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 Match Play Rd 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.
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 Match Play Rd 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.) and appears to quickly taking a liking to 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.
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. Sloan 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.
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 Match Play Rd 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.
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).
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 Match Play Rd 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).
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.
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.
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.
Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Getty Images)
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.
Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Photo: Golf Bible)
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.