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.

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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.

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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.

The Lytham Trophy – 2016 Preview & Results

1st May 2016

UPDATE 

Alfie Plant won the Lytham Trophy today by 7-shots helped in no small part by a superb level par final round of 70.

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

Click this link to view the final Lytham Trophy scores – Results

Click this link to view Sunday’s Lytham Trophy start sheet – Rds 3 & 4 Draws

Rd 4 – Alfie Plant won the Lytham Trophy by 7-shots after a superb final round 70 (E). Bradley Moore (79 +11) who led by 2-shots with 9 holes to play, fell away but still finished in a very creditable tie for 2nd place (4th on countback). He was joined on +11 by France’s Ugo Coussard (2nd) and Jamie Savage (3rd).

Rd 3 – Bradley Moore (72, 68, 72 +2) moved into pole position after out scoring Alfie Plant (67, 73, 74 +4) and final day playing partner James Walker (74, 66, 79 +9). Scotland’s Jamie Savage (73, 71, 73 +7) moved into position to spoil the English party on Sunday morning.

Rd 2 – James Walker (74, 66 E), Bradley Moore (72, 68 E) and Alfie Plant (67, 73 E) will take a 2-shot lead over Sandy Scott (70,72 +2) into Sunday’s final 36-holes. Walker birdied four holes on the front nine before paring in for an exceptional 66 on Day 2.

Rd 1 – Alfie Plant (67 / -3), benefitting from a late 3.20pm tee time, took the early lead in the Lytham Trophy. Jamie Li (69 / -1) was the only other player to finish Day 1 under par.

24th April 2016

The Lytham Trophy, played annually at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C., is the first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season.

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

In 2015 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) ranked it the 14th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field. It ranked 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy.

The famous links course certainly presents a stern test. Playing off the blue championship tees competitors have to meet a 7,118 yard par 70 challenge; the front nine being 3,437 yards, a par 34, and the back nine being 3,681 yards, a par 36.

The Lytham Trophy is a 72-hole stroke play event. 18 holes are played on the first two days before a top 40 and ties cut is made. 36-holes are then played on the final day by the leading competitors.

In the event of a tie for the lowest score there is a 3-hole stroke play play-off on holes 1, 2 and 18. If a winner still hasn’t been determined then the play-off moves to sudden death over the same holes. The Winner receives a silver replica of the Lytham Trophy.

Lytham Trophies

The Lytham Trophy and the Winner’s Replica (Photo: Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.)

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

This year’s Lytham Trophy will be played between Friday 29th April and Sunday 1st May 2016.

144 scratch golfers from 21 different countries have paid the £90 entry fee and will tee off in what will be the 52nd playing of this prestigious competition. Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing.

The 2016 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 is here – Lytham Trophy Start Sheet.

Here is a list of players showing some early season form and as such who I expect to do well this week: –
John Axelsen (DEN) – Arrives in form like Marcus Kinhult last year, T4 Junior Invitational.
Jamie Bower (ENG) – 2016 Gauteng North Am & Southern Cape Open Winner.
Owen Edwards (WAL) – 2016 Spanish Int Am medallist, European Nations T2, Portuguese Int Am T4.
Mattias Eggenberger (SUI) – 13th in 2014 and 16th in 2015. 2016 R&A Scholars Champion.
Grant Forrest (SCO) – 2016 Battle Trophy, T9 African Amateur.
Scott Gregory (ENG) – 2nd Spanish Int Am.
Josh Hilleard (ENG) – 2016 Berkhamsted Trophy, Faldo Series Wales, Hampshire Salver, West of England winner.
Jack Hume (IRE) – 2016 South African SP Champion & European Nations Winner.
Robert MacIntyre (SCO) – 2016 Scottish Champion of Champions Winner.
Dermot McElroy (IRE) – 7th in 2014 and 10th in 2015.
Bradley Moore (ENG) – 8th in 2015. Never finishes outside the Top 10 in any SP event !
Craig Ross (SCO) – 2016 South African Am Champion.
Marcus Svensson (SWE) – 2015 British Boys Am Champion, T9 Junior Invitational.
Connor Syme (SCO) – 2016 Australia Am Champion.
Ashton Turner (ENG) – 7th in 2015. 2016 European Nations T9.
Jonathan Yates (IRE) – 2016 West of Ireland Champion.
Jack Yule (ENG) – 2016 Portuguese Int Am T9, Italian Int Am T2.

Guido Migliozzi (ITA) has withdrawn having been offered an amateur invitation to the Challenge de Madrid event on the European Challenge Tour. Two of Europe’s other leading amateurs Mario Galliano (ESP) and Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (ESP) are also playing in Spain next weekend.

Weather Forecast (updated daily ahead of play commencing)

The weather forecast (@ Thursday 28th April, 9.00 pm) has generally deteriorated as the week has progressed with Friday and Sunday now looking particularly cold and wet.

Fri 29th April – Heavy Showers. Wind 25 mph W. Temp. Max. 8°C / Min 5°C.
Sat 30th April – Sunny Intervals. Wind 15 mph NW. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 6°C.
Sun 1st May – Heavy Rain. Wind 15 mph SW. Temp. Max. 11°C / Min 7°C.

Like The Open players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.30pm on Friday and Saturday so the weather may very well play a big part in scoring.

Betting Odds

Ireland’s Jack Hume is the favourite with the bookmakers.

Click on the links below to view the current betting odds (which will be removed when play starts): –

Sky Bet – Outright Winner Odds

Paddy PowerOutright Winner Odds

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Sky Bet Leading Ante Post Betting Odds 

Each Way Terms 1/4 places 1,2,3,4,5.
All bets to be placed before 8.00am on Friday 29th April 2016.

The 2015 Lytham Trophy

Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult won the 2015 Lytham Trophy by 8-shots. In testing conditions he shot rounds of 68, 69, 71 and 72 to finish on Even par and comfortably hold off Richard James (WAL), Robin Roussel (FRA) and Cormac Sharvin (IRE), who all tied for second place on +8.

Marcus Kinhult Lytham Trophy

Marcus Kinhult – 2015 Winner (Photo: GolfChannel.com)

Highlights of the 2015 Lytham Trophy (© Golfing World)

History, Past Winners and Records

The competition was first played in 1965 after the Club identified a need for another top class amateur competition and one that was in the North of England.

A date on the first weekend in May was established and a 72 hole stroke play format adopted.

Member’s subscribed to purchase a unique sputnik trophy. This does not leave the Club with a smaller replica issued annually to that year’s winner.

As one would expect the list of past winner’s is a who’s who of GB&I and more recently world amateur golf.

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael Bonallack – 1965(s), 1972
Rodney Foster – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey Marks – 1970(s)
Charles Green – 1970(s), 1974
Michael King – 1973
Peter McEvoy – 1978
Ian Hutcheon – 1980
Roger Chapman – 1981
John Hawksworth – 1984
Paul Broadhurst – 1988
Gary Evans – 1990, 1991
Graham Rankin – 1997

In 2004 21 year old James Heath won with a record score of 266 (-18), recording rounds of 67, 68, 66, and 65. No one else has ever come close to this mark before or after. The next best scores being Daan Huizing’s 273 in 2013 and Richard McEvoy’s 276 in 2001. Garth McGimpsey, the then Walker Cup captain, described Heath’s performance as ‘the best amateur golf I’ve ever seen’.

In 1999 the Lytham Trophy was won by Tino Schuster, the first time a non-GB&I player had been successful.

The last six winners show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
Paul Cutler – 2010 (Irish)
Jack Senior – 2011 (English)
Daan Huizing – 2012 (Dutch)
Albert Eckhardt – 2013 (Finnish)
Thriston Lawrence – 2014 (South African)
Marcus Kinhult – 205 (Sweden)

The Royal Lytham website lists all of the Past Winners and their Scores.

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Lytham Trophy Winner’s Board (Photo: Andrew Pennington)

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.