The European Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

26th June 2019

Round 1 starts at 8.00am local time (BST + 1)

Click here to view the – 2019 European Amateur Championship Leaderboard

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25th June 2019

The 32nd European Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Diamond Country Club in Austria.

This prestigious Championship is run by the European Golf Association (EGA), assisted each year by the host nation; this year, the Austrian Golf Federation.

Diamond C.C. Aerial View (Photo: golfbreaks.com)

Competition Format

The European Amateur is a 72-hole stroke play competition. 18-holes are played daily over four days.

A cut will take place after 54 holes with the 60 lowest scores and ties qualifying for the final round on Saturday 29th June.

A 3 hole aggregate score play off will decide the winner in the event of a tie. If this doesn’t separate the players then a sudden death play-off will commence over the same holes.

Entries

144 players will contest the Championship this week.

All of the players must have handicaps of 0.0 or better with an entry ballot applied based on the World Amateur Golf Rankings (1st-1,600th only).

Exemptions were also available to the defending champion, a single nomination from each EGA member nation, four nominated players from the host nation, Netherlands, competitors in the most recent Bonallack Trophy, St. Andrew’s Trophy and Jacques Léglise Trophy matches, the 2019 South American Amateur champion and the 2019 European Mid-Amateur champion.

Most of the leading European and Great Britain and Irish (GB&I) players will be on show. There are 39 GB&I players in total competing in Austria.

There are 27 of the current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking’s Top 100 in the field. These are Euan WALKER (SCO) #7, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) #12, Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) #13, Conor PURCELL (IRE) #14, Daniel HILLIER (NZE) #15, Blake WINDRED (AUS) #18, Takumi KANAYA (JAP) #22, Harry HALL (ENG) #25, Ben JONES (ENG) #28, Jake BURNAGE (SCO) #29, Tom PLUMB (ENG) #30, TOM SLOMAN (ENG) #31, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) #36, David LANGLEY (ENG) #39, Matthias SCHMID (GER) #42, Keita NAKAJIMA (JAP) #43, Bailey GILL (ENG) #45, Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) #48, Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) #49, Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) #55, Luca FILIPPI (RSA) # Matty LAMB (ENG) #69, Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) #80, Adrien PENDARIES (ENG) #85, Jack THOMPSON (AUS) #86, Michael HIRMER (GER) #89 and Nathan BARBIERI (AUS) #99

Amateur champion James SUGRUE (IRE) was originally entered in the Golf Union of Ireland squad but withdrawal late last week.

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) had entered but also withdrew last week after missing the cut in the Amateur Championship.

Diamond Country Club

The 2019 Championship is being staged at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna in Austria.

Diamond C.C. Boathouse (Photo: golf.at)

The course was designed by Jeremy Pern and plays to 6,819m and a par of 72 off the back tees. It is an American-style parkland course set around a large central lake.

It hosted a European Tour event between 2010 and 2018. In 2018 it held the Shock Clock Masters, where every shot was timed for the first time.

It has staged many EGA competitions most recently the 2017 Men’s European Team Championship which was won by Spain.

Weather Forecast

A hot and sunny week is forecast for Austria and conditions should be very good over the four competition days.

Weds 26th June – Sunny. Wind 7 mph (SE). Min. 23°C / Max. 36°C.
Thurs 27th June – Sunny. Wind 10 mph (NW). Min. 18°C / Max. 32°C.
Fri 28th June – Sunny. Wind 9 mph (NW). Min. 16°C / Max. 28°C.
Sat 29th June – Sunny. Wind 6 mph (NW). Max. 17°C / Min 29°C.

Prizes

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the Top 3 finishers.

More importantly the champion receives an exemption into this year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. Last year Alfie Plant used his exemption to go on and win the low amateur Silver Medal at Royal Birkdale G.C.

The Championship Trophy is held by the winning player’s national golf authority.

2018 European Amateur Championship

Nicolai HOJGAARD (DEN) won the 2018 European Amateur Championship at Royal Hague.

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Robin Dawson (Silver), Nicolai Hojgaard (Gold) and Jerry Ji (Bronze)
(Photo: European Golf Association / Ronald Speijer)

Robin DAWSON (IRE) and Jerry JI (NED) pipped Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) and Mitch WAITE (ENG) to silver and bronze medals respectively, based on a last 36 and 18 hole count back, after all four finished on 282 (-6).

Click here to view the – 2018 European Amateur Championship Results

Click here to view the – 2017 European Amateur Championship Results

Click here to view the – 2016 European Amateur Championship Results

History

The competition was first contested in 1986 at Eindhoven G.C. Initially it was held biennially before moving to an annual fixture from 1990.

2019 will be the second occasion Austria have hosted the Championship. To date it has been held in 18 different countries in total.

Former winners who have gone on to enjoy very successful professional careers include Stephen GALLACHER (1994), Sergio GARCIA (1995), Gregory HAVRET (1999), Carl PETTERSSON (2000), Rory MCILROY (2006) and Victor DUBUISSON (2009).

In addition to Gallacher and McIlroy other GB&I past winners include Jim PAYNE (1991), Paddy GRIBBEN (1998), Stephen BROWNE (2001), Brian MCELHINNEY (2003), Matthew RICHARDSON (2004), Rhys PUGH (2012) and Ashley CHESTERS (2013 and 2014) and Alfie PLANT (2017).

Ashley Chesters is the only two-time winner and the only player to have retained the trophy.

Click here to view the – European Amateur Championship Past Winners and Venues

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Copyright © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

22nd June 2019

Final

James SUGRUE (IRE) won the 124th Amateur Championship at Portmarnock G.C. on a near perfect day for golf.

He becomes the 8th Irish winner of the title following in the footsteps of Jimmy Bruen, Max McCready, Joe Carr, Garth McGimpsey, Michael Hoey, Brian McElhinney and most recently Alan Dunbar in 2012.

He beat Euan WALKER (SCO) by 2 Holes in a pulsating Final which went the full 36 holes.

The Mallow G.C. (County Cork) member can now look forward to playing in The Open, The Masters and U.S. Open over the next 12 months. He is additionally assured of a place in the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team which will face USA at Royal Liverpool G.C. in September.

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James Sugrue and Euan Walker (Photo: Pat Cashman)

Sugrue (22) made a dream start this morning. A combination of aggressive play off the tee, good chipping and confident holing out saw him build a 5Up lead after the first nine holes.

Walker started to settle on the back nine helped in no small part by holing a 50ft putt for a winning birdie on the 10th. When he then birdied the par 5 13th to reduce the deficit to 3 Down the match was certainly back on.

After both players bogeyed the long par 3 15th Sugrue moved to 4Up after Walker bogeyed the 17th. However, the extended advantage was short lived; an untidy 18th, with Sugrue taking four to get down from the green side after a duffed chip, ended with Walker taking the home hole with a bogey to go into lunch just 3 Down.

It was the Irishman who struck first in the afternoon with a birdie on the 2nd but this was quickly given back when he bogeyed the next.

With both players now comfortable with their surroundings and the large crowd the play became much improved. Walker produced four birdies to Sugrue’s two over the next ten holes to claw his way back into the match. When Sugrue bogeyed the 16th Walker had completed the comeback – we were All Square with three holes to play.

However, the exertions of regaining parity having been 5 Down after nine holes perhaps took too much out of the Scotsman. He will no doubt be disappointed with his play over the remaining two holes.

Firstly, a poor pitch on 17 opened the door to Sugrue who bravely two-putted from the front of the green to go 1Up.

Fortune then favoured Sugrue as his drive on the 18th bounced out of a fairway bunker, finishing on the mown top, whilst Walker found heavy rough well right. Both players did well to get just over the 18th green with their seconds before Walker’s first putt failed to climb a steep bank and he ultimately ended up conceding the hole to Sugrue’s tap in bogey. The home crowd which had swelled to around 3,000 cheered loudly as Sugrue and Ireland had won by 2 Holes.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Sugrue said “It is hard to believe really. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Just to think about this win is unbelievable. Everything that comes with the win and all the crowds that were out there, it’s incredible. I’m just kind of happy I did it for the crowds, really, as I didn’t want all those people who came out to support me to see me end up losing. It’s more relief than anything else really to get over the line, especially after being three up going into the afternoon session. I’m just delighted to do it.”

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Sugrue v. Walker Final Scores (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to follow the – 2019 Amateur Championship Final Live Scores

The 125th Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire G.C.’s in England from 15th – 20th June 2020.

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21st June 2019

Semi-Finals

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Semi-Final Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

David MICHELUZZI (AUS) played James SUGRUE (IRE) in the first Semi-Final in a game that understandably attracted a large following at Portmarnock. After an up and down front nine the Irishman took control around the turn and saw out the match relatively comfortably.

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Micheluzzi v. Sugrue Semi-Final Scores (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

In the second Semi-Final Euan WALKER (SCO) got the better of Ben JONES (ENG). A birdie on the par 5 6th had given the Scotsman the early lead but this was soon overturned when he bogeyed both 8 and 9. Despite starting the back nine 1 Down Walker’s steadier play over the closing holes enabled him to eventually gain the upper hand.

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Walker v. Jones Semi-Final Scores (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Semi-Final Results

Quarter Finals

The first Quarter Final between David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Cameron SISK (USA) proved to be a tight affair with neither player ever leading by more than one hole. In the end a birdie on the 18th proved decisive for the Australian who broke the deadlock to win by 1 Hole.

James SUGRUE (IRE) started nervously in his game against Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) and was 2 Down after four holes. He recovered to All Square after the Dutchman found trouble on both the 8th and 9th, two longish par fours. Birdies were exchanged on 13 and 14 with first Sugrue taking the lead before Kouwenaar immediately bounced back. A bogey on 16 by the Mallow man appeared to have opened the door to his opponent but after the 17th was halved in par he holed a 15 footer on the final green for a birdie to save the day. When Kouwenaar then bogeyed the 1st Sugrue made no mistake with his safe par delighting the home crowd.

After a tight front nine where Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Euan WALKER (SCO) matched each other shot for shot the third Quarter Final came alive at the start of the back nine. Scott birdied the 11th and after Walker bogeyed the next the Nairn player found himself 2Up with 6 holes to play. Walker birdied the par 5 13th to reduce the deficit and then quickly moved ahead after his compatriot handed him the 14th and 16th with bogeys. Like Sugrue in the game in front Scott refused to be beaten, his birdie on 18th forcing extra holes. The recovery was to be short-lived however as Walker composed himself to take the match on the 19th.

Ben JONES (ENG) beat Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) 3&1 in the final match this morning. After the front nine finished All-Square Jones played the difficult back nine in 3-under par to win well. Birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th holes were the difference on the day.

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Quarter Final Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to follow the – 2019 Amateur Championship Quarter Final Results

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20th June 2019

Round 4

James SUGRUE (IRE) and Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) both kept Irish hopes for a home winner alive with Last 16 wins this afternoon.

Mullarney beat Matty LAMB (ENG) by 1 Hole in Round 4. Having led 5Up after 11 holes Mullarney required a par on the last to finally take care of Lamb who fought right to the end.

Euan WALKER (SCO) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) delivered the all-Scottish quarter final by both winning close matches.

Ben JONES (ENG) will play Mullarney tomorrow, both players will be playing their fifth game having come through the Preliminary Round.

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Round 4 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Round 3

Day 2 of Match Play started badly for GB&I with medalist Tom PLUMB (ENG), Tom SLOMAN (ENG), Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) all falling to disappointing losses.

James SUGRUE (IRE) got things back on track. He was 3 Down with four holes to play before securing a memorable 1 Hole victory over Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE). Sugrue gained revenge for a Round 3 loss to the Swede at Royal Aberdeen last year.

James ROBINSON‘s (ENG) run came to an end but not without some fight. He eventually lost on the 21st hole to Sergio PARRIEGO CORNEJO (ESP).

Euan WALKER (SCO) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) both secured wins to keep alive hopes of an all-Scottish Quarter Final match.

The final four matches of the morning series all went the way of the home player with Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE), Matty LAMB (ENG), Bailey GILL (ENG) and Ben JONES (ENG) continuing their good form.

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Round 3 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

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19th June 2019

Round 2

Despite my complaints below about the unfairness of his draw Medalist Tom PLUMB (ENG) took little time in despatching 41st seed Alejandro DEL RAY GONZALEZ (ESP) 7&5 this morning.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was made to work very hard for his 1 hole win over Joe PAGDIN (ENG). Sloman trailed from the start and was 3 down with 6 holes to play but managed to overturn the deficit over Portmarnock’s challenging finishing holes.

It was obvious from the Stroke Play Qualifying that no match would be over until it was over given par was often going to be good enough to take many holes coming home.

Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) handed a heavy 7&6 defeat to an out of sorts David LANGLEY (ENG), damaging the latter’s hopes of forcing his way into the GB&I Walker Cup team.

Germany’s Matthias SCHMID, back from Louisville University for the summer, provided the biggest win of Round 2, taking out Sam DONE (ENG) 9&8.

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) produced the best comeback of the day. He was 5 Down with 6 to play but somehow managed to beat last week’s St. Andrews Links Trophy winner Jake BURNAGE (ENG) on the 20th hole.

Harry HALL (ENG) was also undone by the finishing holes; 1 Up with 3 to play fellow Walker Cup panelist James SUGRUE (IRE) came through to win by 2 holes.

The final match in the Upper Half of the draw saw surprise package James ROBINSON (ENG) comfortably dispose of Therion NEL (RSA) 4&3. Nel is currently ranked 88th in the SPWAR whilst Robinson sits 1,319th.

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Round 2 Upper Half Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

In the Lower Half of the Match Play draw Euan WALKER (SCO) showed all of his fighting qualities to come from behind to beat Eanna GRIFFIN (IRE) by 2 holes.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) will be disappointed not to have got past Finland’s far less experienced Jonatan JOLKKONEN.

In two tight matches Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) overcame Midlands rival Sam BROADHURST (ENG) on the first extra hole and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) beat Markus BRAADLIE (NOR) by 1 hole, the Norwegian perhaps tiring a little having also played in the Preliminary this morning.

Matty LAMB (ENG) secured his second victory of the day and in taking out Yurav PREMLALL (RSA) 3&1 ended South African interest in the Championship.

Bailey GILL (ENG) also enjoyed a good 4 &2 win over University of South Florida’s Albin BERGSTRÖM (SWE). Bergström had enjoyed an award winning Freshman season in the U.S. so will have arrived in Ireland with a lot of confidence.

Ben JONES (ENG) would have to be my ‘Player of the Day’ though, firstly beating Jayden SCHAPER (RSA / SPWAR #10) in 22 holes this morning before going all the way to the 18th green with John AXELSEN (DEN / SPWAR #151) this afternoon. I am sure his fighting spirit will not have been lost on the watching Walker Cup selectors.

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Round 2 Lower Half Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Round 2 Draw / Scores

Preliminary Round 1

The Match Play Stage of The Amateur Championship, which is being played exclusively at Portmarnock G.C., started at 7.00am this morning.

76 players made the top 64 and ties cut.

As a result the 24 lowest scoring qualifiers had to play a Preliminary Round 1 to produce the final 12 players required to make up the 64 needed for Round 2.

Sam BROADHURST (ENG), Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE), Matty LAMB (ENG) and Ben JONES (ENG) all came through the Preliminary Round to take their place in Round 2.

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Preliminary Round 1 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Preliminary Round 1 Draw / Scores

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Every year I complain about the use by The R&A of a Preliminary Round rather than using a play-off or card count back to produce the 64 players needed for the first round proper.

This year because of the Preliminary Round medalist Tom PLUMB (ENG), who would be playing the 64th qualifier in a clean draw, has been paired with the 41st qualifier Alejandro DEL REY GONZALEZ (ESP).

Take a look at the table below which outlines how the 76 Stroke Play seeds fed through into this year’s Amateur Championship draw and how this compares with a Standard 64 player Match Play draw.

You will see most of the leading qualifiers end up playing against higher rated players than they deserve to. The only beneficiaries being those players who receive the winners of the Preliminary Round in the Lower Half of the draw.

Upper Half Draw Lower Half Draw
Amateur ‘19 Standard Amateur ‘19 Standard
1 vs 41 64 22 vs 47 43
32 vs 50 33 11 vs 36 54
16 vs 38 49 27 vs 37 38
17 vs 35 48 6 vs 34 59
8 vs 44 57 19 vs 57 vs 53 46
25 vs 39 40 14 vs 70 vs 54 51
9 vs 51 56 30 vs 75 vs 73 35
24 vs 48 41 3 vs 64 vs 60 62
4 vs 42 61 23 vs 61 vs 62 42
29 vs 49 36 10 vs 69 vs 56 55
13 vs 43 52 26 vs 76 vs 58 39
20 vs 40 45 7 vs 66 vs 55 58
5 vs 46 60 18 vs 59 vs 67 47
28 vs 33 37 15 vs 72 vs 71 50
12 vs 52 53 31 vs 65 vs 63 34
21 vs 45 44 2 vs 68 vs 74 63

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18th June 2019

Tom PLUMB (ENG) secured Stroke Play medalist honours at The Amateur today after posting an aggregate 36 hole score of 139 (-4). Plumb shot a second round 71 (-1) at Portmarnock.

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Tom Plumb (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

In the last group out John AXELSEN (DEN) recorded a 69 at Portmarnock to pull level with Plumb on 139 (-4). However, he lost out on count back; his 72 (I 37 / P 35) was four shots more than Plumb’s (I 33 / P 35) on the aggregate of the two back nines.  

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) was 3rd after a 69 at The Island left him on 140 (-3).

William BUHL (NOR) and Harry HALL (ENG) were tied 4th on 141 (-2).

Conditions were favourable today with sunny intervals and a modest breeze.

The best rounds of the day at Portmarnock belonged to Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) and Mason ANDERSEN (USA) who all posted 68’s (-4) to qualify.

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Caolan Rafferty’s and Euan McIntosh’s Scorecards (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

The average Round 2 score at Portmarnock was 75.33 (+3.33).

Blake WINDRED (AUS) recorded the lowest round at The Island on Day 2 with a bogey free 67 (-4). Unfortunately his 82 at Portmarnock yesterday was never going to be recoverable.

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Blake Windred’s Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

The average Round 2 score at The Island was 74.16 (+3.16).

24 of the 26 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup squad players were competing. 12 of the group made it through to the Match Play Stage. These were Thomas PLUMB (ENG) -4, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 2nd, Harry HALL (ENG) -2, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) -1, Joe PAGDIN (ENG) Ev, Bailey GILL (ENG) +1, Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) +1, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) +2, Euan WALKER (SCO) +2, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +2, James SUGRUE (IRE) +3 and Ben JONES (ENG) +4.

14 other GB&I players qualified, namely, David LANGLEY (ENG) -1, Jake BOLTON (ENG) -1, Eanna GRIFFIN (IRE) Ev, Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) +1, James ROBINSON (ENG) +1, Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) +1, Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) +1, Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) +2, Sam DONE (ENG) +2, Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) +2, Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) +4, Jack AINSCOUGH (ENG) +4, Sam BROADHURST (ENG) +4 and Matty LAMB (ENG) +4.

As predicted the top 64 and ties Match Play cut fell at 147 (+4) with a total of 76 players progressing. The 24 lowest scoring qualifiers will therefore be involved in a Preliminary Round to establish the final 64 players.

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Results

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Match Play here are the Stroke Play Qualifying hole-by-hole statistics for Portmarnock G.C. which may assist with strategy: –

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17th June 2019

Geoff LENEHAN (IRE) and Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) played the first tee shots of the 124th Amateur Championship at 7.00am this morning at Portmarnock G.C. and The Island G.C. respectively.

On a breezy but dry day on the east coast of Ireland the scoring was relatively high. Just 17 players in the field of 288 recorded an under par score.

Anton ALBERS (GER) was the low man at Portmarnock in Round 1 of the Stroke Play Qualifying with a 4-under par 68.

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Anton Albers’ Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

There was a total of six under par rounds at Portmarnock. Sandy SCOTT (SCO), who recorded a 71 (-1), provided one of them.

The average score at Portmarnock in Round 1 was 77.47 (+5.47).

Ayoub SSOUADI (MOR) and Harry HALL (ENG) both recorded 67’s (-4) at The Island to share the Day 1 lead with the German.

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Ayoub Ssouadi’s and Harry Hall’s Round 1 Scorecards (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

A total of 11 under par rounds were posted at The Island. Tom PLUMB (ENG) 68 (-3), James ROBINSON (ENG) and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) both 69 (-2), Curtis KNIPES (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) all 70 (-1) led the way for Great Britain & Ireland.

The average score at The Island in Round 1 was 75.14 (+4.14).

The projected top 64 and ties match play cut mark looks like being 147 (+4). This is based on the fact that after Round 1 27 players are tied 52nd on +2. 31 of these 78 players played at Parmarnock and 47 at The Island.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) I +3, Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) P +3, Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) P +3, David HAGUE (ENG) P +3, Euan WALKER (SCO) P +3, Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) P +4, Tom MCKIBBIN (IRE) I +4, Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) P +4, Akshay BHATIA (USA) P +4, Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) P +4, James SUGRUE (IRE) P +5, Conor PURCELL (IRE) I +5, Ben JONES (ENG) P +5, Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) I +5, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) P +5, Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) P +6, Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) I +6, Josh MCMAHON (ENG) P +6, Jamie STEWART (SCO) P +7, John MURPHY (IRE) I +7, Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) I +8 and Blake WINDRED (AUS) P +10 are therefore amongst the more notable players who can afford few mistakes tomorrow.

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14th June 2019

The 124th Amateur Championship starts on Monday 17th June at Portmarnock Golf Club and The Island Golf Club. Both courses are located a short distance to the north east of Dublin city centre in Ireland.

The Amateur is the most prestigious amateur golf event played outside of the United States and without question the highlight of the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur season.

Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th June.

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Tee Times

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores, and ties for 64th place, will advance to the match play stage and be seeded in line with their qualifying finishes. A preliminary round will be used if more than 64 players qualify. [I would prefer there to be a play-off or an aggregate count back so there can be a clean draw made.]

The match play stage will then be played solely at Portmarnock between Wednesday 19th and Saturday 22nd June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for Saturday’s Final which will be contested over 36 holes. Extra sudden death holes will be used in all games if necessary.

An Aerial View Of Portmarnock Golf Club (Photo: Portmarnock G.C.)

Players

The 288 players are drawn firstly from a number of exempt categories covering various Championship performances and representative team selections. Thereafter places are allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at 15th May 2019. The lowest non-exempt WAGR player in the field is currently Islam HABEBUL (ENG) at #939.

Looking at the current SPWAR, my preferred amateur ranking, there are 19 of the top 50 players competing. These are Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) 9th, Conor PURCELL (IRE) 10th, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) 12th, Blake WINDRED (AUS) 14th, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) 19th, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 22nd, Euan WALKER (SCO) 25th, Harry HALL (ENG) 27th, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) 29th, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 32nd, Alejandro DEL REY GONZALEZ (ESP) 33rd, Keita NAKAJIMA (JAP) 34th, Tom PLUMB (ENG) 38th, David LANGLEY (ENG) 39th, Yurav PREMLALL (RSA) 41st, Ben JONES (ENG) 43rd, Bailey GILL (ENG) 45th, Matthias SCHMID (GER) 47th and Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) 49th.

Players from 34 different countries will contest the 2019 Amateur Championship.

England have 54 players in the field, Ireland 22, Scotland 18 and Wales 5.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are USA (27), France (24), Germany (16), Spain (16), Sweden (12), Italy (11), Australia (11), Denmark (9), South Africa (8) and Finland (8).

Whilst there are a large number of Americans playing it again remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. It is disappointing but perhaps understandable that most of them prefer to play in the Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett C.C. in Providence, Rhode island – an event that starts on Wednesday 19th June. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the Major exemptions on offer. The best American this year is Cole MADEY (SPWAR 54) albeit Akshay BHATIA (SPWAR 101) is a notable junior.

Stewart HAGESTAD (USA), Daniel HILLIER (NZL) and Chun An “Kevin” YU (TPE) all qualified for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and were sadly all late withdrawals.

12 Reserves were called upon since the original draw was made on 20th May.

Portmarnock G.C.’s Promotional Video For The Amateur Championship (3:13)

Host Courses

This is only the second time that The Amateur has been staged outside Great Britain. Portmarnock hosted the Championship 70 years ago in 1949 with Max McCready overcoming Willie Turnesa 2&1 in the Final.

Situated on its own peninsula Portmarnock G.C., which was opened in 1894, will play to 7,422 yards and a par of 72. Whilst the front nine is longer by 150 yards it is the strong finishing holes for which the links are renowned.

The Island G.C. was founded in 1890 and as its name suggests was originally only accessible by ferry boat. It plays to 7,019 yards from the back tees and has a par of 71.

13th hole, The Island Golf Club (Photo: The Island G.C.)

Weather Forecast (as at Monday 16th June)

The weather forecast looks resonable, with little rain and a fairly consistent south westerly wind expected: –

Mon 17th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 10°C.
Tue 18th June – Sunny. Wind 10 mph SW. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 9°C.
Wed 19th June – Showers PM. Wind 12 mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Thu 20th June – Cloudy. Wind 13 mph W. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 7°C.
Fri 21st June – Sunny. Wind 12 mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Sat 22nd June – Cloudy. Wind 13 mph SE. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 11°C.

Click here to view the – Latest BBC Weather Forecast For Dublin

Players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.52pm on Monday and Tuesday so changes in the weather and wind speed may have a role to play in the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the leading player in the stroke play qualifying competition, with a tie decided on the lowest aggregate score for the second nine holes on both courses (or six or three or one).

The winner of the match play stage will become the Champion Amateur Golfer for the year and is awarded the Championship Trophy and a Gold Medal. The runner-up receives a Silver Medal and each losing semi-finalist a Bronze Medal.

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 148th Open Championship being staged at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C. and also exempted into the 2020 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Winged Foot G.C. in Mamaroneck, New York.

Finally, there is an informal rule that any GB&I player who wins the Amateur Championship in a Walker Cup year will be automatically selected for our team.

2018 Amateur Championship

Jovan REBULA (RSA) won the 2018 Amateur Championship beating Robin DAWSON (IRE) 3&2 in the 36 hole Final played at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

He was the first South African winner since Bobby Cole in 1966.

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Jovan Rebula (Photo: The R&A / Mark Runnacles / Getty Images)

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

Fellow South African Wilco NIENABER was medalist in the preceeding Stroke Play Qualifying. He shot a 66 at Murcar Links and a 67 at Royal Aberdeen G.C. for a 133 (-8) total.

The top 64 and ties match play cut fell at +6 with 77 players progressing. There were 30 GB&I qualifiers amongst this number.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

A Short History of The Amateur

The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool G.C. Allan Macfie (SCO) was the first champion beating Horace Hutchinson (ENG) 7&6 in the Final.

Up until the Second World War it was a hugely prestigious event and in many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and as good if not better than most of the professionals of the day.

With only modest rewards available in the professional game many of the better players simply stayed amateur. The great American Bobby Jones, who won The Amateur in 1930 on the way to his Grand Slam, remains the most well known career amateur.

Even after the war players remained amateur for much longer and famous names like Frank Stranahan (USA), Joe Carr (IRE), Sir Michael Bonallack (ENG) and Peter McEvoy (ENG) all built their reputations on Amateur Championship wins.

With the growth and transformation of the professional game from the early 1980s onwards both the better players and the media increasingly started to turn their backs on the amateur game.

Save for exceptional cases like Gary Wolstenholme (ENG) all continuity has been lost over the last 30 years and most of the young golfing stars of today rarely play any more than 2 or 3 Amateurs before being lured into the pro ranks by the huge rewards on offer.

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Past Winners

The greatest player in the history of The Amateur is Johnny Ball. The Hoylake man won the Championship a record 8 times between 1888 and 1912.

Only three other players have won the competition more than twice; Sir Michael Bonallack (5), Harold Hilton (4) and Joe Carr (3). Bonallack amazingly won it three years in a row between 1968-1970. The last person to retain The Amateur was Peter McEvoy in 1977 and ’78.

Prior to Jovan Rebula’s win in 2018 the previous 10 winners of The Amateur Championship were: –

2017  Harry Ellis (ENG) – Royal St. George’s G.C.
2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl G.C.
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie G.L.
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush G.C.
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports G.C.
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon G.C.
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside G.C.
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby G.C.
2008  Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry

A great achievement and honour for all of the players listed above. However, it’s also another reminder of how incredibly tough golf is and that wins in the biggest events are no guarantee of success in the professional game.

Click here to view a complete list of – Amateur Championship winners

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The St. Andrews Links Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

9th June 2019

Round 4

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) from Saunton G.C. is the 2019 St. Andrews Links Trophy champion.

In a superb performance he recorded a 268 (-20) total and completed a remarkable comeback, having started the day 6 shots back of the leader Matty LAMB (ENG).

Talking to the St. Andrews Links Trust organisers afterwards Jake said “I love this pace that’s for sure. It’s basically my home because I’m a links golfer. It’s nothing new for myself. I forgot about last year (when he finished tied 3rd) and concentrated on doing the job this year. It’s amazing to turnaround and you suddenly see a lot of people behind you. It’s pretty cool. I love a crowd. I’m not scared of one, I’d much prefer to have one than not have one that’s my take on it.”

Burnage rose 96 places to 30th in the updated Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking and as an existing initial squad member now looks a certainty for the GB&I Walker Cup team.

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Jake Burnage and Family (Photo: Burnage Family)

Matty LAMB (ENG) finished 2nd and whilst he will be frustrated there was much to admire in his play this week.

Today’s 36 holes were never going to be a straight forward coronation for Lamb and with conditions much better than originally expected there was always hope for the chasing pack.

Burnage made inroads this morning reducing Lamb’s lead to 3 shots at lunch.

Both players completed the front nine this afternoon in level par, Lamb appearing to be the steadier. However, Burnage then seized the initiative on the 10th with a birdie, reducing Lamb’s lead to 2 shots. The 618 yard par 5 14th proved to be the 2019 Championship’s pivotal hole. Burnage eagled from 10 feet whilst Lamb bogeyed. The three shot swing suddenly put Burnage in the driving seat, now with a 1 shot advantage with four holes to play. A little surprisingly, given the holes in question and the circumstances, both players pared in and the man from Devon was crowned the winner.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) shot 66 this afternoon to secure 3rd place on 271 (-17). James WILSON (SCO) 67 and Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) 68 also finished strongly to tied for 4th on 275 (-13).

Bailey GILL (ENG) recorded the best Round 4 score. His 65 lifted him up to tied 12th.

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The Final Results (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Click here to view the complete – 2019 St Andrews Links Trophy Results

Round 3

The good news for Matty LAMB (ENG) was he shot a solid 69 (-3) in his morning around on the Old Course. Five birdies were offset by a double bogey 6 on the 16th. As a result he continues to lead the St. Andrews Links Trophy on -20 after 54 holes.

The bad news was his nearest challenger Jake BURNAGE (ENG) showed no signs of going away.  The Devonian shot the best round of the remaining 40 players; a 66 (-6) including 7 birdies to move onto -17, now only 3 shots back with 18 holes to play.

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Jake Burnage’s Rd 3 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

The final pair are playing some great golf including these two par rescues on the Road Hole – well worth a watch.

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Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) 67, Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) 68 and Josh GREER (AUS) 68 all moved up the leaderboard after good rounds.

ME.

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8th June 2019

Matty LAMB (ENG) followed yesterday’s 64 (-8) on the Jubilee Course with an even more impressive 63 (-9) on the Old Course today. After a bogey on the relatively straight forward first he produced 10 birdies in his remaining 17 holes, finishing with a back nine of 29.

I assume his 127 (-17) 36 hole total must be a Championship record.

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Matty Lamb’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Conditions were a little better than anticipated with fewer showers and only modest winds all day. There were numerous low scores once again as the links was left relatively defenceless.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) recorded the second best round of the day with a 64 (-8) to move into 2nd on -11.

Jake Burnage’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

One shot further back are Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Thomas PLUMB (ENG). Rafferty shot a 65 to move himself nicely into the mix whilst Yeovil’s Plumb produced a steadier 70. Both players will start the final day on -10.

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Caolan Rafferty’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

The top 40 and ties cut fell at 140 (-4) with 40 players progressing to the final day.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) recorded a 66 (-6) on Day 2 to make the cut and deliver the best recovery after his opening 74 (+2).

Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) 68, Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) 68, Casey JARVIS (RSA) 68, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 66, Joe PAGDIN (ENG) 68, Matt ROBERTS (WAL) 66 and Jamie STEWART (SCO) 68 were amongst those to enjoy good scores today. All went down fighting on the Old Course but had simply left themselves too much to do to make the cut.

Nicklas REGNER (AUT) missed the cut on 142 (-2) although he had the consolation of leaving St Andrews having holed his approach on the Old Course’s 18th hole for eagle.

ME.

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7th June 2019

Round 1 was played on the Jubilee Course. With sunny intervals and just a modest breeze blowing the 6,847 yard course was there for the taking. Many of the competitors were happy to oblige particularly on the front nine which played down wind.

Matty LAMB (ENG) and Tom PLUMB (ENG) both recorded 8 under par 64’s on Day 1 to set a sparkling pace.

Matty Lamb’s Rd 1 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Tom Plumb’s Rd 1 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Alexander FRANCES (DEN), Kyle MICHEL (AUS), Stuart EASTON (SCO), Callum FARR (ENG) and Rowan LESTER (IRE) are all tied 2nd, two shots back of the two leaders, after 66’s (-6).

There were two notable shots in Round 1. Ronan MULLARNEY‘s (IRE) round of 68 (-4) included a hole-in-one on the 192 yard 9th hole while Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) finished his round of 69 in style by holing his approach to the 468 yard 18th.

76 of the 144 players shot an under par score on Day 1 with a further 17 on level par.

36 players scored 69 (-3) or better.

Given the very low scoring today, the forecast of rain for much of tomorrow and the top 40 and ties cut after Round 2 on the Old Course many players will have already played themselves out of the Championship. Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) +3, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) +3, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) +5, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +5 and Matt SAULEZ (RSA) +8 are amongst the more notable names who would appear to have no way back.

ME.

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6th June 2019

144 golfers from 21 different countries will tee off on Friday 7th June in the 31st St. Andrews Links Trophy.

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

The field is primarily determined by reference to the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) as at 2nd May 2019 and finished off with various National Golf Union and St. Andrews Links Trust nominations.

This year Round 1 will be played on the Jubilee Course – the New 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 Jubilee Course plays 6,742 yards to a par of 72. The front nine is 3,238 yards long with a par of 36 whilst the tougher back nine is 266 yards longer but to the same par.

Jubilee Course Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

The Old Course is 6,721 yards off the white tees and has a par of 72. Both nines have a par of 36 and have similar yardages – the front is 3,336 yards long whilst the back is a little longer at 3,385 yards.

Old Course Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

The winner will be the player who returns the lowest 72 hole aggregate score.

In the event of a tie a sudden death play-off will be held over holes 1 and 18 on the Old Course.

Ties for other places will be 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

Click here to view the – 2019 St Andrews Links Trophy Rd 1 and Rd 2 Tee Times

The Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed the Links Trophy 7th in its 2018 Amateur Tournament Ranking based on the strength of it’s field. It was 8th in the same ranking in 2017.

22 of the 26 members of the 2019 GB&I Walker Cup Squad will be competing at St. Andrews this week.

From the Squad leading contenders Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG), Bailey GILL (ENG), Harry HALL (ENG), Ben JONES (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Tom PLUMB (ENG), Conor PURCELL (IRE), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Tom SLOMAN (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO) will all be looking to cement their places on the GB&I team in front of the watching selectors.

The defending champion John MURPHY (IRE) also returns to Scotland to try and become just the third player to win the Championship twice.

Of the four missing Walker Cup players Sandy SCOTT (SCO) is playing for the International Team at the Arnold Palmer Cup at The Alotian Club in Arkansas whilst Archie DAVIES (WAL), Conor GOUGH (ENG) and Mark POWER (IRE) are all busy with exams.

The attraction of St. Andrews always ensures a strong overseas entry. Blake COLLYER (AUS), Jordan DUMINY (RSA), Adrien DUMONT DE CHASSART (BEL), Mateo FERNANDEZ DE OLIVEIRA (ARG), Falko HANISCH (GER),

Michael HIRMER (GER), Alex HIETALA (FIN), Casey JARVIS (RSA), Jerry JI (NED), Jeong Weon KO (FRA), Charles LARCELET (FRA), Kyle MICHEL (AUS), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Therion NEL (RSA), Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Yurev PREMLALL (RSA), Matt SAULEZ (RSA), Jayden SCHAPER (RSA), Sam SIMPSON (RSA) and Martin VORSTER (RSA) are amongst the most highly rated international entries.

Weather Forecast (as at Tuesday 4th June)

The current weather forecast appears mixed with rain over the weekend and swirling winds throughout.

Friday 8th June – Sunny Intervals. Wind 13 mph SE. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 10°C.
Saturday 9th June – Heavy Rain. Wind 11 mph NE. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 9°C.
Sunday 10th June – Light Rain. Wind 16 mph SW. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 8°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 Championship.

2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy

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

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

Both players completed the 72 holes in 278 shots (-9). De Bruyn fired a final round 68 on the Old Course to force the play-off.

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

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Haydn BARRON (AUS) finished tied 3rd on 279 (-8), just one shot back.

The two other leading GB&I players were Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) who tied 5th on 280 (-7) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) whose 281 (-6) total was good enough for tied 8th.

Click here to view the – 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

Past Winners

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) won in 2017. Click here to view the – 2017 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) won in 2016. Click here to view the – 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results 

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

Only Craig WATSON (1992 and 1998), the 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 Federico ZUCCHETTI 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 © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

2nd June 2019

Rotherham’s Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) won the 2019 English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship finishing the competition with another hugely impressive under par round.

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The Schmidt Family (Photo: Yorkshire Golf / Jonathan Plaxton)

When Schmidt took the lead on Friday night very few people would have expected the 16 year old to see out such a prestigious event with apparent ease.

In the end two 69’s over the weekend took him to a 271 (-13) finishing total and a 5 shot victory. He is believed to be the youngest ever winner of the Brabazon Trophy which was being played for the 73rd time.

To drop only 6 shots over the 72 holes at Alwoodley G.C. clearly shows the potential of the Yorkshireman who seemed to thrive on being the hometown favourite.

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Ben Schmidt’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Schmidt and Harry HALL (ENG) were tied on -11 after 11 holes of the final round but it was the teenager who showed nerves of steel over the closing holes. He picked up birdies on the 12th and 17th and calmly pulled away from the experienced Cornishman in what was always going to be an 18 hole shoot out. Three late bogeys from the now chasing Hall helped make the tough Alwoodley finish relatively straight forward for the champion elect.

Talking to England Golf afterwards Schmidt said “It’s amazing. I played great. It’s good to get my name on the trophy and to be the youngest ever one to do it makes it even more special.”

Hall finished 2nd on -8 one shot ahead of a fast finishing Euan WALKER (SCO) whose 66 was the joint best score of the day and lifted him into 3rd place. Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) matched the Scotsman’s -5 round earlier in the afternoon.

Ben FIRTH, also from Yorkshire, finished 4th on 280 (-4) for the best finish of his career.

In what proved to be a largely disappointing tournament for International players Kyle DE BEER (RSA) benefited from a 7-under weekend to finish tied 5th alongside David LANGLEY (ENG).

Here’s a screenshot of the leading players with a link to the full results beneath.

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Click here to view the full – 2019 Brabazon Trophy Results

Round 4 saw an average score of 72.30 (+1.30). The average front nine score today was 35.83 (-0.17 to par) whilst the back nine score was 36.47 (+1.47).

ME.

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1st June 2019

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) moved on to -11 after a third round 69 (-2) at Alwoodley. He showed no sign of nerves with a 3-under par front nine but may live to regret a final hole bogey which took the edge of a steady back nine and saw his 54 hole lead reduced to just 1 shot.

Harry HALL (ENG), who produced a new course record 63 (-8), moved back up the leaderboard and into 2nd place on -10.

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Harry Hall’s Round 3 Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) continues to impress in Yorkshire. Three under par rounds of 69, 68 and 70 will see him enter the final day in 3rd place on -6.

Charlie THORNTON (ENG) 70 and David LANGLEY (ENG) 71 are on -5 and are tied 4th.

Luca FILIPPI (RSA) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) both enjoyed good days too. Their 66’s (-5) lifted them up to 7th and tied 14th respectively.

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Leading Round 3 Scores (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Round 3 saw the average score lowered to 71.74 helped by a reduction to 63 competing players. 64 players made the cut but Alex Dixon +4 WD before play started. The average front nine score today was 35.57 (-0.43 to par) whilst the back nine score was 36.14 (+1.17).

ME.

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31st May 2019

16 year old Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) backed up his good opening round with a 64 (-7) in Round 2. He tied the Alwoodley course record with an unblemished card and 7 birdies. He now leads the Brabazon Trophy by 3-shots on 133 (-9).

Talking to England Golf afterwards Ben said “I got off to a good start, birdieing the first three holes. Front nine was really solid, quite a few birdies. I hit a lot of good iron shots in today. I hit a couple really stiff for tap in birdies. A couple of long irons which were key for me. It’s my lowest ever round, 7-under. I’m just looking for the same again for the next few days. It’s probably not going to be 7-under again but I can’t go out with the mindset of like I’m leading. I’ve just got go out, refresh and start again. I’ve played well and putted well, key putts and long birdie putts.”

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Ben Schmidt’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) recorded a 70 in Round 2 and will go into the weekend in 2nd place on -6.

Day 2 saw much lower scoring. There were 21 rounds in the 60’s compared with just 6 yesterday.

David LANGLEY (ENG) 67, Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) 68, Jamie STEWART (SCO) 65, Charlie THORNTON (ENG) 67, Ben FIRTH (ENG) 66, Ben HALLAM (ENG) 68, Ben JONES (ENG) 68, Ben CATON (SCO) 69, Euan WALKER (SCO) and Josh MCMAHON (ENG) all moved nicely into contention.

Of particular note Jamie Stewart’s 65 included a 29 (-7) on the front nine whilst Ben Firth’s 69, a 30 (-5) on the back nine.

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Leading Round 2 Scores (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

The Round 2 scores followed a similar pattern to Round 1 but with easier playing conditions and more experience the scoring was better. The average front nine score today was 35.91 (-0.09 to par / Rd 1 36.70) whilst the back nine score was 37.04 (+2.04 / Rd 1 38.29). The average Round 2 score by the field was 72.95 (+1.95 / Rd 1 74.99).

64 players made the top 60 and ties cut which fell at 146 (+4). Amongst those to miss out were Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) +5, John MURPHY (IRE) +5, Oliver FARRELL (ENG) +6, Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) +7, Tom THURLOWAY (ENG) +7, David HAGUE (ENG) +8 and Kieran CANTLEY (ENG) +9.

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30th May 2019

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) leads the Brabazon Trophy at the end of Day 1. Charlie has shown good form in 2019 and will be delighted with an opening bogey-free 66 (-5) around the tough Alwoodley course.

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Charlie Strickland’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Harry HALL (ENG) is second on 68 (-3), two shots further back. Harry, who recently graduated from UNLV, travelled back from the NCAA Division I National Championship in Arkansas earlier this week and I am pleased to see he has quickly re-acclimatised to the UK.

James WILSON (SCO), Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) and Jake BOLTON (ENG) are all tied 3rd on 69 (-2).

Ben Schmidt is unsurprisingly not the only Yorkshireman to be featuring at home. Bailey GILL 70 (-1), Sam BAIRSTOW 70 (-1), Charlie THORNTON 71 (Ev), winner at Alwoodley of the 2018 North of England Amateur Open, and Charlie DAUGHTREY 71 (Ev) are all in the top 15 too.

Irish pair Caolan RAFFERTY 70 (-1) and Conor PURCELL 71 (Ev) are both nicely placed despite disappointing finishes today. Both continue to be travelling nicely down the path to Walker Cup selection in my eyes.

The Round 1 scores clearly highlighted the fact that the front nine at Alwoodley is much easier than the back. As the table below shows the average front nine score was 36.70 (+0.70 to par), helped by the prevailing wind, whilst the back nine played to 38.29 (+3.29).  The closing holes proved to be very challenging and their rankings show why so many of today’s rounds were ruined in the latter stages. The average round by the field was 74.99. (+3.99).

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Round 1 Course Stats (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

As you can also see there were 9 eagles on Day 1, all on the front nine. Interestingly three of them came on par 4’s. I assume Cameron LOMBARD (ENG) and Tom THURLOWAY (ENG) both chipped in on the 305 yard 2nd but Alexander HERMANN (GER) must have holed a longer shot on the 370 yard 5th.

ME.

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27th May 2019

The 73rd English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Alwoodley Golf Club between 30th May and 2nd June.

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Alwoodley Golf Club in October 2018 (Photo: Golf Bible)

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

164 competitors will start the 2019 Championship, an increase of 8 on last year at Frilford Heath.

England has 94 entries with 10 other countries represented.

The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – 2019 Brabazon Trophy Draw

98 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with a further 66 progressing from two qualifiers held on 14th May 2019.

Charlie DAUGHTREY (Rotherham G.C.) and Blair MORTON (Royal Troon G.C.) shot 68’s (-2) at Lindrick to lead the way in the North Qualifier. Ben HALLAM (Wychwood Park G.C.) was one of 10 players to shoot 73 (+3) but the only one to progress as he picked up the 33rd spot on count back.

James NEWTON (ENG) finished T56 at Lindrick after a 74 (+4) to miss out. I mention this as just a few days later he easily won the Irish Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo G.C.

Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Liam PHIPPS (Olton G.C.) and George LEVERSUCH (Wanstead G.C.) led the qualifiers at Hindhead G.C. in the South Qualifier after both posted 66 (-4). 73 (+3) was again the cut mark with Josh DAVIS (Sedlescombe G.C.), James EARL (Tandridge G.C.) and Matt KIPPEN (Enmore Park G.C.) taking the final qualifying spots. A further 8 players missed out after the count back was applied.

Phipps went on to win The Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog G.C. on 23rd May so is clearly confident and in form.

Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

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9th Hole, Alwoodley Golf Club in October 2018 (Photo: Golf Bible)

19 of the 26 players included in the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad will be competing at Alwoodley. These are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Kieran CANTLEY (SCO), Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL), Bailey GILL (ENG), David HAGUE (ENG), Harry HALL (ENG), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL), Ben JONES (ENG), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO), John MURPHY (IRE), Tom PLUMB (ENG), Conor PURCELL (IRE), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Tom SLOMAN (ENG), Jamie STEWART (SCO), James SUGRUE (IRE), Tom THURLOWAY (ENG), Euan WALKER (SCO) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG).

Other players who have shown good form in 2019 and are therefore worth keeping an eye on include Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG), Jake BOLTON (ENG), Joe BRYCE (SCO), Harvey BYERS (ENG), Stuart EASTON (SCO), Callum FARR (ENG), Oliver FARRELL (ENG), Harry GODDARD (ENG), Marc HAMMER (GER), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG), Matty LAMB (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Joe LONG (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG), Laurie OWEN (ENG), Jayden SCHAPER (RSA), Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) and Charlie THORNTON (ENG).

Last year’s Brabazon Trophy was ranked 41st by the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) based on the strength of its field. This represented a significant fall from 17thin 2017. Hopefully it will recover some of its prestige this year when the field analysis is completed.

Interestingly Alwoodley G.C. will also be broadcasting live coverage of the first round on their YouTube channel and sharing highlights across their other social media channels.

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: Golf Bible)

Prize vouchers will be awarded to those players finishing in the top three.

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 22nd and 23rd June).

Alwoodley Golf Club

Alwoodley G.C. is located on heathland a few miles north of Leeds city centre in Yorkshire.

The first design by renowned architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie, one of the founders of the Club, it was opened in 1907. Alwoodley is nowadays rightly considered one of the finest courses in Great Britain.

The recent addition of new championship tees has stretched the course to over 6,900 yards so whilst the players are in for a treat they are hopefully going to be challenged too given the par of 71.

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Alwoodley G.C. Scorecard (Photo: Alwoodley G.C.)

Whilst the back nine is a little shorter it delivers a good finish with six strong finishing holes. The inward nine has the lower par of 35 and generally plays into the prevailing westerly wind.

Weather Forecast

The weather is looking good; generally dry with a modest breeze over the four days.

Thu 30th May – Showers / Wind 17 mph W / Temp. Min. 13°C, Max. 19°C.
Fri 31st May – Light Cloud / Wind 14 mph SW / Temp. Min. 13°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat 1st June – Light Cloud / Wind 10 mph SW / Temp. Min. 15°C / Min 23°C.
Sun 2th May – Light Cloud / Wind 12 mph SW / Temp. Min. 11°C / Max. 19°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.40pm.

2018 Brabazon Trophy

Nick POPPLETON (ENG) won the 2018 Brabazon Trophy at Frilford Heath G.C.

Poppleton and Wilco NIENABER (RSA) both finished the 72 holes on the Red Course with 272 -16 totals.

The par 3 9thhole was used for the sudden death play-off. On the second playing of it Poppleton chipped in to take the famous title.

Click here to view the – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Results

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Nick Poppleton (Photo: Golf Bible)

Click these links to view the other recent results: –

Woodhall Spa – 2017 Brabazon Trophy Results

London G.C. – 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 © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s European Nations Championship – 2019 Preview & Results

13th April 2019

Defending champions ENGLAND (+14) retained the European Nations Championship in Spain. Their 878 total was 8 shots better than The Netherlands (+22).

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Gareth Jenkins (Manager), Tom Plumb, Tom Sloman, Bailey Gill and Ben Jones
(Photos: @EnglandGolf)

IRELAND (+23) were third and WALES (+29), who recorded the lowest final day score (213), were an encouraging 4th. SCOTLAND (+37) had a poor final day and fell to 8th.

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Team Results

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) won the Individual competition with a 294 (+6) total. His final round 77 looked like it would cost him the title but an eagle on 14 and three closing pars ended up being sufficient as other faltered on the challenging Sotogrande course.

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Tom Sloman (Photos: @Golfing4Life_)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) +8 finished 4th, Euan WALKER (SCO) and Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) +9 tied 5th and Tom PLUMB (ENG), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL), Bailey GILL (ENG)  and Conor PURCELL (IRE) +10 tied 11th.

Young Archie DAVIES (WAL) became the first player to shoot in the 60’s during the Championship. His final day 69 (-3) included six birdies.

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Individual Results

ME.

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8th April 2019

The Men’s European Nations Championship (ENC) starts on Wednesday 10th April at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande in Southern Spain.

RCG Sotogrande is the permanent home of the ENC and this will be the 13th playing of the event.

It is a 72 hole stroke play Team and Individual competition.

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Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

Field
This year 15 four-man teams (60) will play for a Team prize whilst a total of 69 players will contest the Individual competition. 9 players have been invited by RCG Sotogrande and the Spanish Golf Federation to complete the field.

This year the following players have been selected to represent the four competing home nations: –

England – Bailey GILL, Ben JONES, Tom PLUMB, Tom SLOMAN

Ireland – Mark POWER, Conor PURCELL, Caolan RAFFERTY, Rob BRAZILL*

*A late replacement for James SUGRUE who was injured in practice.

Scotland – Kieran CANTLEY, Jim JOHNSTON, Euan MCINTOSH, Euan WALKER

Wales – Ben CHAMBERLAIN, Archie DAVIES, Jake HAPGOOD, Matt ROBERTS

Of these just Ben Chamberlain, Jake Hapgood and Caolan Rafferty played in the event in 2018.

A Women’s ENC also takes place alongside the Men’s competition. Three women teams from England and Scotland are both competing.

Scores

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Tee Times

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Individual Scores

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Team Scores

Format and Prizes
72 holes of stroke play, with 18 holes played daily, will be contested by all of the players. There is no cut.

In the Team event the best three 18-hole scores from the four players 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 prize is awarded to the lowest scoring player. Ties will be broken in line with the Team approach outlined above.

Winning Team members each receive a replica of the Nations Trophy. The Individual champion receives a trophy and a fetching yellow jacket.

Venue and Course
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande was opened in 1964 and was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones. One of the best courses in Continental 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 established. Former Individual winners of this include Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia. (see below for the full list of past Individual winners).

In 1973 a Women’s event started to be played alongside the Men’s.

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, in tandem with nearby San Roque GC, the course hosted the European Tour’s Qualifying School.

In 2006 The Sherry Cup was rebranded as the European Nations Cup and in 2017 become known as the European Nations Championship played for the Sotogrande Cup.

In 2011, ahead of it’s 50th anniversary, the Club decided to embark upon a major course renovation 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. In 2017 the competition returned being played on the renovated course for the first time.

The Black Tee Championship Course at Sotogrande plays 6,492m with a par of 72. The front nine measures 3,163m and the back 3,329m.

Weather Forecast
The forecast looks good albeit as always the winds will be a factor, particularly in the afternoon. This can cause problems given the numerous water hazards on the course.

Wednesday 10th – Sunny Max. 19°C / Min. 10°C; W 16mph
Thursday 11th – Sunny Max. 20°C / Min. 11°C; W 16mph
Friday 12th – Sunny Max. 21°C / Min. 11°C; W 11mph
Saturday 13th – Sunny Max. 23°C / Min. 12°C; SW 10mph

Past ENC Winners / 2018 Results

Team Competition

The home nations have an excellent record in the Men’s Team event.

2018  England     2018 ENC Team Results

The England Team, consisting of Todd Clements, David Hague, Matthew Jordan and Gian-Marco Petrozzi, won the Team competition by an impressive 20 shots with a 853 -11 total.

Of the other competing home nations Ireland finished second on 873 (+9) and Wales 11th on 910 +46. Scotland didn’t play in 2018.

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England – l-r Gareth Jenkins (Manager), David Hague, Gian-Marco Petrozzi, Todd Clements, Graham Walker (Coach) and Matthew Jordan (Photo: Graham Walker)

2017  Wales    2017 ENC Team Results

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

2016  Ireland    2016 ENC Team Results

Ireland European Nations Cup 2016

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

2015  England
2014  Scotland
2013  England
2012  France
2011  England
2010  England
2009  England
2008  Scotland
2007  Denmark

Past Sherry Cup Team Winners (started 1998)

2006  Spain
2005  Spain
2004  England
2003  England
2002  Wales
2001  England
2000  England
1999  Germany
1998  Spain

Individual Competition

2018  Todd CLEMENTS (England)    2018 ENC Individual Results
Todd secured the Individual title with rounds of 69 73 71 and 70 for a 283 total (-5).

Five shots back Ireland’s Alex Gleeson (76 74 69 69 / Ev), Denmark’s Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen (72 75 72 69 / Ev) and Gian-Marco Petrozzi (69 71 76 72 / Ev) all tied for second place. Matthew Jordan (71 76 76 68 / +3) finished tied 5th and David Hague (79 73 74 68 / +6) 11th. Ireland’s Caolan Rafferty (72 79 74 71 / +8) was tied 12th and compatriot Jonathan Yates (77 74 72 75 / +10) tied 20th.

2017  Jack DAVIDSON (Wales)    2017 ENC Individual Results
Jack Davidson won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots last year. 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. He had won the Spanish International Amateur a few weeks before.

2016  Jack HUME (Ireland)    2016 ENC Individual Results
In winning the Individual Jack Hume played one of the best rounds of amateur golf in the world in 2016 at La Reserva. His 64 in Round 2 was an astonishing 8 shots better than any other player in the field.

2015  Mario Galliano (Spain)
2014  Guido Migliori (Italy)
2013  Adrien Saddier (France)
2012  Robin Kind (The Netherlands)
2011  Julien Brun (France)
2010  Nino Bertasio (Italy)
2009  Sam Hutsby (England)
2008  Shane Lowry (Ireland)
2007  Rory McIlroy (Ireland)

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Rory McIlroy (Photo: RCG Sotogrande)

Past Sherry Cup Individual Winners

2006  Nigel Edwards (Wales)
2005  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
2004  Francesco Molinari (Italy)
2003  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
2002  Lee Harpin (Wales)
2001  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
2000  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
1999  Marcel Siem (Germany)
1998  Sergio Garcia (Spain)
1997  Sergio Garcia (Spain)

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Sergio Gracia (Photo: RCG Sotogrande)

1996  Alvaro Salto (Spain)
1995  José María Zamora (Spain)
1994  Francisco Cea (Spain)
1993  Francisco Valera (Spain)
1992  Frederic Cupillar (France)
1991  Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
1990  Alvaro Prat (Spain)
1989  Diego Borrego (Spain)
1988  Yago Beamonte (Spain)
1987  Yago Beamonte (Spain)
1986  Borja Queipo de Llano (Spain)
1985  José L. Padila (Spain)
1984  John Marks (England)
1983  José L. de Bernardo (Spain)
1982  Borja Queipo de Llano (Spain)
1981  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1980  Jesús López (Spain)
1979  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1978  José L. de Bernardo (Spain)
1977  F. Jiménez (Spain)
1976  Alberto Croze (Italy)
1975  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1974  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1973  Alberto Croze (Italy)
1972  E. de la Riva and J. Gancedo (Spain)
1971  Alberto Croze (Italy)
1970  Henric Adam (England)

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

14th September 2018

ENGLAND won the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals beating IRELAND 9 – 6 in today’s championship match.

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England celebrate with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Wales Golf)

Here is a summary of the final results from this year’s tournament: –

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Final Results – 2018 Men’s Home Internationals (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox)

In the ENGLAND v. IRELAND match today the foursomes were shared 2.5 – 2.5 but in the afternoon England pulled away with some impressive singles victories.

The highlights were Andrew WILSON’s 7&6 win over the previously unbeaten Conor PURCELL and Mitch WAITE’s 2 Holes win over Robin DAWSON, both of which set the foundation for their team to build on.

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Ireland v. England Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

David HAGUE (ENG) and Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) both finished the tournament with 100% records, winning all 6 of their games. Tom PLUMB (ENG) was also unbeaten, winning four of his games and halving two of his foursomes.

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Host nation WALES once again fell the wrong side of the thin line that sometimes separates winning and losing. Today Scotland edged them out 8 – 7.

Scotland won the foursomes 4 -1 in the morning but were made to work hard for the additional four single wins they needed in the afternoon.

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Scotland v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

Whilst it was tough going for SCOTLAND and WALES for most of the week it was possible for some of their individuals to shine.

Euan WALKER was outstanding for Scotland winning five of his six games.

Likewise Paddy MULLINS did well for Wales and can be particularly pleased with his two singles wins.

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Click here to view the full – 2018 Men’s Home Internationals Results
– click the match score to see the individual games and the game score to view the hole by hole scores.

ME.

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13th September 2018

IRELAND beat WALES 11.5 – 5.5 on Day 2 of the Men’s Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club.

The morning foursomes went the way of the Irish 3.5 – 1.5 albeit the Robbie CANNON / JAMES SUGRUE pairing needed a birdie on the 18th to secure a half in their match so the overall series scoreline could have been closer.

Ireland won the singles 6 – 4 with Conor PURCELL, Caolan RAFFERTY and Peter O’KEEFFE (all 4&3) enjoying their biggest wins.

However, the best performance of this match arguably fell to Welshman Jake HAPGOOD. He beat in form Robin DAWSON 4&3 with both players blitzing Conwy’s back nine. Jake recorded four birdies and two eagles between the 7th and 15th holes to unsurprisingly take the game.

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Ireland v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

In the second match of Day 2 ENGLAND narrowly beat SCOTLAND 8 – 7.

After the morning foursomes, which England won 4 – 1, it appeared the Scots could be in for another heavy defeat.

However, Scotland showed great heart to run out 6 – 4 winners of the singles series. Ryan LUMSDEN, Euan WALKER, Kieran CANTLEY, Stephen RODGER, Jeff WRIGHT and James WILSON were all victorious in the afternoon.

At the end of the day England won the match and that’s all that matters – unless like last year the two leading nations draw again ! The four single wins they enjoyed were all comprehensive and as such after their dominant foursomes performance there was never really a feeing that an upset might be in the air.

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Scotland v. England Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

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12th September 2018

IRELAND beat SCOTLAND 11.5 – 3.5 in the opening game of the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club.

Ireland won the morning foursomes 4 – 1. Most of the matches tipping their way due to some exceptional play on the back nine by their four final pairings. Scotland’s Euan MCINTOSH and Ryan LUMSDEN provided the only resistance in game 1.

The Irish carried their momentum into the afternoon series too winning the singles 7.5 – 2.5. Robin DAWSON (5&3), Jonathan YATES (5&4) and Tiarnon MCLARNON (4&3) enjoyed the biggest wins.

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Ireland v. Scotland Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ENGLAND overcame a stubborn WALES 11.5 – 3.5 in the second match on Day 1. As you can see below the games were generally closer than in match 1 and the margin of victory somewhat flatters England who were made to work hard for many of their points.

The morning foursomes were halved 2.5 – 2.5 with Welsh pairing Matt ROBERTS and Paddy MULLINS enjoying the biggest victory of the series, 5&3.

ENGLAND composed themselves in the afternoon and in the end won nine of the ten singles. Ben JONES won his match 4&3 but otherwise the games were tight affairs. Paddy MULLINS maintained his unbeaten personal record by recording the sole singles win for the hosts.

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England v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

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9th September 2018

The 2018 Men’s Home Internationals will be contested at Conwy Golf Club in Wales between 12th and 14th September.

IRELAND will travel to North Wales hoping to win the Raymond Trophy for a fifth consecutive year.

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Conwy Golf Club (Photo: Golfing Wales)

The Competition

11-man teams from ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND and WALES play against each other annually, taking it in turns to the host the event.

Over three days all of the countries play each other once. There are five foursomes and ten singles match play games in each series.

The winner is the country with the highest number of match points. 1 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a half and 0 for a loss. Ties are resolved by considering the number of individual game points secured in the three matches played.

2018 Players

The four national golf unions have selected the following players to represent their countries this year.

I have also included the current Team (total) and Individual Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) below.

ENGLAND – Team SPWAR 1,432
Jack BURNAGE (93)
Bailey GILL (176)
David HAGUE (99)
Ben JONES (105)
David LANGLEY (169)
Joe LONG (201)
Tom PLUMB (147)
Nick POPPLETON (190)
Tom SLOMAN (64)
Mitch WAITE (40)
Andrew WILSON (148)

IRELAND – Team SPWAR = 3,300
Robbie CANNON (908)
Robin DAWSON (14)
Alex GLEESON (122)
Tiarnan MCLARNON (406)
Ronan MULLARNEY (265)
Peter O’KEEFFE (354)
Mark POWER (240)
Conor PURCELL (37)
Colin RAFFERTY (82)
James SUGRUE (374)
Jonathan YATES (498)

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The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

SCOTLAND – Team SPWAR = 3,620
Kieran CANTLEY (448)
Matthew CLARK (483)
Stuart EASTON (187)
Calum FYFE (259)
Jim JOHNSTON (562)
Ryan LUMSDEN (80)
Euan MCKINTOSH (156)
Stephen ROGER (406)
Euan WALKER (113)
James WILSON (227)
Jeff WRIGHT (699)

WALES – Team SPWAR = 13,944
Oliver BROWN (2,041)
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (976)
Archie DAVIES (981)
Jacob DAVIES (1,438)
Jake HAPGOOD (395)
Kieron HARMAN (1,698)
Paddy MULLINS (1,572)
Matt ROBERTS (797)
Lewys SANGES (1,095)
Gaelan TREW (2,217)
Tom WILLIAMS (734)

Just 14 of the 44 players competed last year at Moortown. England have 8 new players in their 2018 line up, Ireland 6, Scotland 9 and Wales 7.

I think ENGLAND have got to start as slight favourites this year but I certainly wouldn’t bet against IRELAND making it five in a row.

Venue – Conwy Golf Club

Founded in 1890 the Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club is the third oldest club in Wales.

The course was originally laid out by Jack Harris with more recent alterations completed by Frank Pennink.

One of the best links courses in Great Britain it has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments in the past. It’s next big appointment is the Curtis Cup match which it will stage in 2020.

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Conwy Golf Club Scorecard (Photos: Conwy Golf Club)

The courses measures 6,936 yards from the Blue Championship tees, playing to a par of 72. It is relatively flat with it’s exposed coastal position meaning the prevailing westerly wind is always a major factor particularly as the design has holes going in all directions.

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Conwy Golf Club Course Map (Photos: Conwy Golf Club)

2018 Weather Forecast (as at 9.00am Sunday 9th September)
Wed. 12th Sept. – Light Rain / Temp. Min 9º / Max 15º / Wind 11mph NW
Thurs. 13th Sept. – Sunny / Temp. Min 10º / Max 16º / Wind 11mph W
Fri 14th Sept. – Cloudy / Temp. Min 11º / Max 16º / Wind 15mph SW

2017 Men’s Home Internationals

IRELAND won the 2017 Men’s Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds.

They secured the Raymond Trophy after halving the deciding match with ENGLAND 7.5 – 7.5. This was good enough for the Irish to pip the home nation by a half point in total match points earned, 26.5 against 26.0.

The win was a record breaking fourth consecutive victory in the event for the men in green.

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The 2017 Ireland Team (Photo: Leaderboard Photography) 

WALES beat SCOTLAND 9.5 – 5.5 on the final day to consign the Scots to the wooden spoon.

Click here to view the detailed – Men’s Home Internationals Results

Here is the final Points Table with the ‘Countback’ information at the bottom: –

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2017 Men’s Home Internationals Points Table (Photo: England Golf Event Microsite)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Josh HILLEARD (ENG) delivered the best individual records during the week, both winning five of their six games.

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Jovan REBULA (RSA) is the 2018 Amateur champion.

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Jovan Rebula (Photo: The R&A / Mark Runnacles / Getty Images)

He is the first South African winner since Bobby Cole in 1966 and can now look forward to playing in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Links, the 2019 Masters at Augusta National and the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

He beat Robin DAWSON, 22, (IRE) 3&2 in today’s 36 hole Final at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

Following his win 20 year old Jovan spoke to The R&A: “It’s unreal. It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but its an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different.

“I’m shattered. It’s been a long week and especially today. I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me.

“I had my friend Matt (Saulez) on the bag and he has been unbelievable for me this week. He’s been the foundation to me, keeping me calm, and we just have an awesome time out there. It’s just so much fun.”

It was cloudy with a modest north westerly breeze blowing when the morning round started at 8.30am; conditions which remained throughout the day, save for a slight increase in the wind speed later in the day.

Here’s The R&A film of the opening tee shots.

Both players made a steady start halving the first five holes. The South African then birdied 6 before being gifted 7 and 8 when Dawson bogeyed. The remainder of the morning round was up and down with Rebula eventually taking a 1-Up lead into lunch.

A poor front nine in the afternoon round by Dawson allowed Rebula to extend his lead to 5-Up by the turn. Both players settled and halved the opening three holes of the back nine in par. Then the nerves seemed to kick in particularly for the South African whose mind may have started to wander given his strong position. Double bogeys on the 13th and 15th gave Dawson some encouragement.

However, hopes of a big turnaround over the last few holes like last year were quickly extinguished on 16 when Rebula got up and down from a green side bunker to close out the match 3&2.

Here are the full hole by hole scores from today’s Final.

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Jovan Rebula v. Robin Dawson Final Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Final Scores

With Wilco NIENABER also winning the Stroke Play Qualifying the Championship proved to be a very successful one for the South African’s.

It was the fifth time a South African had made the Final but just the second time they had claimed the Gold Medal: –
2014 – Zander Lombard Lost 2&1
1997 – Trevor Immelman Lost 3&2
1988 – Ben Fouchee Lost 1 Hole
1980 – David Suddards Lost 4&3
1966 – Bobby Cole Won 3&2

It wasn’t long before his Uncle Ernie passed on his congratulations to Jovan too.

ME.

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Friday 22nd June 2018

Playing conditions proved to be far more amenable today. Whilst cloudy, with temperatures struggling to rise above 13°C, the north westerly wind was much more manageable at 15mph.

Semi Finals

Jovan REBULA (RSA) beat Mitch WAITE (ENG) 6&4. Waite has enjoyed a very good year and Championship but like compatriot Tom Sloman this morning was unable to find his game in this afternoon’s semi final. Rebula was again not made to work very hard for his victory.

Rebula, the 20 year old nephew of Ernie Els, plays for Auburn University in Alabama and finished tied 21st in the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship in late May. He joined up with the South African touring party for the recent St. Andrews Links Trophy but missed the cut by 1-shot.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Jovan said: “My game was really solid and I kept the ball in play all day. I took advantage on the holes you need to attack, played it clever out there and I’ve got a good feel of the golf course at this stage. I’m honestly having so much fun. I’m not even looking at my opponents beforehand. I just take it easy and spend time with my mates. They’ve been a great support structure. Also, they keep me motivated and it’s awesome having one of my good friends (Matt Saulez) on the bag too. I’ve been working hard towards this so being able to reach the final is such a big thing and hopefully I can take it a step further tomorrow.”

Tomorrow he will play Robin DAWSON in the 36 hole Final over the Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen G.C., their match starting at 8.30am.

Dawson was too good for Conor PURCELL this afternoon winning 3&2. Purcell handed Dawson the initiative with bogeys on the 1st and 3rd and despite fighting all the way to the end couldn’t get close to his fellow Irishman.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Robin said:“It feels good. I’m somewhat relieved to make it this far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m a bit tired now so it’ll be good to get a good sleep tonight and get set for tomorrow. Today was great but it wasn’t easy (playing against fellow countrymen). They are both good friends of mine from being in Ireland teams in the past but we had a couple of good friendly matches out there today. It was nice. I had a good strategy in place and was just hitting decent shots. My swing was good and I was in my own little world at times out there, which was great. To get the chance to play in one major, never mind three, is great. I would love that opportunity but there is still a lot of golf to play tomorrow.”

Dropping very few shots in his two matches today Robin should go in to the Final with great confidence. The winner of the Irish Amateur in May is seemingly in complete control of his game.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Semi Final Results

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Quarter Finals

The Quarter Finals started at 8.15am with Tom SLOMAN (ENG) taking on Jovan REBULA (RSA) in Match 1. Unfortunately it proved to be a game too far for Sloman who will be disappointed that he didn’t make the South African work harder for his 2&1 victory. Neither player was at their best this morning in a poor quality affair.

England’s other quarter finalist Mitch WAITE faired better beating Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) 3&2. As is becoming the norm for Waite it was far from straight forward. He was 3-Up after 7, before slipping to AS after 12 and then recovering to win comfortably on the 16th.

Conor PURCELL recorded an eagle and 4 birdies in a great 3&2 win over David MICHELUZZI (AUS). Micheluzzi, the highest ranked player left in the field, was simply unable to live with the Irishman’s superb play in the middle of their match.

In perhaps the highest quality Quarter Final Robin DAWSON overcame fellow Irishman John MURPHY 2&1. The Waterford man had the upper hand throughout but was certainly made to work hard for the win.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Quarter Final Results

ME.

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Thursday 21st June 2018

It was a dry but cool day in Aberdeen, temperatures not rising much above 13°C. The wind was the big story. Like yesterday it was primarily from the north west but today it consistently blew at 25mph with occasional gusts reported of up to 45mph.

This made playing conditions particularly challenging. With hole-by-hole scoring now available (click the score or result in the middle of each game to reveal) it was clear to see how tough the links played today.

Round 4

Round 4 proved to be the end of the line for Wilco NIENABER (RSA). In a tight match where neither player led by more than 1 hole Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was handed a 1-Up win when the 18 year old South African missed a relatively short par putt on the last hole.

Fellow South African Jovan REBULA was behind for virtually all of his match before two bogeys on the last two holes by Ben HUTCHINSON ensured there would be Boks representation in the Quarter Finals. Rebula won by 1 hole.

Match 3 arguably proved to be the most exciting in the last 16 with Bristol’s Mitch WAITE attempting to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory before thankfully saving the day against Timo VAHLENKAMP. As you can see from the scorecard below the German made a strong comeback over the last 8 holes but a three putt on the 19th meant it was all in vein.

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Mitch Waite v. Timo Vahlenkamp Rd 4 Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) again didn’t have to work very hard to progress. Luca FILIPPI (RSA) struggled this afternoon and easily fell to a 4&3 defeat.

Conor PURCELL (IRE) was the first of three Irish to make the last 8 at The Amateur Championship. The Charlotte 49ers via Dublin golfer reeled off five birdies in 6 holes from the 11th to blow away Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE).

Robin DAWSON was next up. He beat Elis SVÄRD 6&5 as the relatively inexperienced Swede finally bowed out having enjoyed a very good Championship.

John MURPHY, who seems to have transformed himself into a world beater in the last two weeks, was the third Irishman to make it through to the Quarter Finals. He beat a clearly out of sorts Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) 6&5.

Murphy talking to The R&A afterwards said: “I feel a lot more confident coming off the back of winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy. I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking. I was the 14th Reserve so when I got the call to say I was playing here at Balgownie I was delighted.”

There were a number of one sided matches this afternoon as perhaps the physical and mental exertions of the last four days started to affect some of the remaining competitors.

In the other last 16 game David MICHELUZZI played well to beat Paul PEREDA (MEX) 5&4. The experienced Australian seems to be making very comfortable progress, largely under the radar, and must now be one of the favourites for the title.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 4 Results

Round 3

The highlight of this morning’s golf was the final match, played between relatively unknown Tom FORSTER (ENG) and WAGR Number 5 Viktor HOVLAND (NOR).

Forster, who is studying in the USA at NCAA Division II college Carson-Newman, is clearly not a respecter of reputations as he gave Hovland, one of the star players at Oklahoma State, the 2018 NCAA Division I champions, a game to remember.

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Tom Forster v. Viktor Hovland Rd 3 Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

As you can see from the above scoreboard Forster led 4-Up after 13 holes, Hovland in all kinds of trouble in the wind. Thankfully the Norwegian recovered his senses just in time and with a little help from an increasingly nervous Forster escaped with a 1 hole victory.

Round 3 started at 7.30am with Wilco NIENABER (RSA) playing US-based Perry COHEN (SUI) in Match 1. The stroke play medalist started well and quickly built a 3-Up lead after 8 holes. However, some loose play around the turn and improvement by Cohen saw the match All Square with just the 18th to play. In the end a par down the last was good enough to secure the win for the South African protégé.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) enjoyed a tight match with Jeff WRIGHT (SCO). A bogey on the 17th by the battling Scotsman finally letting in the big man from Somerset, who would hold on down the last for a 1 hole win.

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) overcame Rowan LESTER 2&1 in Match 3. The Irishman was leading 1-Up after 15 but sadly stumbled down the last 3 holes.

Ben JONES (ENG) had an horrific start in his match and was quickly 5-Down to Timo VAHLENKAMP after just 7 holes. The German youngster ran out a surprisingly easy winner 7&5 in the end.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) beat Stuart EASTON (SCO) by 1 hole in a rollercoaster match.  Waite was 2-Up after 4 before then falling 3-Down after 11. Easton then lost his way, recording four bogeys in a row, allowing the man from Bristol to pull 1-Up after 15. Both players then steadied themselves before halving the last in double-bogey 6, Waite moving on.

James SUGRUE (IRE) lost 3&2 to Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) in what appears to have been a poor quality Match 7. The Irishman bogeyed or failed to finish 11 of the 16 holes contested.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) looked comfortable early on against Conor PURCELL (IRE) but let things slip. Purcell, who plays out of Portmarnock, the 2019 host course, drew level after Jordan bogeyed the 18th and then completed the coup de grâce with a 40 foot chip in on their first extra hole.

Scotland bowed out of the Championship later in the morning when their remaining player Sandy SCOTT lost 3&1 to Mexico’s Paul PEREDA.

Match 13 saw Robin DAWSON (IRE) take on Spain’s Victor PASTOR. Dawson struggled on the front nine but played the back nine superbly in 3-under to run out the winner by 2 holes.

In a very similar match Dawson’s compatriot John MURPHY played the back nine very well to overcome Lee WALKER (USA) 4&2 having earlier been 2-Down after 8 holes.

Jovan REBULA (1 Hole) and Luca FILIPPI (4&3) were the winners in the two all-South African matches beating  Malcolm MITCHELL and Therion NEL respectively.

There were also wins for Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE), the ever impressive Australian David MICHELUZZI and giant killer Elis SVÄRD (SWE).

At the end of the morning our 14 GB&I players had been reduced to just 6.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 3 Results

ME.

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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Round 2

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) started his Round 2 match against Niclas WEILAND at 9.15am. Showing no signs of faltering, as often happens with the medalist, he quickly despatched the Swede 5&4.

Malcolm MITCHELL (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Paul PEREDA (MEX) and Victor HOVLAND (NOR) are amongst the other highly ranked overseas players who are through to Round 3. However, it was a surprise to see Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) lose, albeit he took Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE) to the 21st in the longest match of the Championship so far.

GB&I contributed 26 players to the 64 that started Round 2. We finished the day down to 14.

The Irish party are doing well. Rowan LESTER will be pleased with his performance; he beat fellow St. Andrews Trophy squad member David HAGUE (ENG) 6&5. James SUGRUE beat Australian Kyle MICHEL on the 19th hole whilst Conor PURCELL overcame Pablo RODRIGUEZ-TABERNERO TORRES (ESP) 2&1 to progress. Robin DAWSON took control of his match against David RAVETTO (FRA) from the start and ran out a comfortable 4&2 winner. Finally, John MURPHY made it 5 for the ‘Green Army’ coming from being behind early on to beat Oliver FARRELL (ENG) 4&2.

Scotland have three representatives in Round 3. Jeff WRIGHT showed great determination to take out compatriot Euan MCINTOSH on their first extra hole; Euan having qualified strongly and played well for most of this match too. Stuart EASTON beat Australian Will HEFFERNAN by 1 hole before Sandy SCOTT took care of Claudio CONSOL (GER) 3&2.

Of the 13 Round 1 winners just four could do the business again. One of these was Thomas FORSTER who surprised Daniel HILLIER (NZE) 2&1. The Englishman was joined by Tom SLOMAN, who beat Jediah MORGAN (AUS) by 1 hole, and Mitch WAITE, who enjoyed the biggest win of the afternoon, 6&4 against German Alexander HERRMANN. Wins for Ben HUTCHINSON, Ben JONES and Matthew JORDAN took the English qualifiers up to 6. Hutchinson beat Jamie LI (ENG) 5&3, Jones recorded a good 2 holes win against Matt SAULEZ (RSA) whilst Jordan ended up having to go to the 20th to finally despatch Finland’s battling Matias HONKALA.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 2 Results

 

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Round 1

Game 1 of the Match Play Stage between Eetu ISOMETSÄ (FIN) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) teed off at Royal Aberdeen G.C. at 7.00am. It was raining, with a north westerly wind appearing for the first time.

It was a game that Williams would disappointingly go on to lose 3&2.

Of the 30 qualifying GB&I players 8 were required to play in this preliminary Round 1 which consisted of 13 matches.

John PATERSON (SCO), Jack COPE (ENG), Oliver FARRELL (ENG) and Thomas FORSTER (ENG) were successful with the last three all requiring extra holes to overcome stubborn opponents. Cope ended up beating compatriot Max O’HAGAN, who had led for much of their match, on the 20th hole.

Callan BARROW (ENG) lost 4&3 to Top 100 SPWAR ranked Mexican Paul PEREDA.

Australia-based Scot Robbie MORRISON lost by 1 hole to experienced German Claudio CONSUL.

The 13 winners of these Round 1 matches fed into the bottom of the Round 2 draw and would therefore be required to play again in the afternoon.

The rest of the field will certainly have been pleased to see Takumi KANAYA (JAP), Alvaro ORTIZ (MEX) and Matias SANCHEZ (AUS) all surprisingly fall at this first step.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 1 Results

ME.

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Tuesday 19th June 2018

18 year old Wilco NIENABER (RSA) shot a 67 (-4) at Royal Aberdeen G.C. today to secure medalist honours at the 2018 Amateur Championship. His impressive 133 (-8) total included 11 birdies and just three bogeys.

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Wilco Nienaber’s Stroke Play Scores (Photo: R&A / Golfbox)

In an interview quoted on The R&A website Wilco said: “When I heard I was going to play The Amateur Championship this year I was really excited. To finish at the top after the qualifying is great. I made good decisions from the tee, stuck to my game plan and hit the greens. When I missed a green I got up and down – I kept the momentum going and didn’t really make a lot of bogeys. The match play stage is a different game but winning this or finishing at the top makes me feel like I can beat the other guys, which is really nice. So we will see what happens this week.”

Watch Wilco’s interview with GolfWeek’s Alistair Tait after the stroke play qualifying prize presentation: –

Two shots further back was Victor HOVLAND (NOR) who finished second in the stroke play qualifying on 135 (-6). Hovland shot a 65 (-5) at Murcar Links today, the best score on this course over the two days.

Sam MEEK (CAN), who recorded rounds of 69 and 69 for a 138 (-3) total, finished third to claim the final stroke play qualifying prize.

MATT SAULEZ (RSA) and Blake WINDRED (AUS) joined Wilco in shooting 67 at Royal Aberdeen today. This was the best score at the lead host course during the stroke play stage.

Harry HALL (ENG) recorded a second successive 70 today to finish on 140 (-1). His tied 5th result was the best of all of the GB&I players in the field.

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) Ev and Mitch WAITE (ENG) +1 finished 8th and tied 9th respectively.

At the end of play the top 64 and ties match play cut fell at +6 with 77 players progressing.

There were 30 GB&I qualifiers in total including 2018 winners John MURPHY (IRE) +2, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) +3, Robin DAWSON (IRE) +3 and Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) +4.

With the wind dropping on Day 2 and the sun shining for the most part the scores were much improved. Murcar Links (par 70) saw it’s average score drop to 73.94 from yesterday’s 77.30 (-3.36) whilst Royal Aberdeen’s (par 71) fell from 76.86 to 73.98 (-2.88). Clearly those that played at the tougher Murcar Links yesterday had a slight disadvantage over the two days of qualifying.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

Amongst the leading players to miss out were Joe PAGDIN (ENG) +7, Dylan PERRY (AUS) +7, Andrew WILSON (ENG) +7, Calum FYFE (SCO) +8, Euan WALKER (SCO) +8, John AXELSON (DEN) +8, Angel HIDALGO (ESP) +8, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) +8, Clayton MANSFIELD (RSA) +9, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) +9, Sam LOCKE (SCO) +9, Nick POPPLETON (ENG) +9, Alex GLEESON (IRE) +10, Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) +10, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +11, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) +13, Bailey GILL (ENG) +14, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +16, Garrick HIGGO (RSA) +17, Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) +17 and John PAK (USA) +18. 

ME.

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Monday 18th June 2018

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) shot a 66 (-4) at Murcar Links to lead the 36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying after Round 1 of the 123rd Amateur Championship.

David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Sam MEEK (CAN) are second having both posted 69’s (-2), the best round of the day, at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) was the only GB&I player to post an under par score; his 69 (-1) at Murcar Links leaving him in tied 4th place.

Euan MCINTOSH (SCO), who hit the first tee shot at Royal Aberdeen at 7.00am this morning, shot 71 (Ev) and finished the day tied 7th alongside Harry HALL (ENG) whose 70 (Ev) at Murcar Links looked like being much better for most of his round.

On a windy but sunny day in Scotland the average score was higher at Murcar Links (77.30 / +7.30 in relation to par) than at Royal Aberdeen (76.86 / +5.86).

After 18 holes there are 60 players on +3 or better, with a further 31 on +4, implying that the top 64 and ties cut will be around +7.

The final stroke play round will start at 7.00am tomorrow morning with each competitor playing on the other host course.

ME.

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17th June 2018

Unsurprisingly Chun An YU (CTP), who played the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, has withdrawn from this year’s Amateur Championship.

Other late withdrawals include William BUHL (USA), Falko HANISCH (GER) – winner of the 2016 Boys’ Amateur Championship at Muirfield -, Noah COMBS (USA), Yuxin LIN (CHN), Zach MURRAY (AUS) and Raphael GEISSLER (GER).

Click here to view the final – 2018 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Draw

ME.

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15th June 2018

The 123rd Amateur Championship starts on Monday 18th June at Royal Aberdeen G.C. and Murcar Links G.C. in north east Scotland.

The Amateur is the most prestigious amateur golf event played outside of the United States and without question the highlight of the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur season.

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Royal Aberdeen Golf Club (Photo: Royal Aberdeen G.C.)

Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th June.

As in previous years tee times will commence at 7.00am and end at 3.52pm on both days.

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores, and ties for 64th place, will advance to the match play stage and be seeded in line with their qualifying finishes.

The match play games will be played solely at Royal Aberdeen between Wednesday 20th and Saturday 23rd June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for Saturday’s Final which will be over 36 holes.

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5th hole, Murcar Links Golf Club (Photo: Albrecht Golf Guide)

Players

The 288 players are drawn firstly from a number of exempt categories covering R&A and U.S.G.A. Championship performances and representative teams. Thereafter places are allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at 16th May 2018 and, if required, by reference to exact handicaps.

Players from 38 different countries will contest the 2018 Amateur Championship.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are France (31 players), U.S.A. (23), Australia (20), Germany (14), Spain (13), Sweden (13), South Africa (10), The Netherlands (9) and Italy (8).

Whilst there are a large number of Americans playing it sadly remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. It is a sad state of affairs that most of them prefer to play in the Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett C.C. in Providence, Rhode island – an event that starts on Wednesday 20th June. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the Major exemptions on offer. The best American this year is John PAK (SPWAR 52).

Harry ELLIS, the defending champion, has not entered the Championship. He has been playing in the U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills this week and is expected to turn pro immediately afterwards. Last year’s runner up Dylan PERRY (AUS) is back for another go at claiming the title that eluded him last year.

KristofferREITAN (NOR) 40 and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) 51 had both entered the Championship but both withdrew when they qualified for the U.S. Open. Chun An YU (CTP) 28 is also currently playing in New York but remains entered. It will be interesting to see if he is at Murcar Links on Monday for his 1.02pm tee time. Good on him if he is.

Looking at the the current SPWAR top 50 the leading players, in addition to Yu, competing are Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) 9, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 12, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) 17, Garrick HIGGO (RSA) 24, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) 26, Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) 27, Matt SAULEZ (RSA) 29, Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) 31, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 33, Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 37, Malcom MITCHELL (RSA) 42 and Alvaro ORTIZ (MEX) 45.

From a GB&I perspective Robin DAWSON (IRE) 57, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) 67, Harry HALL (ENG) 68, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 73, David HAGUE (ENG) T74, Alex GLEESON (IRE) T74, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) 91, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) 95, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 115, Ben JONES (ENG) 124, Andrew WILSON (ENG) 128, John MURPHY (IRE) 145, Bailey GILL (ENG) 177, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 189 and Nick POPPLETON (ENG) 194 will all arrive with high hopes given their current good form.

With the nine-man GB&I St. Andrews Trophy team due to be announced in mid-July a good Amateur Championship by any of the home players will undoubtedly resonate with the selectors.

Finally, Spain’s Alejandro LARRAZABEL is an interesting entry. Alejandro won The Amateur in 2002 at Royal Porthcawl G.C. and has recently been reinstated to the amateur game. He will be the only past winner in the field.

Host Courses

For the first time in it’s history the Amateur Championship is being staged at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links in Scotland.

Royal Aberdeen was founded in 1780 and is the 6th oldest golf club in the world. Originally known as The Society of Golfers at Aberdeen the club’s name was changed in 1815 to Aberdeen Golf Club. In 1903 the ‘Royal’ title was conferred on the club by His Majesty King Edward VII.

The club has hosted many prestigious championships, including seven Scottish Amateurs, two Boys’ Amateur Championships, the Boys’ Jacques Léglise Trophy and perhaps most memorably the 2011 Walker Cup, when GB&I defeated the United States by a single point.

In 2005, it hosted the Senior Open which was won by five-time Open champion Tom Watson. In 2014, the Scottish Open was held there for the first time with Justin Rose coming out on top.

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Royal Aberdeen – Balgownie Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

The Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen is a classic links with the outgoing holes played through the undulating dunes on the coast before the return on an inland plateau with numerous blind shots and hidden ditches coming into play.

Neighbouring Murcar Link’s was established in 1909 and lies to the north of the Royal Aberdeen course.

Murcar hosted the inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play competition on the European Tour in 2016. Previously it had staged the European Girls Team Championship (2009), the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play (2009) and the European Boys Team Championship (2013).

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Murcar Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

Weather Forecast (last updated Sunday 17th June)

The weather forecast looks good, with very little rain and a consistent and south westerly wind expected: –

Mon 18th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 7°C.
Tue 19th June – Sunny. Wind 15mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 10°C.
Wed 20th June – Showers. Wind 11mph W. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 8°C.
Thu 21st June – Light Cloud. Wind 15mph NW. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 9°C.
Fri 22nd June – Light Cloud. Wind 10mph SW. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 10°C.
Sat 23rd June – Light Cloud. Wind 11mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 11°C.

Click here to view the – Latest BBC Weather Forecast For Aberdeen

Players will tee off throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday so changes in the weather and wind speed early in the week may impact the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the players finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the stroke play qualifying competition, with any ties determined by a second round count back.

The winner of the match play stage will become the Champion Amateur Golfer for the year and is awarded the Championship Trophy and a Gold Medal. The runner-up receives a Silver Medal and each losing semi-finalist a Bronze Medal.

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 147th Open Championship down the coast at Carnoustie Golf Links.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C.

Finally, they will also be exempt into the 2019 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

2017 Amateur Championship

England’s Harry ELLIS won the 2017 Amateur Championship on the 38th hole at Royal St. George’s G.C.

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

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

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Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA / Getty Images)

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

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

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

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

A Short History of The Amateur

The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool G.C. Allan Macfie (SCO) was the first champion beating Horace Hutchinson (ENG) 7&6 in the Final.

Up until the Second World War it was a hugely prestigious event and in many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and as good if not better than most of the professionals of the day.

With only modest rewards available in the professional game many of the better players simply stayed amateur. The great American Bobby Jones, who won The Amateur in 1930 on the way to his Grand Slam, remains the most well known career amateur.

Even after the war players remained amateur for much longer and famous names like Frank Stranahan (USA), Joe Carr (IRE), Sir Michael Bonallack (ENG) and Peter McEvoy (ENG) all built their reputations on Amateur Championship wins.

With the growth and transformation of the professional game from the early 1980s onwards both the better players and the media increasingly started to turn their backs on the amateur game.

Save for exceptional cases like Gary Wolstenholme (ENG) all continuity has been lost over the last 30 years and most of the young golfing stars of today rarely play any more than 2 or 3 Amateurs before being lured into the pro ranks by the huge rewards on offer.

Past Winners

The greatest player in the history of The Amateur is Johnny Ball. The Hoylake man won the Championship a record 8 times between 1888 and 1912.

Only three other players have won the competition more than twice; Sir Michael Bonallack (5), Harold Hilton (4) and Joe Carr (3). Bonallack amazingly won it three years in a row between 1968-1970. The last person to retain The Amateur was Peter McEvoy in 1977 and ’78.

Prior to Ellis’ win in 2017 the last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl GC
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie GL
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush GC
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports GC
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon GC
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside GC
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby GC
2008  Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry
2007  Drew Weaver (USA) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC

A great achievement and honour for all of the players listed above. However, it’s also another reminder of how incredibly tough golf is and that wins in the biggest events are no guarantee of success in the professional game.

ME.

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