The European Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

1st July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play-Off

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

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

Alfie’s Army (Photo: @lad_golf)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 4

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

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

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

Luca Cianchetti Misses His Putt On The 72nd Hole

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

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

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

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

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

View the Results here – 2017 European Amateur Championship Results

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30th June 2017

Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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29th June 2017

Round 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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28th June 2017

Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

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25th June 2017

The 30th European Amateur Championship starts on Wednesday 28th June at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.

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

Competition Format

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

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

Entries

144 players will contest the Championship this week.

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

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

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

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

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

Walton Heath Golf Club

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

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

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

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

img_4772Old Course Scorecard (Photo: Walton Heath GC)

Weather Forecast

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

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

Prizes

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

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

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

2016 European Amateur Championship

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

Luca Cianchetti (Photo: Italian Golf Federation)

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

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

Click here to view the – 2016 European Amateur Championship Results

History

The competition was first contested in 1986.

It has been hosted in 18 different countries to date.

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

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

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

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

ME.

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

The 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

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

img_7631

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.