U.S. Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 19th August 2018

Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) beat Devon BLING (USA) 6&5 in the 36-hole Final of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

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Viktor Hovland (Photo: USGA)

The Final was effectively won around the turn on the first 18 holes when Hovland won four holes in a row. Bling bogeying 8, 9 and 10 before Hovland birdied 11. The Californian battled to the end but was always unlikely to recover such a deficit against the in form Norwegian.

Hovland is just the second Continental European to win the U.S. Amateur. Edoardo Molinari (ITA) won in 2005 at Merion Golf Club, besting Dillon Dougherty (USA) 4&3 in the Final.

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Match Play Final Results (Photo: USGA)

Click here to view the full – U.S. Amateur Championship Results

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Saturday 18th August 2018

Devon BLING (USA) beat Isaiah SALINDA (USA) by 1 Hole to win the first Semi-Final.

Devon will play Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) in tomorrow’s Final after the Norwegian overcame Cole HAMMER (USA) 3&2 in the other match.img_9822

Match Play Semi-Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

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Friday 17th August 2018

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) lost 3&2 to Cole HAMMER (USA) in their Quarter Final match.

Cole (18), arguably the best amateur golfer in the world at the moment, came into this week having already won the Azalea Invitational, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (with partner Garrett Barber) and most impressively the Western Amateur Championship this season. He starts his college career at the University of Texas in September and is certainly one to watch.

After the match Cole said to the U.S.G.A.: “I think when I won the Azalea earlier this year, when I came out on top in a playoff against Hugo Bernard and Joe Pagdin, I felt like I belonged in amateur golf rather than just in junior golf. Actually even before that, last year at the Jones Cup, I came in third, and that’s a pretty solid finish for 17 [years old]. But this whole year has gradually been a rise to the confidence that I have now.”

As can be seen from the hole-by-hole scores below this was a hard fought contest with both players in good form. Cole was -3 for the holes played and Alex -2.

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C. Hammer v. A. Fitzpatrick Match Play Quarter Final Scores (Photo: USGA)

Fitzpatrick (19) can now look forward to starting his freshman season at Wake Forest in September with renewed confidence knowing he belongs at this level.

As this year’s eight quarter finalists each earn an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Amateur he can at least take solace in the fact he has also punched his ticket for next year’s U.S. Amateur already.

Europe’s other representative Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) continues to impress. Following his second successive 7&6 win the Oklahoma State player appears to be the man to beat. In beating Austin SQUIRES (USA) he won seven consecutive holes (2-8) and equalled the largest margin of victory in an 18 hole Quarter Final record.

Here are the full results from the Quarter Finals: –

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Match Play Quarter Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

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Thursday 16th August 2018

Match Play Round 3

For the second time on Thursday Alex FITZPATRICK required extra holes to get the win.

This time McClure MEISSNER was beaten on the 19th Hole. As with this morning’s round Alex bogeyed the par 3 17th to put himself under pressure. After three putting the 18th for a 6 and a fortunate half it was great to see the Yorkshireman birdie the 1st extra hole to end the match. 39 holes in a day is more than enough for anyone.

Mesissner is not someone I have heard too much about but having beaten both Brad DALKE and John AUGENSTEIN in the previous rounds he was clearly playing very well.

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A. Fitzpatrick v. M. Meissner Match Play Round 3 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Speaking to the U.S.G.A. after the match Alex was understandably delighted to have made the Quarter finals: “It means a lot. This tournament has been something I’ve really wanted to get in from the start of the year. I’ve worked pretty hard to get in this, and it’s nice to actually play good golf when I get here. I didn’t expect to even qualify for the stroke play, so sort of each match getting further and further is getting more exciting, and as I said, if I was to get knocked out, I still wouldn’t be disappointed because I’ve had a great week.”

In the all-Norwegian match up Viktor HOVLAND beat Kristoffer REITAN 7&6 in a surprisingly one sided game.

Here are the full Round 3 results: –

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Match Play Round 3 Results (Photo: USGA)

Match Play Round 2

It was a close run thing but Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) finally overcame Jesus MONTENEGRO (ARG) in a tight match on the 20th Hole.

Alex pared the par 5 18th to draw level before Montenegro bogeyed the 2nd extra hole to allow the man from Sheffield to progress.

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A. Fitzpatrick v. J. Montenegro Match Play Round 2 Scores (Photo: USGA)

The two other remaining Europeans in the draw are Viktor HOVLAND and Kristoffer REITAN and sadly for Norwegian fans they will play each other in the penultimate game of this afternoon’s series.

Here are the full Round 2 results from Pebble Beach: –

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Match Play Round 2 Results (Photo: USGA)

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Wednesday 15th August 2018

Match Play Round 1

Harry HALL (ENG) lost by 1 Hole to Stewart HAGESTAD (USA). Stewart, the mid-amateur selection for the 2017 U.S.A. Walker Cup team, came into the match full of confidence after recording the lowest qualifying round; a bogey free 66 in his Rd 2 at Pebble Beach yesterday. In a tight match where neither player led by more than one hole Stewart just came out on top.

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S. Hagestad v. H. Hall – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) beat Ian SIEBERS (USA) 2&1. Ian handed control of the match to Alex with four bogeys in the first six holes and Alex was good enough to see it out from there. The draw was perhaps favourable to Alex but the match still had to be won.  Whilst Ian shot a 68, including 7 birdies, at Pebble Beach in Stroke Play Round 2 and qualified strongly in 7th place he is just 16 years old and therefore inexperienced at this level.

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I. Siebers v. A. Fitzpatrick – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

After a birdie on the opening hole Eoin LEONARD (IRE) appeared to lose his way on the famous cliff top holes that end Pebble Beach’s front nine, effectively handing the match to Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) with a sequence of bogeys. Reitan is an experienced international player ranked 44th in the SPWAR so there was certainly no shame in losing to him for the in-form Irishman.

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K. Reitan v. E. Leonard – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Here are the complete Round 1 results: –

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Match Play Round 1 Results (Photo: USGA)

Medalist Daniel HILLIER (NZL) safely overcame play-off winner Jacob BERGERON (USA) 3&2.

The main upsets in Round 1 fell in the lower half of the draw which potentially could be good news for Alex Fitzpatrick. Braden THORNBERRY (USA), Collin MORIKAWA (USA) and Justin SUH (USA), all ranked in the SPWAR’s top 10, lost their games. Brad DALKE (USA), runner-up to Curtis Luck in 2016, and highly rated Junior Akshay BHATIA (USA) also lost in this part of the draw.

24-For-1 Play-Off

The sudden death play-off for the 64th and final Match Play spot started at 7.30am (3.30pm BST) on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. The hole was set at 208 yards for the play off with the flag tucked on the back left hand side of the green.

The play-off was televised in full by the U.S.G.A. and streamed on Facebook and Twitter.

Unsurprisingly given the hole set up and circumstances just two players made birdie on the par 3 from the 24 who were competing. They were Jacob BERGERON (USA), the 12th to tee off, and Peter KUEST (USA), the 24th and last.

Both Bergeron and Kuest then hit great drives into the fairway on 18, the next play-off hole. Unfortunately at that point things went crazy. Bergeron mis-hit his lay up right blocking himself out behind the big tree in front of the green whilst Kuest, going for the green, hooked his approach into the Pacific. To cut a long story short Bergeron ended up winning the hole with a 6 with Kuest could only manage an 8.

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Tuesday 14th August 2018

63 players on +3 or better secured places in the Match Play Stage of the U.S. Amateur championship today.

A further 24 players on +4 will play-off tomorrow morning on Pebble Beach’s 17th hole to determine who takes up the final qualifying spot.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Results Summary (Photo: USGA)

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) secured medalist honours from Cole HAMMER (USA) after both finished on 137 (-6). Daniel edged Cole on Pebble Beach count back. Both played the lead venue on Day 1 with Daniel recording a 67 (-4) to Cole’s 69 (-2).

As expected after Day 1 only Eoin LEONARD (IRE) on 145 +2 [74 SH / 71PB], Harry HALL (ENG) 146 +3 [72 PB / 74 SH] and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) 146 +3 [72 PB / 74 SH] qualified from the seven strong Great British and Irish contingent.

Eoin qualified in some style. Standing at +5 after 27 holes he needed something special on Pebble Beach’s front nine to make the cut. Thankfully he was able to deliver a 32 including an eagle and two birdies to qualify comfortably.

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Eoin Leonard’s Front 9 Scorecard At Pebble Beach (Photo: USGA)

Eoin has been seeded 43rd, Alex 56th and Harry 52nd for the Match Play Stage based on their qualifying scores.

Norway’s Kristoffer REITAN Ev T19 and Viktor HOVLAND +1 T24 were the only other European qualifiers. Fred LACROIX (FRA) +4 T64 has the opportunity to make it 8 European qualifiers as he is one of the players contesting tomorrow morning’s 23-for-1 play-off.

Whilst Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 148 +5 [77 SH / 71 PB], Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) 148 +5 [78 SH / 70 PB], Robin DAWSON (IRE) 150 +7 [76 SH / 74 PB] and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 150 +7 [78 SH / 72PB] all produced improved scores at Pebble Beach in Round 2 they had simply left themselves too much to do after struggling at the tough Spyglass Hill on Day 1.

Amateur champion Jovan REBULA (RSA) also missed out on with a 148 +5 [76 SH / 72 PB].

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Monday 13th August 2018

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) and Trevor PHILLIPS (USA) lead the Stroke Play Qualifying competition at the US Amateur Championship at the end of Day 1.

Hillier, 19, shot a 67 (-4) at Pebble Beach which included 5 birdies and an eagle.

Phillips, 20, recorded a 68 (-4) at Spyglass Hill which included 6 birdies, 4 on an unblemished back 9.

Recent winners in the U.S. Isaiah SALINDA (USA) -3 (PB) 3rd, Cole HAMMER (USA) -2 (PB) T4, Akshay BHATIA (USA) -1 (PB) T12 and Michael THORBJORNSEN (USA) -1 (PB) T12 have all clearly brought their form to California.

Hammer is 18, whilst Bhatia and Thorbjornsen are just 16. All three are amongst the favourites this week.

Norway’s Kristoffer REITAN -1 (SH) T12 and Viktor HOVLAND Ev (PB) T28 are the leading European entrants after Round 1.

As you can see from the table below it was a generally disappointing day for the Great British and Irish players. Harry HALL, Alex FITZPATRICK and Eoin LEONARD now have the best chance of making the top 64 Match Play Stage. The other players will need something very special on day 2 to progress where the cut can now be expected to fall at +2 or +3 based on the first round scores.

Amateur champion Jovan REBULA (RSA) also has a lot of work to do if he is to progress.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1 Scores Summary (Photo: USGA)

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Sunday 12th August 2018  

The 118th U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow in Pebble Beach, California.

This year the championship is being staged at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

Administered by the United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) the U.S. Amateur is the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

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Competition Format

On Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one at Pebble Beach and the other at Spyglass Hill.

The Top 64 qualifiers will then progress to the match play stage of the competition. Ties for the last qualifying place will be resolved by a sudden death play-off.

18 hole match play rounds will then be played between Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 19th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

2018 Field

A field of 312 players from 24 (2017: 29) different countries will contest this year’s Championship.

261 players are from U.S.A. with Canada (10) and Australia (8) the next best represented countries.

This year 96 (2017: 100) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too. The introduction of a European Sectional Qualifier, like the U.S.G.A. stage for the U.S. Open Championship, remains long overdue.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.59 (2017: 22.39).

The oldest player will be Paul SIMSON (67, b. 10th May 1951) and the youngest Gaven LANE (14, b. 16th June 2004).

2015 Walker Cup player Mike McCOY will be making his 19th appearance in the Championship.

Denmark’s Nicolai HØSGAARD has chosen not to take up his exemption that came with his European Amateur Championship win at Royal Hague in late June. He is instead playing in the Boys’ Amateur Championship in Northern Ireland, aiming to secure his spot on Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup team.

There are 7 GB&I players competing. There were 9 in 2017 and 11 in 2016 at Riviera and Oakland Hills respectively.

Here is a list of the GB&I players with their exemption category or Sectional Qualifying event noted: –

Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Harry HALL (ENG) – Qualifier at Santa Rosa, California (23/07/17), 68 66 (-10) 1st.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) – GB&I Walker Cup 2017 and Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Eoin LEONARD (IRE) – Qualifier at Westfield, New Jersey (16/07/17), 67 70 (-5) 1st.

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

2018 Stroke Play Qualifying Draw

The draw for the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur Tee Times

California is 8 hours behind us so much of the action will take place overnight.

Matthew JORDAN and Robin DAWSON are in the same threesome. They will tee off at 8.01am (1st) at Spyglass on Day 1 and 1.16pm (10th) at Pebble Beach on Day 2.

Host Courses

Pebble Beach Golf Links
7,039 yards, Par 71.
Opened in 1919.
Designed by Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) / Herbert Fowler (1920) / H. Chandler Egan (1928) / Jack Nicklaus (1998) / Arnold Palmer & Thad Layton (2007-2016).

Pebble Beach famously enjoys nine holes perched on the cliffs above the Pacific and is one of the world’s finest courses. An occasional criticism is that the poa-annua greens can be bumpy in the morning and late afternoon.

This will be the 12th U.S.G.A. Championship Pebble beach has staged. It has hosted four previous U.S. Amateurs; in 1929, 1947, 1961 and 1999, the latter won by David Gossett.

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Pebble Beach Golf Links (Photo: Bart Keagy)

Spyglass Hill Golf Course
7,049 yards, Par 72.
Opened in 1966.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones (1966) / Tom Fazio (R. 1996).

Spyglass starts with five opening holes set in sand dunes near to the Pacific coast before moving inland to more challenging holes amongst the Monterey pine covered hills. A top rated course in the U.S. many commentators believe it to be nearly as good as Pebble Beach.

Spyglass co hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1999 alongside Pebble Beach.

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3rd Hole, Spyglass Hill Golf Course (Photo: Pebble Beach Company)

Weather Forecast (as at 11.00pm 12th August 2018)

A cool spell of weather is forecast for next week with playing conditions expected to be virtually identical on each day.

Stroke Play Stage
Mon 13th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 12°C.
Tues 14th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.

Match Play Stage
Weds 15th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.
Thurs 16th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 19°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 17th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 20°C / Min 14°C.
Sat 18th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 22°C / Min 14°C.
Sun 19th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 20°C / Min 14°C.

UK Television Coverage

Sky Sports will be taking the Fox U.S. television feed, via the Red Button, over the final match play weekend.

Prizes

The 2018 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following: –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the following year;

and assuming they remain amateur

b) An exemption to play in the 2019 U.S. Open coincidentally to be staged at Pebble Beach Golf Links;

c) An exemption to play in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club;

d) An invitation to play in the 2019 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club;

e) An exemption to play in the 2019 – 2028 U.S. Amateurs; and

f) Various invitations to play in PGA Tour and European Tour events.

A Silver Medal is awarded to the runner-up and Bronze Medals to the two losing semi-finalists.

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the U.S.G.A. on March 1895 in honour of the Association’s first President Theodore A. Havemeyer. This was lost in a fire at Bobby Jones’ home club, East Lake, in 1925.

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Bobby Jones Receives the Original U.S. Amateur Trophy in 1924

A new gold trophy was produced in 1926. This was retired in 1992 with a copy of the trophy being produced and passed from champion to champion ever since.

Sadly the original gold trophy was stolen from the U.S.G.A. Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship

img_8417Doc Redman (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship was played at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

Doc REDMAN (USA) won beating Doug GHIM (USA) on the 37th hole of the Championship match.

In an astonishing finish Redman recovered from 2-Down with 2 holes to play. On the 35th hole Redman dropped a 60 foot eagle putt before finishing the match with a birdie on the 36th and a conceded birdie on the first extra hole.

The U.S.G.A. highlights video below is worth watching just for Redman’s putt on the 35th.

2017 U.S. Amateur Highlights (You Tube: U.S.G.A.)

The Stroke Play medalist was Hayden WOOD who broke the U.S. Amateur Championship 36-hole qualifying record with a total of 131. Wood followed his 64 at Riviera with a 67 at Bel-Air to beat the 132 shot by Hank Kim (1994), Gregor Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).

Jack SINGH BRAR, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME all qualified for the Match Play Stage. Harry ELLIS lost out in the play-off on Riviera’s famous short par 4 10th hole. His double bogey 6 in the second group out saw him fall out of contention quickly.

Connor SYME went the furthest reaching the Quarter Finals before eventually losing 2&1 to Doug GHIM.

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 117th playing.

It was first played in 1895, the winner being Charles B. Macdonald.

It has always been decided by match play save for an 8 year period between 1965 and 1972 when the winner was determined solely by stroke play.

Former US winners include Walter Travis (1900-01-03), Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), W. Lawson Little (1934-35) Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959-61), Deane Beman (1960-63), Lanny Wadkins (1970), Craig Stadler (1973), Mark O’Meara (1979), Hal Sutton (1980), Phil Mickelson (1990), Justin Leonard (1992), Tiger Woods (1994-95-96), Matt Kucher (1997), Ryan Moore (2004), Peter Uihlein (2010) and Bryson DeChambeau (2015).

British players have won the Championship on six occasions but just twice in the last 100 years – H.J. Whigham (1896-97), Findlay Douglas (1898), Harold Hilton (1911), Richie Ramsay (2006) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013).

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) is the only player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

2019 – Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina – Courses No. 2 and 4.

2020 – Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon

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Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Open Championship – 2018 Final Qualifying

3rd July 2018

Scotland’s Sam LOCKE saved the day for GB&I amateur golf at Final Qualifying today. Rounds of 69 and 66 helped the Stonehaven man to medalist honours on 135 (-7) at The Renaissance and a place in The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.

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(l-r) Thomas Curtis, Sam Locke and Grant Forrest (Photo: @Renaissancegc)

With only 3 qualifying places available from each site it was always going to be a big ask for any amateur to come through. It’s therefore a great achievement for Sam who had been exempted into Final Qualifying as the reigning Scottish Closed Amateur champion. He was also rewarded by a 105 place jump in the SPWAR to 140th.

Other notable amateur performances came from David HAGUE ENG (T6), Alex FITZPATRICK ENG (T6) and Jake BURNAGE ENG (T9) at Hollinwell, Ryan LUMSDEN SCO (T4) at Prince’s, Joshua MCMAHON ENG (T8) and Ben HUTCHINSON ENG (T8) at St. Annes Old Links and Eugenio LOPEZ-CHACARRA ESP (T5) at The Renaissance. All ‘came close but no cigar’.

There were 72 amateurs amongst the 288 players contesting today’s four 36 hole Final Qualifying events. 59 of them came through Regional Qualifying whilst 13 were granted exemptions.

Links to the final results are provided below, along with a list of all of the qualifiers from each site and every amateur performance.

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NOTTS G.C. (HOLLINWELL)Results
72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. TURNER, Ashton – Kenwick Park 72 66 (-6)
2. WILSON, Oliver – Unattatched 72 69 (-3)
3. ENOCH, Rhys – Truro 72 70 (-2)

Amateur Results
T6. HAGUE, David (A) – Malton & Norton 68 76 (Ev)
T6. FITZPATRICK, Alex (A) – Hallamshire 73 71 (Ev)
T9. BURNAGE, Jake (A) – Saunton 69 76 (+1)
T15. WILSON, Andrew (A) – Darlington 72 75 (+3)
T19. BROOKS, Jack (A) – The Mere 76 72 (+4)
T19. MCKENZIE, Billy (A) – Rowlands Castle 73 75 (+4)
T24. HAWKSBY, Jack (A) – The Millbrook 75 74 (+5)
T24. SLOMAN, Thomas (A) – Taunton & Pickeridge 72 77 (+5)
T24. WOODCOCK, Lee (A) – The Leicestershire 72 77 (+5)
T28. BROADHURST, Sam (A) – Atherstone 74 76 (+6)
T31. ABBOTT, Chris (A) – Lutterworth 78 73 (+7)
T31. FARRELL, Oliver (A) – Evesham 74 77 (+7)
T43. TREW, Gaelan (A) – Wentworth 74 79 (+9)
T50. HUSSAIN, Haider (A) – The Kendleshire 84 71 (+11)
T50. NEVIN, Rhys (A) – Hartford 78 77 (+11)
T56. HAPGOOD, Jake (A) – Southerndown 81 78 (+15)
59. SHIN, Timothy (A) – Castle Royle 79 82 (+17)
60. MACARTHUR, Freddie (A) – Ullesthorpe Court 83 83 (+22)
62. WINTER, Adam (A) – Woburn 83 91 (+30)
WD. FIRTH, Benjamin (A) – Leeds Golf Centre 81 WD

PRINCE’S G.C.Results
72 players / 17 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. LEWIS, Tom – Welwyn Garden City 72 68 (-4)
2. MAGNUS, Haraldur – Iceland 72 70 (-2)
3. GOOSEN, Retief – South Africa 71 72 (-1)

Amateur Results
T4. LUMSDEN, Ryan (A) – Royal Wimbledon 76 68 (Ev)
T16. BURNS, Liam (A) – Chislehurst 77 72 (+5)
T16. NILEHN, Fredrik (A) – Sweden 75 74 (+5)
T23. BAUCHOU, Zachary (A) – USA 77 73 (+6)
T23. DAWSON, Robin (A) – Tramore 75 75 (+6)
T23. HALL, Harry (A) – West Cornwall 74 76 (+6)
T31. DYER, Jack (A) – Rochford Hundred 80 72 (+8)
T31. BYERS, Harvey (A) – Walton Heath 78 74 (+8)
T33. HOVLAND, Viktor (A) – Norway 81 72 (+9)
T33. GENNINGS, George (A) – Thorndon Park 75 78 (+9)
T41. SHERREARD, Tom (A) – Kings Hill 76 79 (+11)
T44. TAPLIN, Daniel (A) – Chartham Park 80 76 (+12)
T44. LEONARD, Eoin (A) – Wentworth 79 77 (+12)
T55. MULLAN, Sean (A) – Wentworth 84 78 (+18)
60. RUDGE, Charlie (A) – South Herts 80 86 (+22)
61. RILEY-BOURNE, Daniel (A) – The Essex 83 85 (+24)
RTD. ORTIZ, Alvaro (A) – Mexico 79 RTD

ST. ANNES OLD LINKS – Results
72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. ROBINSON, James – Southport & Ainsdale 67 65 (-12)
T2. SENIOR, Jack – Carus Green 68 66 (-10) 
T2. ARMITAGE, Marcus – Howley Hall 65 69 (-10)

Amateur Results
T8. MCMAHON, Joshua (A) – Wallasey 71 70 (-3)
T8. HUTCHINSON, Ben (A) – Howley Hall 70 71 (-3)
T14. ROBINSON, James (A) – Redditch 75 67 (-2)
T14. SUGRUE, James (A) – Mallow 75 67 (-2)
T19. HESSING, Rick (A) – Netherlands 74 69 (-1)
T19. BANNAN, Joseph (A) – The Manchester 72 71 (-1)
T27. JORDAN, Matthew (A) – Royal Liverpool 76 68 (Ev)
T27. BARROW, Callan (A) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes 74 70 (Ev)
T27. BOWE, William (A) – Workington 71 73 (Ev)
T34. NEWTON, James (A) – Prestbury 69 77 (+2)
T43. PLUMB, Thomas (A) – Yeovil 73 76 (+5)
T49. SIDDLE, Ashley (A) – Rossendale 74 76 (+6)
T49. KELLY, Luke (A) – Ashton Under Lyme 71 79 (+6)
T52. LONG, Joe (A) – Lansdown 75 76 (+7)
T52. AINSCOUGH, Jack (A) – Hartlepool 72 79 (+7)
T57. GOODMAN, Paul (A) – Huyton & Prescot 78 74 (+8)
T57. SUTTIE, Jack (A) – Denton 78 74 (+8)
T57. CARROLL, John (A) – Huyton & Prescot 77 75 (+8)
T62. SHUCKSMITH, William (A) – Alwoodley 77 76 (+9)
66. ROGERS, Luke (A) – Kidderminster 79 81 (+16)

THE RENAISSANCE CLUB Results
72 players / 15 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. LOCKE, Sam (A) – Stonehaven 69 66 (-7)
2. FORREST, Grant – Craigelaw 67 69 (-6)
3. CURTIS, Thomas – Unattached 68 69 (-5)

Amateur Results
T5. LOPEZ-CHACARRA, Eugenio (A) – Spain 67 73 (-2)
T25. CAHILL, Ryan (A) – Mill Ride 72 74 (+4)
T25. DODDS, William (A) – Stonehaven 69 77 (+4)
T31. PLUMB, Alasdair (A) – Chelmsford 73 74 (+5)
T48. LAW, Tom (A) – Broome Manor 77 74 (+9)
T48. BEST, Ben (A) – Rathmore 74 77 (+9)
T48. NESBIT, Gavin (A) – Boldon 73 78 (+9)
T48. SIDDELL, Aaron (A) – Castle Royle 73 78 (+9)
T54. UNDERWOOD, Kyle (A) – Australia 76 76 (+10)
T54. FAIRBURN, Simon (A) – Torwoodlee 74 78 (+10)
T59. GREEN, Christopher (A) – Cleakheaton & District 78 77 (+13)
64. ROGERS, Alistair (A) – Grange 77 81 (+16)
T65. HAIN, Alistair (A) – St. Andrews 80 79 (+17)
T65. BLAIR, Stuart (A) – Royal Musselburgh 74 85 (+17)

ME.

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The Open Championship Website Links – Home Page and Final Qualifying Live Reporting.

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ME.

30th June 2018 (Updated 1st July 2018)

Final Qualifying for the 2018 Open Championship will take place on Tuesday 3rd July at four courses across Great Britain.

The qualifying venues are Notts G.C. (Hollinwell), Prince’s G.C., St. Annes Old Links and The Renaissance Club.

There are currently three amateurs in The Open Championship field. These are: –
The Amateur Champion for 2018 – Jovan REBULA (RSA);
The Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion 2017 – Lin YUXIN (CHI); and
The European Amateur Championship 2018 – Nicolai HOJGAARD (DEN).

Doc REDMAN (USA), the 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion, and Joaquin NIEMANN (CHL), winner of the 2017 Mark H. McCormack Medal (Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking No. 1 in August 2017) have both turned pro and therefore foregone their exemptions.

Final Qualifying represents the last roll of the dice for the Great British and Irish amateur fraternity. There are 72 amateurs competing out of a total field of 288 players, with 65 of them coming from GB&I. 13 amateurs were exempt straight into Final Qualifying. With 12 places available hopefully one of them can come through for me.

Regional Qualifying

143 players initially progressed from the 13 Regional Qualifying events on Monday 25th June with 40 amateurs amongst them.

Following withdrawals from Final Qualifying around 55 Reserves have now also been brought forward from the Regionals. Within this number are another 19 amateurs.

For more information on this first stage please read my earlier report – ‘The Open Championship – 2018 Regional Qualifying’.

Final Qualifying

36 holes of stroke play golf will be played by each competitor in Final Qualifying.

287 players, including 66 amateurs, have been allocated evenly to the four venues.

The three leading players at each of theses events will advance to the Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie Golf Links on 15th – 22nd July.

Any ties for the last qualifying places in each competition will be resolved by a hole by hole play-off at the end of play.

As always 156 players will contest The Open itself, with the majority of these already being exempted into the field.

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Carnoustie Golf Links (Photo: http://www.execgolf-leaisure.com)

Amateur Players / Tee Times

Here is a list of the four Final Qualifying events with all of the amateur entries (in tee time order) noted.

All tee times at Hollinwell will be off the 1st whilst the other three venues will be utilising their 1st and 10th tees.

NOTTS G.C. (HOLLINWELL)Tee Times

72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

06.40 / 12.10 SHIN, Timothy (A) – Castle Royle
07.00 / 12.30 HAWKSBY, Jack (A) – The Millbrook
07.10 / 12.40 FARRELL, Oliver (A) – Evesham
07.20 / 12.50 MACARTHUR, Freddie (A) – Ullesthorpe Court
07.55 / 13.25 WOODCOCK, Lee (A) – The Leicestershire
08.05 / 13.35 TREW, Gaelan (A) – Wentworth
08.15 / 13.45 BURNAGE, Jake (A) – Saunton
08.25 / 13.55 HAPGOOD, Jake (A) – Southerndown
08.25 / 13.55 WINTER, Adam (A) – Woburn
08.40 / 14.10 HUSSAIN, Haider (A) – The Kendleshire
08.50 / 14.20 NEVIN, Rhys (A) – Hartford
09.00 / 14.30 WILSON, Andrew (A) – Darlington
09.20 / 14.50 MCKENZIE, Billy (A) – Rowlands Castle
09.30 / 15.00 FITZPATRICK, Alex (A) – Hallamshire
09.45 / 15.15 BROOKS, Jack (A) – The Mere
09.55 / 15.25 ABBOTT, Chris (A) – Lutterworth
10.05 / 15.35 HAGUE, David (A) – Malton & Norton
10.15 / 15.45 SLOMAN, Thomas (A) – Taunton & Pickeridge
10.25 / 15.55 BROADHURST, Sam (A) – Atherstone
10.35 / 16.05 FIRTH, Benjamin (A) – Leeds Golf Centre

PRINCE’S G.C.Tee Times

72 players / 17 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

07.10 / 12.55 HALL, Harry (A) – West Cornwall
07.10 / 12.55 TAPLIN, Daniel (A) – Chartham Park
07.20 / 13.05 ORTIZ, Alvaro (A) – Mexico
07.20 / 13.05 MULLAN, Sean (A) – Wentworth
07.30 / 13.15 BAUCHOU, Zachary (A) – USA
07.40 / 13.25 RILEY-BOURNE, Daniel (A) – The Essex
07.40 / 13.25 DYER, Jack (A) – Rochford Hundred
07.50 / 13.35 NILEHN, Fredrik (A) – Sweden
08.05 / 13.50 DAWSON, Robin (A) – Tramore
08.15 / 14.00 BURNS, Liam (A) – Chislehurst
08.25 / 14.10 LEONARD, Eoin (A) – Wentworth
08.25 / 14.10 RUDGE, Charlie (A) – South Herts
08.35 / 14.20 SHERREARD, Tom (A) – Kings Hill
08.45 / 14.30 GENNINGS, George (A) – Thorndon Park
08.45 / 14.30 HOVLAND, Viktor (A) – Norway
08.45 / 14.30 BYERS, Harvey (A) – Walton Heath
08.55 / 14.40 LUMSDEN, Ryan (A) – Royal Wimbledon

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ST. ANNES OLD LINKSTee Times

72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

07.10 / 12.55 ROGERS, Luke (A) – Kidderminster
07.10 / 12.55 SIDDLE, Ashley (A) – Rossendale
07.20 / 13.05 GOODMAN, Paul (A) – Huyton & Prescot
07.20 / 13.05 AINSCOUGH, Jack (A) – Hartlepool
07.30 / 13.15 MCMAHON, Joshua (A) – Wallasey
07.30 / 13.15 BOWE, William (A) – Workington
07.40 / 13.25 SUGRUE, James (A) – Mallow
07.50 / 13.35 SHUCKSMITH, William (A) – Alwoodley
07.50 / 13.35 CARROLL, John (A) – Huyton & Prescot
07.50 / 13.35 HESSING, Rick (A) – Netherlands
08.15 / 14.00 BANNAN, Joseph (A) – The Manchester
08.15 / 14.00 HUTCHINSON, Ben (A) – Howley Hall
08.25 / 14.10 JORDAN, Matthew (A) – Royal Liverpool
08.25 / 14.10 NEWTON, James (A) – Prestbury
08.35 / 14.20 PLUMB, Thomas (A) – Yeovil
08.35 / 14.20 ROBINSON, James (A) – Redditch
08.35 / 14.20 BARROW, Callan (A) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes
08.45 / 14.30 KELLY, Luke (A) – Ashton Under Lyme
08.55 / 14.40 LONG, Joe (A) – Lansdown
08.55 / 14.40 SUTTIE, Jack (A) – Denton

THE RENAISSANCE CLUBTee Times

71 players / 15 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

07.00 / 12.45 NESBIT, Gavin (A) – Boldon
07.10 / 12.55 GREEN, Christopher (A) – Cleakheaton & District
07.20 / 13.05 HAIN, Alistair (A) – St. Andrews
07.20 / 13.05 BLAIR, Stuart (A) – Royal Musselburgh
07.30 / 13.15 CAHILL, Ryan (A) – Mill Ride
07.50 / 13.35 ROGERS, Alistair (A) – Grange
07.50 / 13.35 LOPEZ-CHACARRA, Eugenio (A) – Spain
08.15 / 14.00 FAIRBURN, Simon (A) – Torwoodlee
08.15 / 14.00 BEST, Ben (A) – Rathmore
08.25 / 14.10 LOCKE, Sam (A) – Stonehaven
08.25 / 14.10 DODDS, William (A) – Stonehaven
08.35 / 14.20 LAW, Tom (A) – Broome Manor
08.45 / 14.30 UNDERWOOD, Kyle (A) – Australia
08.55 / 14.40 PLUMB, Alasdair (A) –
08.55 / 14.40 SIDDELL, Aaron (A) – Castle Royle

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For more information on the Low Amateur prize at The Open Championship you may like to take a look at an article I wrote earlier this year – ‘The Open Championship’s Silver Medal’.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The St. Andrews Links Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 10th June 2018

Play-off

John MURPHY (IRE) beat Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) on the first play-off hole to win the 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy.

John becomes the third Irish golfer to win the title following in the footsteps of Alan Dunbar (2009) and Conor O’Rourke (2016).

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John Murphy (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Kenny Smith Photography)

Murphy looked second favourite after his approach to the 1st hole on the Old Course ended up 25 feet away after De Bruyn had left himself just 6 feet. However, the Irishman sank his birdie putt and perhaps unsurprisingly in the circumstances the German was unable to match him.

The St. Andrews Links Trust tweeted a video of the winning putt with a short interview with their winner.

This was a great win for the man from Kinsale who has just completed his sophomore year at University of Louisville in the United States. He rose to 143rd in the SPWAR, jumping 616 places, as reward for the biggest win of his career.

Here are the full – 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

Round 4

Round 4 started at 12 noon with the leaders setting off at 2.56pm.

Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) shot the best final round, his second 68 of the day. Whilst his morning round had included two bogeys this afternoon he produced a clean card with four birdies. He posted 278 (-9) and waited patiently in the clubhouse to see if it would hold up.

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Jannik De Bruyn Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)  

John MURPHY (IRE) also recorded the same score as he did in the morning. His 71 meant he was the only player to catch De Bruyn on -9 and that a play-off would be required to decide the winner.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) shot final day rounds of 70 and 69 to finish tied 3rd with Haydn BARRON (AUS) on 279 (-8), just one shot back.

Englishman Burnage was bogey free in the afternoon but his morning 70 was something of a rollercoaster. Without wishing to be dismissive of his seven birdies it included, with the benefit of hindsight, a painful double bogey 6 on 12 and bogeys on 15 and 16. Nevertheless this represented another very good result for the Devonian No. 1 and a welcome return to form. He was the leading GB&I player in one of the world’s best amateur events.

Compatriot Laird SHEPHERD finished well with a 70 to secure a tied 5th place result on 280 (-7). Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) was next best for GB&I. His 281 (-6) score was good enough to secure tied 8th.

Round 3

Round 3 started at 7.00am with Kieran CANTLEY (SCO) going out alone. The two leading players, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) -8 and John MURPHY (IRE) -7, teed off at 9.56am.

36 holes on the Old Course lay ahead as the 45 qualifying players set out to determine the winner of the 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy.

Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 67 and John MURPHY (IRE) 71 shared the 54 hole lead on -8.

Overnight leader Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) shot 75, faltering late on with a double bogey on the 15th and a bogey on 17.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) shot the best third round score. His blemish free 66 included an eagle on the par 5 5th and birdies on 9, 12, 13 and 14.

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Sandy Scott’s Round 3 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)  

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) also shot 67, with defending champion Matthew JORDAN (ENG) and fellow Englishman Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68 delivering the next best GB&I scores.

Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) moved up to -6 after a 68 in Round 3.

For those interested here is a link to today’s tee times – 2018 St. Andrews Trophy Round 3 and Round 4 Start Sheet

ME.

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Saturday 9th June 2018

The star of Day 2 was Laird SHEPHERD (ENG). The Stirling University student knows St. Andrews well and demonstrated it around the Old Course today. With a supportive wind on the way out he completed his front 9 in just 30 shots and held it together nicely on the way home. His 65 (-7) helped him move to the top of the 36 hole leaderboard on 135 (-8).

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Laird Shepherd’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf) 

There were a number of great rounds today reflecting the generally benign conditions in Fife. John MURPHY (IRE) shot 66, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) – winner of the East of Ireland Amateur earlier this week – 67, David HAGUE (ENG) 67, Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 67 and Jamie LI (ENG) 68, all moving into the top 10 as a result.

Stuart EASTON (SCO) 67, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68, Therion NEL (RSA) 68 and Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) 68 all knew they needed good rounds to make the cut and impressively delivered.

However, the bounceback prize has to go to Joao GIRAO (POR). After a disappointing 80 on the New Course yesterday, from which there was never going to be a way back, he at least went down fighting delivering a 66 which included 7 birdies.

First round leader Olly HUGGINS (ENG) found the going harder today – his 75, and 142 (-1) total, was at least good enough to ensure he made the cut.

The top 40 and ties 36 hole cut eventually fell at even par with 45 players making it through to the final day.

ME.

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Friday 8th June 2018

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) leads the St. Andrews Links Trophy after an impressive 67 (-4) on the New Course.

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Olly Huggins’ Round  1 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf) 

Five players, Matias HONKALA (FIN), Jake BOLTON (ENG), Luca Filippi (RSA), Tom PLUMB (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO), shot 68 (-3).

46 players are on Even par or better highlighting how tight the leaderboard is.

ME.

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4th June 2018

144 golfers from 26 different countries will tee off on Friday 8th June in the 30th St. Andrews Links Trophy.

This event has become one of the ‘Majors’ in men’s amateur golf helped by venue and timing.

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 played over the St. Andrews Links in early June.

After various National Golf Union and St. Andrews Links Trust nominations the field is determined by World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) as at 3rd May 2018 rather than handicap as is normally the case.

This year Round 1 will be played on the New Course – the Jubilee Course was used last year – with Round 2 on the Old Course.

Following a top 40 and ties cut on Saturday the leading players will play a final 36 holes on the Old Course on Sunday.

The New Course plays 6,625 yards to a par of 71. The front nine is 3,270 yards long with a par of 36 whilst the tougher back nine is 85 yards longer but with a par of 35.

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New 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 2018 St Andrews Links Trophy start sheets can be viewed here – Round 1 (New) and Round 2 (Old).

The Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed the Links Trophy 8th in its 2017 Amateur Tournament Ranking based on the strength of it’s field. It was 6th in the same ranking in 2016.

18 of the 20 members of the 2018 GB&I St. Andrews Trophy squad will be competing at St. Andrews this week. Harry HALL (ENG) and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) are the exceptions; both were competing in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying today in the United States. Many of the Squad have been drawn together in the opening rounds to help the selectors follow their play closely.

The attraction of St. Andrews always ensures a strong overseas entry. Australia, Canada and South Africa are particularly well represented in 2018 with Hugo BERNARD (CAN), Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Dylan PERRY (AUS) and Matt SAULEZ (RSA) all strong challengers.

Weather Forecast (updated on Wednesday 6th June)

The current weather forecast appears perfect for golf – dry with minimal chance of rain.

Friday 8th June – Cloudy. Wind 13 mph E. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 9°C.
Saturday 9th June – Cloudy. Wind 11 mph E. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 10°C.
Sunday 10th June – Cloudy. Wind 11 mph E. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°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 proceedings.

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.

2017 Event

Royal Liverpool’s Matthew JORDAN won the 2017 St. Andrews Links Trophy. Following an outstanding run of form the victory almost certainly secured his place in last year’s Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team.

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Kenny Smith)

Rounds of 70, 68, 69 and 70 took Matthew to a finishing total of 277 (-11).

J.R. GALBRAITH (IRE) shot 66, 71, 70 and 71 (-10) to secure second place with Ben FERGUSON (AUS) finishing 3rd on -9.

Other GB&I players to finish in the top 10 included 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

Click here to view the – 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results 

Past Winners

Click here to view a full list of the – St Andrews Links Trophy Past Winners

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.

The most famous winner is Justin ROSE who won in 1997.

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 FedericoZUCCHETTI from Italy (2015).

Huizing, who had won the 2012 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 © 2015-2018, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 3rd June 2018

Nick POPPLETON (ENG) today won the 2018 Brabazon Trophy after a sudden death play-off with Wilco NIENABER (RSA).

Both players had started the day on 6-under, 3 shots back of overnight leader Jeong Weon KO (FRA).

Nick shot two rounds of 67 on the final day recording just two bogeys while Wilco posted a 65 and 69. Both players posting an impressive aggregate score of -10 for their final two rounds, played in glorious sunshine on Frilford Heath’s Red Course.

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 Nick Poppleton (Photo: Golf Bible)

Play-Off

The play-off took place on the 9th hole of Frilford’s Red Course. The 9th is a 180 yard par 3 played over a valley to an elevated green that slopes from back to front and is protected by two short bunkers. The flag was in the front right portion of the green.

Nick teed off first and finished short right in front of the bunker. Wilco followed him and finished in roughly the same area, a little closer to the bunker. Nick chipped up and watched in anguish as his well judged shot hit the flag and stayed out. Wilco followed and saw his chip finish an inch to the right of the hole. Both tapped-in quickly and returned to the tee to try again.

Despite now playing the hole for the fourth time on the day both players again missed the green short right. Nick was further away, perhaps as much as 30 feet. This time his chip ran up perfectly and dropped into the hole beside the flag. A magnificent shot played under the most extreme pressure. Wilco then chipped up from just in front of the green and amazingly lipped out, the ball finishing stone dead. The gallery had seen four difficult chips to a raised green and from reasonable distance in the play-off; three hit the hole and one stayed on the lip. It was some exhibition of the skills these elite amateurs have.

Nick had won the 2018 Brabazon Trophy in some style on the second extra hole. It was a great win for the likeable Yorkshireman.

Wilco should be disappointed he lost. This was my first viewing of him and he certainly looked the part, a professional in all but name. He hits the ball miles, has a beautiful short game and his temperament was first class. He clearly has a big future in the game, a prediction I wouldn’t normally make but feel confident of doing so with him. I am sure he will learn from this loss.

Click here to view the final – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Results

Round 4

I set off with the Wilco NIENABER and Jack COPE pairing this afternoon, keeping a close eye on Nick POPPLETON who was playing ahead of them with David LANGLEY.

Not for the first time this season I would end up watching a relatively comfortable leader grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Wilco seemed very relaxed and despite leaking most of his tee shots to the right took advantage of his power and beautiful short game. He seemed to escape with pars or earn birdies on most of the holes on the front nine. The exception being the downhill 500 yard 6th where he eagled after a long drive and iron shot to 10 feet. When he followed it with a birdie on the 7th he was 5-under for his final round and -18 for the Championship, leading Nick by 4 shots.

Jack was playing very well but simply couldn’t get anything to drop on the greens on the front nine. Up ahead Nick was continuing his good form and was 3-under on the front nine for his own round.

Wilco was a bit lose around the turn dropping shots on 8 and 11 but doing well to get one back on the 12th where his towering approach from the deepish rough was judged perfectly.

After a solid par on the strategic right-to-left dogleg 13th, where he hit an iron off the tee and a nice approach to the difficult back pin position, the South African Number 1 was -4 for the round and -17 for the event. He was leading Nick by 3 shots.

As the small gallery walked up the 354 yard par 4 – what appeared to be the tightest, most penal hole on the course – we discussed how Wilco would surely play an iron. Jack, who had birdied the 12th and was therefore playing first, did just that and found the centre of the fairway, leaving himself a wedge in.

This was the point at which the Championship was undoubtedly lost.

Wilco, who was confidently being advised and caddied for throughout by a Golf RSA coach / manager, proceeded to smash his drive well into the gorse, again long right. This was not a surprise; he had done the same thing on most of the proceeding holes, the difference being they had all been much wider, allowing short ‘recovery’ shots to be played to the green. Aggressive play is great and clearly Wilco’s preferred approach but certain situations – e.g. when you have a 3 shot lead with 5 holes to play and are facing a hole bordered by gorse on both sides – require a bit more subtlety and the removal of big numbers from the potential equation.

If I had been caddying for him neither his woods, or for that matter his long irons, would have gone within 100 yards of the tee box. After all this is a lad that probably hits his 7-iron 200 yards. Surprisingly he hit his provisional with his driver too. To be fair this time he came up 20 yards short of the green. His chip was poor by the high standards of earlier in his round and before he knew it he was writing down 6 on his scorecard. He may not of known it at the time but his lead was now just 1 shot.

On the 421 yard 15th Wilco smashed his ball to within 30 yards of the green. Even allowing for the perfect playing conditions this was a massive hit. However, he couldn’t get up and down for birdie. Playing from the semi-rough he misjudged the lack of spin he would be able to generate and ran well past the hole.

As he putted out Nick was waiting on the nearby 16th with his caddie, friend and professional Alex Stubbs.

This was the point where the Championship was won.

England Golf had pushed the tee up for the final round and as such the hole was playing as a drivable 295 yard par 4. Nick hit a superb drive that found a path up the narrow right side of the green to a pin perched on the right ledge. When he holed the 15 foot putt for eagle he led by 1 shot.

With the green clear Jack found the putting surface whilst Wilco bounced into the left hand bunker. Jack proceeded to three putt for par whilst Wilco played a superb long bunker shot to a few feet but to everyone’s surprise missed his short birdie putt.

I quickly scampered after the Yorkshireman who by this time was finishing off on the 17th. Nick held his nerve to par in. He did give himself a 20 footer on the last for the outright win but the putt lipped out.

Wilco missed a relatively short downhill putt on 17 to draw back level. Hitting driver – perfectly justifiable given he was now chasing – on the 324 yard par 4 18th he flirted with the members car park before coming up just short of pin high on the left hand side. His chip was well played but ran out four feet passed the hole which was on the right edge of the green. To his credit he bravely slotted the downhill right to lefter for birdie, thus gaining a chance for redemption in a play-off.

With four groups still to come in it took almost an hour before the play-off could commence.

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The Leading Brabazon Trophy Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

As can be seen from the above screenshot England’s Bailey GILL and Jack COPE (-13 / tied 3rd), Andrew WILSON (-11 / tied 6th), Mitch WAITE (-11 / tied 6th), Arun SINGH BRAR (-9 / 8th), Max MARTIN, David LANGLEY and Ben JONES (-8 / all tied 9th) all enjoyed Top 10 finishes.

Jack COPE (ENG) seemed to gain confidence from Wilco’s back nine difficulties coming home in 33 with four birdies and one bogey. His -13 total and tied 3rd finish helped him win The George Henriques Salver, a prize awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. Arun SINGH BRAR (-9) finished second in these supplementary standings.

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Jack Cope (Photo: GolfBible)

Round 3

Play commenced at 7.30am with the leaders, Messrs. Ko and Waite, heading off at 9.09am. Unfortunately they recorded a 73 and 72 respectively from which they were unable to recover in the afternoon despite posting much improved rounds of 68 and 69.

However, the two main stories from Round 3 concerned South African protege Wilco NIENABER (RSA) and Darlington’s Andrew WILSON.

Wilco started on the 10th being one of the leading players. His halves of 33 and 32 included six birdies and one eagle. His -13 total after 54 holes gave him a 2 shot lead over Nick POPPLETON who had also impressed with his own 6 birdie 67 to move into second on -11.

Andrew started on the 1st at 8.15am and shot a sparkling best of the tournament course record 63 which he told me could have been better; a bogey on three and with four birdie opportunities all passed up over the closing holes. He was now right in the mix but would need to go low again in the afternoon.

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Andrew Wilson’s 3rd Round Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

ME.

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Saturday 2nd June 2018

Round 2

Jeong Weon KO (FRA) leads Mitch WAITE (ENG) by 1 shot at the end of Round 2. Ko shot a 69 to move onto -9 whilst Waite posted a joint best of the day 67 (-5), including 7 birdies, to move on to -8.

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Jeong Weon Ko (Photo: Leaderboard Photography / England Golf)

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG), whose season has been interrupted with health issues, is pleasingly in a three way tie for third on -7; he’s joined by Stuart EASTON (SCO) and Ferdinand MUELLER (GER).

Thomas BEASLEY (ENG) was the other player to shoot 67 on Day 2. His bogey free round included 4 birdies in his last 6 holes. Thomas will start the final day on -2 and in tied 28th place.

The cut fell at -1 with 46 players progressing.

With 21 players within 5 shots of the lead Sunday’s 36 holes should provide an exciting race to the title.

ME.

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Friday 1st June 2018

Round 1

Round 1 was concluded by early afternoon with the scoring bar lowered even further.

Jeong Weon KO (FRA), Nick POPPLETON (ENG) and Jay BEISSER (ENG) all posted 66’s (-6) on Day 2 to tie the Round 1 lead.

Beisser birdied every par 3 and par 5 to hand in an unusual card made up solely of 2’s and 4’s.

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The Leading Round 1 Scorecards (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Frederic LACROIX (FRA) joined Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Jack COPE (ENG) and Ferdinand MUELLER (GER), yesterday’s clubhouse leaders, by recording a 67 (-5). The four of them are all tied for fourth at this early stage.

Round 1 scoring has been good with 42 players under par from the 155 who started the event.

England Golf have announced that the 36 hole cut will now be set at the top 45 and ties, rather than the normal top 60 and ties; the higher level having also been reaffirmed yesterday after the suspension in play.

With 59 players tied 45th or better and 78 players at tied 60th or better after Round 1, and with only another 18 holes to be played before the cut is made, I assume a fear of having too big a field for the final 36 holes on Sunday has driven this decision.

After disappointing first rounds Matt SAULEZ (RSA) 74 +2, Chris WOOLLAM (RSA) 74 +2, Sam LOCKE 75 (SCO) +3, Andrew WILSON (ENG) 75 +3, Lewis GEORGE (ENG) 76 +4  and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) 77 +5 are amongst the more notable players that will require a strong bounce back tomorrow to make the final day.

ME.

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Thursday 31st May 2018

Round 1

Play started at 8.00am but was brought to a premature close around 3.00pm by thunderstorms which left the Frilford Heath course flooded.

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The Practice Putting Green (Photo: Frilford Heath G.C.)

74 players managed to complete their first rounds before play was abandoned. The leaders in the clubhouse being Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Jack COPE (ENG) and Ferdinand MUELLER (GER) who all shot 67’s (-5).

Sadly Todd CLEMENTS (ENG), one of the highest ranked competitors, had to withdraw before his 9.05am tee time with a back injury. In an event already lacking some of the field depth seen in previous years this was a blow from a ranking perspective.

England Golf have now decided to complete Round 1 tomorrow before playing Round 2 on Saturday.

The Top 60 and Ties cut will still take place after 36 holes meaning the leading players will now have to play 36 holes on Sunday.

ME.

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28th May 2018

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

The 72nd playing of this event takes place between Thursday 31st and Sunday 3rd June on the Oxfordshire Club’s Red Course.

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Frilford Heath Golf Club (Photo: Frilford Heath G.C.)

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

156 competitors will start the 2018 Championship. Whilst England dominates the entries players from 12 other countries are also represented.

The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Start Sheet

78 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with 78 coming through a qualifying process.

Callan BARROW (-2) of Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. was the medalist at neighbouring Fairhaven in the North Qualifier, pipping Lincolnshire’s Sam DONE on count back. Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Cameron PHILLIPS (-6) from Hindhead G.C. led the qualifiers at Camberley Heath G.C. in the South Qualifier. Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

13 of the 20 recently announced Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) St. Andrews Trophy Squad will be competing at the Brabazon. These are Todd CLEMENTS (ENG), Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG), Calum FYFE (SCO), David HAGUE (ENG), Ben JONES (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Sam LOCKE (SCO), Billy MCKENZIE (ENG), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Jamie STEWART (SCO), Euan WALKER (SCO), Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) and Andrew WILSON (ENG).

Of those missing the event Harry HALL (ENG), Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) were unable to enter due to the conflicting NCAA Division I National Championships which is currently being played in Oklahoma.

Rowan LESTER (IRE) and Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) are playing in the East of Ireland Amateur Championship. The two leading Irish players Robin DAWSON (IRE) and Alex GLEESON (IRE) appear to be taking the week off.

To put the event in context the 2017 Brabazon was ranked the 17th most important amateur competition in the world last year based on the strength of it’s field by the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR). Unfortunately a scheduling clash with the East of Ireland Championship means a much lower event ranking can be expected in 2018.

Prizes

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

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The Champion’s Prize and Brabazon Trophy (Photo: GolfBible)

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 23rd and 24th June).

Frilford Heath Golf Club

Frilford’s first course, the Red, was designed by J.H. Taylor, the five times Open Champion, in 1908 and opened in the following year. Club professional J.H. Turner undertook some later tweaks but it largely remains as originally planned.

This predominantly heathland course measures around 7,000 yards depending on which tees are selected. A par of 72 is split 36-36, albeit as you can see from the scorecard below the hole configurations are different on the two nines.

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Red Course Scorecard (Photo: Frilford Heath G.C.)

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Wednesday 30th May) is broadly positive for all four competition days, albeit the modest winds are expected to move around from day to day.

Thu 25th May – Thundery Showers / Wind 8 mph E / Temp. Min. 15°C, Max. 21°C.
Fri  26th May – Light Rain / Wind 11 mph SW / Temp. Min. 13°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat  27th May – Sunny / Wind 9 mph W / Temp. Min. 10°C / Min 21°C.
Sun 28th May – Cloudy / Wind 8 mph NE / Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 23°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 8.00am right through until 2.35pm.

The 2017 Brabazon Trophy

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE celebrated his 20th birthday by winning the 2017 English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.

Kyle shot rounds of 70, 66, 75 and 71 for a 282 (-10) total and a 1-shot victory. He was the fifth South African to win the Brabazon Trophy, following in the footsteps of Neville Sundelson (1974), Richard Kaplan (1986), Craig Rivett (1989T) and Charl Schwartzel (2002).

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Kyle McClatchie (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

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 a 67 (-6) with a 68 (-5) in the final round.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) (-7) finished 5th, Dan BROWN (ENG) (-5) 6th and David BOOTE (WAL) (-4) 7th.

Click here to see the full – 2017 Brabazon Trophy Results

Click here to see the full – 2016 Brabazon Trophy 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.

Click here to view the full list of – Brabazon Trophy Past Winners

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).

Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

My Review Of GB&I Men’s Amateur Golf In 2017

24th December 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 I thought I would record the more memorable performances that we have seen from Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golfers throughout the year.

When one reads through the months below it’s hard not to conclude that the year has generally been another successful one, with many highs and just a few lows.

An unusually large number of players have turned professional in the last 3 months (‘Amexit’) but I think we can take comfort from the positive signs already emanating from the next generation of players coming through.

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JANUARY

The year started with various touring parties heading off to events in the Southern Hemisphere.

Evan GRIFFITH (quarter finals) and Robert MACINTYRE (semi-finals) enjoyed good runs in the Australian Men’s Amateur.

Jack DAVIDSON and Conor O’ROURKE finished 4th and tied 7th at the South American Amateur in Argentina.

Jack SINGH BRAR and Bradley MOORE finished 2nd and 3rd in the Avondale Amateur in Australia.

FEBRUARY

Scott GREGORY delivered GB&I’s first major win of 2017, beating compatriot Marco PENGE by 1 hole in the Final of the New South Wales Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd), Dan BROWN (3rd), Liam JOHNSTON (5th) and Craig HOWIE (7th) made good starts to their seasons with high finishes in the South African Stroke Play Championship.

Back in Europe Josh MCMAHON (2nd), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (T4), David BOOTE (T4) and Bailey GILLGeorge BLOOR and Tiarnan MCLARNON (T7) all showed early season form at the Portuguese International Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd) lost a play-off to South African star Garrick Higgo in the Cape Province Open.  Stuart GREHAN and Alex GLEESON finished T4 in the same event whilst Craig HOWIE was T9.

Dan BROWN (-15) was co-medalist in the South African Amateur. Dan sadly lost the play-off for the Proudfoot Trophy on the 4th extra hole albeit his second round 63 at Humewood GC will no doubt live long in his memory. He was 6-under after his first 5 holes having eagled two par 4’s. Liam JOHNSTON and Joe LONG made the Quarter-Final when the Championship match play got going.

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Liam Johnston (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

Liam JOHNSTON didn’t have to wait much longer to get his name up in lights. The following week he went on to win the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek CC. In a good week for Scottish Golf Connor SYME (2nd), Jamie STEWART (3rd) and Craig HOWIE (5th) also finished high up.

Ben AMOR (ENG) turned Pro in February.

MARCH

Jack DAVIDSON got the European season underway by winning the Spanish International Amateur. Interestingly Jack was the final stroke play qualifier after Chris MACLEAN had pipped Stuart GREHAN to medalist honours. Nevertheless he soon got to grips with EL Saler ultimately beating Marco PENGE 4&3 in the 36 hole final.

In an event with little GB&I support David HAGUE popped up with a T7 result at the Italian International Amateur. Even more surprisingly Sean CROCKER the highly rated US College golfer turned up and ended up winning the Championship comfortably by 5 shots.

A superb opening day’s play from Bailey GILL, where he shot two 65’s, helped the Yorkshireman literally blow the field away at the subsequently weather shortened Darwin Salver.

Scott GREGORY re-affirmed his match play credentials with an impressive 1st Extra Hole win over Australia’s 2016 US Amateur champion Curtis LUCK in the pre-Masters Georgia Cup match.

APRIL

WALES, represented by David BOOTEJack DAVIDSONJoshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, won the European Nations Cup Team competition at RCG Sotogrande in Spain. WALES’ total of +13 was 11 shots better than second placed IRELAND (+24) and 21 shots better than fourth placed SCOTLAND (+34). An out of sorts ENGLAND (+61) finished a disappointing 12th.

Jack DAVIDSON won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots. Rounds of 70, 70, 70 and 73 (-5), which included 20 birdies and 2 eagles, gave him his second major title in less than a month.

Charlie STRICKLAND, who was runner-up to Bailey GILL at the Darwin Salver, then came to the fore, winning two 72 hole events in consecutive weeks. First came the Duncan Putter – which will be moving to three days at Southerndown in 2018 – and quickly following it up with the U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy at my home club, Copt Heath.

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Charlie Strickland with Peter McEvoy (Photo: @GolfBible)

The 2016 US Mid-Amateur champion, Stewart HAGESTAD, won the Silver Cup at The Masters following rounds of 74, 73, 74 and 73 (+6). His tied 36th finish saw him comfortably win low amateur honours. Our Amateur champion, Scott GREGORY, missed the cut after rounds of 82 and 75 (+13).

The Scottish Boys Open Championship, disappointingly scheduled directly against the Peter McEvoy Trophy, was won in style by John PATERSON who came past runner-up Jamie STEWART at Monifieth with an exceptional final round of 67.

The Hampshire Salver again proved a popular weekend for competitors. Jack SINGH BRAR won Saturday’s Selborne Salver and Jake BURNAGE Sunday’s Hampshire Hog at North Hants. Singh Brar beat Burnage by 1shot for the combined 72 hole Hampshire Salver.

Up in Scotland Craig HOWIE, the clear favourite at the start of play, dominated the Craigmillar Park Open shooting rounds of 66, 66, 66 and 67 (-15) and winning by 8 shots.

Barry ANDERSON won the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo beating Jack PIERSE 3&2 in the Final. Earlier Conor O’ROURKE had edged out fellow Naas member Jonathan YATES to secure medallist honours in the 36 hole stroke play qualifier.

Chile’s Joaquin NIEMANN started his rise to the top of the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking by winning the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the United Sates.

Owen EDWARDS (-3) won the West of England Stroke Play after a strong final day’s play at Saunton left him as the only player under par. David HAGUE (+1) was 2nd and Will POOLE (+3) tied 3rd.

On the same weekend Connor SYME won the Battle Trophy at Crail. Despite giving the field a chance with a final round 79 the Drumoig man still won by 5 shots.

Meanwhile in South Wales Matthew HARRIS won the Carmarthenshire Open at Ashburnham and Callum MORRIS the Golden Eagle at Tenby. However, it was Luke HARRIES who won the Trubshaw Cup for the best 72 hole score over the weekend.

MAY

May saw the focus return to Great Britain and Ireland with our leading amateur events now starting to be played.

Jack SINGH BRAR won the Lytham Trophy helped in no small part by a superb first round of 68 achieved in strong winds when the rest of the elite field struggled (CSS 79). Charlie STRICKLAND and Jake BURNAGE finished 2nd and 3rd in what proved to be a very good week for England Golf with 7 of the top 10 coming from the home nation.   

Just down the road George RAITT and Conor GOUGH finished 2nd and tied 3rd respectively in the Boys’ Fairhaven Trophy. However, Sweden’s Ludvig ABERG was in a class of his own that week winning by 9 shots.

Having come close in the West of England a few weeks’ earlier Will POOLE found Kent’s links courses even more to his liking winning the South East of England Links Championship.

Peter O’KEEFFE won the Irish Open Amateur Championship holding off a strong field at Royal County Down GC. A posse of English and Scottish players made Peter work for it with Chris MACLEAN and Tom SLOMAN ultimately finishing 3 shots back in tied 5th.

David HAGUE won the Lagonda Trophy by 12 shots. An astonishing 62 63 final day finish on the 6,367 yards par 70 Old Course blitzing the field.

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David Hague (Photo: Kevin Diss)

Josh HILLEARD won the Murat Cup at the French International Amateur beating the home junior Pierre PINEAU on the second play-off hole. Both players came through the field in the final round of the 72 hole contest at Chantilly; Hilleard shooting 64 and Pineau 66.

In what proved to be a successful weekend for England Golf Gian-Marco PETROZZI secured the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play title at The Vale Resort. Gian-Marco (-13) won by 9 shots from fellow Staffordshire player Jack GAUNT (-4) and local favourites Jack DAVIDSON (-3) and Owen EDWARDS (-1).

Woodhall Spa staged the 2017 Brabazon Trophy with South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE beating Jamie STEWARTJake BURNAGE and Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 shot to secure the prestigious English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play title and beautiful gold plated trophy.

In what proved to be a generally disappointing US Collegiate season for GB&I players Braden THORNBERRY won the NCAA Division 1 Individual Stroke Play before OKLAHOMA secured the Team title in the subsequent Match Play stage.

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) turned Pro in May 2017.

JUNE

June started with England’s Max MARTIN picking up the Welsh Open Youths Championship at Prestatyn.

Liam JOHNSTON won the Scottish Men’s Open Championship at Western Gailes, holding off an in form Matthew JORDAN (2nd) by 2 shots and fellow Scottish Internationals Craig HOWIE (T3) and Connor SYME (5th).

The East of Ireland Amateur went to Reece BLACK whose final round 66 at County Louth was needed to hold off a fast finishing Robbie PIERSE (69).

Matthew JORDAN finally got the win his outstanding play in May and June deserved when he picked up the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Two late bogeys on the Old Course from Matthew enabled Ireland’s John Ross GALBRAITH, who birdied two of his last four, to finish 1 shot back, making the result tighter than it really should have been.

Somewhat ominously, given September’s Walker Cup match, USA ran out easy winners against Europe in the Arnold Palmer Cup played at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Driven on by unbeaten Doug GHIM, with Maverick MCNEALYCollin MORIKAWA and Norman XIONG all featuring, USA won easily 19.5 – 10.5. The Arnold Palmer Cup match moves to a new mixed format in France next July.

One of the highlights of the year was Harry ELLIS’ magnificent win in The Amateur Championship staged at Royal St. George’s and Princes in Kent. 4 Down with five holes to play Ellis somehow fought back, helped in no small part by Dylan PERRY bogeying four of these remaining holes. The Hampshire man ultimately won on the second extra hole when the Australian could do no better than a 6 on the par 4 2nd hole. The win secured Harry his place in history but also this year’s Open Championship and the GB&I Walker Cup team. With a trip to Augusta National in April 2018 still to come it really is the Championship that keeps on giving. A quick word also for medallist Caolan RAFFERTY whose 62 on Day 2 at Prince’s, even with a bogey on the last, was one of the amateur stroke play rounds of the year.

Ben JONES won the U18 Boys Sir Henry Cooper Masters by 10 shots at Nizels G&CC, separating himself from his peers after a 9-under, bogey free, 63 in round 3. In a stellar year for the competition the outstanding Lily May HUMPHRIES won the Girls event by 12 shots.

The 2017 Berkshire Trophy was won by Adam LUMLEY who finished on -18, 7 shots ahead of JACK CLARKSONDavid HAGUE and Billy MACKENZIE finished tied 3rd.

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Mark Power (Photo: Castleroy GC)

Mark POWER retained his Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship title at Castleroy GC, the first person to do so since Paul Dunne a few years ago. He and England’s Jack COPE finished on -5 before Mark ended a topsy-turvy three hole play off in style by holing a 129 yard wedge on the 18th.

Kevin LE BLANC (IRE) turned Pro in June.

JULY

July 1st saw Alfie PLANT memorably win the European Men’s Amateur at Walton Heath GC. A near tap-in birdie on the 72nd hole helped the man from Kent draw level on -15 with Lorenzo SCALISE and defending Luca CIANCHETTI, helped in no small part by both Italians bogeying the same hole. With a place in The Open Championship on the line Plant went on to birdie the Old Course’s 2nd hole, winning the sudden death play off on the fifth extra hole.

 

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 Alfie Plant (Photo: GolfBible)

Greg DALZIEL won the Scottish Boys Amateur Championship at Scotscraig, beating Australian-based Josh GREER by 1 hole in the Final.

A week later The Scottish Boys U16 Open Championship at Fairmont Kittocks went to 13 year old Calum SCOTT, younger brother of Scottish Men’s International Sandy.  Josh GREER finished tied 2nd four shots back. Equally of note were the 7th and tied 12th place finishes of Max HOPKINS and Aidan O’HAGAN, new names that would come to mean more as the year unfolded.

The North of Ireland Championship was played at Royal Portrush GC with Caolan RAFFERTY winning the stroke play qualifier on -10. Caolan fell to Colin FAIRWEATHER in the semi-finals before Rowan LESTER beat Colin by 2 holes in the final.

DENMARK won the European Boys Team Championship at La Manga beating SPAIN 4-3 in the Final. ENGLAND (T4) and IRELAND (8th) both qualified for Flight A but found little success in their three matches.

ENGLAND (1st)SCOTLAND (5th) and IRELAND (6th) all made Flight A in the Men’s European Amateur Team Championship which was played concurrently with the Boys’ at Diamond CC in Austria. In a closely fought match SPAIN beat ENGLAND 4-3 in the final.

Estonia’s Joonas TURBA was something of a surprise winner at the MacGregor Trophy (Boys’ U16 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English propsects Max HOPKINS and Robin WILLIAMS were second and third respectively.

Noah GOODWIN (USA) beat Matthew WOLFF (USA) 1Up in the final of the US Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National GC in Kansas.

Alfie PLANT collected the Silver Medal for the low amateur at The Open Championship after rounds of 71, 73, 69 and 73 (+6) secured a T62 at Royal Birkdale GC. Connor SYME (73 76, +9) and Harry ELLIS (77 75, +12) both missed the cut.

Jake BURNAGE beat a fast finishing Jack YULE to win the South East of England Amateur Championship played on the New and Old Courses at Walton Heath GC. The Club have recently announced that the event will be renamed as The Walton Heath Trophy from 2018.

img_4962Jake Burnage (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrea ROMANO from Italy beat France’s Jean BEKIRIAN in a play-off to secure the Carris Trophy (Boys’ U18 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English trio Jack COPETaylor STOTE and Robin WILLIAMS all finished in the Top 5 at West Sussex GC.

Conor GOUGH (-5, 7th), Barclay BROWN (+1 T14), Lily May HUMPHRIES (-2, 1st) and Annabell FULLER (Ev, T3) collectively won the Team title at the European Young Masters with a -12 total score in Oslo.

The 2017 South of Ireland Open Championship was won by James SUGRUE at Lahinch. After the North champion Rowan LESTER had won the 36 hole stroke play qualifier James worked his way through a strong field before beating Conor O’ROURKE 3&2 in the final.

AUGUST

Evan GRIFFITH dominated stroke play qualifying in the Wales Amateur Championship at Aberdovey GC with two rounds of 68 and 64 (-10) seeing him achieve medalist honours by an impressive 6 shots. However, Wales’ player of the year Jack DAVIDSON got the better of him in a tight semi-final before going on to beat Tim HARRY in the 36 hole final by 8&7.

The Scottish Amateur was played at Prestwick and was won by Sam LOCKE. Sandy SCOTT and Calum FYFE were the leading qualifiers. LOCKE played superbly in the match play stage ultimately beating Ryan LUMSDEN 9&8 in the 36 hole final.

The English Men’s Amateur was contested at The Berkshire. The story from the stroke play stage was medalist’s David LANGLEY’s superb 61 on the Blue Course on Day 1. However, it was Todd CLEMENTS who prevailed in the match play eventually beating Jack GAUNT 2&1 in the final.

Like the Brabazon Trophy earlier in the year it was a South African who won the Reid Trophy, awarded to the winner of the English Boy’s U14 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Casey JARVIS (-4) held off fast finishing Spaniard Jose BALLESTER at the Manchester GC. For those looking for potential GB&I stars of the future Rory MCDONALD-O’BRIEN (ENG), George DURKAN (ENG), Joshua HILL (IRE), Joseph BYRNE (IRE) and Jack BIGHAM (ENG) all finished in the top 10.

ENGLAND won The Boys’ Home Internationals at St. Anne’s Old Links. Toby BRIGGS, Conor GOUGH, Joe PAGDIN and Robin WILLIAMS all compiled W5 L1 H0 records during the week. Whilst SCOTLAND came last they did provide the highlight of the week; the unbeaten foursomes pairing of 13 year olds Calum SCOTT and Aiden O’HAGEN.

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 Calum Scott and Aiden O’Hagen (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrew WILSON (-4), the only player to finish under par for the 72 holes and helped on his way by a 62 in round 1, won the Lee Westwood Trophy at Rotherham GC. Charlie THORNTON and Olly HUGGINS (Ev) were tied 2nd.

IRELAND continued their superb run at the Men’s Home Internationals winning the Raymond Trophy for a fourth consecutive year at Moortown GC in England. Caolan RAFFERTY (W5 L1 H0), Paul MCBRIDE (W4 L0 H1) and Colin FAIRWEATHER (W4 L1 H0) starred in a strong team performance.

The 2017 Boys’ Amateur Championship was played at Nairn GC and Nairn Dunbar GC. Home player Darren HOWIE (-8) was medallist with Alex FITZPATRICK (-7) tied 2nd and Danny DANIELS (-6) tied 4th. However, it was Portugal’s Pedro LENCART SILVA, who had qualified in tied 6th on -4, who came through the match play stage to win. He beat defending champion Falko HANISCH (GER) 5&4 in the 36 hole final.

Played at the magnificent Riviera CC and Bel-Air CC’s in Los Angeles Doc REDMAN won the U.S. Amateur Championship in stunning fashion. Hayden WOOD (-9) achieved medallist honours in the stroke play qualifying. Jack SINGH BRAR (-2) T8 led the way for GB&I, with Connor SYME and Robert MACINTYRE (both +2) T35 following him into the match play stage. Syme went furthest at Riviera ending up losing 2&1 in the quarter finals to Doug GHIM. Ghim went on to reach the final where he found himself 2Up with two to play and just over the back of the green in two on the par 5 17th. With Redman just on the green in front of him easily 50 yards away from the hole he could be forgiven for thinking the Havemeyer Trophy was his and for allowing his mind to wander to the first tee of Augusta National in April 2018. Unfortunately the golfing gods stepped in. After Ghim had left his chip 6 feet short Redman stepped up and at pace holed the most amazing right to left downhill putt of the year, or for that matter almost any year, for eagle. Redman then followed it up with a superb birdie on the uphill 18th from 6 foot with Ghim only managing a scrambled par. With the match now All Square, Redman hit a perfect drive to the front of Riviera’s short 315 yard par 4 10th, the first extra hole. Visibly shocked at what was happening in front of him Ghim then hooked his drive and having hacked around for a while before securing a 6 conceded Redman the Championship. An unbelievable finish to amateur golf’s premier event.

The North of England U16 Boy’s Championship was won by Callum MACFIE at Pannal GC. Matthew JACKMAN was one back with Max HOPKINS a little further back in 3rd place.

The Irish U16 Boys Amateur Open Championship was played at Rockmount and was won by Mullingar’s Adam SMITH. Odhran MAGUIRE, the younger brother of Leona and Lisa, was 2nd.

Down at Sundridge Park GC Liam BURNS (-5) defenced the Waterford Trophy. A 67 66 final day finish was required by the man from Chiselhurst to hold off Nick PANTING by 1 shot.

The U16 Welsh Boys was won by Bryn THOMAS at Cradoc GC. Thomas’ final round of 67 helped him to a 9 shot victory over Tom PEET.

The Irish Amateur Close Championship was won by Jamie FLETCHER at Galway GC. Peter KERR and David BRADY were seeded 1st and 2nd after both recorded 138 (-2) in the stroke play stage. In a tight 18 hole final Fletcher beat David KITT by 1 hole.

Richard MANSELL (ENG), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Marco PENGE (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG) all turned Pro in August.

SEPTEMBER

The CONTINENT OF EUROPE won the annual Jacques Léglise Trophy U18 Boys’ match against GB&I at Ballybunion GC by 15.5 – 9.5. Unbeaten pair Pedro LENCART SILVA (W3-L0-H1) and Eduard ROUSARD SABATE (SWE) helped the away side to a second successive win. Ben JONES (W2-L1-H1) and Robin WILLIAMS (W2-L1-H0) put up the best defence for GB&I.

The Walker Cup result was an even more sobering experience for GB&I the following week. Craig WATSON had to step down as GB&I captain on the eve of the match but with Andy INGRAM a very capable deputy I am sure this in no way contributed to what followed at Los Angeles Country Club. Whilst the final result was not unexpected the manner of the 17-9 defeat was. Only Jack SINGH BRAR (W3-L1-H0), Robert MACINTYRE (W1-L1-H1) and Scott GREGORY (W2-L1-H1) really came away with any credit from the match. From the USA side Captain Spider Miller had clearly learned a few lessons from Royal Lytham in 2015 and backed up by superb performances from Doug GHIM, Maverick MCNEALY, Colin MORIKAWA, (all W4-L0-H0) and Norman XIONG (W3-L0-H1) the one sided result felt inevitable as soon as the Day 1 singles were concluded.

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The USA Walker Cup Team (Photo: GolfBible)

Ben JONES won The Duke of York Champions Trophy at Royal Liverpool GC by 8 shots from Sweden’s Oscar TEIFFEL. John PATERSON, who shot a 69 in round 2, the best of the week, finished 7th.

David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG) Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Tom GANDY (ENG), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Cameron LONG (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO), Will WHITEOAK (ENG) and Jack YULE (ENG) all turned Pro in September.

OCTOBER

David HAGUE (+1) won the North of England Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship at Alwoodley GC. Andrew Wilson (+3) was 2nd with Harry GODDARD and Nick POPPLETON (+4) tied 3rd.

Joshua DAVIES (WAL), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Colin FAIRWEATHER (IRE), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) all turned Pro in October.

NOVEMBER

A birdie, eagle finish helped China’s LIN YUXIN to the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship title at Royal Wellington GC in New Zealand. We can therefore look forward to seeing him in action at The Masters in 2018.

14 year old Max HOPKINS (-2) became the youngest ever winner of the Boys’ Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship at Quinta do Lago in Portugal. Ben JONES (+1) was 2nd and Alfie FOX (+3) 3rd.

Jamie CLARE (ENG), John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) and Chris MACLEAN (SCO) all turned Pro in November.

Sam HORSFIELD won the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Spain. His final -27 score, with all six rounds in the 60’s and a best of the day final round of 63 (-8), saw him win the 108 hole event by an impressive 8 shots. Amongst the other players to pick up a 2018 Tour card were Connor SYME, who finished tied 9th on -17 and Jonathan THOMSON, who finished tied 18th on -14.

DECEMBER

Ben JONES (-12) finished tied 2nd at the South Beach International Amateur in Miami. In an event which enjoyed the 5th strongest field of the year it was also pleasing to see Harry HALL (-7) and Joe PAGDIN (-4) record impressive results; tied 10th and tied 19th respectively.

Ben JONES finished tied 28th at the Boy’s Junior Orange Bowl Championship in Miami, 22 shots behind runaway winner Jerry JI from The Netherlands. Lily May HUMPHRIES enhanced her growing reputation by winning the Girls event by 9 shots.

Mason OVERSTREET (USA) won The Patriot All-America in Arizona. The six GB&I players struggled to make an impression with George BURNS (T38) recording the best finish.

Josh HILLEARD (ENG) turned Pro earlier in the month.

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If you want to review the detailed results of any of the above competitions then please take a look at the GolfBible Results Page where you will be able to find links to nearly all of those mentioned above.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.