15th July 2018
The 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match will be contested on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th July at Linna Golf in Finland.
9th Green and Clubhouse, Linna Golf (Photo: golfboo.com)
This amateur men’s team match has been played biennially between Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) and the Continent of Europe since 1956.
It was originally established by The R&A to give more European players the chance to play at the highest level and GB&I players more team match play experience for the Walker Cup which is held in alternate years with this competition.
The St. Andrews Trophy was put forward for the match by the Royal and Ancient G.C. of St. Andrews in 1963.
I will post a link to the live scoring when it becomes available and will add reports and individual player performance analysis to this article as the match unfolds.
Each team has nine players.
The golfing calendar is extremely busy at this time of year and therefore player availability may be impacted by other opportunities.
The 2018 St. Andrews Trophy clashes with the Porsche European Open (European Tour, 26-29 July), Euram Bank Open in Austria (Challenge Tour, 26-29 July), German International Amateur (Europe, 26-29 July), Pacific Coast Amateur (U.S., 24-27 July) and to a lesser degree the Western Amateur Championship (U.S., 30 July-4 August).
Continent of Europe
Yves HOFSTETTER (Switzerland) will once again be the Non-Playing Captain of the European team.
His team was announced by the European Golf Association (E.G.A.) on 11th July and is listed below. Each player’s nationality, their SPWAR’s and their SPWAR Regional Ranking on the date of selection is also provided.
Edgar CATHERINE – France #153 (15th)
Falko HANISCH – Germany #586 (106th)
Angel HIDALGO PORTILLO – Spain #113 (11th)
Matias HONKALA – Finland #325 (53rd)
Frédéric LACROIX – France #126 (13th)
Stefano MAZZOLI – Italy #62 (7th)
Frederik NILEHN – Sweden #23 (2nd)
Lorenzo SCALISE – Italy #29 (4th)
Sami VALIMAKI – Finland #172 (22nd)
Home players Matias HONKALA and Sami VALIMAKI were both in the Finnish team who yesterday won the 2018 European Men’s Amateur Team Championship.
It is disappointing that just 3 of the team were in the SPWAR’s Continent of Europe Top 9 on the date of selection.
The most obvious ‘missing persons’ include John AXELSEN (Denmark), Oliver GILLBERG (Sweden), 2018 European Amateur Championship Nicolai HOJGAARD (Denmark), Rasmus HOJGAARD (Denmark), Viktor HOVLAND (Norway), Hurly LONG (Germany), Victor PASTOR (Spain) and Kristoffer REITAN (Norway).
Great Britain & Ireland Team
The R&A Selection Committee, including Non-Playing Captain Craig WATSON (Scotland), announced their nine man team on 16th July. Each player’s nationality, their SPWAR’s and their SPWAR Regional Ranking on the date of selection is also provided.
Todd CLEMENTS (21) – England #36 (4th)
Robin DAWSON (22) – Ireland #8 (1st)
David HAGUE (21) – England #T75 (T10th)
Matthew JORDAN (22) – England #11 (2nd)
John MURPHY (20) – Ireland #61 (7th)
Gian-Marco PETROZZI (21) – England #76 (9th)
Nick POPPLETON (24) – England #223 (26th)
Conor PURCELL (21) – Ireland #47 (5th)
Mitch WAITE (23) – England #17 (3rd)
Unlike the European Team above it is hard to argue with The R&A’s GB&I team or feel disappointed with the players that have not made themselves available. Indeed I selected the same team on 15th July (when this article was first published), explaining how I came to it in the Appendix below.
The St. Andrews Trophy is played over two days and consists of match play foursomes and singles matches.
Thursday 26th July AM – Foursomes x 4
Thursday 26th July PM – Singles x 8
Friday 27th June AM – Foursomes x 4
Friday 27th June PM – Singles x 9
The additional Singles on Day 2 was first played in 2016.
With a maximum total of 25 points available and one point awarded for each match a team will be required to accumulate 13 points to secure victory. GB&I can of course retain the Trophy by reaching 12.5 points as they did in 2016.
Venue – Linna Golf, Finland
Linna Golf is a luxury golf resort located in the Vanajanlinna area of Hämeenlinna in Southern Finland. Linna is around 60 miles north of the capital city Helsinki.
The course was designed by European Golf Design and Tim Lobb and opened for play in 2005. It is a hilly parkland course routed through a pine and birch forest. Three lakes and elevated, well protected and quick undulating greens make Linna a challenge from the back tees.
From these Championship Tees the course can be stretched to 7,244 yards. The front 9 is 3,541 yards long with a par of 35 (one par 5) and the back 9 3,703 yards with a par of 37 (three par 5’s). However, previous major events have seen the nines switched and I expect this to be the case again at the forthcoming St. Andrews Trophy match.
Linna Golf, Finland (Photo: European Golf Design)
Linna is consistently ranked as one of the best courses in Finland, normally alongside the two courses at Kytäjä.
It has previously hosted European Challenge Tour (2009) and Staysure Senior (2017) events as well as the 2010 European Amateur Championship. A part of the European Tour Properties chain it is expected to host a European Tour event in due course.
The long range weather forecast for Finland looks very good for both the practice and competition days: –
Thur 26th July – Sunny. Wind 8mph E. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
Fri 27th July – Sunny. Wind 8mph E. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
2016 Match – Prince’s Golf Club
GB&I fought back bravely to draw the 2016 match at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England 12.5-12.5 and thus retain the St. Andrews Trophy they had won in Sweden in 2014.
GB&I lost the opening morning’s Foursomes series 0-4 and entered Day 2 4-8 down after halving the eight Day 1 Singles.
GB&I won the Day 2 Foursomes 3.5-1.5 before securing sufficient points in the final Singles series to clawback the deficit. Wales’ David BOOTE secured the all important point in the last game still out on the links.
Great Britain & Ireland Retained The St. Andrews Trophy In 2016 (Photo: Darren Plant)
Click here to view the complete – 2016 St. Andrews Trophy Match Results
Here are the Individual Player Contributions for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match: –
To date GB&I have won the St. Andrews Trophy 25 times with Europe having just five wins to their name, albeit two of them came recently in 2010 and 2012. GB&I got back on track in 2014, winning 14-10 at Barsebäck, Sweden.
2016 was the first time the match had been halved. This arguably represents another win for GB&I but I have excluded it from the above numbers.
Europe have won only once on GB&I soil in the history of the match, at Portmarnock GC in 2012.
Here are the historic match results in full: –
Appendix – My 2018 St. Andrews Trophy Team With Analysis
Nobody who follows GolfBible will be surprised to learn that my primary reference point for selection is the latest Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR).
1. SPWAR (as at 15th July 2018)
The top 20 players in the SPWAR’s GB&I Region Ranking, updated for the European Men’s and Boys’ Team Championships which finished yesterday, are: –
1. Robin DAWSON, Ireland #8
2. Matthew JORDAN, England #11
3. Mitch WAITE, England #17
4. Todd CLEMENTS, England #36
5. Conor PURCELL, Ireland #47
6. Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland #57
7. John MURPHY, Ireland #61
8. Harry HALL, England #66
9. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England #74
T10. David HAGUE, England #T75
T10. Jake BURNAGE, England #T75
12. Tom SLOMAN, England #88
13. Ben JONES, England #99
14. Alex GLEESON, Ireland #101
15. Laird SHEPHERD, England #105
16. Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland #122
17. Sandy SCOTT, Scotland #126
18. Rowan LESTER, Ireland #137
19. Sam LOCKE, Scotland #142
20. Andrew WILSON, England #153
I personally wouldn’t bother but for completeness others may want to cast an eye over the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
2. WAGR (as at 8th July 2018 / published 11th July 2018)
Here are the current top 20 players from GB&I in the WAGR: –
1. Matthew JORDAN, England #5
2. Robin DAWSON, Ireand #10
3. Todd CLEMENTS, England #14
4. Alex FITZPATRICK, England #42
5. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England #43
6. Billy MCKENZIE, England #71
7. Harry HALL, England #84
8. Ben JONES, England #95
9. David HAGUE, England #97
10. Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland #102
11. David WICKS, England #113
12. Alex GLEESON, Ireland #124
13. Tom SLOMAN, England #178
14. Peter O’KEEFFE, Ireland #182
15. Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland #189
16. Euan WALKER, Scotland #193
17. Joe PAGDIN, England #196
18. Charlie STRICKLAND, England #199
19. Mitch WAITE, England #201
20. Rowan LESTER, Ireland #213
Next I would want to look at current form. Obviously this is fully reflected in the SPWAR (but not so well in the WAGR) but specifically we have a perfect last (team match play) event to also consider.
3. European Men’s Amateur Team Championship (10-15 July 2018)
Accepting England’s strength in depth the first thing to say here is if a player isn’t being picked for their 6-man National Team last week why should I pick them for a GB&I Team this week.
That’s obviously not good news for original St. Andrews Trophy Squad members Alex FITZPATRICK, Calum FYFE, Harry HALL, Ben JONES, Sam LOCKE, Billy MCKENZIE, Robin WILLIAMS and Andrew WILSON. All have had their moments in the critical recent months but perhaps haven’t shone to the same degree as some of their peers.
The above rule is of course only true if the teams for the European Men’s were picked well ! In the case of Ireland I feel Conor PURCELL was an unlucky omission. Conor’s strong end of season form in the U.S. was initially ignored by the Irish selectors before he then emphasised the point by having a great Amateur. Immediately after the team announcements in July Conor backed his form up with an excellent European Amateur Championships.
In the European Men’s Team Championship in Germany England finished 2nd, Scotland 8th and Ireland 10th in Germany. Wales played in Division 2. Therefore I see no reason for England not to dominate my selection. This benefits Nick POPPLETON who was selected for England on the back of his Brabazon Trophy win and who played his part for England last week.
Looking at the individual performances: –
ENGLAND (SP 2nd – 693 / -27)
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – SP 1st 62 70 (-12), MP W3/L2/H1
Matthew JORDAN – SP 5th 69 66 (-9), MP W4/L1/H1
Nick POPPLETON – SP 28th 77 66 (-1), MP W2/L2/H0
David HAGUE – SP 30th 72 71 (-1), MP W2/L1/H2
Todd CLEMENTS – SP 45th 74 71 (+1), MP W1/L2/H0
Mitch WAITE – SP 77th 72 77 (+5), MP W2/L1/H0
SCOTLAND (SP 6th – 709 / -11)
Euan MCINTOSH – SP 14th 72 68 (-4), MP W0/L3/H0
Sandy SCOTT – SP 20th 69 72 (-3), MP W0/L1/H2
Stuart EASTON – SP 35th 72 72 (Ev), MP W0/L3/H0
Jamie STEWART – SP 39th 71 73 (Ev), MP W2//L2/H0
Ryan LUMSDEN – SP 41st 77 68 (+1), MP W2/L2/H0
Euan WALKER – SP 46th 73 72 (+1), MP W1/L3/H0
IRELAND (SP 9th– 719 / -1)
John MURPHY – SP 6th 68 67 (-9), MP W2/L1/H0
Robin DAWSON – SP 27th 67 75 (-2), MP W3/L0/H0
Caolan RAFFERTY – SP 49th 72 73 (+1), MP W2/L1/H0
Rowan LESTER – SP 68th 77 71 (+4), MP W2/L0/H1
Jonathan YATES – SP 88th 75 76 (+7), MP W1/L2/H0
Alex GLEESON – SP 92nd 81 74 (+11), MP W2/L1/H0
Finally, I have looked back at the 20 man St Andrews Trophy Match Squad announced by The R&A on 14thMay 2018 to ensure no one has slipped through the net.
4. St. Andrews Trophy Squad
Todd CLEMENTS, England
Robin DAWSON, Ireland
Alex FITZPATRICK, England
Calum FYFE, Scotland
Alex GLEESON, Ireland
David HAGUE, England
Harry HALL, England
Ben JONES, England
Matthew JORDAN, England
Rowan LESTER, Ireland
Sam LOCKE, Scotland
Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland
Billy MCKENZIE, England
Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England
Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland
Sandy SCOTT, Scotland
Jamie STEWART, Scotland
Euan WALKER, Scotland
Robin WILLIAMS, England
Andrew WILSON, England
In early June Nick POPPLETON (England), who had just won the Brabazon Trophy, was added to the Squad ahead of a planned gathering at St. Andrews prior to the St. Andrews Links Trophy event.
There were 11 English players, 6 Scottish, 4 Irish and 0 Welsh players selected by the R&A.
Based on the above information the following players are definite’s for me: –
Matthew JORDAN – England
Robin DAWSON – Ireland
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – England
Mitch WAITE – England
John MURPHY – Ireland
David HAGUE – England
To make up my nine man team I’ve gone for: –
Todd CLEMENTS – England
Nick POPPLETON – England
Conor PURCELL – Ireland
but could as easily have included one of the following: –
Tom SLOMAN – England
Ryan LUMSDEN – Scotland
Harry HALL – England
Jake BURNAGE – England
Unfortunately I could find no justification for any Scottish or Welsh players in this team other than a desire to see representation from as many home nations as possible.
Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.