The Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

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.

img_7725Harry Ellis of Florida State University (Photo: Ross Obley / seminoles.com)

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.

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. 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.

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 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.

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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 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).

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.

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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.

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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:-

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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

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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

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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.

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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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The Scottish Mens Open Stroke Play Championship – 2017 Preview & Results

4th June 2017 – Rounds 3 and 4 Report

Click here to view the – Scottish Open SP Results

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) shot rounds of 69 and 71 on the final day to win the Carrick Neill Scottish Men’s Open Championship. His -9 total at the tough Western Gailes course was good enough for a two shot victory.

Liam was the first home winner since Wallace Booth in 2008. Following on from his African Amateur win earlier this year he must now be a certainty for the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Liam Johnston (Photo: Kenny Smith / Scottish Golf)

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) continued his superb run off form over the last 6 weeks by securing second place on -7. Matthew has now recorded successive Top 5’s in the Irish Open Amateur, Brabazon Trophy and Scottish Open Amateur.

Craig HOWIE (SCO) and David MICHELUZZI (AUS) shared third place on -5 as both stumbled a little in the final round as the wind picked up.

Connor SYME (SCO) finished 5th on -4 confirming his status as GB&I’s No. 1 amateur golfer.

Clément CHARMASSON (FRA) and Matty LAMB (ENG) shot final round 67’s to move through the field and finish tied 6th on -3.

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3rd June 2017 – Round 2 Report

Craig HOWIE (SCO) matched the best score of the week, a course record -7 64, to move nicely through the field into a share of 1st place.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and David MICHELUZZI (AUS) shot 66 and 68 respectively to make it a three way tie at the top of the leaderboard on -7.

Walker Cup squad players Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) showed good battling skills to make the cut. O’Rourke fought back from a Round 1 79 with a 65 whilst Scott followed his opening 75 with a 69.

The 36 hole cut fell at +2 with 42 players making it through to Sunday, where the final 36 holes will be played.

Amongst those to miss the cut were Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) +3, Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) +6, Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) +7, Marco STEYN (RSA) +12, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +12 and Zach MURRAY (AUS) +13.

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2nd June 2017 – Round 1 Report

Alister BALCOMBE (ENG) and Calum FYFE (SCO) shared the Round 1 lead after rounds of 64 (-7). Both players improved the course record by 1-shot.

Connor SYME (SCO) and Thomas PLUMB (ENG), who both shot 66 (-5), were in close pursuit in tied second.

In form duo Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), two of our stronger Walker Cup candidates, remained nicely in touch in tied 10th place after 69’s (-2).

Notable players with work to do to make the top 40 and ties 36 hole cut include Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 75 (+4), Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) 75 (+4), David HAGUE (ENG) 77 (+6), Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) 77 (+6), Zach MURRAY (AUS) 78 (+7), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) 79 (+8), Jamie STEWART (SCO) 79 (+8) and Marco STEYN (RSA) 80 (+9).

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31st May 2017

The 51st Scottish Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship, sponsored by Carrick Neill, starts this Friday at Western Gailes Golf Club in Ayrshire.

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Western Gailes G.C. (Photo: GolfBreaks website)

Format

This open amateur competition consists of 72 holes of stroke play.

18 holes will be played on both Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd June.

A 36 hole cut will then take place with only the leading 40 competitors and ties qualifying for the final two rounds which will be played on Sunday 4th June.

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

Field

144 competitors, all off scratch or better, will start the 2017 Championship.

The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Scottish Open Amateur Tee Times

Just 5 members of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad will be competing. These are Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Connor SYME (SCO).

Home players Barry HUME, Robert MACINTYRE and Craig ROSS are obvious omissions from this elite group.

Of course many of the other leading Scottish players will be chasing this prestigious title, including Calum FYFE, Liam JOHNSTON, Chris MACLEAN, Euan MCINTOSH, Graeme ROBERTSON and Jamie STEWART.

Other entries from the rest of GB&I that I’ll be watching closely include John-Ross GALBRAITH (IRE), David HAGUE (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) and Jonathan YATES (IRE).

There is also a strong international contingent too, most notably Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS), Garrick HIGGO (RSA), Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Pierre PINEAU (FRA), Travis SMYTH (AUS), Marco STEYN (RSA) and Albert VENTER (RSA).

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) listed the Scottish Open Amateur as it’s 23rd most important amateur competition based on the strength of it’s field.

Prizes

The Winner receives the distinctive Championship Trophy and a silver gilt medal.

Silver and bronze medals are also awarded to the runner-up and third place finisher(s). A 36-hole card count back will only be used to determine the runner up.

Western Gailes Golf Club

Surprisingly given its reputation 2017 will be the first time Western Gailes has staged the Scottish Men’s Open Amateur.

The links, like many others on the west coast of Scotland, is situated on undulating land between the railway and the sea.

The Championship course plays to 7,014 yards and a testing par of 71 as can be seen from the scorecard below.

Scorecard (Photo: Western Gailes GC website)

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast has improved as the Championship has got closer (as at 8.00am Friday 2nd June):-

Fri   1st June – Sunny / Wind 9 mph SW / Temp. Min. 16°C, Max. 10°C.
Sat  2nd June – Cloudy / Wind 10 mph SW / Temp. Min. 16°C / Max. 11°C.
Sun 3rd June – Cloudy AM, Showers PM / Wind 13 mph SW / Temp. Min. 14°C / Max. 11°C.

Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.30pm.

The 2016 Scottish Men’s Open Amateur

Australia’s Cameron JOHN (-15) won the title last year at Gullane GC (No. 1 course) in East Lothian.

Stuart GREHAN and Grant FORREST (-11) tied for second place. Craig HOWIE (-10) and Connor SYME (-9) made up the top 5.

Cameron John (Photo: Kenny Smith / Scottish Golf)

Click this link to view the 2016 Scottish Open Amateur results – Results

Past Winners

The Scottish Men’s Open Amateur was first contested in 1967 and has an impressive list of past winners. Here are some of them: –

2015 – Marco Penge (ENG)
2014 – Gavin Moynihan (IRE)
2013 – Garrick Porteous (ENG)
2011 – Andy Sullivan (ENG)
2009 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)
2004 – Richie Ramsay (SCO)
2003 – Gary Wolstenholme (ENG)
2002 – Barry Hume (SCO)
1997 – Barclay Howard (SCO)
1996 – Alastair Forsyth (SCO)
1995 – Stephen Gallacher (SCO)
1992 – Dean Robertson (SCO)
1991 – Andrew Coltart (SCO)
1985 – Colin Montgomerie (SCO)
1981 – Philip Walton (IRE)
1980 – Gordon Brand Jr (ENG)
1975 and 1984 – Charlie Green (SCO)
1971, 1974 and 1979 – Ian Hutcheon (SCO)
1970 – Dale Hayes (RSA)
1968 – Ronnie Shade (SCO)
1967 – Bernard Gallacher (SCO)

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2017 Preview & Results

28th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE today celebrated his 20th birthday by winning the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and lifting the famous Brabazon Trophy.

Kyle shot 71 (-2) today with five birdies, including one on the last, offsetting three bogeys. His -10 score was good enough for a narrow 1-shot win.

He follows in the footsteps of four previous South African winners of the Brabazon Trophy – Neville Sundelson (1974), Richard Kaplan (1986), Craig Rivett (1989T) and Charl Schwartzel (2002).

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Kyle McClatchie (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

If that wasn’t enough the victory also took McClatchie to the top of the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR). He is the first South African to hold the No. 1 spot in this ranking. However, with the NCAA Division I National Championships currently being played this status is likely to be short lived (at least for the time being).

Jamie STEWART (SCO), Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all finished on -9 to tie for second place.

Jamie Stewart had a superb weekend shooting the lowest two scores on both days. He followed yesterday’s 67 (-6) with a 68 (-5) today. Having dropped two shots in his first three holes he reeled off 7 unblemished birdies over his remaining 15 holes. He will surely take huge confidence from a 5 birdie 32 on his finishing 9 holes.

Jake Burnage continued his rich vein of form too. Having finished 3rd at the Lytham Trophy he put together a very consistent 71, 70, 70 and 72 at Woodhall Spa. I was particularly impressed with his three birdies in a row finish in the heat of battle. He has moved up to 98th in the SPWAR and must now firmly be in the GB&I Walker Cup mix.

Jack Singh Brar also shot 72 for another excellent finish in 2017. He continues to look in complete control of both himself and his golf game.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) shot a final round 70 (-3) to finish 5th. He has now finished in the Top 10 at the Lytham Trophy, Irish Amateur Open and the Brabazon in the last month which clearly tells you he is starting to fulfil his potential and that he now sits firmly amongst our finest amateurs.

It was also good to see Dan BROWN (ENG) finish in 6th place after rounds of 72, 68, 75 and 72. Hopefully he can use this as momentum to put together a string of good results in the coming weeks.

David BOOTE (WAL) finished 7th and Connor SYME (SCO) tied 8th. Both started poorly today but showed their experience in grinding out good scores at the end of the day. Boote was 4-over after 5 holes before securing 4 birdies on the way back home to record a very creditable par 73. Syme (71) was 2-over after 3 holes before he turned his day around with 3 birdies and an eagle on the par 5 14th.

Both Boote and Syme will travel south tonight to Walton Heath GC to join the other three amateurs competing in tomorrow’s 36 hole US Open Sectional Qualifying event. Good luck to them all.

Click here to see the full Brabazon Trophy Results

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27th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

After another windy day at Woodhall Spa Jake BURNAGE (70), Jack SINGH BRAR (74) and Kyle MCCLATCHIE (75) share the 54 hole lead on -8.

The trio have a 4 shot lead over a group of five players on -4. Jamie STEWART (67) and Matthew JORDAN (68) produced the best two scores of the day to join David BOOTE (72), Conor O’ROURKE (72) and Dan BROWN (75) as the leading chasers.

Having played in Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Harry GODDARD‘s disrupted preparation and long journey up to Lincolnshire haven’t affected his performance. Rounds of 72, 70 and 74 (-3) have left him in striking distance with 18 holes to play.

David HAGUE (73 73 71 -2), who won the Laguna Trophy so impressively last week, continues to creep up the leaderboard too. He’ll start the final day in tied 12th place.

After his disappointing 78 in the opening round Connor SYME recorded his second successive 70 to move up to -1 and tied 16th place.

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26th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE matched the best round of the week (66) to move into the 36-hole lead on -10 on a pleasant but windy day at Woodhall Spa.

Craig ROSS (67) and Jack SINGH BRAR (70) are tied for 2nd place on -9.

Dan BROWN (68), Mitch WAITE (69) and Tom THURLOWAY (69) all enjoyed good days and went into the weekend nicely placed in the top 10.

A little further down the leaderboard just three other players broke 70 on Day 2. Rowan LESTER (67), David BOOTE (69) and Alisdair MCDOUGALL (69).

The 36 hole cut saw 63 players on +4 and lower qualify for the final 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday.

Ben CHAMBERLAIN (76 75 / +5) just missed the cut but left Lincolnshire with the consolation of having scored the Championship’s fifth hole-in-one on the 5th hole.

Josh HILLEARD (74 77 +5), Robin DAWSON (68 83 +5), Marco PENGE (79 73 +5), Owen EDWARDS (74 78 +6), Colm CAMPBELL (73 79 +6), Charlie STRICKLAND (75 80 +9), Charlie THORNTON (75 81 +10) and Liam JOHNSTON (79 77 +10) were amongst the more notable, in form players to miss the cut.

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25th May 2017 – Round 1 Report 

Playing in near perfect conditions a course record 66 (-7) gave Braintree’s Todd CLEMENTS the Round 1 lead at the Brabazon Trophy. His only bogey came on the par 4 2nd hole before he reeled off eight birdies including six on the back nine to finish with an inward score of just 31.

Clements’ 31 was matched by Jack SINGH BRAR the recent winner of the Lytham Trophy. Jack had just the one bogey in his round of 67 (-6) on the tough Woodhall Spa heathland course.

Frenchman Alexandre FUCHS (-6) is tied second having hit something of a purple patch on Woodhall’s fourth and fifth holes. His 2-1 scores, two eagles and four under the card, clearly went along way to making him the the early clubhouse leader in Round 1.

Robin DAWSON, Robert MACINTYRE and Jacob OAKLEY followed Fuchs in on the short 5th, playing 163 yards to a back pin. Amazingly four holes-in-one were recorded on this hole during round 1. Dawson and MacIntyre went on to deliver 68’s (-5) and therefore were tied 4th after Day 1.

Other players to make solid starts to this 72-hole stroke play championship included Craig ROSS (-3), George BLOOR (-3), Alfie PLANT (-2), James WALKER (-2), Jake BURNAGE (-2), Kevin LE BLANC (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), John Ross GALBRAITH (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-1), Jack DAVIDSON (-1), Daniel BROWN (-1) and Matthew JORDAN (-1) all of whom are nicely placed in the Top 25.

England international Bradley MOORE withdrew after 10 holes.

ME.

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21st May 2017

The English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Woodhall Spa Golf Club this coming week.

The 71st playing of this event takes place between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th May on the Lincolnshire Club’s Hotchkin Course.

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Woodhall Spa G.C. (Photo: WoodhallSpaGolf.com)

Format

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

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

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

Field

150 competitors will start the 2017 Championship.

The 2017 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Brabazon Trophy Start Sheet.

88 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with 62 coming through a qualifying process.

Two Qualifying Competitions were held last week; the North at Sandiway G.C. in Cheshire and the South at Littlestone G.C. in Kent, with 31 players progressing from each one.

Sam BROADHURST (-5) of Atherstone G.C. was the medalist at Sandiway. Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Matt TURNER (-5) from Burnham & Berrow G.C. led the qualifiers at Littlestone. Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

16 of the 21 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad players will be competing at the Brabazon. These are David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG), Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Marco PENGE (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Connor SYME (SCO) and James WALKER (ENG).

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) had entered but withdrew before play commenced.

Barry HUME (SCO), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Scott GREGORY (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) are the four that are missing. Gregory is playing in The Memorial Tournament and US Open Championship in early June so has travelled over to USA this week.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), who by rights should also be in the Squad based on their 2017 performances, are also competing at Woodhall Spa.

Other players on show who have been doing well this year and could easily feature at the top of the scoreboard are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), David HAGUE (ENG), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG), Charlie THORNTON (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG).

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) listed the Brabazon Trophy as it’s 24th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field.

Prizes

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

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The Brabazon Trophy and Other Prizes (Photo: London Golf Club)

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

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition. The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. The Philip Scruton Jug is awarded later in the year to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy (which will be played on 24th and 25th June).

Woodhall Spa Golf Club

Situated in Lincolnshire Woodhall Spa’s Hotchkin course is one of England’s finest heathland layouts.

From the blue Championship tees it plays to 7,080 yards with a par of 73. Here is the scorecard: –

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* The 12th has been extended to 176 yards since the above card photo was taken so the course now plays to 7,084 yards in total.

Golf in Woodall Spa dates back to 1890 with the Hotchkin opening for play in 1905. Harry Vardon (1902), Harry Colt (1911) and the Hotchkin Family (1920-1995) all playing a part in the course’s development since.

The Hotchkin family sold the facilities to the English Golf Union in 1995. Over time an impressive National Golf Centre has been developed with a second course, The Bracken, also opened in 1998.

The Hotchkin Course is currently in the middle of a three year refurbishment programme by Renaissance Golf, with the work being overseen by their acclaimed lead architect Tom Doak.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Tuesday 23rd May) is currently positive for all four competition days.

Thu 25th May – Sunny / Wind 4 mph N / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 22°C.
Fri  26th May – Sunny / Wind 10 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat  27th May – Sunny / Wind 12 mph SE / Temp. Min. 15°C / Min 24°C.
Sun 28th May – Cloudy / Wind11 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C / Max. 21°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.40pm.

The 2016 Brabazon Trophy

Jamie BOWER won the Brabazon Trophy last year at the London Golf Club with a total score of -12. He pipped Cameron DAVIS (-11) on the final green after a rain delay with Ryan LUMSDEN (-10) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-9) finishing third and fourth respectively.

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Jamie Bower (Photo: London Golf Club)

Click this link to view the 2016 Brabazon Trophy results – Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

Here is a list of all of the past winners, their scores and the Championship venues: –

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

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

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

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

There have been several overseas winners over the years. South African’s Neville SUNDELSON (1974), Richard KAPLAN (1986) and Charl SCHWARTZEL (2002) have all won.  Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2017 Preview & Results

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR won the 2017 Lytham Trophy on an exciting final day at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club.

Whilst a two shot wire-to wire win looks reasonably comfortable on paper the afternoon final round was far from straight forward for the Remedy Oak based Englishman.

With the wind picking up Singh Brar quickly saw his four shot 54-hole lead evaporate. Two doubles and a bogey led to an outward 39 and when he bogeyed the short 10th it appeared he maybe opening the door for the chasing pack. It was to his credit that he pulled himself together and parred the remaining holes, save for the 17th where a birdie – he holed out from a bunker – gave him some breathing space to play the finishing hole.

Jack Singh Brar (Photo: @Golfing4Life_)

Charlie STRICKLAND, 18 later this month, continued his rich vein of form with an impressive 2nd place finish. A final round 73, with a bogey on the last, represented another excellent result for the Ham Manor player.

Making it an England 1-2-3 was Saunton’s Jake BURNAGE. Burnage won the Hampshire Hog a couple of weeks ago and showed with a consistent final day pair of 72’s at Lytham that he is increasingly a player to be reckoned with in 2017.     

Earlier in the afternoon, with Singh Brar hitting reverse, it looked like William WHITEOAK may set an unbeatable clubhouse target. Standing on the 17th tee on +9 he unfortunately finished 5-7 to drift out to +13 and a 6th place finish that could clearly have been much better.

Other players to finish strongly with good final rounds included Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 70 / +15 (7th),  Sam DONE (ENG) 71 / +15 (8th) and Owen EDWARDS (WAL) 71 / +15 (9th).

The best final round scores came from England’s George BLOOR (+17) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (+17) both shot 69’s (-1) to secure Top 20 finishes.

In what was generally a disappointing event for our leading players Welsh pair Owen EDWARDS (+15 / 9th) and Jack DAVIDSON (+16 / 14th) were the two highest finishers of the 18 GB&I Walker Cup squad players competing.

The average score fell to it’s lowest level in Round 4 – 73.8. The CSS was 75.

Round 4 Start Sheet / Round 4 Results / Final Results

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Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR (72 / +3) took a 4-shot lead over Charlie STRICKLAND (71 / +7) and Simon RICHARDSON (73 / +7) into the afternoon final round.

Today’s ‘star pairing’ of Robert MACINTYRE (70 / +9) and Jack DAVIDSON (72 / +11) both did well in Round 3 moving up the standings.

Jamie STEWART (+12) recovered some of the ground he lost yesterday with a 71, finishing with 13 straight pars.

Early starters William WHITEOAK (+10) and Todd CLEMENTS (+12) showed that good scores were going to be possible. The English pair recorded rounds of 69 and 70 respectively in Round 3.

The average score from the 42 qualifiers in Rd 3 was 75.2 with the CSS being 76.

Round 3 Start Sheet / Round 3 Results

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Saturday 6th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

Jeff WRIGHT produced a 67, ultimately the best round of the week, to move into a share of the lead on +1 with first round leader Jack SINGH BRAR (73).

On a slightly easier day the average score in Round 2 was 75.8 and the CSS 76.

Simon RICHARDSON (ENG) shot only the third under par round of the competition. His 69 lifting him in to third place on +4.

Charlie STRICKLAND, recent winner of both the Duncan Putter and U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy, recorded a second 73 to remain firmly in the mix on 146 (+6).

Tom SLOMAN (78, 70), Jack DAVIDSON (79, 70), Dan BROWN (78, 71) and Llew MATTHEWS (78, 71) showed admirable toughness in bouncing back from high first round scores to move into the Top 15.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) is also tied 12th on +9 after he followed an opening 76 with a 73.

The cut fell at +12 with 42 players qualifying for the final day’s 36 holes. 13 of the 18 Walker Cup squad players competing missed the cut.

Round 2 Start Sheet / Round 2 Results

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Friday 5th May 2017 – Round 1 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) produced a superb round of 68 (-2) to take the early lead at Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC.

To put this round in context the average score from the 144 players who teed off was 79.9 and the CSS was 79. Whilst it was dry the offshore easterly wind proved challenging particularly on the outward nine holes.

Matthew CLARK (SCO) was second after an even par 70 and in form Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) third after his 73. A group of seven players, including Scottish trio Jeff WRIGHT, Liam JOHNSTON and Jamie STEWART, were tied for fourth after shooting 74 (+4).

Round 1 Start Sheet / Round 1 Results

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26th April 2017

The Lytham Trophy, played annually at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C., is the first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Brian Young)

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) ranked it the 13th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field. It normally ranks 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. I anticipate the 2017 field will be slightly weaker than recent years but will remain in the top 20 in the world in quality terms.

The famous links course certainly presents a stern test. Playing off the blue championship tees competitors have to meet a 7,118 yard par 70 challenge; the front nine being 3,437 yards, a par 34, and the back nine being 3,681 yards, a par 36.

The Lytham Trophy is a 72-hole stroke play event. 18 holes are played on the first two days before a top 40 and ties cut is made. 36-holes are then played on the final day by the leading competitors.

In the event of a tie for the lowest score there is a 3-hole stroke play play-off on holes 1, 2 and 18. If a winner still hasn’t been determined then the play-off moves to sudden death over the same holes. The Winner receives a silver replica of the Lytham Trophy, both of which are shown below.

Lytham Trophies

The Lytham Trophy and the Winner’s Replica (Photo: Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.)

The 2017 Lytham Trophy

This year’s Lytham Trophy will be played between Friday 5th May and Sunday 7th May.

144 scratch golfers from 16 different countries have paid the £90 entry fee and will tee off in what will be the 53rd playing of this prestigious competition.

The 2017 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Lytham Trophy Start Sheet.

Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing. Here is a list of some players showing some early season form as well as those who I expect to do well (SPWAR rankings as at 26th April): –

David BOOTE (WAL) – SPWAR 31st
David has finished tied 4th in the Portuguese Int. Amateur and tied 10th in the European Nations Cup this year.

Daniel BROWN (ENG) – SPWAR 148th
After some encouraging results in South Africa Dan will be looking to make a strong push for a Walker Cup spot.

Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) – SPWAR 75th
GB&I’s star player this season with wins in both the Spanish Int. Amateur and European Nations Cup.

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – SPWAR 45th
Runner up three times this season already at the South African SP, Cape Province Open and European Nations Cup.

Owen EDWARDS (WAL) – SPWAR 282nd
Owen followed up his tied 10th finish at the European Nations cup by recently winning the West of England SP at Saunton GC.

Alex GLEESON (IRE) – SPWAR 127th
The reigning Irish Amateur Close champion has performed well in Argentina and South Africa in 2017.

Stuart GREHAN (IRE) – SPWAR 59th
Stuart won the R&A Foundation Scholars event at St. Andrews a few weeks ago following up solid early season performances in both South Africa and Europe.

Scott GREGORY (ENG) – SPWAR 46th
The 2016 Amateur champion has continued his good form into 2017 already winning both the New Sales Wales Amateur and Georgia Cup.

Craig HOWIE (SCO) – SPWAR 52nd
Winner of the 2017 Criagmillar Park Open in Scotland last weekend, Craig is due a big win soon.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) – SPWAR 55th
The 2017 African Amateur champion will be keen to get his European season up and running with a big Lytham performance.

Bradley MOORE (ENG) – SPWAR 226th
Bradley will be looking for a big result in this Walker Cup year. What better place than Lytham where he has form; 8th here in 2015 and tied 2nd in 2016.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) – SPWAR 32nd
Robert has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Amateur and finished tied 7th in the European Nations Cup this year.

Marco PENGE (ENG) – SPWAR 88th
Finalist at both the New South Wales Amateur and Spanish International Amateur this year. On his day capable of beating anyone.

Alfie PLANT (ENG) – SPWAR 79th
After an impressive 2016 the defending champion (see below) has made a slowish start to 2017. He will be looking to get back on track at a course he will have happy memories of.

Craig ROSS (SCO) – SPWAR 124th
The 2016 South African Amateur Champion again wintered well and looks to be coming into form nicely after a tied 4th place at the recent Battle Trophy at Crail GS.

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) – SPWAR 102nd
Jack is making a big move in 2017. After a string of fine results in Australia his continued good form culminated in a win at the Hampshire Salver earlier in April.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) – SPWAR 295th
Charlie delivered two wins in a week in April; he quickly followed the Duncan Putter with the Peter McEvoy Trophy (U18).

Connor SYME (SCO) – SPWAR 16th
After top 10s in the African Amateur and European Nations Cup Connor recently won the Battle Trophy back home.

Barry HUMEPaul MCBRIDE and Sandy SCOTT are the only two members of the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup squad who are not competing. MCBRIDE and SCOTT are obviously still committed to Wake Forest and Texas Tech as the US College season comes to a close.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Thursday 3rd May) is positive for all three days.

Fri  5th May – Sunny / Wind 17 mph E / Temp. Min. 7°C, Max. 15°C.
Sat  6th May – Cloudy / Wind 13 mph E / Temp. Min. 7°C / Min 13°C.
Sun 7th May – Sunny / Wind 7 mph NW / Temp. Min. 5°C / Max. 15°C.

Like The Open Championship players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.40pm on Friday and Saturday so changes in the weather and wind speeds throughout the first two days may very well play a big part in the scoring.

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

Alfie PLANT won the Lytham Trophy by 7-shots with a +4 total score. He led from the front after following up an opening round 67 with a 73, 74 and 70.

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

Click this link to view the 2016 Lytham Trophy results – Results

History, Past Winners and Records

The competition was first played in 1965 after the Club identified a need for a new top class amateur competition and one that could be played in the North of England.

A date on the first weekend in May was established and a 72 hole stroke play format adopted.

Member’s subscribed to purchase the unique sputnik trophy. This remains at Royal Lytham with a smaller replica handed out annually to the winner.

As one would expect the list of past winner’s is a who’s who of GB&I and more recently world amateur golf.

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael BONALLACK – 1965(s), 1972
Rodney FOSTER – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey MARKS – 1970 (s)
Charles GREEN – 1970 (s), 1974
Michael KING – 1973
Peter MCEVOY – 1978
Ian HUTCHEON – 1980
Roger CHAPMAN – 1981
John HAWKSWORTH – 1984
Paul BROADHURST – 1988
Gary EVANS – 1990, 1991
Graham RANKIN – 1997

In 2004 21 year old James HEATH won with a record score of 266 (-18), recording rounds of 67, 68, 66, and 65. No one else has ever come close to this mark before or after. The next best scores being Daan HUIZING’s 273 in 2013 and Richard MCEVOY’s 276 in 2001. Garth McGimpsey, the then Walker Cup captain, described Heath’s performance as ‘the best amateur golf I’ve ever seen’.

In 1999 the Lytham Trophy was won by Tino SCHUSTER, the first time a non-GB&I player had been successful.

The six winners prior to Alfie PLANT show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Irish)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (English)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (Dutch)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finnish)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African)
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)

The Royal Lytham website lists all of the Past Winners and their Scores.

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Lytham Trophy Winner’s Board (Photo: Andrew Pennington)

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Peter McEvoy Trophy – 2017 Preview & Results

10th May 2017

Here is the Golfing World video covering the 2017 Peter McEvoy Trophy: –

ME.

13th April 2017

UPDATE

In form Charlie STRICKLAND from Ham Manor Golf Club, near Littlehampton on the south coast of England, won the 2017 McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath Golf Club.

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Charlie Strickland with Peter McEvoy (Photo: GolfBible)

His rounds of 70 72 68 and 66 gave him a -8 total on the par 71 West Midlands course. Having won the Duncan Putter at Southerndown last weekend the McEvoy represented a second big win for Charlie in the space of just a few days.

Jannik DE BRUYNE from Germany was second on -5 and Angus FLANAGAN third on -4.

Click here to view the full – 2017 McEvoy Trophy Results

ME.

8th April 2017

The 2017 Peter McEvoy Trophy will be contested on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th April at Copt Heath Golf Club in Solihull, England.

Competition Format

The McEvoy Trophy is a 72 hole scratch stroke play medal competition played over two consecutive days by Under 18 Boys (on 1st January).

PM Trophy

The Peter McEvoy Trophy (Photo: GolfBible)

The format, limited daylight and the greater risk of poor weather in April means the field is sensibly restricted to 72 players. A handicap ballot is applied to the entrants in what is always an oversubscribed event.

All competitors play the first 36 holes on Day 1, playing in group’s of three. The leading 40 players (and ties) then return for the final 36-holes on the following day, which is played in two-balls. A two tee start is used on both days.

In the event of a tie the result is decided by a ‘sudden death’ play-off, utilising holes 18, 1 and 9.

Live Scoring on the Club’s website – updated after each nine on Day 1 and more frequently for the leaders on Day 2 – makes it easy for family, friends and other interested observers to keep up to date with play.

2017 Entrants & Draw

The cut-off handicap this year was +0.2 with 69 of the field having handicaps of scratch or better.

Click here to view the McEvoy Trophy Rd 1 and Rd 2 startsheet.

The 2017 field includes the following highly rated players: –

Jack AINSCOUGH (ENG) – runner up in the 2016 McEvoy Trophy (-5).

Nick BACHEM (GER) – winner of the 2016 Fairhaven Trophy.

John BRADY (IRE) – 2016 Irish Boys U16 champion.

Toby BRIGGS (ENG) – 3rd place in the 2016 McEvoy Trophy (-4).

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) – winner of the 2016 Carris Trophy (English U18 Boys’ Open SP Championship).

Michael GILBERT (ENG) – winner of the 2016 Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.

Mark POWER (IRE) – defending McEvoy Trophy champion (-7) and 2016 Irish Boys U18 champion.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) – winner of the 2017 Duncan Putter.

In addition to Nick Bachem there are a further 9 entries from Germany. Henry Lai and Timo Thanks have also entered from The Netherlands.

Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) from Peterborough, having returned from a golfing high school scholarship in Florida, was the lowest handicap entry at -4.0.

Unfortunately this year the McEvoy clashes with the Scottish Boys SP Championship being held at Moniefieth so there are no entries from north of the border. Whilst few of this field would have made the handicap ballot the entry list is certainly weaker for the absence of Darren Howie, Eric McIntosh and Jamie Stewart.

Weather Forecast

Dry but cloudy conditions are forecast for the two days of competition.

Wednesday: Light cloud. Wind 14 mph E. Temp. H 12°c / L 6°c
Thursday: Light cloud. Wind 10pm SE. Temp. H 11°c / L 6°c

Copt Heath Golf Club

Copt Heath Golf Club is the home of The Peter McEvoy Trophy. The competition is run by the Club and administered by their staff and member volunteers.

Copt Heath, despite its name, is essentially a parkland course. The current course was designed and built in 1913 by Harry Colt, the famous course architect, and is predominantly flat but well protected with around 95 deep bunkers.

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Copt Heath Golf Club – 18th hole (Photo: GolfBible)

The course measures 6,541 yards and has a par of 71, made up of 2 par 5’s, 13 par 4’s and 3 par 3’s. The front nine is shorter at 3,216 yards (par 35) but is tighter. The more expansive back nine is played over 3,325 yards (par 36).

In the last few months the 8th hole, a short par 4, has been improved with fairway bunkers added and the green reduced in size. Otherwise the course is generally as it has been for many years.

Golfing World did a profile piece on Copt Heath’s course last year, featuring interviews with honorary members Peter McEvoy and Claire Dowling, which you may like to watch: –

Background

Legendary British Amateur golfer Peter McEvoy OBE has been a member of Copt Heath for 52 years. If you would like to learn more about his career then click this link for my profile – Peter McEvoy.

Following Peter’s Amateur Championship victories in 1977 and 1978 Copt Heath invited him to suggest a way in which the Club could commemorate his achievements. He suggested a 72 hole boys competition to be held annually at Copt Heath.

PM Amateur Champion

Peter McEvoy – 1977 Amateur Champion at Ganton GC

Starting in 1981, The Peter McEvoy Trophy was originally held during August. In 1985, at the request of the English Golf Union, it was moved to April, where it has stayed ever since. This request was prompted by a need for an early season national competition to assist them with the selection of their team ahead of the Boys Home Internationals and European Championships held later in the year.

As Peter McEvoy’s playing achievements and influence grew, culminating with him becoming a Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Men’s selector and Walker Cup captain, so has the prestige of the competition. Of course having a stellar past winner’s list also adds to the gravitas. The McEvoy is without question one of the “must enter” British Junior golf events.

Past Winners

15 year old Irishman Mark POWER won the 2016 Peter McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath G.C. with rounds of 70, 68, 71, 68 and a 277 (-7) total.

Mark Power McEvoy Trophy 2016Mark Power with Peter McEvoy (Photo: GolfBible)

Full Results – The Peter McEvoy Trophy 2016

Here is the Golfing World highlights video of the 2016 Peter McEvoy Trophy.

The Peter McEvoy Trophy has an enviable list of former winners, reflecting both the quality of the annual entry but also the fair challenge presented by the course.

A number of the players in the full list of past winners below have gone on to play in the Walker Cup and many more have enjoyed successful professional careers: –

1981  Rob Sallis (Wollaton Park)
1982  Jeremy Robinson (Woodhall Spa)
1983  Peter Baker (Lilleshall)
1984  Wayne Henry (Redbourn)
1985  A Morley (Belton Park)
1986  Cameron Mitchell (Copt Heath)
1987  Wayne Henry (Porters Park)
1988  Peter Sefton (Camberley Heath)
1989  David Bathgate (Sandiway)
1990  Paul Sherman (Ashford)
1991  Lee Westwood (Worksop)

PM Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood with the McEvoy Trophy in 1991 (Photo: Copt Heath GC)

1992  Brian Davis (East Herts)
1993  Steve Webster (Atherstone)
1994  Jamie Harris (Nevill)
1995  Carl Duke (Porters Park)
1996  Mark Pilkington (Nefyn & District)
1997  Philip Rowe (West Cornwall)
1998  Justin Rose (North Hants)

img_7418Justin Rose with the McEvoy Trophy (Photo: Copt Heath GC)

In 2013 Justin Rose became the first McEvoy Trophy winner to win a Major Championship, when he won the U.S. Open at Merion GC.

1999  David Porter (Stoneham)
2000  Zane Scotland (Woodcote Park)
2001  Ben Harvey (Dudsbury)
2002  Matthew Richardson (Pinner Hill)
2003  Tommy Hunter (Ilford)
2004  John Parry (Harrogate)
2005  Tom Sherreard (The Ridge)
2006  Luke Goddard (Hendon)

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Luke Goddard (Photo: Tom Ward)

2007  Matt Haines (Rochester & Cobham Park)
2008  Stiggy Hodgson (Sunningdale)

Stiggy Hodgson (Photo: Tom Ward)

2009  Max Smith (Newbury Racecourse)

Max Smith (Photo: Tom Ward)

2010  Rhys Pugh (Vale of Glamorgan)

Rhys Pugh (Photo: Tom Ward)

2011  Nathan Kimsey (Woodhall Spa)

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Nathan Kimsey (Photo: Tom Ward)

2012  Gavin Moynihan (The Island)

Gavin Moynihan (Photo: GolfBible)

2013  Bradley Moore (Kedleston Park)

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Bradley Moore (Photo: GolfBible)

2014  Haydn McCullen (Delamere Forest)

PM McEvoy Trophy

Haydn McCullen (Photo: GolfBible)

2015  Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood)

Marco Penge PM 2015

Marco Penge (Photo: GolfBible)

2016  Mark Power (Kilkenny)
2017 Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor)

The Winner receives a small replica salver and a voucher for £250. A total prize fund of around £1,000 is shared out amongst those players finishing in the Top 8 places (and ties).

Peter McEvoy Trophy Records

Most Wins
2 Wayne Henry (1984 Redbourn / 1987 Porters Bar)

Wayne Henry PM

Wayne Henry pictured with Seve Ballesteros at the 1984 Open at St. Andrews

Youngest Winners
Wayne Henry 15 years [exact birthday not known] (1984)
Bradley Moore 15 years, 7 months and 15 days (2013)
Mark Power 15 years, 10 months and 6 days (2015)

Lowest 72-hole winning score
272 – John Parry 2004 (68, 68, 68, 68)
272 – Nathan Kimsey 2011 (69, 67, 69, 67)
272 – Marco Penge 2015 (65, 71, 70, 66)

Highest 72-hole winning score
300 – J Harris 1994 (73, 75, 75, 77)

Lowest 18 hole score
61 – Dermot McElroy 2011 (Course Record)

Best McEvoy Trophy Record
Bradley Moore (Keddleston Park) – 4th (283 -1, 2012), 1st (287 +3, 2013), 2nd (281 -3, 2014), 2nd (280 -4, 2015).

Notable Former Competitors

In addition to the winners listed above many other notable amateur and now professional golfers have competed over the years.

These include (in alphabetical order) Jamie Bower, James Byrne, Stuart Cage, Paul Casey, Ashley Chesters, Lee Corfield, Mark Crossfield (@4golfonline), Paul Cutler, Joe Dean, Nick Dougherty, Luke Donald, Bradley Dredge, Scott Drummond, Paul Dunne, Simon Dyson, Greg Eason, Jamie Elson, Oliver Farr, Kenneth Ferrie, Oliver Fisher, Tommy Fleetwood, Mark Foster, Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Tyrrell Hatton, David Horsey, David Howell, Jack Hume, Simon Hurd, Andrew Johnston, Simon Khan, Nathan Kimsey, Tom Lewis, David Lynn, Nick Marsh, Dermot McElroy, Ross McGowan, Robert MacIntyre, John Morgan, James Morrison, Jimmy Mullen, Bradley Neil, Max Orrin, John Parry, Jim Payne, Eddie Pepperell, Van Phillips, Garrick Porteous, Iain Pyman, Robert Rock, Philip Rowe, Jamie Savage, Chris Selfridge, Jack Senior, Callum Shinkwin, Lee Slattery, Jordan Smith, Michael Stewart, Andy Sullivan, Graeme Storm, Connor Syme, Ashton Turner, Sam Walker, Anthony Wall, Danny Willett, Oliver Wilson, Tom Whitehouse and Chris Wood.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.