoll (SCO) 283
2007  Llewellyn Matthews (WAL) 273
2006  Oliver Fisher (ENG) 280
2005  Lloyd Saltman (SCO) 275
2004  Jamie McLeary (SCO) 284
2003  Richard Finch (ENG) 276
2002  Simon MacKenzie (SCO) 289
2001  Steven O’Hara (SCO) 281
2000  Matthew King (ENG) 140 (36 holes only)
1999  David Patrick (SCO) 152 (36 holes only)
1998  Craig Watson (SCO) 276
1997  Justin Rose (ENG) 284
1996  Barclay Howard (SCO) 282
1995  Graham Rankin (SCO) 276
1994  Barclay Howard (SCO) 294
1993  Garry Hay (SCO) 280
1992  Craig Watson (SCO) 281
1991  Ricky Willison (ENG) 289
1990  Stuart Bovier (AUS) 280
1989  Russell Claydon (ENG) 284

Only Craig Watson (1992 and 1998), the current Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup captain, and Barclay Howard (1994 and 1996) have won the title twice.

Interestingly given the normally cosmopolitan nature of the fields the Links Trophy has only been won by players from outside GB&I on three occasions – Australia’s Stuart Bovier (1990), Daan Huizing from The Netherlands (2012) and last year Federico Zucchetti from Italy.

Huizing, who had won the Lytham Trophy by 11 shots just a few weeks earlier, set a scoring record of -23 in 2012 (65 New, 64, 68 and 67 all Old) and won by an astonishing 14 shots.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

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The Arnold Palmer Cup – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

11th June 2017

USA won the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup 19.5-10.5 at the Atlanta Athletic club.

img_7673

Team USA (Photo: @GolfChannel)

The final day Singles were halved 5-5.

USA now leads the all-time match series 11-9-1.

Norman XIONG quickly secured the single point USA required to win. He beat Harry HALL 8&7 in the opening game of the day.

Four of the Five European Singles wins on Day 3 came from the Scandinavian players in the team. Richard MANSELL secured the other. He beat fellow Division II player John COULTAS 2 Up. Two down with four to play Mansell birdied the par 3 15th before Coultas capitulated bogeying the final three holes and allowing Mansell a fighting comeback win.

The other four GB&I players lost their matches: –

Stuart GREHAN lost 2&1 to Doug GHIM

Harry ELLIS lost 3&2 to Nick HARDY

Rory FRANSSEN lost 8&7 to Maverick MCNEALY

David WICKS lost 3&2 to Sean CROCKER

Doug GHIM was the only player to win all four of his matches. He became the 19th player to achieve this feat in the history of the match.

Here is the full individual performance analysis:-

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 20.18.32

David WICKS and Maverick MCNEALY were named winners of the Michael Carter Award which is presented to the players from each team that best represent the qualities and ideals of sportsmanship and integrity.

Collin MORIKAWA was selected by both teams to receive the Arnold Palmer Cup exemption into the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Nathan Peterson, his junior caddie, will also be on the bag at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The match was clearly a sobering experience for the European team and a reminder to all of us of the challenge that the GB&I Walker Cup team will face in Los Angeles in September.

As I said in my Preview below the opportunity was there for the six GB&I players in Europe’s Arnold Palmer Cup team to lay down a Walker Cup marker. Unfortunately none of them were able to do so.

Click here to view the – Day 3 Singles Results

ME.

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10th June 2017

The Day 2 Singles proved to be a disaster for Europe with the 9.5-0.5 reverse effectively ending the match as a contest.

All six of the GB&I players lost their matches to an inspired US team: –

Richard MANSELL lost 4&3 to Norman XIONG

Harry HALL lost 7&5 to Doug GHIM

Harry ELLIS lost 3&2 to Jimmy STANGER

David WICKS lost 5&4 to Nick HARDY

Stuart GREHAN lost 2&1 to Sam BURNS

Rory FRANSSEN lost 3&2 to Collin MORIKAWA

It looked for most of the afternoon as if USA would complete a clean sweep. However, Maverick MCNEALY, who was 3 Up with 5 to play, surprisingly bogeyed three of the final holes to let Viktor HOLLAND in to secure a half.

Scant consolation for Europe. Their 9.5-0.5 loss was the worst Singles series result in the history of the event. The previous worse being USA’s final day 8.5-1.5 collapse at Walton Heath in 2014.

Click here to view the hole-by-hole – Day 2 Singles Results

ME.

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9th June 2017

Day 1 of the Arnold Palmer Cup finished all square, USA and Europe having 5 points each.

USA won the morning Foursomes Series 3.5-1.5 with Europe coming back well in the afternoon to reverse the score in the Fourballs.

In the Foursomes Rory FRANSSEN and Stuart GREHAN halved their match with Sam BURNS and Chandler PHILLIPS. However, they were two up with three to play so will be a little disappointed not to hold on for the win, particularly as the 17th was lost to a USA par.

Europe’s only morning win came from Harry ELLIS and Harry HALL who beat Nick HARDY and Norman XIONG by 1 hole.  Having got to 3 Up after 11 holes the USA pairing fought back well with three birdies but the two Harry’s ultimately prevailed.

Richard MANSELL and David WICKS lost the final game of the series 2&1 to arguably the USA’s strongest pairing Maverick MCNEALY and Collin MORIKAWA. The American pairing got to 3 UP after three holes and despite a European fightback on the front nine quickly reasserted their dominance as the match moved into the back nine.

Click here to view the – Day 1 AM Foursomes Results

Captain Inglis chose to send out the same European pairings, albeit in a different order, in the afternoon Fourball games. He was ultimately rewarded for not tinkering with a good team comeback.

Richard MANSELL and David WICKS beat a disappointing Sam BURNS and Chandler PHILLIPS in game 1 3&1.

Stuart GREHAN and Rory FRANSSEN halved again, this time in a tight match against Nick HARDY and Norman XIONG. In what must have been an exciting finish both pairs could only manage bogey 5’s on the final hole.

Harry ELLIS and Harry HALL were unable to follow up their morning win, going down 3&2 to Doug GHIM and Maverick MCNEALY.

Click here to view the – Day 1 PM Fourballs Results

Whilst GREHAN and FRANSSEN halved their two Day 1 games the remainder of the team managed to win one and lose one.

The USA’s Doug GHIM and Maverick MCNEALY are the only two players to retain 100% win records at the end of day 1.

ME.

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6th June 2017
The Arnold Palmer Cup is a team golf competition played annually between American college golfers and European college / university golfers.

Europe convincingly beat USA 18.5-11.5 in the 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup played at Formby Golf Club in England.

The 2017 match, the 21st in the series, is being played this coming weekend, 9th-11th June, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia.

More information on the history of and future plans for the match can be found in an Appendix at the end of this article.

Arnold Palmer Cup Logo

The 2017 Teams

Both teams were announced on 16th March at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando on the opening day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

I have added each team member’s current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) to the lists below to give you a feel for the relative strengths of the two teams.

Europe

The first 6 players were automatically selected from the Arnold Palmer Cup European Ranking. These were (in order): –

Hannes RONNEBLAD (Texas Tech) – Sweden / SPWAR 132
Fredrik NILEHN (Texas Tech) – Sweden / SPWAR 85
Kristoffer VENTURA (Oklahoma State) – Norway / SPWAR 40
David WICKS (Jacksonville) – England / SPWAR 107
Harry ELLIS (Florida State) – England / SPWAR 184
Rory FRANSSON (Missouri) – Scotland / SPWAR 279

The next two spots were allocated by Committee Selection: –

Stuart GREHAN (Maynooth) – Ireland / SPWAR 93
Viktor HOVLAND (Oklahoma State) – Norway / SPWAR 39

Finally a Captain’s pick was made: –

Richard MANSELL (Nova Southeastern) – England / SPWAR 364

Subsequently Stuart Grehan went on to win the R&A Scholars Tournament on 3-4 April at St. Andrews. Having already been selected the allocated spot for the winner of this event reverted to a Committee Pick. This was awarded on 10th April to: –

Harry HALL (UNLV) – England / SPWAR 78

Europe’s Captain this year is David INGLIS (Northwestern, Head Coach / Scotland). He will be supported by Alan MURRAY (Washington, Assistant Coach / Ireland).

Arnold Palmer Cup 2016 Europe

Team Europe – Winners of the 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup (Photo: Formby GC)

USA

The first 6 players were automatically selected from the Arnold Palmer Cup United States Ranking. These were (in order): –

Sam BURNS (LSU) – SPWAR 12
Chandler PHILLIPS (Texas A&M) – SPWAR 49
Collin MORIKAWA (California) – SPWAR 5
Jimmy STANGER (Virginia) – SPWAR 22
Maverick MCNEALY (Stanford) – SPWAR 11
Norman XIONG (Oregon) – SPWAR 51

The next three spots were allocated by Committee Selection: –

John COULTAS (Florida Southern) – SPWAR 206
Sean CROCKER (Southern California) – SPWAR 9
Nick HARDY (Illinois) – SPWAR 14

The Captain’s pick went to: –

Doug GHIM (Texas) – SPWAR 4

The USA’s Captain is John FIELDS (Texas, Head Coach) and Assistant Captain is Andrew DIBITETTO (North Carolina, Assistant Coach).

Stuart Grehan and Doug Ghim both played in last year’s match at Formby GC. Maverick McNealy played in 2015 but withdrew from the 2016 match having been selected.

All but Stuart Grehan have played their golf in the US collegiate system this season.

In this Walker Cup year all of the players will be looking to make a positive impression and to hopefully catch the eye of the USGA and R&A selectors ahead of September’s match at Los Angeles CC.

Format / Schedule

This week’s match play format consists of foursomes, fourballs and singles matches: –

Friday 9th June AM – Foursomes x 5, starting at 7.30am
Friday 9th June PM – Fourballs x 5, starting at 1.30pm
Saturday 10th June – Singles x 10, starting at 9.00am
Sunday 11th June    – Singles x 10, starting at 9.00am

With a maximum total of 30 points available and one point awarded for each match a team will be required to accumulate 15.5 points to secure an outright victory.

Venue – The Atlanta Athletic Club

The Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) was founded in 1898.

In 1967 it moved 23 miles north of the city of Atlanta, selling it’s East Lake course which had been the home of the great Bobby Jones, and setting up at a much larger Johns Creek site.

AAC has two par 72 courses, the Highlands (7,613 yards) and the Riverside (7,428 yards). Both were used to stage the 2014 US Amateur Championship. The Highlands course is being used to host the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup.

img_7657Highlands Course Scorecard (Photo: Rees Jones Inc)

Weather Forecast

As at Tuesday 6th June the weather forecast for Atlanta looks near perfect: –

Fri 9th June  – Sunny. Wind 5 mph SW. Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 18°C.
Sat 10th June  – Sunny. Wind 6 mph SE. Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 19°C.
Sun 11th June  – Sunny. Wind 7 mph SE. Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 20°C.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Exemption

In 2015 Mr. Palmer agreed to allocate an Arnold Palmer Cup amateur invitation to his prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) tournament played annually at Bay Hill in Florida.

Prior to the match commencing each of the 20 players is asked to vote for a member of each team (excluding themselves) who they think best represents the “Arnold Palmer Legacy,” that is, the values that Arnold Palmer has exhibited during his legendary career.

The player from the winning team who receives the most votes is awarded the API invitation. To take up his place in the field at Bay Hill the selected player must remain a collegiate amateur golfer up until the tournament.

Prior to the match commencing there is also a caddie draw involving young, local players. The caddie for the selected Arnold Palmer Cup player is also invited to Bay Hill to caddie for them again.

The two previous recipients of the Arnold Palmer Cup API Exemptions were Maverick McNealy (2016, with caddie Zach Urwiler) and Matthias Schwab (2017, with caddie Kieran Oates).

The Michael Carter Award

This award is presented in honour of former GCAA Arnold Palmer Cup intern Michael Carter who tragically died in a car accident in 2002 aged 19.

It is presented to the player from each team who best represents the qualities and fun-loving ideals that made Michael Carter unique.

Charlie DANIELSON (USA) and Robin PETERSSON (Europe) were honoured at the 2016 match.

Past Results & Future Venues

As one would expect the match has been played on some of most famous courses in the world.

Europe’s 2016 win represented the sixth consecutive home victory and in the 20th Match reduced USA’s series lead to W10 L9 H1.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 19.40.41

Appendix – History and Future

The match was established by the Golf Coaches Association of America and first played in 1997. Known as simply the Palmer Cup back then it was originally played between 8-man teams from the USA and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I).

With the USA winning 4 and halving 1 of the first 6 matches a decision was taken after the 2002 match in Doonbeg, Ireland to extend the GB&I team to include Europe. A decision which of course helped to further differentiate the match from the biennial Walker Cup as well as increase it’s international appeal and competitiveness.

In 2013 the teams were extended to 10 players.

In 2014 the Golf Coaches Association of America announced that they had entered into a formal agreement with Arnold Palmer and his group of companies to jointly operate and expand the Palmer Cup.

In 2015 the name of the match was changed to the Arnold Palmer Cup, effective from the 2016 match in Formby.

It was also announced in 2015 that with effect from 2018 the match would become a mixed event with 12 men and women competing for each side.

Following Arnold Palmer’s death on 25th September 2016 the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation agreed to support the event into the future.

ME.

Copyright © 2014 – 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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