European Nations Cup – 2017 Preview & Results

1st April 2017

WALES, represented by David BOOTE, Jack DAVIDSON, Joshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, yesterday won the European Nations Cup team competition in Spain.

WALES’ total of +13 was 11 shots better than second placed IRELAND (+24) and 21 shots better than fourth placed SCOTLAND (+34). 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.

Wales – l-r Josh Davies, David Boote, Jack Davidson and Owen Edwards (Photo: GUW)

ME.

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27th March 2017

The Men’s and Ladies’ European Nations Championship or as we prefer to call it Cup (ENC) starts on Wednesday 29th March at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande in Southern Spain.

Format
72 holes of stroke play, with 18 holes played daily, are contested by both Teams and Individuals. There is no cut.

In the Team event the best three 18-hole scores from the four men count and the best two scores of the three ladies count towards the overall total. In the case of a tie for 1st place a team member will be nominated and a sudden death play-off will be contested on the 9th hole. Other ties will be determined by a count back of the team score for the last 18, 27, 36, etc. holes.

The Individual prizes are awarded to the lowest male and female player. Ties will be broken in line with the Team approach outlined above.

Teams
Men – 94 players (16 teams of 4 players)

The following players have been selected to represent the home nations.
England – Dan BROWN, Marco PENGE, Alfie PLANT, Jack SINGH BRAR
Ireland – Robin DAWSON, Alex GLEESON, Stuart GREHAN, Kevin LE BLANC
Scotland – Craig HOWIE, Liam JOHNSTON, Robert MACINTYRE, Connor SYME
Wales – David BOOTE, Jack DAVIDSON, Joshua DAVIES, Owen EDWARDS

RCG Sotogrande also invites a small number of players to compete as Individuals. It would appear that England’s Cameron SHAW has received such an invite in 2017.

Women – 30 players (10 teams of 3 players)

Just England and Scotland will be contesting the Ladies’ competition from GB&I.
England – Louisa BRUNT, Annabell FULLER, Sophie LAMB.
Scotland – Chloe GOADBY, Hannah McCOOK, Shannon MCWILLIAM

Event Information
Click this link to view the daily pairings – Startsheets

Links to the various competition Leaderboards, are provided below: –
Men’s Individual
Men’s Team
Women’s Individual
Women’s Team

Prizes
Winning Team members each receive a replica of the Nations Trophy.

The winning Individuals each receive a trophy and a yellow Amateur Masters Jacket.

Ireland European Nations Cup 2016

2016 Winners –  Ireland, (l-r) Stuart Grehan, Alex Gleeson, Jack Hume and Dermot McElroy (Photo: GUI Website)  

Weather Forecast
Wednesday – Sunny AM 15°C / PM 17°C; 18mph W
Thursday – Light Cloud AM 11°C / PM 17°C; 17mph NW
Friday – Sunny AM 10°C / PM 22°C; 8mph E
Saturday – Sunny AM 11°C / PM 21°C; 8mph SE

Past Winners / 2016 Results

Team
The home nations have an excellent record in the Men’s Team event as one would expect. In recent years England won it in 2013 and 2015, Scotland in 2014 and Ireland in 2016.

2016 Men’s – 1st Ireland (882), 2nd France (892), 3rd Wales (895), 4th England (906), 5th Scotland (908).

2016 Women’s – 1st Spain (594), 9th England (641). Ireland, Scotland and Wales DNP.

Individual
Jack HUME (Ireland) and Emma SPITZ (Austria) won the Men’s and Women’s Individual titles last year. Hume probably played the best round of amateur golf in the world in 2016 at La Reserve in Round 2 (see ‘Venue’ below). His 64 was an astonishing 8 shots better than any other player in the men’s field.

2016 Men’s – 1st Jack Hume (285), T2 Owen Edwards (291), T6 Robert MacIntyre (297), T9 Ashton Turner (300), T14 Marco Penge & Jack McDonald (302), 18th Alex Gleeson (303), T19 Evan Griffith & Dermot McElroy (304).

2016 Women’s – 1st Emma Spitz (296), T22 Gemma Clews & Samantha Giles (323), 25th Sophie Lamb (328).

Venue
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande is the permanent home of the ENC. The club was opened in 1964 and was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones. One of the best courses in Europe it first held the Spanish Open in 1966, won that year by Roberto de Vicenzo.

In 1970 The Sherry Cup, the precursor of the European Nations Cup, was born. Former winners include Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy.

In 1973 a Ladies event started to be played alongside it.

In 1983 Sotogrande hosted the Spanish Amateur Championship with Jose Maria Olazabel victorious.

Sotogrande was awarded royal patronage by HM King Juan Carlos I in 1994.

Between 1996 and 2001, alongside nearby San Roque GC, the course hosted the Qualifying School for the European Tour.

In 2011, ahead of it’s 50th anniversary, the Club decided to embark upon a major course renovation project appointing Roger Rulewich and David Fleury. With the work on greens, bunkering and drainage taking place in 2015 and early 2016 the ENC moved temporarily to the nearby La Reserva Club de Golf for two years. This year will be the first time the ENC has been played on the renovated Sotogrande.

The Men’s Course at Sotogrande plays 6,492m and the Women’s 5,382m both to par of 72.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2016 Results & Reflections

13th August 2016

Ireland won the 2016 Home Internationals after a nail biting 8-7 victory over England on the final day at Nairn Golf Club.

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Ireland with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Kenny Smith)

England had led the match 3-2 after the morning Foursomes but Ireland came out fighting in the afternoon Singles. Early on they appeared to be leading virtually all of the matches. England did well to recover a few of the games but at the end of the day the Irish were able to carry their early momentum through to a crucial 6-4 series win.

Man of the moment was Colm Campbell Jr who birdied the last to secure a narrow 1 hole win over Adam Chapman. Playing in the final Singles it proved to be the crucial winning point.

Please click the link to review the full competition results – 2016 Men’s Home Internationals Results.  [Click on the match results to see the individual game scores]

Ireland’s win was their third consecutive one in the Home Internationals and they will no doubt travel to Moortown GC, England full of confidence next year. Next year’s match will be played between 16-18 August 2017.

Well done to Ireland.

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Here are some additional thoughts on this year’s Home Internationals and the Individual Player performances: –

1) It remains a frustration to me that such an historic and important competition is treated so poorly by the GB&I Unions even after allowance for the crowded amateur golf calendar. The scheduling of the event against next week’s US Amateur Championship left it sadly bereft of 10 of our leading players.

Hosts Scotland, the reigning European Men’s Amateur Team champions, were the most affected, left playing without Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Robert MacIntyre and Connor Syme.

Until this is properly resolved the Home Internationals results will to a degree continue to have something of a hollow ring to them.

2) It was pleasing to see five mid-amateur players amongst the ‘positive’ contributors. Colm Campbell (IRE), Barry Hume (SCO), Matthew Clark (SCO), Lee Jones (WAL) and Graeme Robertson (SCO) all showed they remain competitive at this level. Could we have a mid-amateur in our 2017 Walker Cup team ?

3) Ireland’s production line remains strong. Despite losing Paul Dunne, Gary Hurley,  Dermot McElroy, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin in the last year, and not having Jack Hume available, they still won.

Robin Dawson did very well in the Singles – he beat Thomas Williams (WAL) who was unbeaten in his other two games, George Duncan (SCO), the recently crowned Scottish Amateur champion and Jack Yule (ENG) who had a disappointing week but has been playing well this year.

Ireland failed to win a foursomes series all week. However, the JR Galbraith and Colm Campbell foursomes pairing won all of their matches – pretty comfortably too, 3&2 being their ‘worst’ result – and provided a foundation for their own individual performances and the Irish victory.

The Irish player that continues to impress me more and more though is Stuart Grehan who enjoyed another good week. Fingers crossed he stays amateur for another year.

With Kevin Le Blanc, Marc McKinstry, Thomas Mulligan and Mark Power all coming through the ranks the future continues to look bright for Ireland.

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4) England will obviously be disappointed they couldn’t close out yesterday’s winner takes all match against Ireland after winning the Foursomes series.

Ashton Turner played superbly winning all 6 of his matches, pairing up well with James Walker in the foursomes and taking care of Sandy Scott (SCO) 5&3, Evan Griffith (WAL) 3&2 and most impressively Stuart Grehan (IRE) 3&2 in the Singles. Grehan was previously unbeaten in 2016 international Singles games, winning 5 and drawing 1 across the Arnold Palmer Cup, the St. Andrews Trophy and the Home Internationals. Ashton was the only player to achieve the 100% ‘clean sweep’ and was justifiably awarded the Fairstone Player of the Championship award. I wonder if this achievement had anything to do with him not playing in last week’s European Amateur Championship in Estonia, unlike many of the other competitors.

img_9406Ashton Turner – Fairstone Player of the Championship (Photo: Kenny Smith)

Marco Penge, who has been missing in action in recent months, made a welcome return to form with a strong contribution, notably winning all three of his Singles. Hopefully he is now fully back on track.

Marco’s results were indicative of the England team’s week to some degree – players who you would have expected to be leading the way like experienced campaigners Alfie Plant and Dan Brown and young up and comers Will Enefer and Gian-Marco Petrozzi never really got going. It was therefore left to the likes of James Walker, Adam Chapman, Harry Hall and Josh Hilleard (who was unbeaten in his three games) to pick up the points that nearly took England to the title.

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.23.48

England, with greater strength in depth, suffered less from US Amateur absences than Scotland but I am sure their selectors would still liked to have been able to consider Jamie Bower, Scott Gregory, Bradley Moore and Jack Singh Brar, all of whom were en route to Oakland Hills in Detroit.

5) Scotland, weakened by their inability to select their leading players, put up a valiant fight. All of their matches were tight affairs and their two losses to England and Ireland both came by narrow 8.5-6.5 scorelines.

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Liam Johnston and Jamie Savage formed a successful foursomes pairing, winning two and halving one. Johnston also did well in the Singles, preventing James Walker on Day 1 from subsequently going 100% and beating Owen Edwards on the final afternoon.

Sandy Scott and Calum Fyfe won all three of their foursomes games but surprisingly both could only manage one Singles win each.

Foursome partners Craig Howie and Craig Ross will wonder how they didn’t finish higher up the above table. The answer probably lies in generally playing up the order and as a result of some inconsistency. Both seemed to have their moments before then losing a bit of form.

6) Save for the England game where they were thrashed 11.5-3.5 Wales put up a good fight this year. 8-7 losses to both Ireland and Scotland could easily have gone the other way on another day.

Perhaps if David Boote had been available to them these two losses could have been turned around, making them a real factor in this year’s competition.

On a positive note, the Welsh selectors will take heart from the performances of relative newcomers Thomas Williams and Patrick Mullins.

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.25.48

This year’s Home Internationals were clearly a really competitive event. With the exception of one match all the results were very close which has to be a good thing for Great British & Irish golf and player development.

It’s now time to see whether those players that missed the competition in Nairn can make an impact on the biggest stage of all – the US Amateur Championship.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.