My Review Of GB&I Men’s Amateur Golf In 2017

24th December 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 I thought I would record the more memorable performances that we have seen from Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golfers throughout the year.

When one reads through the months below it’s hard not to conclude that the year has generally been another successful one, with many highs and just a few lows.

An unusually large number of players have turned professional in the last 3 months (‘Amexit’) but I think we can take comfort from the positive signs already emanating from the next generation of players coming through.

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JANUARY

The year started with various touring parties heading off to events in the Southern Hemisphere.

Evan GRIFFITH (quarter finals) and Robert MACINTYRE (semi-finals) enjoyed good runs in the Australian Men’s Amateur.

Jack DAVIDSON and Conor O’ROURKE finished 4th and tied 7th at the South American Amateur in Argentina.

Jack SINGH BRAR and Bradley MOORE finished 2nd and 3rd in the Avondale Amateur in Australia.

FEBRUARY

Scott GREGORY delivered GB&I’s first major win of 2017, beating compatriot Marco PENGE by 1 hole in the Final of the New South Wales Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd), Dan BROWN (3rd), Liam JOHNSTON (5th) and Craig HOWIE (7th) made good starts to their seasons with high finishes in the South African Stroke Play Championship.

Back in Europe Josh MCMAHON (2nd), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (T4), David BOOTE (T4) and Bailey GILLGeorge BLOOR and Tiarnan MCLARNON (T7) all showed early season form at the Portuguese International Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd) lost a play-off to South African star Garrick Higgo in the Cape Province Open.  Stuart GREHAN and Alex GLEESON finished T4 in the same event whilst Craig HOWIE was T9.

Dan BROWN (-15) was co-medalist in the South African Amateur. Dan sadly lost the play-off for the Proudfoot Trophy on the 4th extra hole albeit his second round 63 at Humewood GC will no doubt live long in his memory. He was 6-under after his first 5 holes having eagled two par 4’s. Liam JOHNSTON and Joe LONG made the Quarter-Final when the Championship match play got going.

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Liam Johnston (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

Liam JOHNSTON didn’t have to wait much longer to get his name up in lights. The following week he went on to win the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek CC. In a good week for Scottish Golf Connor SYME (2nd), Jamie STEWART (3rd) and Craig HOWIE (5th) also finished high up.

Ben AMOR (ENG) turned Pro in February.

MARCH

Jack DAVIDSON got the European season underway by winning the Spanish International Amateur. Interestingly Jack was the final stroke play qualifier after Chris MACLEAN had pipped Stuart GREHAN to medalist honours. Nevertheless he soon got to grips with EL Saler ultimately beating Marco PENGE 4&3 in the 36 hole final.

In an event with little GB&I support David HAGUE popped up with a T7 result at the Italian International Amateur. Even more surprisingly Sean CROCKER the highly rated US College golfer turned up and ended up winning the Championship comfortably by 5 shots.

A superb opening day’s play from Bailey GILL, where he shot two 65’s, helped the Yorkshireman literally blow the field away at the subsequently weather shortened Darwin Salver.

Scott GREGORY re-affirmed his match play credentials with an impressive 1st Extra Hole win over Australia’s 2016 US Amateur champion Curtis LUCK in the pre-Masters Georgia Cup match.

APRIL

WALES, represented by David BOOTEJack DAVIDSONJoshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, won the European Nations Cup Team competition at RCG Sotogrande in Spain. WALES’ total of +13 was 11 shots better than second placed IRELAND (+24) and 21 shots better than fourth placed SCOTLAND (+34). An out of sorts ENGLAND (+61) finished a disappointing 12th.

Jack DAVIDSON won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots. Rounds of 70, 70, 70 and 73 (-5), which included 20 birdies and 2 eagles, gave him his second major title in less than a month.

Charlie STRICKLAND, who was runner-up to Bailey GILL at the Darwin Salver, then came to the fore, winning two 72 hole events in consecutive weeks. First came the Duncan Putter – which will be moving to three days at Southerndown in 2018 – and quickly following it up with the U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy at my home club, Copt Heath.

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Charlie Strickland with Peter McEvoy (Photo: @GolfBible)

The 2016 US Mid-Amateur champion, Stewart HAGESTAD, won the Silver Cup at The Masters following rounds of 74, 73, 74 and 73 (+6). His tied 36th finish saw him comfortably win low amateur honours. Our Amateur champion, Scott GREGORY, missed the cut after rounds of 82 and 75 (+13).

The Scottish Boys Open Championship, disappointingly scheduled directly against the Peter McEvoy Trophy, was won in style by John PATERSON who came past runner-up Jamie STEWART at Monifieth with an exceptional final round of 67.

The Hampshire Salver again proved a popular weekend for competitors. Jack SINGH BRAR won Saturday’s Selborne Salver and Jake BURNAGE Sunday’s Hampshire Hog at North Hants. Singh Brar beat Burnage by 1shot for the combined 72 hole Hampshire Salver.

Up in Scotland Craig HOWIE, the clear favourite at the start of play, dominated the Craigmillar Park Open shooting rounds of 66, 66, 66 and 67 (-15) and winning by 8 shots.

Barry ANDERSON won the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo beating Jack PIERSE 3&2 in the Final. Earlier Conor O’ROURKE had edged out fellow Naas member Jonathan YATES to secure medallist honours in the 36 hole stroke play qualifier.

Chile’s Joaquin NIEMANN started his rise to the top of the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking by winning the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the United Sates.

Owen EDWARDS (-3) won the West of England Stroke Play after a strong final day’s play at Saunton left him as the only player under par. David HAGUE (+1) was 2nd and Will POOLE (+3) tied 3rd.

On the same weekend Connor SYME won the Battle Trophy at Crail. Despite giving the field a chance with a final round 79 the Drumoig man still won by 5 shots.

Meanwhile in South Wales Matthew HARRIS won the Carmarthenshire Open at Ashburnham and Callum MORRIS the Golden Eagle at Tenby. However, it was Luke HARRIES who won the Trubshaw Cup for the best 72 hole score over the weekend.

MAY

May saw the focus return to Great Britain and Ireland with our leading amateur events now starting to be played.

Jack SINGH BRAR won the Lytham Trophy helped in no small part by a superb first round of 68 achieved in strong winds when the rest of the elite field struggled (CSS 79). Charlie STRICKLAND and Jake BURNAGE finished 2nd and 3rd in what proved to be a very good week for England Golf with 7 of the top 10 coming from the home nation.   

Just down the road George RAITT and Conor GOUGH finished 2nd and tied 3rd respectively in the Boys’ Fairhaven Trophy. However, Sweden’s Ludvig ABERG was in a class of his own that week winning by 9 shots.

Having come close in the West of England a few weeks’ earlier Will POOLE found Kent’s links courses even more to his liking winning the South East of England Links Championship.

Peter O’KEEFFE won the Irish Open Amateur Championship holding off a strong field at Royal County Down GC. A posse of English and Scottish players made Peter work for it with Chris MACLEAN and Tom SLOMAN ultimately finishing 3 shots back in tied 5th.

David HAGUE won the Lagonda Trophy by 12 shots. An astonishing 62 63 final day finish on the 6,367 yards par 70 Old Course blitzing the field.

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David Hague (Photo: Kevin Diss)

Josh HILLEARD won the Murat Cup at the French International Amateur beating the home junior Pierre PINEAU on the second play-off hole. Both players came through the field in the final round of the 72 hole contest at Chantilly; Hilleard shooting 64 and Pineau 66.

In what proved to be a successful weekend for England Golf Gian-Marco PETROZZI secured the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play title at The Vale Resort. Gian-Marco (-13) won by 9 shots from fellow Staffordshire player Jack GAUNT (-4) and local favourites Jack DAVIDSON (-3) and Owen EDWARDS (-1).

Woodhall Spa staged the 2017 Brabazon Trophy with South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE beating Jamie STEWARTJake BURNAGE and Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 shot to secure the prestigious English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play title and beautiful gold plated trophy.

In what proved to be a generally disappointing US Collegiate season for GB&I players Braden THORNBERRY won the NCAA Division 1 Individual Stroke Play before OKLAHOMA secured the Team title in the subsequent Match Play stage.

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) turned Pro in May 2017.

JUNE

June started with England’s Max MARTIN picking up the Welsh Open Youths Championship at Prestatyn.

Liam JOHNSTON won the Scottish Men’s Open Championship at Western Gailes, holding off an in form Matthew JORDAN (2nd) by 2 shots and fellow Scottish Internationals Craig HOWIE (T3) and Connor SYME (5th).

The East of Ireland Amateur went to Reece BLACK whose final round 66 at County Louth was needed to hold off a fast finishing Robbie PIERSE (69).

Matthew JORDAN finally got the win his outstanding play in May and June deserved when he picked up the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Two late bogeys on the Old Course from Matthew enabled Ireland’s John Ross GALBRAITH, who birdied two of his last four, to finish 1 shot back, making the result tighter than it really should have been.

Somewhat ominously, given September’s Walker Cup match, USA ran out easy winners against Europe in the Arnold Palmer Cup played at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Driven on by unbeaten Doug GHIM, with Maverick MCNEALYCollin MORIKAWA and Norman XIONG all featuring, USA won easily 19.5 – 10.5. The Arnold Palmer Cup match moves to a new mixed format in France next July.

One of the highlights of the year was Harry ELLIS’ magnificent win in The Amateur Championship staged at Royal St. George’s and Princes in Kent. 4 Down with five holes to play Ellis somehow fought back, helped in no small part by Dylan PERRY bogeying four of these remaining holes. The Hampshire man ultimately won on the second extra hole when the Australian could do no better than a 6 on the par 4 2nd hole. The win secured Harry his place in history but also this year’s Open Championship and the GB&I Walker Cup team. With a trip to Augusta National in April 2018 still to come it really is the Championship that keeps on giving. A quick word also for medallist Caolan RAFFERTY whose 62 on Day 2 at Prince’s, even with a bogey on the last, was one of the amateur stroke play rounds of the year.

Ben JONES won the U18 Boys Sir Henry Cooper Masters by 10 shots at Nizels G&CC, separating himself from his peers after a 9-under, bogey free, 63 in round 3. In a stellar year for the competition the outstanding Lily May HUMPHRIES won the Girls event by 12 shots.

The 2017 Berkshire Trophy was won by Adam LUMLEY who finished on -18, 7 shots ahead of JACK CLARKSONDavid HAGUE and Billy MACKENZIE finished tied 3rd.

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Mark Power (Photo: Castleroy GC)

Mark POWER retained his Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship title at Castleroy GC, the first person to do so since Paul Dunne a few years ago. He and England’s Jack COPE finished on -5 before Mark ended a topsy-turvy three hole play off in style by holing a 129 yard wedge on the 18th.

Kevin LE BLANC (IRE) turned Pro in June.

JULY

July 1st saw Alfie PLANT memorably win the European Men’s Amateur at Walton Heath GC. A near tap-in birdie on the 72nd hole helped the man from Kent draw level on -15 with Lorenzo SCALISE and defending Luca CIANCHETTI, helped in no small part by both Italians bogeying the same hole. With a place in The Open Championship on the line Plant went on to birdie the Old Course’s 2nd hole, winning the sudden death play off on the fifth extra hole.

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 Alfie Plant (Photo: GolfBible)

Greg DALZIEL won the Scottish Boys Amateur Championship at Scotscraig, beating Australian-based Josh GREER by 1 hole in the Final.

A week later The Scottish Boys U16 Open Championship at Fairmont Kittocks went to 13 year old Calum SCOTT, younger brother of Scottish Men’s International Sandy.  Josh GREER finished tied 2nd four shots back. Equally of note were the 7th and tied 12th place finishes of Max HOPKINS and Aidan O’HAGAN, new names that would come to mean more as the year unfolded.

The North of Ireland Championship was played at Royal Portrush GC with Caolan RAFFERTY winning the stroke play qualifier on -10. Caolan fell to Colin FAIRWEATHER in the semi-finals before Rowan LESTER beat Colin by 2 holes in the final.

DENMARK won the European Boys Team Championship at La Manga beating SPAIN 4-3 in the Final. ENGLAND (T4) and IRELAND (8th) both qualified for Flight A but found little success in their three matches.

ENGLAND (1st)SCOTLAND (5th) and IRELAND (6th) all made Flight A in the Men’s European Amateur Team Championship which was played concurrently with the Boys’ at Diamond CC in Austria. In a closely fought match SPAIN beat ENGLAND 4-3 in the final.

Estonia’s Joonas TURBA was something of a surprise winner at the MacGregor Trophy (Boys’ U16 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English propsects Max HOPKINS and Robin WILLIAMS were second and third respectively.

Noah GOODWIN (USA) beat Matthew WOLFF (USA) 1Up in the final of the US Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National GC in Kansas.

Alfie PLANT collected the Silver Medal for the low amateur at The Open Championship after rounds of 71, 73, 69 and 73 (+6) secured a T62 at Royal Birkdale GC. Connor SYME (73 76, +9) and Harry ELLIS (77 75, +12) both missed the cut.

Jake BURNAGE beat a fast finishing Jack YULE to win the South East of England Amateur Championship played on the New and Old Courses at Walton Heath GC. The Club have recently announced that the event will be renamed as The Walton Heath Trophy from 2018.

img_4962Jake Burnage (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrea ROMANO from Italy beat France’s Jean BEKIRIAN in a play-off to secure the Carris Trophy (Boys’ U18 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English trio Jack COPETaylor STOTE and Robin WILLIAMS all finished in the Top 5 at West Sussex GC.

Conor GOUGH (-5, 7th), Barclay BROWN (+1 T14), Lily May HUMPHRIES (-2, 1st) and Annabell FULLER (Ev, T3) collectively won the Team title at the European Young Masters with a -12 total score in Oslo.

The 2017 South of Ireland Open Championship was won by James SUGRUE at Lahinch. After the North champion Rowan LESTER had won the 36 hole stroke play qualifier James worked his way through a strong field before beating Conor O’ROURKE 3&2 in the final.

AUGUST

Evan GRIFFITH dominated stroke play qualifying in the Wales Amateur Championship at Aberdovey GC with two rounds of 68 and 64 (-10) seeing him achieve medalist honours by an impressive 6 shots. However, Wales’ player of the year Jack DAVIDSON got the better of him in a tight semi-final before going on to beat Tim HARRY in the 36 hole final by 8&7.

The Scottish Amateur was played at Prestwick and was won by Sam LOCKE. Sandy SCOTT and Calum FYFE were the leading qualifiers. LOCKE played superbly in the match play stage ultimately beating Ryan LUMSDEN 9&8 in the 36 hole final.

The English Men’s Amateur was contested at The Berkshire. The story from the stroke play stage was medalist’s David LANGLEY’s superb 61 on the Blue Course on Day 1. However, it was Todd CLEMENTS who prevailed in the match play eventually beating Jack GAUNT 2&1 in the final.

Like the Brabazon Trophy earlier in the year it was a South African who won the Reid Trophy, awarded to the winner of the English Boy’s U14 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Casey JARVIS (-4) held off fast finishing Spaniard Jose BALLESTER at the Manchester GC. For those looking for potential GB&I stars of the future Rory MCDONALD-O’BRIEN (ENG), George DURKAN (ENG), Joshua HILL (IRE), Joseph BYRNE (IRE) and Jack BIGHAM (ENG) all finished in the top 10.

ENGLAND won The Boys’ Home Internationals at St. Anne’s Old Links. Toby BRIGGS, Conor GOUGH, Joe PAGDIN and Robin WILLIAMS all compiled W5 L1 H0 records during the week. Whilst SCOTLAND came last they did provide the highlight of the week; the unbeaten foursomes pairing of 13 year olds Calum SCOTT and Aiden O’HAGEN.

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 Calum Scott and Aiden O’Hagen (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrew WILSON (-4), the only player to finish under par for the 72 holes and helped on his way by a 62 in round 1, won the Lee Westwood Trophy at Rotherham GC. Charlie THORNTON and Olly HUGGINS (Ev) were tied 2nd.

IRELAND continued their superb run at the Men’s Home Internationals winning the Raymond Trophy for a fourth consecutive year at Moortown GC in England. Caolan RAFFERTY (W5 L1 H0), Paul MCBRIDE (W4 L0 H1) and Colin FAIRWEATHER (W4 L1 H0) starred in a strong team performance.

The 2017 Boys’ Amateur Championship was played at Nairn GC and Nairn Dunbar GC. Home player Darren HOWIE (-8) was medallist with Alex FITZPATRICK (-7) tied 2nd and Danny DANIELS (-6) tied 4th. However, it was Portugal’s Pedro LENCART SILVA, who had qualified in tied 6th on -4, who came through the match play stage to win. He beat defending champion Falko HANISCH (GER) 5&4 in the 36 hole final.

Played at the magnificent Riviera CC and Bel-Air CC’s in Los Angeles Doc REDMAN won the U.S. Amateur Championship in stunning fashion. Hayden WOOD (-9) achieved medallist honours in the stroke play qualifying. Jack SINGH BRAR (-2) T8 led the way for GB&I, with Connor SYME and Robert MACINTYRE (both +2) T35 following him into the match play stage. Syme went furthest at Riviera ending up losing 2&1 in the quarter finals to Doug GHIM. Ghim went on to reach the final where he found himself 2Up with two to play and just over the back of the green in two on the par 5 17th. With Redman just on the green in front of him easily 50 yards away from the hole he could be forgiven for thinking the Havemeyer Trophy was his and for allowing his mind to wander to the first tee of Augusta National in April 2018. Unfortunately the golfing gods stepped in. After Ghim had left his chip 6 feet short Redman stepped up and at pace holed the most amazing right to left downhill putt of the year, or for that matter almost any year, for eagle. Redman then followed it up with a superb birdie on the uphill 18th from 6 foot with Ghim only managing a scrambled par. With the match now All Square, Redman hit a perfect drive to the front of Riviera’s short 315 yard par 4 10th, the first extra hole. Visibly shocked at what was happening in front of him Ghim then hooked his drive and having hacked around for a while before securing a 6 conceded Redman the Championship. An unbelievable finish to amateur golf’s premier event.

The North of England U16 Boy’s Championship was won by Callum MACFIE at Pannal GC. Matthew JACKMAN was one back with Max HOPKINS a little further back in 3rd place.

The Irish U16 Boys Amateur Open Championship was played at Rockmount and was won by Mullingar’s Adam SMITH. Odhran MAGUIRE, the younger brother of Leona and Lisa, was 2nd.

Down at Sundridge Park GC Liam BURNS (-5) defenced the Waterford Trophy. A 67 66 final day finish was required by the man from Chiselhurst to hold off Nick PANTING by 1 shot.

The U16 Welsh Boys was won by Bryn THOMAS at Cradoc GC. Thomas’ final round of 67 helped him to a 9 shot victory over Tom PEET.

The Irish Amateur Close Championship was won by Jamie FLETCHER at Galway GC. Peter KERR and David BRADY were seeded 1st and 2nd after both recorded 138 (-2) in the stroke play stage. In a tight 18 hole final Fletcher beat David KITT by 1 hole.

Richard MANSELL (ENG), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Marco PENGE (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG) all turned Pro in August.

SEPTEMBER

The CONTINENT OF EUROPE won the annual Jacques Léglise Trophy U18 Boys’ match against GB&I at Ballybunion GC by 15.5 – 9.5. Unbeaten pair Pedro LENCART SILVA (W3-L0-H1) and Eduard ROUSARD SABATE (SWE) helped the away side to a second successive win. Ben JONES (W2-L1-H1) and Robin WILLIAMS (W2-L1-H0) put up the best defence for GB&I.

The Walker Cup result was an even more sobering experience for GB&I the following week. Craig WATSON had to step down as GB&I captain on the eve of the match but with Andy INGRAM a very capable deputy I am sure this in no way contributed to what followed at Los Angeles Country Club. Whilst the final result was not unexpected the manner of the 17-9 defeat was. Only Jack SINGH BRAR (W3-L1-H0), Robert MACINTYRE (W1-L1-H1) and Scott GREGORY (W2-L1-H1) really came away with any credit from the match. From the USA side Captain Spider Miller had clearly learned a few lessons from Royal Lytham in 2015 and backed up by superb performances from Doug GHIM, Maverick MCNEALY, Colin MORIKAWA, (all W4-L0-H0) and Norman XIONG (W3-L0-H1) the one sided result felt inevitable as soon as the Day 1 singles were concluded.

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The USA Walker Cup Team (Photo: GolfBible)

Ben JONES won The Duke of York Champions Trophy at Royal Liverpool GC by 8 shots from Sweden’s Oscar TEIFFEL. John PATERSON, who shot a 69 in round 2, the best of the week, finished 7th.

David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG) Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Tom GANDY (ENG), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Cameron LONG (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO), Will WHITEOAK (ENG) and Jack YULE (ENG) all turned Pro in September.

OCTOBER

David HAGUE (+1) won the North of England Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship at Alwoodley GC. Andrew Wilson (+3) was 2nd with Harry GODDARD and Nick POPPLETON (+4) tied 3rd.

Joshua DAVIES (WAL), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Colin FAIRWEATHER (IRE), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) all turned Pro in October.

NOVEMBER

A birdie, eagle finish helped China’s LIN YUXIN to the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship title at Royal Wellington GC in New Zealand. We can therefore look forward to seeing him in action at The Masters in 2018.

14 year old Max HOPKINS (-2) became the youngest ever winner of the Boys’ Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship at Quinta do Lago in Portugal. Ben JONES (+1) was 2nd and Alfie FOX (+3) 3rd.

Jamie CLARE (ENG), John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) and Chris MACLEAN (SCO) all turned Pro in November.

Sam HORSFIELD won the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Spain. His final -27 score, with all six rounds in the 60’s and a best of the day final round of 63 (-8), saw him win the 108 hole event by an impressive 8 shots. Amongst the other players to pick up a 2018 Tour card were Connor SYME, who finished tied 9th on -17 and Jonathan THOMSON, who finished tied 18th on -14.

DECEMBER

Ben JONES (-12) finished tied 2nd at the South Beach International Amateur in Miami. In an event which enjoyed the 5th strongest field of the year it was also pleasing to see Harry HALL (-7) and Joe PAGDIN (-4) record impressive results; tied 10th and tied 19th respectively.

Ben JONES finished tied 28th at the Boy’s Junior Orange Bowl Championship in Miami, 22 shots behind runaway winner Jerry JI from The Netherlands. Lily May HUMPHRIES enhanced her growing reputation by winning the Girls event by 9 shots.

Mason OVERSTREET (USA) won The Patriot All-America in Arizona. The six GB&I players struggled to make an impression with George BURNS (T38) recording the best finish.

Josh HILLEARD (ENG) turned Pro earlier in the month.

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If you want to review the detailed results of any of the above competitions then please take a look at the GolfBible Results Page where you will be able to find links to nearly all of those mentioned above.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The 2018 GB&I Men’s National Squads

12th December 2017

The last few months have seen a relatively large number of Great Britain and Ireland international and other elite amateur players turn professional.

2018 therefore represents a huge opportunity for the next generation of GB&I players coming through the ranks.

As we start to look ahead to next year I thought it may be useful to lay out the 2018 National Squads for each of the four home nations in one place.

You will find these players listed below, along with each player’s current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR), some other elite players not officially included in the various Panels to show depth (there are others too) and finally a list of all of the recent departures to the ‘dark side’ from each country.

Seeing how this period of transition for both GB&I amateur and professional golf unfolds next year and into 2019 will certainly be interesting.

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ENGLAND

Men’s Squad
Jake Burnage (111)
Todd Clements (56)
Jack Gaunt (188)
David Hague (146)
Matthew Jordan (34)
Gian-Marco Petrozzi (126)
Charlie Strickland (212)
Andrew Wilson (329)

Men’s A Squad
George Bloor (270)
Bailey Gill (378)
Ben Jones (417)
Josh McMahon (431)
Nick Poppleton (260)
Tom Sloman (201)

Other Elite Players
Toby Briggs (902) – U.S. University of San Francisco, Freshman
Harry Ellis (35) – U.S. Florida State University, Redshirt Junior
Alex Fitzpatrick (408) – Committed to Wake Forest University – Summer 2018
Harry Hall (134) – U.S. University of Las Vegas, Junior
Billy McKenzie (247) – U.K. full time amateur.
Daniel O’Loughlin (328) – U.S. University of Colorado, Sophomore
Pavan Sagoo (352) – U.S. St. Mary’s College, Senior
Daniel Sutton (347) – U.S. University of Kansas, Junior
Laird Shepherd (222) – U.K. Stirling University
David Wicks (173) – U.S. Jacksonville, Junior

Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
Dan Brown, Jamie Clare, Tom Gandy, Scott Gregory, Josh Hilleard, Cameron Long, Richard Mansell, Bradley Moore, Marco Penge, Alfie Plant, Jack Singh Brar, Sean Towndrow, Will Whiteoak and Jack Yule (14).

IRELAND

Men’s Senior Panel
Barry Anderson (1,051)
Colm Campbell (311)
Robin Dawson (68)
Jamie Fletcher (1,425)
Alex Gleeson (212)
Rowan Lester (215)
Paul McBride (43) – U.S. Wake Forest University, Senior
Tiarnan McLarnon (517)
Ronan Mullarney (323)
John Murphy (541)
Peter O’Keeffe (344)
Mark Power (690)
Conor Purcell (291) – U.S. University of North Carolina Charlotte, Sophomore
Caolan Rafferty (103)
James Sugrue (1,028)
Jonathan Yates (579)

Other Elite Players
Thomas Mulligan (1,591) – U.S. University of Oregon, Freshman

5 Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
Colin Fairweather, John Ross Galbraith, Stuart Grehan, Kevin Le Blanc and Conor O’Rourke (5).

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SCOTLAND

Men’s Squad
Darren Howie (492)
Sam Locke (509)
Jamie Stewart (120) – U.S. Missouri  University, Freshman
Eric McIntosh (404) – U.S. Northwestern University, Freshman
Ryan Lumsden (132) – U.S. Northwestern University, Junior
Matthew Clark (436)
Calum Fyfe (131)
Sandy Scott (110) – U.S. Texas Tech University, Sophomore
Euan Walker (266)

Other Elite Players
Rory Franssen (314) – U.S. Missouri University, Sophomore

Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
Liam Johnston, Chris Maclean, Robert MacIntyre, Craig Ross and Connor Syme. Craig Howie (49) is also expected to turn Pro shortly (6).

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WALES

National Performance Programme
Ben Chamberlain
Gaelen Trew – U.S. Florida Institute of Technology, Junior
Luke Harries – U.S. Lincoln Memorial University, Freshman
Tim Harry

National Support Programme
Jake Hapgood
Kyle Harman
Matt Harris
Lee Jones
Llew Matthews
Lewys Sanges

Players Who Have Recently Turned Pro
David Boote, Jack Davidson, Joshua Davies, Owen Edwards and Evan Griffith (5).

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

European Tour Q-School – 2017 Final Stage Results

16th November 2017

Sam HORSFIELD (21) won the 2017 Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Tarragona, Spain.

The Florida-based Englishman was simply too good for Lumine’s Hills and Lakes courses and for that matter the rest of the field.

His final -27 score, with all six rounds in the 60’s and a best of the day final round of 63 (-8), saw him win the 108 hole event by an impressive 8 shots.

Following in the footsteps of Nathan KIMSEY last year he becomes the second player in a row and the third in total to come through all three stages of Q-School and win.

Horsfield left the University of Florida in May 2017 after his sophomore year had concluded. He had enjoyed a superb freshman year in US College golf in 2015/16 but had been inconsistent in this his second year, distracted by trialling equipment ahead of his move into the paid ranks.

A former amateur world number 1 and arguably Britain’s strongest golfing prospect in the last few years this victory should come as no surprise to anyone.

After a few starts on the PGA Tour Sam chose to try his hand in Europe this summer and received invitations to three late season tournaments. He made the cut at both the Made in Denmark (T49 -3) and Portugal Masters (T59 -4) but missed out at the KLM Open (T99 +3). In summary a steady if unspectacular start to his pro career.

His 2017 European Tour year to date earnings of €12,800 have now been more than doubled by the Final Q-School winner’s cheque of €16,000.

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Sam Horsfield – Winner of the European Tour’s 2017 Q-School (Photo: @hr59sam)

Connor SYME (22) finished tied 9th on -17, continuing his seamless transition over the last 2 months from amateur golf and the 2017 Walker Cup match to the professional game.

Jonathan THOMSON (21) finished tied 18th on -14 capping a great season for the Yorkshireman. He finished 9th on the PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit and also showed he belonged on the European Tour with strong performances at both the D+D REAL Czech Masters (T54) and Portugal Masters (T25).

It was also good to see Gavin MOYNIHAN (23) progress. The Irishman, who played in both the 2013 and 2015 Walker Cups finished tied 25th on -13. After finishing 19th on the Challenge Tour’s 2017 Order of Merit he has clearly taken another important step forward this week.

English pair James HEATH and Ben EVANS should also be congratulated too, having fought their way into the Top 25 and ties on the final day. They both shot 66 (-5) when it mattered most in Round 6.

Horsfield, and the other players who finished in the top 25 and tied for 25th place, can now look forward to 2018 with confidence and the foundation of Category 17 and 5 cards for the European Tour and Challenge Tour respectively.

156 golfers started out in the Final Stage marathon with 49 from Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) – 31.4% of the field.

After a 72 holes cut, following two rounds on each of Lumine’s courses, 74 players remained representing those that had finished 70th and tied.

27 GB&I players made the cut with 12 going on to achieve 2018 European Tour Category 17 playing privileges. In total 33 players finished in the Top 25 and tied places.

Here is a summary of the GB&I results showing each player’s Q-School entry point, finishing place and score as well as their 2018 European Tour (ET) and Challenge Tour (CT) categories: –

Results

Click here to view the European Tour’s – Lumine Final Stage Results

Top 25 – ET cat. 17 / CT cat. 5

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) – First Stage  1st (-27)
Charlie FORD (ENG) – Final Stage  T2 (-19)
Mark FOSTER (ENG) – Second Stage  T9 (-17)
Connor SYME (SCO) – Second Stage  T9 (-17)
Laurie CANTER (ENG) – Second Stage  T12 (-16)
Ross MCGOWAN (ENG) – Final Stage  T15 (-15)
James HEATH (ENG) – Final Stage  T18 (-14)
Jonathan THOMSON (ENG) – First Stage  T18 (-14)
Matthew BALDWIN (ENG) – Second Stage  T18 (-14)
Ben EVANS (ENG) – Final Stage  T25 (-13)
Gavin MOYNIHAN (IRE) – Final Stage  T25 (-13)
Matthew NIXON (ENG) – Final Stage  T25 (-13)

72 Hole Cut Made (Top 70 and Ties) – ET cat. 22 / CT cat. 9

Marcus ARMITAGE (ENG) – Second Stage  T34 (-12)
Tom MURRAY (ENG) – Final Stage  T37 (-11)
Chris LLOYD (ENG) – Second Stage  T37 (-11)
Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) – Second Stage  T37 (-11)
David LAW (SCO) – Second Stage  T42 (-10)
Tom LEWIS (ENG) – Final Stage  T42 (-10)
Paul HOWARD (ENG) – Final Stage  T42 (-10)
Nathan KIMSEY (ENG) – Final Stage  T50 (-9)
Scott HENRY (SCO) – Second Stage  T54 (-8)
Steve WEBSTER (ENG) – Final Stage  T54 (-8)
Stuart MANLEY (WAL) – Second Stage  T58 (-7)
Steven TILEY (ENG) – Second Stage  T58 (-7)
Ruaidhri MCGEE (IRE) – Second Stage  T62 (-6)
Simon KHAN (ENG) – Final Stage  T68 (-2)
Paul MADDY (ENG) – Second Stage  T68 (-2)

Amateurs
Adri ARNAUS (ESP) – First Stage  T65 (-5)  – Adri turned pro after the 4th round
Kim KOIVU (FIN) – First Stage  T68 (-2)

Missed Cut – CT cat. 15 (72 holes played)

Ewen FERGUSON (SCO) – Second Stage  T75 (-1)
Ross KELLETT (SCO) – Second Stage  T75 (-1)
Jamie RUTHERFORD (ENG) – Second Stage  T82 (Ev)
Matt FORD (ENG) – Final Stage  T82 (Ev)
Grant FORREST (SCO) – Final Stage  T82 (Ev)
Oliver WILSON (ENG) – Final Stage  T82 (Ev)
Joe DEAN (ENG) – First Stage  T94 (+1)
Toby TREE (ENG) – Second Stage  T94 (+1)
Cormac SHARVIN (N.I.) – Second Stage  T94 (+1)
John PARRY (ENG) – Second Stage  T103 (+2)
Scott GREGORY (ENG) – Second Stage  T103 (+2)
Max ORRIN (ENG) – Second Stage  T112 (+3)
Simon DYSON (ENG) – Final Stage  T112 (+3)
Dan BROWN (ENG) – First Stage  T112 (+3)
Dermot MCELROY (N.I.) – First Stage  T121 (+5)
Chris DOAK (SCO) – Second Stage  T121 (+5)
Richard MCEVOY (ENG) – Final Stage  T121 (+5)
Sam HUTSBY (ENG) – Second Stage  T132 (+7)
Rhys ENOCH (WAL) – Second Stage  T136 (+8)
Robert DINWIDDIE (ENG) – Second Stage  T144 (+11)
Duncan STEWART (SCO) – Final Stage  T147 (+13)
Garrick PORTEOUS (ENG) – Final Stage  WD (+11, after 3 rounds)

Amateurs
Oliver GILLBERG (SWE) – First Stage  T94 (+1)

European Tour QS

FINAL STAGE Q-SCHOOL REWARDS

At the conclusion of play the leading 25 players (and ties) were eligible for Category 17 membership of the European Tour and Category 5 membership of the Challenge Tour for the 2018 season.

With regard to Category 17 the European Tour will be adopting a new structure in 2018. The Top 10 Q-School finishers will be ranked first, followed by those players who finished 101st-110th in the 2017 Race To Dubai and finally the 11th-25th Q-School leading finishers.

The leading 70 players (and ties) who made the 72-hole cut will be handed Category 22 membership of the European Tour and Category 9 membership of the Challenge Tour.

Those who missed the cut will receive Category 15 membership of the Challenge Tour.

The final Q-School finishing positions are important when it comes to determining each player’s standing in each Category and as such their actual playing opportunities next season.

The 2017 Final Q-School has a total prize fund of €150,000. The winner receives €16,000 with those finishing in the Top 25 (and ties) reducing amounts down to €1,860.

FINAL STAGE Q-SCHOOL BACKGROUND

The competition was played over 108 holes on Lumine’s Lakes (6,909 yards, par 71) and Hills (6,975 yards, par 72) Courses.

Whilst Lumine’s Lakes Course has hosted one of the Second Stage events for some time this is the first time the Club has been used for Final Stage Qualifying. The PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona has hosted the Finals for the last 9 years.

Lumine Beach & Golf Club – 18th hole, Hills Course (Photo: http://www.lumine.com)

70 players were exempted into the Q-School process at the Final Stage. Amongst this number are many experienced pros and previous European Tour winners. If reaching this Stage isn’t hard enough make no mistake the bar is once again raised at the Finals.

Eight First Stage and four Second Stage events were completed in recent months in the 2017 Q-School series. 176 players progressed from the former to Second Stage whilst 86 advanced from the latter to the Finals.

For a recap on these 2017 Q-School competitions please read my earlier articles: –

European Tour Q-School – 2017 First Stage Preview & Results

European Tour Q-School – 2017 Second Stage Preview & Results

Last year England’s Nathan KIMSEY (-13) won the Final Stage of the European Tour’s Qualifying School series at the PGA Catalunya Resort.

Nathan was just the second player to come right through from First Stage to win Q-School outright.

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Nathan Kimsey – Winner of the European Tour’s 2016 Q-School (Photo: @ETQSchool)

Sadly Nathan wasn’t able to retain his European Tour card during the 2017 season and as you can see above finished tied 50th this week.

In fact just three players retained their playing status from the 30 2016 Q-School graduates. These were Eddie PEPPERELL (ENG), Edoardo MOLINARI (ITA) – who finished 44th and 66th on the Race To Dubai regular season standings – and Ashley CHESTERS (ENG), who was 110th but 8th on the Access List.

The introduction of the Rolex Series and the ever rising standard of play means that making the most of a good finish at Q-School is unquestionably getting harder each year.

Well done to the 33 2017 Q-School graduates. Enjoy your achievements this week and best wishes for next season.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Harold Hilton

16th November 2017

Harold Hilton was born on 12th January 1869 in West Kirby, near Liverpool in England’s North West.

Following in the footsteps of his father he joined the nearby Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake when he was 8 years old. The Club, which received its patronage in 1871, is the one he was associated with all of his life and where his collection of medals are still proudly displayed to this day.

Harold Hilton (Photo: Royal Liverpool Golf Club)

It was fellow Hoylake junior member Willie More that helped him most in his formative years, encouraging him to watch better players and practice as much as he possibly could. He was of course fortunate that Johnny Ball, 8 years older than him and arguably Britain’s greatest ever amateur, was a fellow member of Royal Liverpool and clearly someone to aspire to and learn from.

Harold Hilton was one of the very best players for the 25 years between 1890 and 1915. Freddie Tait was the only player of this era he rarely got the better of. Whilst Hilton did beat Tait in stroke play he never beat him in a match play game and this drew a lot of comment at the time. Tait to a lesser degree had the same problem with Ball in match play.

His outstanding golfing achievement was winning both the 1911 Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship. He was the first player to complete this double and he did so at the age of 42. Until Matthew Fitzpatrick won in 2013 Hilton had been the last Englishman to win the U.S. Amateur.

The 1911 U.S. Amateur has gone down in history for two reasons; firstly the manner of the victory and secondly the impact it had on the growth of the game in the United States.

Harold Hilton at Apawamis CC (Photo: The Ron Watts Collection)

The 1911 U.S. Amateur took place at Apawamis Country Club in Rye, New York State. Hilton won the stroke play by two shots (76+74=150) leading 32 qualifiers into the match play stage. He then reached the 36 hole Final where he faced Brooklyn-born Fred Herreshoff (24). At lunch Hilton led 4Up and he quickly extended this to 6Up early in the afternoon round. Herreshoff fought back bravely and managed to draw level after 34-holes. The American had chances to win on both of the final two holes but putts just missed for him as Hilton struggled for halves.

Playing their 37th hole (the par 4 1st), with both players having driven into the fairway, Hilton sliced his 3-wood approach. What happened next remains uncertain. The ball either hit the rocky outcrop to the right of the green (in those days surrounded by trees and rough) or benefitted from a kind bounce on the slope before it. Either way from looking dead off the club face it ended up in the middle of the green 20 feet from the hole. In shock Herreshoff – no doubt thinking he had one hand on the trophy just moments earlier – topped his own approach short and then proceeded to take three more to get down. Despite his experience Hilton nervously two-putted for par, in the end having to hole a 3 footer to secure the Havemeyer Trophy.

Herbert Warren Wind described the ‘rock shot’ many years later in his The Story of American Golf (1948) as “the most discussed single shot ever played in an American tournament.” He went on to explain why it had motivated the next generation of U.S. golfers so much: “Americans were not at all pleased over the idea that a foreigner had carried one of our championship cups out of the country, and that men who had never cared about golf before now wanted to know the real inside story.”

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Hilton’s Rock on the 1st Hole of Apawamis CC in 2015
(Photos: Dave Donelson, Westchester Magazine)

In total Harold Hilton won four Amateur Championships:-
1900 – at Royal St. George’s GC v. James Robb SCO (8&7)
1901 – at St. Andrews v. John L. Low SCO (1 Up)
1911 – at Prestwick v. Edward Lassen ENG (4&3)
1913 – at St. Andrews v. Robert Harris SCO (6&5)

It was perhaps no coincidence that his success in the Amateur started in 1900, the first year that both Tait (who had been killed that February in the Second Boer War) and Ball (who was still serving in South Africa) were both absent.

Hilton also lost three Amateur Finals; in 1891 to John Laidlay (19th hole), 1892 to Johnny Ball (3&2) and 1896 to Freddie Tait (8&7).

He achieved an impressive Won 95, Lost 29 (76.6%) overall Amateur Championship record. Between 1887 and 1927, he appropriately started and finished at Royal Liverpool, he played more Championships (33) and matches (124) than anyone else has in history. World War I deprived him of 5 Amateurs between 1916-1919 too.

Harold Hilton also won the Open Championship in 1892 (Muirfield, 305 – 66 entrants) and 1897 (Royal Liverpool, 314 – 86 entrants). The 1892 Open was the first played over 72 holes.

Just Johnny Ball (the first to do so in 1890), Bobby Jones (1926, 1927 & 1930) and Hilton have achieved this feat as amateurs. All three were members of Royal Liverpool GC.

It is in some respects surprising that Hilton won both of his Opens before he had secured an Amateur Championship but he was a renowned stroke player. In total he played in 20 Open’s between 1891 and 1914.

It’s worth noting that Hilton also finished tied third in the 1911 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s with Sandy Herd, one shot behind Harry Vardon, who won the subsequent play-off, and Arnaud Massy. What a hat trick of wins that would have been !

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Harold Hilton’s Medals at Royal Liverpool GC (Photo: GolfBible)

It is easy to forget that many equipment changes took place around the the turn of the century. Hilton dealt reasonably well with the transition, coping better than many of his peers with new clubs such as the Driver and the rubber-cored Haskell ball which replaced the old gutta-percha one. Interestingly of the seven Majors Hilton won the first four saw him use the more exacting gutty whilst the final three were with the easier rubber-core ball.

He also won the St. George’s Challenge Cup in 1893 and 1894, a major amateur competition back in the day.

He won the Irish Open Amateur Championship three years in a row and in some style too. In 1900 he beat S.H. Fry 11&9 at Newcastle, in 1901 P. Dowie 6&5 at Dollymount and in 1902 W.H. Hamilton 5&4 at Portrush.

In October 1910 Hilton (41) played Miss Cecil Leitch (19), a future women’s champion golfer, in a two day 72 hole exhibition match at Walton Heath and Sunningdale. Hilton had publically said he or for that matter any other first class male golfer could give 9 shots to an equivalent women over 18 holes. The Ladies’ Field magazine wanting to see if he could deliver on his word arranged the match and the publicity drew large crowds to the famous courses. Helped by the 18 shots she received Leitch ended up winning 2&1 but Hilton had largely made his point particularly as had been 2 Up after the first day’s play at Walton Heath.

Hilton’s last major win came in 1914 when he won the Golf Illustrated Gold Vase at Sunningdale with a 151 total. As one of the organisers of this event he paired himself with Francis Ouimet, the reigning U.S. Open champion, and proceeded to comprehensively out play him over the 36 holes.

Hilton’s swing was ungainly and notable for the fact he started by moving onto his toes before then very noticeably re-gripping the club at the point of transition. He almost always played whilst smoking too although it is said he limited himself to 50 cigarettes a day. However, like all the greats he practiced hard and honed his style. As he said himself “(I) served a long apprenticeship in the art of learning how to control the club in the upward swing.”

As Robert Harris, the runner-up in the 1913 Amateur, said: “His cap used to fall off his head at the end of full swings, as if jerked off, but this did not indicate if the swing was pure if unduly forceful. He was a small man with a powerful physique; it was exhilarating to watch his perky walk between shots. His assiduity was his greatness.”

Harold Hilton’s Swing (Photo: ingolfwetrust.com)

Hilton also spent a lot of time thinking about the mental side of the game. He believed it was “possible to develop the habit of concentration” and believed “that the majority of good match players are inclined to be very silent men” and tend to be those that play the game “without allowing any outside influence to affect them in any way whatever.”

Hilton was also a member of West Lancashire Golf Club and was this club’s first paid Secretary in the early 1900’s. He was also Secretary of Ashford Manor Golf Club later in his life.

In 1912 he played a leading role in designing the highly regarded Old Course at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset. The 16th hole is still named ‘Hilton’s’ in memory of his involvement with the Club.

He turned his hand to writing about the sport as he came to the end of his playing career. As well as a frequent contributor he was the first editor of Golf Monthly magazine (from 1911) before taking on the same role at Golf Illustrated, then a weekly paper (from 1913).

He wrote three books My Golfing Reminiscences (1907), The Royal and Ancient Game of Golf (with Garden C. Smith, 1912) and Modern Golf (1913). The fact that he wrote his autobiography in 1907 is probably down to opportunity but also reveals that at 38 he probably thought his best playing days were behind him. It was in 1903 that he also started to suffer with rheumatism and sciatica. His confidence in his own game was such that he chose not to even enter The Open in 1906, 1907 (at Hoylake), 1908 or 1910. History of course shows how wrong he was to nearly retire from competitive golf.

‘Hoylake’ – the chain smoking Harold Hilton depicted by ‘Spy’ (Sir Leslie Ward)

Hilton died aged 73 on 5th May 1942 at his home in Westcote, near Stow on the Wold in Gloucestershire. He had a heart attack but had been suffering with Parkinson’s Disease for some time prior to this.

Harold Hilton was admitted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the game.

In 1992 John L.B. Garcia wrote Harold Hilton His Golfing Life and Times. It was published in a limited edition of 750 copies by Grant Books.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club inaugurated the Harold Hilton Medal for amateur golfers over the age of 30 in 1997 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of their member’s famous home Open Championship victory. It is played in early June annually.

The Harold Hilton Medal (Photo: Royal Liverpool Golf Club)

Whilst small in stature, he was just 5 foot 6 inches tall, Harold Hilton is unquestionably one of the giants in the history of British golf.

It is amazing that Royal Liverpool produced first Johnny Ball and then just a short while afterwards Harold Hilton, two of the leading players of the time and looking back a 100 years later two of the biggest names in the history of amateur golf.

ME.

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

European Tour Q-School – 2017 Second Stage Preview & Results

October / November 2017

The Second Stage QSchool Results can be found at the bottom of this article.

The Second Stage of the European Tour’s Qualifying School started on Friday 3rd November at four venues in Spain.

The 72 hole competitions were all to be played over four days with no cut. However, following strong winds Sunday’s Round 3 at the Panoramica course was postponed. This Qualifier therefore finished on Tuesday, a day later than the others.

The fields included the 176 players that qualified from the eight First Stage events.

For a recap on the First Stage competitions and specifically on the progress of the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateurs and new professionals please read my earlier article – European Tour Q-School – 2017 First Stage Preview & Results

The qualifiers were joined by those players who were exempt from First Stage due to their performances on the 2017 European Tour, Challenge Tour and other feeder / satellite tours.

Exemptions were also given to the leading 5 entrants as at 23rd August 2017 to a limit of 15th place in the World Amateur Golf Ranking provided that they had applied to enter the First Stage by this date. In 2017 this rule benefited Scott GREGORY (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) [all of whom qualified this week for Final Stage].

86 players progressed to the Final Stage of Qualifying School. The Panoramica site was originally scheduled to have 21 qualifiers but for unknown reasons 22 players were allowed through. With the final round delayed perhaps time ran out for the ‘3 for 4’ play off that should have taken place ? Sudden death play-offs were required and used at the three other Second Stage qualifying sites where play concluded on Monday.

This year the Final Stage competition is being played at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain between the 11th and 16th November. The Lakes and Hills courses will both be used.

This should be beneficial to the less experienced players who make the latter stage as this represents a new venue for the six round marathon, albeit the Lakes has hosted one of the Second Stage events for some time. You will recall that prior to 2017 PGA Catalunya Resort had been used for Final Stage for many years.

The leading 25 players (and ties) from the 156 that will contest Final Stage will be eligible for Category 17 membership of the European Tour and Category 5 membership of the Challenge Tour for the 2017/18 season. The leading 70 players (and ties) who make the 72-hole cut will obtain Category 22 membership of the European Tour and Category 9 membership of the Challenge Tour. Those who miss the cut receive Category 15 membership of the Challenge Tour.

European Tour QS

Here are the links to the European Tour’s Q-School Second Stage results webpages as well as my summaries of which GB&I players have and have not qualified this week: –

1. Desert Springs Golf Club, Almería – 6,745 yards, Par 72

Click here for the full – Desert Springs Results

There were 76 entries at Desert Springs with 21 from GB&I (26%).

QUALIFIED – 22 players at -8 or better, including

Matthew BALDWIN (ENG)  1st (-17)
Scott GREGORY (ENG)  T4 (-12)
Max ORRIN (ENG)  T4 (-12)
Cormac SHARVIN (N.I.)  T7 (-11)
Chris LLOYD (ENG)  T10 (-10)
Robert MACINTYRE (SCO)  T13 (-9)
Scott HENRY (SCO)  T13 (-9)
Sam HORSFIELD (ENG)  T18 (-8) – via a 5 from 6 play off.

DID NOT QUALIFY (selected)

Jonathan CALDWELL (N.I.)  T24 (-7)
Daniel YOUNG (SCO)  T24 (-7)
James ALLAN (ENG)  T37 (-4)
Liam JOHNSTON (SCO)  T37 (-4)
Jamie CLARE (ENG)  T51 (Ev)
Joey LAMB (ENG) WD (+8 after 36 holes)

2. Campo de Golf El Saler, Valencia – 7,052 yards, Par 72

Click here for the full – El Saler Results

There were 74 entries at El Saler with 25 from GB&I (34%).

QUALIFIED – 21 players at +1 or better, including

Ewen FERGUSON (SCO)  T2 (-10)
Laurie CANTER (ENG)  T2 (-10)
Dan BROWN (ENG)  5th (-5)
Ross KELLETT (SCO)  T6 (-3)
Stuart MANLEY (WAL)  T6 (-3)
Jamie RUTHERFORD (ENG)  T8 (-2)
Rhys ENOCH (WAL)  T10 (-1)
Steven TILEY (ENG)  T10 (-1)
Dermot MCELROY (N.I.)  T13 (Ev)
Jonathan THOMSON (ENG)  T17 (+1) – via a 5 from 6 play off.

DID NOT QUALIFY (selected)

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG)  T23 (+2)
Jamie DICK (ENG)  T57 (+13)
Craig ROSS (SCO)  62nd (+15)

3. Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Alicante – 6,974 yards, Par 71

Click here for the full – Las Colinas Results

There were 73 entries at Las Colinas with 23 from GB&I (32%).

QUALIFIED – 21 players at -3 or better, including

David LAW (SCO)  T3 (-15)
Toby TREE (ENG)  5th (-14)
Paul MADDY (ENG)  T6 (-13)
Marcus ARMITAGE (ENG)  9th (-10)
Connor SYME (SCO)  T10 (-9)
Chris DOAK (SCO)  13th (-7)
John PARRY (ENG)  T14 (-6)

DID NOT QUALIFY (selected)

David BOOTE (WAL)  T20 (-3) – via 2 from 10 play off.
Colin FAIRWEATHER (N.I.)  T30 (-2)
Josh HILLEARD AM (ENG)  T46 (+3)
JR GALBRAITH (IRE)  60th (+11)
Jack DAVIDSON (WAL)  WD (+5 after 3 rounds)
Alfie PLANT (ENG)  WD (+7 after 3 rounds)

4. Panoramica Golf & Sport Resort, Castellón – 7,030 yards, Par 72 

Click here for the full – Panoramica Results

There were 74 entries at Panoramica with 26 from GB&I (35%).

QUALIFIED – 22 Players on -7 or better, including

Mark FOSTER (ENG)  T4 (-13)
Ruaidhri MCGEE (IRE)  T6 (-12)
Robert DINWIDDIE (ENG)  8th (-11)
Joe DEAN (ENG)  T17 (-8)
Sam HUTSBY (ENG)  T19 (-7)

DID NOT QUALIFY (selected)

Henry SMART (ENG)  T23 (-6)
Gary HURLEY (IRE)  T23 (-6)
Jordan WRISDALE (ENG)  T23 (-6)
Nick MARSH (ENG)  T39 (-3)
Henry SHERIDAN-MILLS (ENG)  T47 (Ev)
Craig HOWIE AM (SCO)  T47 (Ev)
Jack MCDONALD (SCO)  T52 (+1)

So 30 GB&I players, representing 31.5% of the 95 that entered Second Stage, have made it through to Final Stage. Of course more GB&I players, those with stronger exemptions, will now enter the fray which starts again this coming Saturday.

Sadly the two remaining GB&I amateurs in the field, Josh HILLEARD (ENG) and Craig HOWIE (SCO) both missed out.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Does Anyone Read Golf Books ?

10th October 2017

Does anyone read golf books anymore – and if so what ?

These questions came in to my mind after a sequence of surprising events last week.

It all started when I read a review of a book in The Sunday Times on 1st October. I then walked into Foyles in Birmingham a few days later and purchased a copy, paying the full cover price of £14.99. If this wasn’t odd enough I then proceeded to read all 310 pages within a matter of days.

This was most unusual for me in that I rarely touch a newspaper nowadays, almost never pay the full price for a book and rarely read let alone finish one so quickly. I also can’t remember the last time I read a book which wasn’t about golf.

The book in question was ‘The Diary Of A Bookseller’ by Shaun Bythell.

Shaun is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown which for those of you who don’t know is a ‘book town’ in Galloway, south west Scotland (that’s the bit below Trump Turnberry on the golf map). It is a well known outlet in the book trade as it is Scotland’s largest second hand bookshop. As the title suggests the book tells the story of Shaun’s life in the shop. The actual period he covers here being the 12 months between February 2014 and  January 2015.

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Given what I have already said you won’t be surprised to learn that I thoroughly enjoyed Shaun’s stories of life in the book trade. I recommend it to you.

I like collecting things and golf has proven to be a fertile ground for such endeavours over many years. It first started for me with cigarette cards and moved onto programmes. It’s now books, hence why I decided to buy and read Shaun’s book.

I have always liked books even though I wouldn’t consider myself a great reader of them. It was therefore only a matter of time before I started to accumulate golf books. I simply couldn’t stop myself.

In the early pages of The Diary Of A Bookseller Shaun tells a story which got me thinking about golf books even more. The salient bits are quoted below: –

Friday 28th February

This morning I went to Callum’s to collect thirty boxes I’d been storing in his garage. This largely consists of a collection of 500 books on golf which I have been trying to get rid of for over a year……The books in his garage were from a collection that I bought from a house in Manchester last year. I didn’t have space on the shelves to put it out, and the warehouse was full, so when Callum offered his garage as a temporary store, I gratefully accepted.

Thursday 6th March

In the morning I unloaded the boxes of books about golf that I picked up from Callum’s on Saturday. I’ve tried to sell them on eBay as a job lot twice, but with no luck, so I will probably put them into auction in Dumfries once I have checked whether there’s anything in there that’s worth listing online.

I do remember seeing this listing on eBay and it was a reasonable collection at a fair price. I did think about bidding but recall being put off by the fact I already had some of them and that their location was a little too remote for me (I recall ‘Dumfries’ was listed). I would have wanted to personally inspect them before paying out and simply couldn’t be bothered to drive up to Scotland to do so. I assume selling big collections of any genre is difficult so I am not surprised that Shaun found 500 books on golf hard to pass on. Unfortunately he doesn’t go on say what actually happened to them or how much he ultimately sold the collection for.

Nevertheless his story got me thinking as I continued to read the book. When was the last time someone told me about or recommended a golf book to me ? Is the literature of golf poorer than other sports ? Why does cricket seem to have book after book published whilst golf appears to languish ?

Last week a second hand bookseller said to me at her counter: ‘I don’t sell many golf books – maybe all the golfers are too busy practicing to read ?’ Perhaps there is some truth in this – after all golf is one of the few sports that can be played alone – but to be honest I doubt it.

In recent years I have built up a reasonable collection – at least in my eyes – of around 800 golf books by trawling eBay and visiting charity and second hand bookshops in every destination I happen to pass through. I am careful as to how much I pay and as to the condition I will accept. I like all golf books except instructional ones, unless they are antiquarian or rare to use trade parlance.

However, I have to admit that I have struggled to find or make the time to read as many of these books as I should have done. I have probably read less than 20 cover to cover. I hope to get to them all eventually but know the reality is I never will.

I guess as the famous American golf book collector Joseph S.F. Murdoch once said ‘the joy of collecting goes beyond the great pleasure of reading the text’.

I have often dreamed of a life as a specialist bricks and mortar golf book seller in my retirement even though I know there must be little or no money to be made in such a pursuit (even online). I am sure I would buy more books than I would sell if my ambitions were realised.

I like the pursuit of golf books and I like surrounding myself with them – even though my study now seems to have a permanent musty smell (which I believe to be solely book related) – but the time and effort required to read them just seems to elude me.

So the reason for mentioning this is to establish: –

1) how rare my golf book buying (but not reading) affliction is and whether I should seek treatment for it ?

2) whether you still read golf books ?; and

3) if so which ones you enjoy most ?

All replies will be gratefully received in the Comments section below or via Twitter (which come to think of it is the main reason why I struggle to find the time to read newspapers and books anymore).

ME.

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

European Tour Q-School – 2017 First Stage Preview & Results

September / October 2017

The First Stage QSchool Results can be found at the bottom of this article.

The 2017 European Tour Qualifying School started on Tuesday 12th September.

A new Far East First Stage Qualifying competition had been scheduled to be played at Saujana G&CC in Malaysia on 5th September. However, the Tour cancelled this on 23rd August due to a lack of interest.

The First Qualifying Stage consisted of eight separate 72-hole events which were split into four Sections, A, B, C and D. The final Section D events of the series came to a conclusion on 6th October.

There were 54-hole cuts at each of these Qualifiers. Only those players who were within 7 shots of the final allocated qualifying place at this point played the final rounds.

2017 saw a record First Stage entry with a total of 838 competitors signing up. 45 countries were represented with England contributing the most with 211 players.

The leading five Q-School entrants as at 23rd August 2017, up to a limit of 15th place, in the World Amateur Golf Rankings were exempted into the Second Stage. This year Scott GREGORY (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) were therefore not required to contest the First Stage.

The European Tour Q-School entrance fee is €1,800. Each First Stage Qualifier has a prize fund of €5,000 with the winner being allocated €1,800.

At the end of the series 176 players were allocated places in Second Stage. That’s 21% of the entries received.

The Second Qualifying Stage consists of four separate 72-hole events that will be played concurrently in Spain on 3rd-6th November 2017.

The Final Qualifying Stage consists of 108 holes at Lumine GC which has taken over from PGA Catalunya Resort this year. This competition will be played on 11th-16th November 2017.

As in previous years I am following the Q-School series, specifically focussing on the amateur and recently turned pro entries from Great Britain & Ireland.

Check out all the First Stage results below: –

European Tour QS

FIRST QUALIFYING STAGE RESULTS

SECTION D – BOGOGNO GOLF CLUB, ITALY (3-6 October)

QUALIFIED (24 players at -7 or better)

No GB&I AM / new PRO qualifiers

DID NOT QUALIFY

Richard MANSELL (ENG)  T25 (-6)
Seb CROOKALL-NIXON (ENG)  T83 MC
Owen EDWARDS (WAL)  T96 MC

Click here for the full – Bogogno Q-School Results

SECTION D – FRILFORD HEATH GC, ENGLAND (3-6 October)

QUALIFIED (20 players at -2 or better)

Joe DEAN (ENG)  3rd (-7)
Colin FAIRWEATHER (NI)  T5 (-4)
David BOOTE (WAL)  T10 (-3)
Sam HORSFIELD (ENG)  T10 (-3)
Dermot MCELROY (IRE)  T10 (-3)
Jonathan THOMSON (ENG)  T19 (-2)
Henry SHERIDAN-MILLS (ENG)  T19 (-2)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) AM  T21 (-1)
Conor O’ROURKE (IRE)  T21 (-1)
Paul KINNEAR (ENG)  T24 (Ev)
Adam CHAPMAN (ENG)  T29 (+1)
Alex STUBBS (ENG) AM  T29 (+1)
Billy SPOONER (ENG)  T37 (+3)
Craig LAWRIE (SCO)  T42 (+4)
Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) AM  T42 (+4)
Travis SMYTH (AUS) AM  T49 (+5)
Dan BROWN (ENG) AM  T58 (+7)
Tomasz ANDERSON (ENG)  T65 MC
Cameron MORALEE (RSA) AM  T65 MC
Stuart GREHAN (IRE)  T65 MC
Luke TURBETT AM  T71 MC
Patrick RUFF (ENG)  T73 MC
Ben AMOR (ENG)  T79 MC
Freddie SHERIDAN-MILLS (ENG)  T92 MC
Kevin LE BLANC (IRE)  97th MC

Click here for the full – Frilford Heath Q-School Results

_________________________________________

SECTION C – HARDELOT, FRANCE (26-29 September)

QUALIFIED (21 players at -6 or better)

No GB&I AM / new Pro qualifiers

DID NOT QUALIFY

Ben ROBINSON (ENG)  T64 MC
Callum MACKAY (ENG) AM  T92 MC

Click here for the full – Hardelot Q-School Results

SECTION C – RIBAGOLFE, PORTUGAL (26-29 September)

QUALIFIED (24 players at -7 or better)

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG)  T3 (-12)
Jack DAVIDSON (WAL)   T9 (-10) 
Alfie PLANT (ENG)  T15 (-8)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Robin DAWSON (WAL) AM  T33 (-3)
Albert VENTER (RSA)  T51 (+2)
Jamie BOWER (ENG)  T78 MC

Click here for the full – Ribagolfe Q-School Results

_________________________________________

SECTION B – STOKE BY NAYLAND GOLF & SPA, ENGLAND (19-22 September)

QUALIFIED (20 players at -3 or better)

Dan BROWN (Yorkshire, ENG)  5th (-7)
Josh HILLEARD (ENG) AM  T6 (-6)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Ashton TURNER (ENG)  T21 (-2)
Will ENEFER (ENG)  T33 (+1)
James WALKER (ENG) AM  T33 (+1)
Evan GRIFFITH (WAL)  T43 (+3)
Jay BEISSER (ENG) AM  T45 (+4)
Oliver CLARKE (ENG)  T49 (+5)
Tom GANDY (IOM)  T52 (+6)
Jack YULE (ENG) AM  T60 (+10)
Lewis PEARCE (ENG) AM  T72 MC
Jordan FORSTER (ENG) AM  T84 MC
Delon HAU (ENG) AM  T94 MC

Click here for the full – Stoke By Nayland Q-School Results

SECTION B – EBREICHSDORF GC, AUSTRIA (19-22 September)

QUALIFIED (22 players at -4 or better)

No GB&I AM / new PRO qualifiers

Click here for the full – Ebreichsdorf Q-School Results

_________________________________________

SECTION A – FLEESENSEE G&CC, GERMANY (12-15 September)

QUALIFIED (23 players at -1 or better)

Craig ROSS (SCO)  T2 (-9)

Click here for the – Fleesensee Q-School Results

SECTION A – ROXBURGHE HOTEL & GC, SCOTLAND (12-15 September)

QUALIFIED (22 players at -5 or better)

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) AM  T4 (-9)
Craig HOWIE (SCO) AM  T8 (-7)
Jamie CLARE (ENG) AM  T8 (-7)
JR GALBRAITH (IRE) AM  T11 (-6)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Will WHITEOAK (ENG)  T27 (-3)
Sean TOWNDROW (ENG)  T47 (+2)
George BLOOR (ENG) AM  T76 MC
Tom DOLAN (ENG) AM  T76 MC
Chris MACLEAN (SCO) AM  T82 MC
Bradley MOORE (ENG)  T100 MC
Marco PENGE (ENG)  RETIRED AFTER RD 1 MC

Click here for the – Roxburghe Q-School Results

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.