The Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

24th June 2017

England and Florida State’s Harry ELLIS today won the Amateur Championship on the 38th hole at Royal St. George’s G.C.

4 Down with five holes to play the odds were well and truly against the 21 year old Hampshire man. However, his opponent Dylan Perry (AUS) bogeyed four of the last five holes to let Ellis back in.

On the second extra hole Perry got into trouble and Ellis was able to secure the famous trophy with another par, his seventh in a row.

img_7757Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA)

Here are the hole-by-holes scores for what proved to be a titanic battle: –

img_7747Harry Ellis will now receive exemptions into the 2017 Open Championship and 2018 U.S. Open Championship as well as an invitation to the 2018 Masters. He has also guaranteed himself a spot in Great Britain & Ireland’s 2017 Walker Cup team.

This was Ellis’ second major amateur victory. In 2012, aged just 16, he became the youngest player to win the English Amateur Championship.

Following in the footsteps of fellow Hampshire player Scott Gregory, Ellis said in his post round press conference: “I can’t believe what I have just done but you should never give up and never give in. I just kept giving myself chances down the stretch and luckily played much better than I had all day. It has always been a dream to play in Majors and I get to play in three now. My game is in a good play so hopefully I can do something (at Royal Birkdale).” 

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Final Results

Here is the Golfing World / R&A highlights film of the 2017 Amateur Championship: –

ME.

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23rd June 2017

Semi-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Semi-Finals Results

Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Luca Cianchetti (ITA) 3&2 in their semi-final match.

Cianchetti took an early lead after Ellis bogeyed the 4th hole but a par on 6 helped the Englishman regain parity. The Italian retook the lead on the 8th after Ellis’ approach found a greenside bunker but a birdie on 9 and a good par save on 10 from the 2012 English Amateur champion, which he won when he was just 16, meant the players were level with 8 holes to play.

The next two holes were to prove pivotal. Cianchetti bogeyed the long par 3 11th before Ellis birdied the par 4 12th to move ahead. Ellis defended this 2Up lead well before winning the 16th, with a nerveless up and down from the right hand bunker, and securing a 3&2 win.

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Harry Ellis (Photo: Andrew Griffin / @griffinongolf)

In the first semi-final Dylan Perry (AUS) got into a 3 Up lead early on against Alejandro Tosti (ARG) and like Ellis held on to see out a 3&2 victory. Dylan is the first Australian to play in the Final since Bryden Macpherson became champion in 2011 at Hillside G.C.

Quarter-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Quarter Final Results

In a close match this morning Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) by 2 holes to set up a semi-final with Italy’s Luca Cianchetti.

Alejandro Tosti (ARG) will play Dylan Perry (AUS) in the first semi-final.

ME [with some additional reporting by Andrew Griffin].

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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 MP Round 4 Results

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) was the first of our six remaining players to lose. Alejandro Tosti (ARG), clearly not the worst for wear after his Round 3 exertions, set up a Quarter Final match with Stefano Mazzoli (ITA) with a 4&3 win.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) was next to go succumbing to Norway’s Jarle Kaldestad Volden by 2 holes.

In the England-Ireland match Paul MCBRIDE beat Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 hole. McBride who lost to Robert MacIntyre on the 20th hole of an epic semi final match last year at Royal Porthcawl is round by round playing himself into the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Like McBride Harry ELLIS (ENG) isn’t doing himself any Walker Cup harm at Royal St. George’s either. This evening he beat fellow European Arnold Palmer Cup team member Kristoffer Ventura (NOR) 3&1.

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

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 MP Round 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.), appears to be enjoying his time on 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. Sloman 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 MP Round 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 MP Round 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.SaveSave

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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