The U.S. Amateur Championship – 2016 Preview & Stroke Play Stage

16th & 17th August 2016

U.S. Amateur – Stroke Play Qualifying Stage

Alex Smalley (USA), a sophomore at Duke University, earned medalist honours in the U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying. His 133 (-7) total came after two impressive rounds at Oakland Hills CC; a 65 on the North Course, followed on Day 2 by a 68 on the tougher South Course.

56 players scored +1 or better. This group, all of whom have confirmed their places in the Match Play Stage, included 4 GB&I players. Well done to Scott Gregory, Sam Horsfield, Connor Syme and Jack Hume.

T6     Scott Gregory 21 (ENG)   -3     69 NC, 68 SC
T11   Sam Horsfield 19 (ENG)  -2      66 NC, 72 SC
T30   Connor Syme 21 (SCO)    Ev    70 SC, 70 NC
T41   Jack Hume 22 (IRE)          +1    72 SC, 69 NC

From Europe the following players have also safely negotiated the Stroke Play Qualifier.

T11   Matthias Schwab 22 (AUS)   -2      69 SC, 69 NC
T30   Mario Galiano 21 (ESP)          Ev     69 SC, 71 NC
T30   Robin Petersson 24 (SWE)    Ev     65 NC, 75 SC

A further 23 players finished with a +2 total. This group included David Boote and Bradley Moore. They all participated in a sudden death play-off played over the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th holes of the North Course.

T57   David Boote 22 (WAL)       +2      70 SC, 72 NC
T57   Bradley Moore 18 (ENG)   +2     71 NC, 71 SC

From Europe just one other player made it through to the play-off.

T57   Federico Zucchetti (ITA)    +2    71 NC, 71 SC

David Boote and Bradley Moore both birdied the 11th to progress to the match play stage, holing putts of 20 and 45 yards respectively on the 465 yard par 4. Federico Zucchetto bogeyed the 17th to drop out of the play-off on the 3rd hole. WAGR-ranked no. 1 Maverick McNealy (USA) also missed out bogeying the 10th, the 5th play-off hole.

The results of the other GB&I and European players are provided below, all of whom missed the match play cut were: –

T80      Jack Singh Brar 19 (ENG)         +3    71 SC, 72 NC
T80      Ewen Ferguson 20 (SCO)         +3    72 NC, 71 SC
T99      Robert MacIntyre 20 (SCO)      +4    68 NC, 76 SC
T185    Grant Forrest 23 (SCO)            +9    73 NC, 75 SC
T243    Jamie Bower 23 (ENG)            +11    74 SC, 77 NC

T80     Pierrick Fillon 20 (FRA)           +3     74 NC, 69 SC
T126   Ivan Cantero 20 (ESP)             +5      72 SC, 73 NC
T143   Antoine Rozner 23 (FRA)        +6     72 NC, 74 SC
T185   Luca Cianchetti 20 (ITA)         +8      73 SC, 75 NC
T185   Andreas Gjesteby 21 (NOR)   +8      76 SC, 72 NC

Click here for the full Stroke Play Results and Play Off Live Scores – Stroke Play Results

ME.

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14th August 2016

The U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Oakland Hills Country Club, just north of Detroit in Michigan.

Administered by the United States Golf Association (USGA) the U.S. Amateur is without question the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

Competition Format
On Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one on each of Oakland Hill’s two courses.The Top 64 qualifiers will then move forward to the match play stage of the competition. Ties for the last qualifying place will be resolved by a hole-by-hole play-off.

18 hole match play rounds will be played between Wednesday 17th and Saturday 20nd, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 21st August. Extra holes will be played in the match play to resolve any halved games.

Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills CC, established in October 1916 and therefore celebrating it’s centenary this year, consists of two championship courses – the South and the North. The former is extremely challenging with a notorious finish. As the superior course the South will exclusively host the match play stage.


18th hole South Course, Oakland Hills Country Club

South Course
Architect – Donald Ross (1918) / Robert Trent Jones Sr (1951) / Rees Jones (2004/06)
Distance – 7,334 yards, Par 70.

North Course
Architect – Donald Ross (1923)
Distance – 6,849 yards, Par 70.

Click this link to access the Oakland Hills CC YouTube channel and view the full 36 holes – South and North Course Hole Flyovers 

2016 Field
A field of 312 players from 29 different countries will contest this year’s Championship. 247 players are from the U.S.A. with Canada (13) the next best represented country.

The decision by the U.S.G.A. in 2012 to exempt the Top 50 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings continues to help broaden the entry. This year 99 (2015: 97) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too. Just in case anyone from the U.S.G.A. reads this it would be great to see one in GB&I or Europe in the future too – just like they do for the U.S. Open Championship.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.29 (2015: 22.16). The oldest player being Chip Lutz (61, b.11th January 1955) and the youngest Edwin Kuang (15, b. 1st August 2001), one of three 15 year olds playing.

Lutz is the reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion who won the Seniors Amateur Championship at Formby GC last weekend before flying to Ohio to take his place in this week’s U.S. Senior Open. Having made the cut he is due to play in the final round before travelling to Oakland Hills for a 2.10pm (local time) tee time tomorrow. Following heavy rain today at Scioto CC and an almost certain Monday finish it will be interesting to see what Mr. Lutz decides to do.

Surprise 2014 champion Gunn Yang is the only former U.S. Amateur champion in the field. 70 of this year’s players also competed in last year’s Championship at Olympia Fields CC near Chicago.

There are eleven GB&I players competing. Here is a list of them with their exemption category or sectional qualifying event noted: –

David Boote 22 (WAL)             – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Jamie Bower 23 (ENG)            – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Ewen Ferguson 20 (SCO)       – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Grant Forrest 23 (SCO)           – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Scott Gregory 21 (ENG)          – 2016 Amateur Champion
Sam Horsfield 19 (ENG)         – 2016 US Open, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Jack Hume 22 (IRE)                 – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Robert MacIntyre 20 (SCO)    – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Bradley Moore 18 (ENG)         – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Jack Singh Brar 19 (ENG)       – Qualifier at Ada, Michigan (05/07/16)
Connor Syme 21 (SCO)           – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16

Sam Horsfield (ENG) – No. 2 in the current World Amateur Golf Rankings

Nine other players have qualified from the Continent of Europe: –

Ivan Cantero 20 (ESP)              – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Luca Cianchetti 20 (ITA)          – 2016 European Amateur Champion
Pierrick Fillon 20 (FRA)           – Qualifier at Napperville, Illinois (25/07/16)
Andreas Gjesteby 21 (NOR)    – Qualifier at Knoxville, Tennessee (12/07/16)
Mario Galiano 21 (ESP)            – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Robin Petersson 24 (SWE)      – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Antoine Rozner 23 (FRA)         – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Matthias Schwab 22 (AUS)      – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Federico Zucchetti 21 (ITA)     – Qualifier at Lubbock, Texas (19/07/16)

2016 Stroke Play Draws
The draws for the 36-hole stroke play qualifying competition can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur SP Draw

Weather Forecast (as at 5.00pm 14th August 2016)
Stroke Play Stage
Mon 15th August – Showers. Wind 6 mph (N). Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 21°C.
Tues 16th August – Showers. Wind 10 mph (NW). Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 20°C.
Match Play Stage
Weds 17th August – Sunny. Wind 6 mph (E). Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 21°C.
Thurs 18th August – Sunny. Wind 6 mph (E). Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 22°C.
Fri 19th August – Sunny. Wind 7 mph (N). Temp. Max. 30°C / Min 22°C.
Sat 20th August – Showers. Wind 9 mph (NE). Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 21°C.
Sun 21st August – Sunny. Wind 10 mph (SE). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 18°C.

The forecast rain is likely to come with thunderstorms so suspensions in play are possible during the week.

If the current weather forecast proves to be accurate it may have a significant impact on the stroke play qualifying depending on the timing of the rain on both days.

From GB&I Jamie Bower, David Boote, Jack Hume, Jack Singh Brar and Connor Syme are playing the tougher South on Monday. Oppositely Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Scott Gregory, Sam Horsfield, Robert MacIntyre and Bradley Moore are scheduled to play it on Tuesday.

img_6497

GB&I Results At The 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship
Last year nine GB&I players competed at Olympia Fields CC. Paul Dunne (IRE) was our best finisher reaching the quarter finals of the match play (MP) stage – he lost to the eventual champion Bryson DeChambeau (USA). Sam Horsfield (ENG) was our only other player to make the Top 64 MP cut which fell at +3.

T14     Paul Dunne 71 69 (-1)              – MP Quarter Finals
T36     Sam Horsfield 72 70 (+2)        – MP Round 2 (last 32)
T73     Cormac Sharvin 72 72 (+4)     – Missed T64 MP Cut
T89     Grant Forrest  74 71 (+5)        – Missed T64 MP Cut
T115   Henry Smart 77 69 (+6)          – Missed T64 MP Cut
T115   Gary Hurley 72 74 (+6)            – Missed T64 MP Cut
T115   Tom Bayliss 75 71 (+6)           – Missed T64 MP Cut
T189   Ewen Ferguson 78 71 (+9)      – Missed T64 MP Cut
T246   Nick Marsh 80 72 (+12)           – Missed T64 MP Cut

History has shown, that the quality of the field is such, that simply making the match play cut is an achievement for many of the GB&I and European players that qualify to compete in the Championship.

UK Television Coverage
Sat 20th August – Sky Sports For iPad 8.00 pm.
Sun 21st August – Sky Sports 4 Red Button 8.00 pm

Prizes
The 2016 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following: –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the ensuing year.
b) An exemption to play in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
c) An exemption to play in the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Troon G.C.
d) A likely invitation to play in the 2017 Masters at Augusta National G.C.
e) An exemption to play in the 2017 – 2026 U.S. Amateurs; and no doubt
f) Invitations to play in a variety of PGA Tour and European Tour competitions.

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

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the USGA 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. 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 USGA Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

Championship History
The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 116th 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 Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), 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) and Peter Uihlein (2010).

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

Last year Bryson DeChambeau, who had already won the NCAA Division 1 Individual title earlier in the summer, completed a memorable double beating compatriot Derek Bard 7&6 in the 36 hole Final.

Bryson DeChambeau US Amateur 2015

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo: USGA)

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Arnold Palmer Cup – 2016 Preview & Results

26th June 2016

Europe convincingly beat USA 18.5-11.5 in the 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup (APC) played at Formby Golf Club.

It was the sixth consecutive home victory and in the 20th Match reduced USA’s series lead to W10 L9 H1.

Arnold Palmer Cup 2016 Europe

Team Europe (Photo: Formby Golf Club)

Europe won 3 of the 4 sessions with the match turning on Saturday’s Singles where Europe built a near unassailable lead. Here are the series scores: –

Day 1 AM Foursomes – Europe 4 – USA 1
Day 1 PM Fourballs – Europe 2 – USA 3
Day 2 Singles – Europe 7 – USA 3
Day 3 Singles – Europe 5.5 – USA 4.5

French pair Antoine ROZNER and Robin SCIOT-SIEGRIST starred for Europe becoming the 17th and 18th players in the history of the competition to deliver 100% win records. Rico HOEY starred for USA winning both his Singles as well as his Fourball. He was the only American to win 3 matches.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 19.15.39

The Golf Bible APC 2016 Individual Player Contribution Analysis

In his second APC match Adrian MERONK was again unbeaten. His overall playing record is now an impressive W3 H3 L0.

Matthias SCHWAB was voted the recipient of the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational exemption. His English caddie Kieran OATES will join him at Bay Hill on the PGA Tour.

Arnold Palmer Cup 2016 - Matthias Schwab and Kieran Oates

Kieran Oates with Matthias Scwab (Photo: The Arnold Palmer Cup)

Finally, Robin PETERSSON and Charlie DANIELSON were the recipients of the European and USA Michael Carter awards.

_____________________________________________

22nd June 2016

The Arnold Palmer Cup is an annual team golf competition played between American college golfers and European college / university golfers.

The Arnold Palmer Cup is organized by the Golf Coaches Association of America and golf legend Arnold Palmer. Mr. Palmer lent his name to the event in June 1997 and allowed it to be staged for the first time at his own Bay Hill Club in Florida.

This year’s match, the 20th, is being played this coming weekend, 24-26th June, at Formby Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

Arnold Palmer Cup Logo

More information on the history of and future plans for the match can be found in an Appendix at the end of this article.

Format / Schedule

The current match play format consists of foursome, fourball and singles matches.

This week’s schedule at Formby consists of: –

Friday 24th June AM        –   Foursomes x 5, starting at 7.30am

Friday 24th June PM        –   Fourballs x 5, starting at 1.30pm

Saturday 25th June           –   Singles x 10, starting at 9.00am

Sunday 26th June             –   Singles x 10, starting at 9.00am

With a maximum total of 30 points available and one point awarded for each match a team will be required to accumulate 15.5 points to secure victory.

Prior to the match commencing there has been a Junior Clinic staged today and there will be an Arnold Palmer Collegiate-Am competition tomorrow.

2016 Teams

Whilst more relevant to the European team it should be noted that selection is based on nationality not the location of the players’ educational establishments.

All but two of the players competing at Formby have played their golf in the USA college system this season.

Europe

Europe were due to be coached by Jean VAN DE VELDE (France) who captained the team at Rich Harvest Farms in 2015. However, his withdrawal has seen his Assistant Coach from last year JANICE MOODIE (Scotland), the former professional golfer, step up to the No. 1 role. Dean ROBERTSON (Stirling) will be Europe’s Assistant Coach this year.

The first 6 players were automatically selected from the Arnold Palmer Cup European Ranking. These were (in order):

Sam HORSFIELD (Florida) – England

Matthias SCHWAB (Vanderbilt) – Austria

Adrian MERONK (East Tennessee State) – Poland

Lars VAN MEIJEL (Memphis) – Netherlands

Robin PETERSSON (Augusta) – Sweden

David BOOTE (Stanford) – Wales

Another place was given up to the R&A’s Scholars Tournament champion, who this year was:

Mathias EGGENBERGER (Stirling) – Switzerland

The final three spots were allocated by Committee Selection (2) and a Captain’s (1) pick:

Stuart GREHAN (Maynooth) – Ireland

Antoine ROZNER (UMKC) – France

Robin SCIOT-SIEGRIST (Louisville) – France

The highlight of this year’s match, at least for me, will be the first home appearance by Sam HORSFIELD.

Horsfield (19), now ranked 3rd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, was born in Manchester but having emigrated to Florida when he was four will finally make his competitive debut in the country of his birth.

2016 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying

Sam Horsfield (Copyright USGA/Scott A. Miller)

USA

The USA have selected Mike COOK (Coastal Georgia) as their new Coach for 2016. He will be assisted by John HANDRIGAN (Florida). Of course the player Handrigan knows best, Sam Horsfield, will be playing for the opposition.

As with Europe the first 6 players were automatically selected from the Arnold Palmer Cup USA Ranking. These were (in order):

Maverick MCNEALY (Stanford) – replaced by Doug GHIM (Texas) *

Charlie DANIELSON (Illinois)

Zach WRIGHT (LSU)

Rico HOEY (Southern California)

Michael JOHNSON (Auburn)

Nahum MENDOZA III (San Diego State)

The final four spots in USA’s team were allocated by Committee Selection (3) and a Captain’s (1) pick:

Derek BARD (Virginia)

Alistair DOCHERTY (Chico State)

Will ZALATORIS (Wake Forest)

Will GORDON (Vanderbilt)

* On 10th June 2016 Maverick McNEALY withdrew from the match due to an unspecified injury. His place was allocated to Doug GHIM (Texas) who is of course an excellent replacement.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Exemption

In 2015 Mr. Palmer agreed to allocate an Arnold Palmer Cup amateur invitation to his prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) tournament played annually at Bay Hill in Florida.

Prior to the competition commencing each of the 20 players is asked to vote for a member of each team (excluding themselves) who they think best represents the “Arnold Palmer Legacy,” that is, the values that Arnold Palmer has exhibited during his legendary career.

The player from the winning team who receives the most votes is awarded the API invitation. To take up his place in the field at Bay Hill the selected player must remain a collegiate golfer prior to the event.

Prior to the match commencing – in fact it took place at 8.30am this morning – there is also a caddie draw involving young, local players. The caddie for the designated Arnold Palmer Cup player is also invited to Bay Hill.

The first Arnold Palmer Cup API Exemption was awarded to Maverick McNealy. McNealy played in 2016 and his Arnold Palmer Cup caddie, Zach Urwiler (16), had the honour of caddying for him on the PGA Tour.

The Michael Carter Award

This award is presented in honour of former GCAA Arnold Palmer Cup intern Michael Carter who tragically died in a car accident in 2002 aged 19.

It is presented to the player from each team who best represents the qualities and fun-loving ideals that made Michael Carter unique. Hunter STEWART (USA) and Matthias SCHWAB (Europe) were honored in 2015.

Formby Golf Club

Formby Golf Club was established in 1884 and is a superb links course set close to the Irish Sea just north of Liverpool in the North West of England.

Formby GC Clubhouse

Formby Golf Club (Photo: Formby GC Website)

Off the Blue Championship tees the course measures 7,031 yards, playing 3,380 yards out and a formidable 3,651 yards in. It has a par of 72. A little unusually it has 3 par 3’s and 3 par 5’s. The course record remains the 66 shot by Matt Jaeger at the 2009 Amateur Championship.

The holes closest to the sea which run through undulating sand dunes and towering pines are amongst the most spectacular anywhere in Great Britain.

Formby GC 8th hole

Formby Golf Club – Approach to 8th Green (Photo: Formby GC Website)

As befits a course of this stature it has hosted many of our leading amateur golf events. It has hosted four Amateur Championships with Jose-Maria Olazabal (1984) and Matteo Manassero (2009) its most recent champions. The Club also hosted the Curtis Cup in 2004 and The Brabazon Trophy in 2013. This year it has already hosted the England v. France match and early in August will stage the Seniors Amateur Championship.

Weather Forecast

As at Wednesday 22nd June, 7.00pm the weather forecast looks relatively good: –

Fri 24th June    – Showers. Wind 11 mph W. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.

Sat 25th June    – Sunny. Wind 13 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.

Sun 26th June  – Sunny. Wind 12 mph W. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 14°C.

Appendix

History

The match was established by the Golf Coaches Association of America and first played in 1997. Known as simply the Palmer Cup back then it was originally played between 8-man teams from the USA and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I).

With the USA winning 4 and halving 1 of the first 6 matches a decision was taken after the 2002 match in Doonbeg, Ireland to extend the GB&I team to include Europe. A decision which of course helped to further differentiate the match from the biennial Walker Cup as well as increase it’s international appeal and competitiveness.

In 2013 the teams were extended to 10 players.

In 2014 the Golf Coaches Association of America announced that they had entered into a formal agreement with Arnold Palmer and his group of companies to jointly operate and expand the Palmer Cup.

In 2015 the name of the match was changed to the Arnold Palmer Cup, effective from this week’s match in Formby.

It was also announced that with effect from 2018 the match would become a mixed event with 12 men and women competing for each side.

Previous Results

As one would expect the match has been played on some of most famous courses in the world.

Arnold Palmer Cup Team USA 2015 Winners

Team USA – Winners of the 2015 Arnold Palmer Cup (Photo: Rich Harvest Farms website)

Including the 2016 match at Formby USA have the edge over GB&I / Europe with a won 10, lost 9 and halved 1 record over the 20 matches played to date.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 09.54.52

Past Players

Former Arnold Palmer Cup players that have gone on to win Majors and other professional tournaments include: –

Europe – Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Joost Luiten, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren and Richie Ramsay.

USA – Ben Curtis, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, Lucas Glover, J.B. Holmes, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kucher, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.