Some Reflections On The 2019 GB&I Men’s Amateur Golf Year

31st December 2019

Here are a few thoughts on the 2019 Great British & Irish (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season: –

1. I will start with our defining event, the Amateur Championship. It was great to see James SUGRUE (IRL) deliver a memorable win at Portmarnock to the delight of the home fans who supported the event so well. Sugrue peaked perfectly and having played in The Open and in the Walker Cup in 2019 can now look forward to the remainder of his golfing rewards next year.

2. Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) continued to impress winning four times in 2019. The Yorkshireman became just the fourth player to win both the Brabazon Trophy and Carris Trophy – that’s the men’s and U18 boys’ English Open Stroke Play Championships – in the same year. Some achievement.

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Ben Schmidt With The Brabazon Trophy And His Parents (Photo: Jonathan Plaxton)

3. Talking about juniors Conor GOUGH (ENG), Connor MCKINNEY (SCO), Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) also stood out amongst the U18’s which hopefully bodes well for the immediate future of GB&I golf. McKibbin winning the Junior Invitational and Pagdin getting to the semi-finals of the U.S. Junior Amateur at Inverness G.C. were particular highlights that stand alongside Ben Schmidt’s wins for me.

4. I am particularly interested to see how the future unfolds for Schmidt and Gough, winners of the two English Amateur Championships this year and our two leading juniors. Schmidt is now focussing on his golf full time and heading towards the professional ranks at some speed whilst Gough appears to be ‘driving with the brakes on’, determined to focus on his education for the time being and happy to enjoy the journey. Followers of amateur golf know there is no right answer to this age old conundrum as everyone is different. Following this tortoise and hare fable over the next few years should be fun.      

5. Whilst I failed to record Tom McKibbin’s chip in to win the McEvoy Trophy on the 2nd play-off hole, despite videoing most of the final play at Copt Heath, I did manage to get Josh MCMAHON‘s (ENG) birdie putt on the 18th which won him the Lytham Trophy. The  “Yes, Get in !” shout from his caddie Dad will live long in my memory.

Josh McMahon Drops The Best Putt Of His Life (Video: GolfBible)

6. I believe a review of Championship entry exemptions may be required for the leading events in the summer months given how quickly one followers another. James NEWTON (ENG) and Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) were the surprise winners of the Irish Amateur Open and the Brabazon Trophy respectively in 2019 but with low WAGR rankings beforehand and having missed the cut off dates had no way of playing in either the St. Andrews Links Trophy or the Amateur Championship. There needs to be a mechanism – a blank entry to cover such eventualities – to allow recent winners to gain a late entry into subsequent events assuming they wish to compete in them. It doesn’t happen too often but this year not playing in two of our major Championships against his direct peers may have cost Ben Schmidt a place in our Walker Cup team.  

7. It was a good year for Scottish amateur golf. Few would argue that Euan WALKER was the outstanding GB&I amateur golfer of 2019 with fellow Walker Cupper Sandy SCOTT not too far behind him. Ryan LUMSDEN also won the prestigious Byron Nelson Award, handed out in late April to a graduating Senior in recognition of their entire collegiate academic and golf career as well as their character and integrity while in college. The Scottish administrators also made the decision to return the Scottish Open Amateur to its late May date from the irrelevant late August fixture it had become since 2018. 

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Euan Walker With His European Amateur Silver Medal (Photo: EGA)

8. Curtis KNIPES (ENG) and Thomas THURLOWAY (ENG) both came through Final Qualifying to join James Sugrue in The Open Championship field. Watching Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) try and follow them at Hollinwell was a highlight of my golfing year. Unusually no amateur made the cut at Royal Portrush so no Silver Medal was awarded this year.

9. GB&I lost the 47th Walker Cup match against USA at Royal Liverpool G.C. I may be deluded but I still believe this was a match we could have and should have won. I don’t think the opposition was quite as strong as they had been in previous years and playing at home we should have been spot on with our selection, pairings and preperation – we weren’t. Perhaps if the weather hadn’t been so pleasant we may have done a little better.   

10. Craig WATSON (SCO) stood down / was relieved of his GB&I Men’s Team captaincy duties with Stuart WILSON (SCO), the current Boy’s team captain, promoted as his replacement. Stuart will debut with the men at Royal Porthcawl in July in the next edition of the St. Andrews Trophy match against Continent of Europe. Good luck to him.

11. It wasn’t a vintage year for other GB&I men’s teams either – Sweden beat England in the Final of the European Amateur Team Championship and Europe beat GB&I in the boys’ Jacques Léglise Trophy. 

12. WAGR finally announced a new methodology to be introduced to their ranking with effect from January 2020. A more accurate ranking can be expected but at face value it still won’t be better than the SPWAR. If I was The R&A and USGA I’d have used some of my funds to simply take out Fred Solomon and his ‘gold standard’ SPWAR.

WAGR Logo

13. The R&A and the USGA confirmed that they are reviewing the Rules of Amateur Status to make them easier to understand and apply. The results are set to be published in late 2021 – no rush there then. Lucy LI’s (USA) ‘one time warning’ for her Apple Watch advert at the start of the year (she should have had her amateur status removed) and the more recent California State’s ‘Fair Pay To Play’ Act which means NCAA athletes, including golfers, within that jurisdiction will be able to negotiate endorsement deals from 2023 have accelerated the need for an update.     

14. Josh HILL (ENG) qualified to play in both the Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in early 2020 after winning the MENA Tour’s Amateur Order of Merit and then the Abu Dhabi Amateur Championship. What an opportunity for him on two courses he knows very well.                  

15. Ben JONES (ENG) finished the year as GB&I’s highest ranked amateur in the SPWAR after a top 5 finish at the South Beach International Amateur in Florida helped lift him above Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) a few weeks ago. Scant consolation for his surprise exclusion from the GB&I Walker Cup team.

16. One to watch in 2020 – as I haven’t mentioned him yet I’m going to pick Jake BOLTON (ENG). Jake’s crept up to 37th in the SPWAR and with his confidence high after adding the 2019 Scottish Open Amateur title to his resume, as well as a 4th place finish at this month’s South Beach International Amateur, I expect him to progress further next year.

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Jake Bolton With The Scottish Open Amateur Trophy (Photo: Bolton Family)

17. As always a number of players turned Pro, most notably, Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Calum FYFE (SCO), Bailey GILL (ENG), Harry HALL (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO), Billy MCKENZIE (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Ronan MULLARNEY (IRL), Conor PURCELL (IRL), Tom SLOMAN (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO). I wish them all well in the coming years.

18. Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) and Matthew JORDAN (ENG) gave encouragement to the next generation of amateurs with a number of excellent performances on the European Tour and Challenge Tour. Over in the U.S. on the PGA Tour Viktor Hovland (NOR), Matthew Wolff (USA) and Collin Morikawa (USA) also showed that a quick transition to the big time is possible for the highly talented and fortunate few.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

South Beach International Amateur – 2019 Preview & Results

22nd December 2019

Ben SHIPP (USA) won the 2019 South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) after a play-off with Garett REBAND (USA).

Ben Shipp (Photo: SBIA)

Reband three putted his 72nd hole to finish on 281 (-2) and fall back into a tie with Shipp whose 70 (-1) was the lowest round of the final group. Shipp then went on to win the tournament on the second play-off hole.

With late afternoon storms forecast the organisers took the decision to implement a two tee start with players asked to play off the 1st and 10th tees in fourballs from 7.30am. Conditions remained dry for most of the day and the wind receded to more manageable levels when compared with the speeds seen on the first three days.

Reband shot a final round 73 whilst co-leader at the start of the day Karl VILIPS (AUS) could only manage a disappointing 75. Vilips ultimately had to settle for 3rd place on 282 (-1).

Jake BOLTON (ENG), the reigning Scottish Open Amateur champion, finished 4th on 283 (Ev) after a 71. He was the leading GB&I player this week and continues to rise up the amateur rankings (he’s now 37th in the SPWAR).

Ben JONES (ENG) was 5th on 284 (+1). Ben enjoyed a strong weekend, recording a joint best round of the day and the week today with a 67 which included 5 birdies. His 5th place lifted him to 13th spot in the SPWAR meaning he will finish the year as the highest ranked GB&I player.

Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) also finished well today. His 69 saw him finish on 287 (+4) and he can be pleased with his tied 8th finish.

Barclay BROWN (ENG) finished tied 18th on +6 after a final round 72.

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) never quite got going at Miami Beach this week after a solid opening round at Normandy Shores and had to fight hard for his +9 total score and tied 25th finish.

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) climbed a few places with a final round 71. His 295 (+12) saw him finish in tied 37th.

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) +16 and Andy GIBSON (SCO) +20 finished tied 58th and tied 72nd respectively.

Click here to view the – SBIA 2019 Results

ME.

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21st December 2019

The 80 players who made the cut enjoyed a dry but windy day. Just 8 of the starting 18 GB&I players made it through for the two weekend rounds at Miami Beach.

Karl VILIPS (AUS) shot a 67 to move into a tie with overnight leader Garett REBAND (USA) on -5. Late birdies on 15 and 16 enabled Reband to post a 69 to draw back level with the Australian who finished a few groups ahead of him.

Four shots further back is Ben SHIPP (USA) who equalled Vilips’ 67, the two lowest scores at Miami Beach this week.

Jake BOLTON (ENG) remained well in the mix with a one-under 70 in Round 3. He heads into tomorrow’s final round on Even par and in sole 4th place.

Ben JONES (ENG) 71 and Barclay BROWN (ENG) 73 are on +5 tied 13th.

Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) 76 and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) 73 are one shot further back in tied 17th on +6.

Andy GIBSON (SCO) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) could only manage a 75 and 78 respectively so fell back to tied 49th on +11. Olly HUGGINS‘ (ENG) 77 sees him in tied 56th on +12.

ME.

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20th December 2019

Friday saw all of the competitors play their second course, be it Miami Beach or Normandy Shores depending on where they were sent for Round 1. The rain largely stayed away but the strong winds remained.

Garett REBAND (USA), a Senior at Oklahoma, retained the lead on -3 with a 1-under par round of 70 at Miami Beach.

Lucas ABRIAL (FRA), who was 2nd overnight, collapsed to an 81 at Miami Beach and ended up missing the cut.

Jannik De BRUYN (GER) and Garrett MARTIN (USA) moved up to tied 2nd on -2 after they both recorded 69’s (-2) at Miami Beach. The always impressive Karl VILIPS (AUS) finished the day 4th on -1 after a 68 at Normandy Shores.

Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) starred for GB&I on Day 2; he’s now tied 5th after a 70 (-1) at Miami Beach. The score didn’t tell the full story though with his card including two double bogeys, two bogeys and seven birdies, including five in a row on his front nine.

Jake BOLTON‘s (ENG) level par round at Normandy Shores, which included four birdies, sees him go into the weekend playing alongside McKibbin in tied 5th on +1.

Barclay BROWN (ENG) +3 for the tournament is tied 13th. A double bogey on his final hole at Normandy Shores left him signing for a 71 (+1) and rueing what could have been.

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) both found the going tougher on Day 2 at Miami Beach. Pagdin stumbled to a 75 (+4) whilst Flanagan posted a 73 (+2). Nevertheless the Englishmen will go into the weekend still well placed in tied 20th on +4.

Ben JONES‘s (ENG) 71 (+1) at Normandy Shores included 15 pars. A couple more scores around par over the weekend, where he starts in tied 28th on +5, should lift him further up the leaderboard.

80 players, tied 61st or better, made the top 72 cut which fell at +8. The second highest cut mark in the 9 years the tournament has been played. It was +11 in 2011, the SBIA’s inaugural year.

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) +6 tied 37th and Andy GIBSON (SCO) +7 tied 47th were the two other GB&I players to progress.

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) +9, Charlie THORNTON (ENG) +9, Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) +12, Archie DAVIES (WAL) +14, Philip ROWE (ENG) +15, Sam ROOK (ENG) +16, Max MARTIN (ENG) +17, Jack BROOKS (ENG) +20, Curtis KNIPES (ENG) +20 and Jake HIBBERT (ENG) +23 all missed the cut.

ME.

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19th December 2019

The main news on Day 1 was the weather. It rained most of the day with scoring conditions not helped by a 20mph north easterly wind which blew strongly across the two host courses.

Garett REBAND (USA) shot a 68 (-2) at Normandy Shores to take the outright lead on Day 1. Lucas ABRIAL (FRA) managed a 69 (-1) at the same course to secure 2nd place.

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) was the leading GB&I player in tied 4th after a scrambling 70 (Ev) at Normandy Shores.

Jake BOLTON‘s (ENG) 71 (+1) at the tougher Miami Beach was arguably an even better round given the conditions. Likewise Barclay BROWN (ENG) will be pleased to have left there with a 73 (+2).

Back at Normandy Shores Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) both recorded 72’s (+2) to also do themselves no harm in the early stages.

Unfortunately many competitors, including a number from GB&I, played themselves out of the tournament on Day 1 unable to cope with the challenging conditions on two tough courses.

ME.

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3rd December 2019

The 9th South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) will be played between 19th – 22nd December 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida (GMT -5 hours).

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First played in 2011 the SBIA has quickly become one of the world’s leading amateur golf competitions.

It has always attracted an international field and many of the world’s leading amateurs will again be competing this year.

I will continue to update this article once play commences.

Format

The SBIA is a 72 hole stroke play competition played over four days.

18 holes are played at both Miami Beach G.C. and the nearby Normandy Shores G.C. over the first two days.

After a top 72 and ties cut the final 36 holes are played exclusively at Miami Beach over the remaining two days.

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Miami Beach Golf Club (Photo: Miami Beach GC)

Players

A field of 210 players have paid the $385 entry fee and will contest the 2019 SBIA.

The SBIA is expected to have one of the strongest fields in amateur golf in 2019. Only the U.S. Amateur (1st), The Amateur (2nd), Western Amateur (3rd) and NCAA Division I National (4th) will have been better.

Historically around 50% of the players are drawn from overseas with around 30 countries normally represented.

18 golfers from Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) are in this year’s starting field. The highest number to date was 19 in 2018. I’ve listed this year’s GB&I entries below (in alphabetical order) along with their current SPWAR (as at 16th December): –

Jake BOLTON (ENG) #103
Jack BROOKS (ENG) #276
Barclay BROWN (ENG) #700
Archie DAVIES (WAL) #468
Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) #447
Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) #95
Andrew GIBSON (SCO) #1,493
Jake HIBBERT (ENG) #1,096
Olly HUGGINS (ENG) #201
Ben JONES (ENG) #18 – the highest ranked player in the field / Finished T2 in 2017
Curtis KNIPES (ENG) #124
Max MARTIN (ENG) #918
Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) #333
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) #164
Sam ROOK (ENG) #780
Philip ROWE (ENG) #3,280 – Assistant Coach UNLV, 1999 GB&I Walker Cup (P3 W3)
Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) #80
Charlie THORNTON (ENG) #227

Other players in the SPWAR Top 200 competing include (in rank order): –

Karl VILIPS (AUS) #19
Garett REBAND (USA) #20
Jack TRENT (AUS) #23
Philip BARBAREE (USA) #25
Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) #32
Austin HITT (USA) #53
Ryan GERARD (USA) #54
Thomas HUTCHISON (USA) #63
Alex SCHAAKE (USA) #70
Julien SALE (FRA) #82
Ben SHIPP (USA) #83
Julian PERICO (PER) #97
Jannik DE BRUYNE (GER) #99
Palmer JACKSON (USA) #105
Marc HAMMER (GER) #120
Chris GOTTERUP (USA) #121
Charles LARCELET (FRA) #125
Blake TAYLOR (USA) #139
Rasmus NEERGAARD-PETERSEN (DEN) #144
Jamie WILSON (USA) #145
Carl FOSAAS (NOR) #163
Alexandre FUCHS (FRA) #166
Blake WAGONER (USA) #179
Tim WIDING (SWE) #193

The United States has 85 players in the SPWAR Top 200 so it is interesting that just 12 of them have entered this year’s SBIA. The Junior President’s Cup match taking place the week before in Australia will certainly have impacted the field. The non-entrants include the defending champion Pierceson COODY #15.

Courses

Both courses were designed by Arthur Hills and play to around 6,800 yards.

They are typical Florida layouts with numerous lakes coming into play throughout the 18 holes. As a result scores can be high if the wind blows – which it frequently does.

Normandy Shores plays to a par of 70 and Miami Beach a par of 71.

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Normandy Shores G.C. (Photo: miamibeachguest.com) 

Weather Forecast (as at 19th December)

The weather looks interesting with cool conditions forecast and a shifting wind set to make play interesting.

Thur 19th Dec. – Light Rain / Wind 19 mph NE / Temp. Min. 19°C, Max. 23°C.
Fri  20th Dec – Thick Cloud / Wind 21 mph NE / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 25°C.
Sat 21st Dec – Light Cloud / Wind 19 mph E / Temp. Min. 22°C, Min 26°C.
Sun 22nd Dec – Thundery Showers / Wind 20 mph SE / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 26°C.

SBIA Website Links

Click here to view the – SBIA 2019 Leaderboard

Click here to view the – SBIA Website

2018 South Beach International Amateur

The 2018 South Beach International Amateur was played in windy conditions with play on Day 3 ultimately having to be suspended.

Pierceson COODY (USA), a Freshman at the University of Texas and the grandson of 1971 Masters Champion Charles Coody, won the competition with a 272 (-11) total.

A fast finishing Manuel TORRES (VEN), who studies at the nearby Lynn University, shot an impressive 33 on his final back nine for a 66 (-5) to finish one shot back.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) finished 3rd on 275 (-8). Jake shot a 64 (-6) at Normandy Shores on Day 1 to share the lead before playing very consistently throughout the remainder of the tournament; rounds of 70, 70 and 71 at Miami Beach enabling him to place.

Four other Englishmen made the cut. Jake BOLTON (+1) finished tied 21st, Joe PAGDIN (+3) tied 26th, Ben JONES and Max MARTIN (both +10) tied 62nd.

19 players from Great Britain and Ireland competed last year.

Click here to view the – SBIA 2018 Results

Click here to view the – SBIA 2017 Results

Here is a list of past winners and the 36 hole cut marks for each year: –

2018 – Pierceson COODY (USA) -11 / Cut +3
2017 – Jacob BERGERON (USA) -3 / Cut Ev
2016 – Danny WALKER (USA) -4 / Cut +1
2015 – Jorge GARCIA (VEN) -5 / Cut +6
2014 – Gabriel LENCH (USA) -4 / Cut +3
2013 – Greg EASON (ENG) -5 / Cut +6
2012 – Juan Pablo HERNANDEZ (MEX) -10 / Cut +3
2011 – Kelly KRAFT (USA) -4 / Cut +11

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

13th September 2019.

England won the 2019 Men’s Home Internationals at Lahinch G.C. in Ireland, winning all three of their games.

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The England Team (Photo: Nigel Edwards)

On the final day England beat Scotland 9-6 to complete the clean sweep.

The two teams shared the morning Foursomes 2.5-2.5. Matt CLARK and Ryan LUMSDEN birdied the last three holes of their game against Ben JONES and Jake BURNAGE to overturn a 2 Down with three holes to play deficit.

Whilst for much of the afternoon the match and the title were up in the air ultimately England’s greater strength in depth came through. Singles wins for Tom SLOMAN, Ben JONES and then later on Matty LAMB, Ben SCHMIDT and Bailey GILL pushed the English team over the line.

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Matty LAMB was the star man for England winning five of his matches. The whole team contributed with Ben SCHMIDT and Ben JONES, who both won four games, next in line for praise.

Experienced Matt CLARK contributed the most for Scotland winning four games, including two Singles, and halving another.

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Ireland convincingly beat Wales 12-3 on the final day to secure 3rd place in the competition. The Irish gained the initiative in the morning by coming out on the right side of three tight foursomes games to win the series 4-1. It was a different story in the afternoon with Ireland trouncing their opponents 8-2.

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Here are the individual performance records for the Irish and Welsh players. Colm CAMPBELL was the star man for Ireland with Caolan RAFFERTY and Conor PURCELL also contributing strongly with four wins. Connor JONES played the best for Wales winning two Singles.

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Click here to view the – Men’s Home Internationals Results
(Click on the match score for the individual game scores)

The 2020 Home Internationals will be played at Royal Dornoch in Scotland where England will be aiming to complete a hat trick of wins.

ME.

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12th September 2019

England beat Ireland 10 – 5 on Day 2.

England built a firm foundation by winning four of the five foursomes games and then took the Singles 6 – 4 in the afternoon.

Ben SCHMIDT (W3 H1), Harry HALL (W2 H1) and Callum FARR (W1 H2) remain unbeaten for the defending champions.

Conor PURCELL and Caolan RAFFERTY got back to winning ways for the Irish in the Singles defeating their Walker Cup teammates Tom SLOMAN and Tom PLUMB.

Unfortunately James SUGRUE had to withdraw from the competition today with the back injury which was troubling him last week at the Walker Cup.

England v. Ireland Results (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

Scotland beat Wales 9.5 – 5.5 in today’s second match.

The Scots won the Foursomes 3 – 2 before also taking the Singles 6.5 – 3.5.

Stuart EASTON (W2 H2) and Darren HOWIE (W2 H1) are unbeaten for Scotland.

In a tight match Ben CHAMBERLAIN and Lewys SANGES took the notable scalps of Ryan LUMSDEN and Connor MCKINNEY in the Singles for Wales.

Looking at the Day 2 table England only require a draw against Scotland tomorrow to retain the Raymond Trophy given their match points advantage over their final opponents.

ME.

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11th September 2019

England beat Wales 12 – 3 in the opening match of the competition.

The Welsh halved the Foursomes 2.5 – 2.5 but were over powered 9.5 – 0.5 in the afternoon Singles by what is an exceptionally strong English team.

Thomas PLUMB, Ben JONES and Jake BURNAGE all won twice for England.

Gaelen TREW secured Wales’ half point in the Singles in the final game against Callum FARR.

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England v. Wales Results (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

Scotland surprised host’s Ireland with an 8.5 – 6.5 victory in the other Day 1 match.

The Foursomes were again shared before Scotland took the Singles 6 – 4. The damage was done at the top of the order with Ryan LUMSDEN, James WILSON and Kieran CANTLEY taking crucial points off Ireland’s big hitters Conor PURCELL, Caolan RAFFERTY and Ronan MULLARNEY respectively.

James WILSON and Connor MCKINNEY won both of their two matches today for Scotland.

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Ireland v. Scotland Results (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

ME.

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3rd September 2019

The 2019 Men’s Home Internationals will be contested at Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare, Ireland between 11th and 13th September.

ENGLAND are the defending champions and they and IRELAND, who will have home advantage, are expected to once again battle it out for the Raymond Trophy.

Lahinch Golf Club (Photo: Jamie Gibson / lahinchgolf.com)

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.

The competition was first played in 1932.

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

The overall 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.

2019 Players

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

I have also included the Team (total) and Individual Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) below (as at 3rd September): –

ENGLAND – Team SPWAR = 717
Jack BURNAGE (29)
Callum FARR (137)
Bailey GILL (59)
Harry HALL (28)
Ben HUTCHINSON (53)
Ben JONES (19)
Matty LAMB (89)
Josh MCMAHON (115)
Tom PLUMB (43)
Ben SCHMIDT (119)
Tom SLOMAN (26)

Callum Farr, Harry Hall, Ben Hutchinson, Matty Lamb, Josh McMahon and Ben Schmidt are all new additions to the England team in 2019.

Conor GOUGH, England’s Walker Cup player, is competing in the Duke of York Young Champions event at Royal Portrush.

IRELAND – Team SPWAR = 3,411
Rob BRAZILL (251)
Colm CAMPBELL (406)
Keith EGAN (828)
Sean FLANAGAN (831)
Matthew MCCLEAN (503)
Tom MCKIBBIN (286)
Tiarnán MCLARNON (139)
Ronan MULLARNEY (58)
Conor PURCELL (21)
Caolan RAFFERTY (16)
James SUGRUE (72)

Rob Brazill, Colm Campbell, Keith Egan, Sean Flanagan, Matthew McClean and Tom McKibbin have been added to the Irish line up this year.

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The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

SCOTLAND – Team SPWAR = 3,852
George BURNS (809)
Kieran CANTLEY (271)
Matthew CLARK (209)
Stuart EASTON (253)
Darren HOWIE (422)
Lewis IRVINE (711)
Ryan LUMSDEN (167)
Eric MCINTOSH (561)
Euan MCINTOSH (189)
Connor MCKINNEY (129)
James WILSON (131)

George Burns, Darren Howie, Lewis Irvine, Connor Mckinney and Eric Mcintosh debut for Scotland.

WALES – Team SPWAR = 9,070
George BRYANT (1,369)
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (298)
Jacob DAVIES (415)
Rhys EVANS (1,302)
Tom FROOM (756)
Jake HAPGOOD (255)
Kieron HARMAN (1,369)
Connor JONES (1,586)
Matt ROBERTS (945)
Lewys SANGES (498)
Gaelan TREW (277)

Wales have the highest number of returning players with just George Bryant, Rhys Evans, Tom Froom and Connor Jones added to their line up this year.

23 of the 44 players competed last year at Conwy, compared with just 14 returnees in 2018. England have 6 new players in their 2019 line up, Ireland 6, Scotland 5 and Wales 4.

Venue – Lahinch Golf Club

Lahinch Golf Club was established in April 1892. Old Tom Morris (1894), Dr. Alister MacKenzie (1926) and Dr. Martin Hawtree (1999) have all had a hand in the development of the championship Old Course over the years.

The course measures 6,950 yards and has a traditional par 72 make-up. The front nine measures 3,391 yards with the back coming in at 3,559 yards.

Lahinch is the permanent home of the South of Ireland Amateur Championship and in addition to the Home Internationals has already hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this year.

It will host the Arnold Palmer Cup match between International and USA mixed teams in July 2020.

Lahinch Golf Club Logo (Photos: Lahinch Golf Club)

2019 Weather Forecast (as at 5.00pm Tuesday 10th September)
Wed. 11th Sept. – Sunny / Temp. Min 14º / Max 16º / Wind 15mph SW
Thurs. 12th Sept. – AM Light Rain / Temp. Min 6º / Max 17º / Wind 15mph NW
Fri 13th Sept. – Sunny / Temp. Min 5º / Max 17º / Wind 10mph W

2018 Men’s Home Internationals

ENGLAND won the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals played at Conwy G.C., Wales in September 2018. The win broke a run of four consecutive Championships for the Irish team dating back to 2014.

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

Here is a summary of the final results from the 2018 competition: –

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

David HAGUE (ENG) and Tiarnán 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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Euan WALKER was outstanding for Scotland winning five of his six games.

Likewise Paddy MULLINS did well for Wales, particularly securing 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.

Historic Results

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

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

U.S. Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 18th August 2019

Final

Andy OGLETREE won the Final of the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship beating John AUGENSTEIN 2&1 in the 36 hole match.

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Andy Ogletree (Photo: @USGA)

Augenstein got off to a great start on Course No. 4, which was used for the first 18 holes. Three consecutive birdies helped him build a 4Up lead after just 5 holes.

Ogletree came back at the Vanderbilt player gradually on the back nine and a birdie on the final hole saw him go into lunch just 2Down.

The Mississipian was relentless as play moved on to Course No. 2 in the afternoon. He finally got the match back to All Square on the 31st and immediately moved to 1Up with a birdie on the par 5 14th. After two shared holes with pars a four putt from off the green on the par 3 17th by Augenstein handed the trophy to Ogletree.

Ogletree made just three bogeys in the 37 holes he played in the Final and can now look forward to a place in the U.S. Walker Cup team and playing exemptions into the U.S. Masters (where he will be paired for the first two rounds with Tiger Woods), the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Click here to view the live – U.S. Amateur Match Play Draws and Scores

ME.

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Saturday 17th August 2019

Semi-Finals

Andy OGLETREE beat Cohen TROLIO 3&1 in a fairly poor quality first Semi-Final where pars on Pinehurst’s tough Course No. 2 were frequently good enough to win holes.

The second match was of a much higher standard with John AUGENSTEIN coming through against William HOLCOMB who battled to the end but was outclassed by his more experienced opponent.

Ogletree and Augenstein both gain exemptions into The Masters Tournament and U.S. Open Championship in 2020 following their wins today.

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Click here to view the live – U.S. Amateur Match Play Draws and Scores

ME.

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Friday 16th August 2019

Quarter Finals

Debutant Cohen TROLIO, who celebrated his 17th birthday last week continues to surprise at the U.S. Amateur Championship. Having drawn level on the 13th with an eagle Austin SQUIRES gifted Game 1 to his opponent by following it with three consecutive bogeys on 14, 15 and 16.

Trolio will now play 21 year old Andy OGLETREE, a fellow Mississippian and a rising senior at Georgia Tech, who overcame Spencer RALSTON in their Quarter Final. Ralston was made to pay for five bogeys on the day by the much steadier Ogletree.

John AUGENSTEIN (21) beat Palmer JACKSON 3&2 and is now the player to beat for me. A strong start saw the man from Kentucky build a 3Up lead after seven holes and he saw the game out comfortably thereafter.

In the biggest surprise of the day William HOLCOMB V, who is 21 and married, easily saw off Australia’s Karl VILIPS, who turned 18 today. Vilips who had looked so good all week simply didn’t turn up. He shot 6-over for the front nine gifting Holcomb a 4Up lead and whilst he played much better on the back side he was unable to make any inroads.

The Quarter finals were delayed for just over an hour when heavy rain caused a suspension in play at 4.32pm.

Here are the current SPWAR’s of the Semi-Finalists – Augenstein #21, #Ogletree #120, Holcomb #426 and Trolio #1,706.

On paper, from a selfish GB&I Walker Cup perspective, I would be pleased to see anyone but Augenstein win the Championship over the weekend. The champion earns an automatic place on the U.S.A. team.

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Click here to view the live – U.S. Amateur Match Play Draws and Scores

ME.

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Thursday 15th August 2019

Match Play Round of 16

An inspired Cohen TROLIO (USA) beat Alex FITZPATRICK 5&4 in their Round of 16 match. Five birdies on his front nine handed Trolio a 4Up lead and after a wobble at the start of the back nine he eventually saw out the game with another birdie on the 14th.

UPPER HALF (seedings in brackets)

Cohen Trolio (57) 🇦🇺 v. Alex FITZPATRICK (24) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

The son of a golf professional Trolio, from West Point in Mississippi is 17 and has verbally committed to Louisiana State University for the 2021/22 academic year. Whilst relatively inexperienced and unknown he is certainly enjoying his time in North Carolina this week. Before beating Fitzpatrick this afternoon he had taken out 8th seed Trevor WERBYLO (USA) by 2 Holes in the Round of 64 and 40th seed Blake WAGONER (USA) 2&1 earlier today.

Trolio will play Austin SQUIRES (USA) in the Quarter Finals. Squires has gone from strength to strength since claiming the last Match Play spot in Wednesday morning’s play-off, today beating both Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) and highly fancied Amercian John PAK.

The COODY brothers both lost in the Round of 16. Parker to Spencer RALSTON 6&5 and Pierceson more surprisingly to William HOLCOMB V 2&1.

Ricky CASTILO and Isaiah SALINDA, alongside Pierceson Coody, strong U.S.A. Walker Cup candidates, also lost. Castillo to John AUGENSTEIN 1Up and Salinda to Palmer JACKSON.

Australia’s Karl VILIPS continues to impress. His 3&1 win over Brad DALKE 3&1 won’t have been lost on the rest of the field.

Match Play Round of 32

Alex FITZPATRICK, now GB&I’s sole representative in the U.S. Amateur Championship, teed off against Jack TRENT (AUS) at 8.30am (1.30pm BST) in the Round of 32.

In a tight match where both players played very good golf on the tough Course No. 2 the Yorkshireman finally came through with a birdie on the 21st hole to progress.

The highlight of the game would appear to be hole 5 where Fitzpatrick is shown as having recorded an albatross 2 on the par 5 to win the hole.

UPPER HALF (seedings in brackets)

Jack TRENT (56) 🇦🇺 v. Alex FITZPATRICK (24) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Akshay BHATIA (USA), one of the three players pre-selected for the U.S.A. Walker Cup team fell at this hurdle. He lost 4&2 to John AUGENSTEIN (USA) who has every chance of joining him at Hoylake in three weeks time.

The two COODY brothers, Parker and Pierceson, both win and with the two of them on opposite sides of the draw an all Coody Final remains a possibility.

In the final game Steven FISK (USA) lost to Karl VILIPS (AUS) 3&1 in one of the standout matches of the Round of 32.

Click here to view the – U.S. Amateur Match Play Draws and Scores

ME.

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Wednesday 14th August 2019

Match Play Round of 64

The Match Play Round of 64 games started at 10.00am (3.00pm BST) today on Course No. 2. The games involving the three leading seeds and the three play-off qualifiers were scheduled at the back of the field to ensure there was no delay in play.

It proved to be a generally disappointing day for the five GB&I players who qualified.

UPPER HALF (seedings in brackets)

Alex FITZPATRICK (24) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 v. James SUGRUE (41) 🇮🇪

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Alex FITZPATRICK comfortably beat an out of sorts James SUGRUE in their match. James was +7 and Alex +2 for the 14 holes played. Alex will now play Australia’s JACK TRENT in the Round of 32 tomorrow morning. Jack beat Ryan GERARD (USA) 4&3 in his Round of 64 match.

LOWER HALF (seedings in brackets)

Tom SLOMAN (3) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 v. Van HOLMGREN (62) 🇺🇸

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Tom SLOMAN will be disappointed to have lost to the relatively inexperienced Minnesotan Van HOLMGREN, particularly having got off to a good start. Tom was +5 for the 16 holes played whilst Holmgren recovered well after a nervous opening to be +1.

Thomas FORSTER (19) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 v. William HOLCOMB V (46) 🇺🇸

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Thomas FORSTER led 4Up with 8 holes to play but bogeyed 7 of them to let Texan William HOLCOMB back into the match. Holcomb found his feet after 7 holes playing the last 11 in 1-under which is always going to get the job done on Course No. 2.

Brad DALKE (27) 🇺🇸 v. Sandy SCOTT (38) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

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U.S. Amateur Championship Match Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Sandy SCOTT played the best golf of all of the GB&I players who contested the Round of 64 but ended up losing to 2016 runner up Brad DALKE. Scott was Even par on his round when play ended on the 17th. The joys of match play golf.

Medalist Brandon WU (USA) lost by 2 holes to the final qualifier Austin SQUIRES (USA). Other notables exits included Austin ECKROAT (USA), Stewart HAGESTAD (USA), Chandler PHILLIPS (USA), Matthias SCHMID (GER) and Cameron YOUNG (USA).

Click here to view the – U.S. Amateur Match Play Draws and Scores

ME.

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Tuesday 13th August and Wednesday 14th August 2019

Stroke Play Qualifying Round 2

Course No. 2 – 7,414 yards, par 70 – Rd 1 Stroke Average 77.14
Course No. 4 – 7,246 yards, par 70 – Rd 1 Stroke Average 73.58

Round 2 of the Stroke Play Qualifying competition was not completed on Day 2 with play suspended due to darkness at 8.00pm. This was after a late afternoon weather delay of 1 hour and 21 minutes which ultimately prevented 50 players from finishing their rounds.

The Stroke Play Qualifying resumed on Wednesday morning at 7.20am and was quickly completed.

Just 11 players from the starting field of 312 finished the 36 holes at 140 (Ev) or better highlighting the severity of the U.S.G.A.’s Pinehurst test.

Brandon WU (22) followed up an opening round of 65 (-5) with a 72 (+2) on Course No. 2 to secure medalist honours on 137 (-3).

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Brandon Wu (Photo: @USGA)

Six players finished at -2 including Ricky CASTILLO (18), Cooper DOSSEY (21), Jacob SOLOMON (22), Shiryu (Leo) OYO (20) of Japan, Tom SLOMAN (23) of England and Philip BARBAREE (22).

Tom SLOMAN enjoyed 5 birdies on No. 4 on his way to a 68 (-2) and an impressive tied 2nd place finish. He will enter Match Play as the 3rd seed. Tom put his success down to his caddie. “I’ve got a local caddie. He obviously knows where to hit it and I’ve just been trying to do it.” Personally, I think his good play is more likely due to his newly acquired Pinehurst straw boater hat !

Tom Sloman (Photo: USGA / Michael Reaves)

Thomas FORSTER, from Oundle in England, shot a 69 (-1) on No. 4 to secure his passage to the Match Play stage. Forster, who is a rising senior at Carson-Newman University in Tennessee, has used his knowledge of U.S. courses to good affect so far.

Alex FITZPATRICK battled hard on Course No. 2 to secure his place in Match Play with a 74 (+4) on Tuesday. He finished alongside Forster in tied 19th.

Our later starters in Round 2 were impacted by the deteriorating conditions and subsequent weather delay.

Sandy SCOTT shot a back nine 40 on Course No. 2 on his way to a 76 (+6) but thankfully had enough in the bank after his strong opening round to make it through in tied 28th.

The fates of James SUGRUE and Ben JONES were not decided until Wednesday morning.

Sugrue finished Day 2 on +4, which at that point was right on the top 64 and ties cut mark, with two holes to play and having double bogeyed the 15th on Course No. 2. as light faded. Undaunted he came out the following morning and proceeded to birdie 17 and par 18 to comfortably qualify on +3, also in tied 28th.

Jones looked like an easy qualifier all day but sadly unwound coming down the stretch. He sandwiched two birdies on 10 and 18 with 7 dropped shots to shoot 40 and put himself under pressure with a +5 total. Thankfully, it quickly became clear on Wednesday morning that he was likely to get a reprieve with the top 64 and ties cut quickly drifting out to his score.

The 27 players, including Ben JONES, who finished tied 62nd were therefore thrown the lifeline of a 27-for-3 sudden death play-off. It started on Course No. 4 once all of the scores had been collated. Van HOLMGREEN (USA) and Chad SEWELL (USA) birdied the par 4 1st to quickly earn the 62nd and 63rd Match Play seeds. With 7 players eliminated the remaining 18, still including Jones, progressed to the long par 4 2nd. This hole saw a further 5 players eliminated. Jones and 12 others moved onto the par 5 17th. Unfortunately Ben was not able to match the three birdies that were recorded so had to drop out at this point. Austen SQUIRES (USA) went on to par the 18th and secure the final Match Play spot. The play-off took around 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

The other GB&I players all missed the cut. Ben SCHMIDT (+6) T89, Euan WALKER (+6) T89, Conor GOUGH (+8) T120, Conor PURCELL (+16) T234 and Caolan RAFFERTY (+16) T234 all missed the cut.

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U.S. Amateur Championship Stroke Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Other notable players to miss out on the Match Play were Quade CUMMINS (USA – Walker Cup hopeful), Cole HAMMER (USA – World No. 1), Daniel HILLIER (NZL), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Kevin O’CONNELL (USA – 2018 Mid-Amateur champion), Trent PHILLIPS (USA – Walker Cup hopeful), Jovan REBULA (RSA – 2018 Amateur champion), Alex SMALLEY (USA – Walker Cup hopeful), Chun An YU (CTP).

Click here to view the – U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Results

ME.

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Monday 12th August 2019

Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1

Course No. 2 – 7,414 yards, par 70 – Rd 1 Stroke Average 77.05
Course No. 4 – 7,246 yards, par 70 – Rd 1 Stroke Average 73.14

U.S.A’s Brandon WU (22), a recent graduate of Stanford University, leads the Stroke Play Qualifying competition having shot a new course record 65 (-5) on Course No. 4.

This was a little surprising as his preparation for the U.S. Amateur could hardly have been worse. He and Stewart HAGESTAD (USA) represented the U.S.A. at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last week which finished on Sunday. As such they only arrived at Pinehurst this morning with the U.S.G.A. arranging late tee times for both of them. “I tried to manage my sleep as well as I could,” said Wu, “I slept great on the two flights up here and then took a quick nap before I teed off for about two hours. I actually felt pretty good.”

HAGESTAD, already selected for the U.S.A. Walker cup team, didn’t fair quite so well in Round 1. His 73 (+3) on Course No. 2 leaves him tied 102nd and with work to do on the easier Course No. 4 tomorrow.

The two other U.S.A. Walker Cup W.A.G.R. picks Akshay BHATIA and Cole HAMMER are also far from certain to make match play. Bhatia 72 +2 (No.2) is tied 73rd whilst Hammer 75 +5 (No. 2) is tied 152nd after 18 holes.

Wu holds a one-stroke lead over Trevor WERBYLO (21), a junior at the University of Arizona, and Palmer JACKSON (18), an incoming freshman at the University of Notre Dame, who both shot 66’s (-4) on Course No. 4.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) is leading the group of eleven Great British & Irish (GB&I) players who are competing. His 67 (-3) on Course No. 4 where he teed off on the 9th hole, included six birdies. Talking after his round Scott said, “I felt like I got off to a little bit of a shaky start. I made a bogey on the second and I had some nerves going through the first few holes, but I managed to bounce back with a birdie (on the par 3 11th). I had three birdies on 15, 16 and 17 which gave me a bit of momentum. I managed to just trust a lot of the numbers that me and my caddie were going with and hit a lot of good approaches.” He finished a much steadier front nine with two birdies on the par 4 7th and 8th.

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG), who reached the Quarter Finals last year, shot a 68 (-2) on Course No. 4 to lie 8th after Round 1. Five birdies and an eagle on the par 4 16th hole were offset by two double bogeys and a bogey. “I played nicely, I had a few bumps in the road, but overall I sort of stuck it out and was patient and waited for openings to appear and luckily took them and yeah, finished off nicely. So pretty pleased.”

Ben JONES (ENG) recorded four birdies on his way to a 69 (-1). He is tied 19th.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) arguably had the best round by a GB&I player. His even par 70 on Course No. 2 was one of only seven rounds that achieved par or better on this challenging layout. He is tied 28th.

Amateur Champion, James SUGRUE (IRL) is also nicely placed after a 70 (Ev) on Course No. 4 and sits alongside Sloman in tied 28th.

The table below shows how all of the 11 Great British & Irish GB&I players performed, along with their tee times and courses for Round 2. Many found Course No. 2 a tough nut to crack and will be looking to bounce back on Course no. 4 today.

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U.S. Amateur Championship Stroke Play Scoring (Photo: U.S.G.A)

Click here to view the full – U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Scores

ME

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Friday 9th August 2019 

The 119th U.S. Amateur Championship starts on Monday 12th August at the Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina.

The Championship is being played on Pinehurst’s No. 2 and No. 4 courses.

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

Competition Format

On Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th August all of the competitiors will play 36-holes of stroke play, one round on Course No. 2 and the other on Course No. 4.

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

18 hole match play rounds will then be played on Course No. 2 between Wednesday 14th and Saturday 17th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 18th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

The first round of the Final will be played over Course No. 4 with the second round utilising Course No. 2. This will be the first time that two different courses have been used for the 36 hole match.

2019 Field

There were 7,191 entries this year, each player paying the $175 entry fee.

96 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the U.S.A., with one each in Canada and Mexico too. The introduction of a European Sectional Qualifier, like the U.S.G.A. stage at Walton Heath for the U.S. Open Championship, remains long overdue in my opinion.

A final field of 312 players from 27 different countries (2018: 24) will contest this year’s Championship. 246 players are from U.S.A. with 66 coming from the Rest of the World.

Jay BROOKS (USA) is the youngest competitor at 14 and Sean KNAPP (USA) the oldest at 57. The average age of the field is 22.1 years.

2015 U.S.A. Walker Cup player Mike McCOY (56), the second oldest player, will be making his 20th appearance in the Championship. His son Nathaniel McCOY (29), also a reinstated amateur, is also playing this week.

There are 11 GB&I players competing. There were 7 in 2018, 9 in 2017 and 11 in 2016 at Pebble Beach, Riviera and Oakland Hills respectively.

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

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) – 2018 U.S. Amateur Quarter Finalist

Tom FORSTER (ENG) – Qualifier (1st Alternate) from Little Rock, Arkansas (22/07/19)

Conor GOUGH (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Ben JONES (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Connor PURCELL (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

James SUGRUE (IRE) – Winner of the Amateur Championship 2019

Euan WALKER (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR as at 26/6/19

Earlier this week Joe PAGDIN (ENG) qualified for a place in the field based on his WAGR of 30th as at 7/8/19. However, having already committed to this week’s Boys’ Home Internationals and next week’s Boys’ Amateur Championship he understandably declined the opportunity.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) narrowly missed out on a place. He rose to 46th in the WAGR this week but was the sixth new player, not already exempt, to move into the top 50. Only the top 5 are eligible with declined places, such as Pagdin’s, falling into the hands of Qualifying Alternates. Garrett Rank (CAN), the surprise winner of last week’s Western Amateur, moved up to 45th in the WAGR this week to secure the last of these final exemptions. The Points Average difference between him and Jake being just 0.5857.

2019 Stroke Play Qualifying

The draw for the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition was made on Wednesday 7th August and can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur Tee Times

Play will start at 7.15am (BST 12.15pm). As North Carolina is 5 hours behind us the action will take place place during our afternoons and evenings.

Host Courses

The Pinehurst Resort – Courses No. 2 and No. 4 (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Pinehurst Resort Course No. 2
7,519 yards (maximum), Par 70
Opened in 1907.
Designed by Donald Ross (1907). Renovated by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2010).

No. 2 is the primary Championship course of the nine that make up the Pinehurst Resort. Donald Ross worked on his masterpiece until he died in 1948. It is known for its crowned, undulating greens and has been returned to its original state by Coore and Crenshaw with huge areas of turf removed and a more natural look re-introduced. There are 111 bunkers and no rough on the course now.

This will be the third time that No. 2 has been the lead course for the U.S. Amateur. The previous stagings were in 1962 and 2008 with Labron Harris Jr. and Danny Lee the champions.

Pinehurst Resort, Course No. 2, Hole 17  (Photo: Pinehurst.com)

Pinehurst Resort Course No. 4
7,196 yards (maximum), Par 70.
Opened in 1919.
Designed by Gil Hanse (2018); Designed originally by Donald Ross (1919)

Pinehurst Resort, Course No. 4, Hole 6 (Photo: Pinehurst.com)

Weather Forecast (Updated – at 8.00am 12th August 2019)

Hot and sunny weather is forecast with the possibility of some delays in play due to late afternoon thundery showers.

Stroke Play Qualifying
Mon 12th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (SE). Temp. Min 20°C. / Max. 33°C.
Tues 13th August – Sunny. Wind 10mph (SW). Temp. Min 23°C. / Max. 35°C.

Match Play Stage
Weds 14th August – Sunny, PM Showers. Wind 9mph (SW). Temp. Min 21°C. / Max. 35°C.
Thurs 15th August – Sunny, PM Showers. Wind 7mph (W). Temp. Min 20°C. / Max. 31°
Fri 16th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (NW). Temp. Min 20°C. / Max. 32°C.
Sat 17th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (SE). Temp. Min 20°C. / Max. 30°C.
Sun 18th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (NE). Temp. Min 20°C. / Max. 32°C.

UK Television Coverage

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

Prizes

The 2019 U.S. Amateur champion will receive the following: –

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

b) An exemption to play in the 2020 U.S. Open to be staged at Winged Foot Golf Club;

and assuming they remain amateur,

c) An exemption to play in the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club;

d) An invitation to play in the 2020 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club;

e) An exemption to play in the 2020 – 2029 U.S. Amateur Championships;

and unofficially

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

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

A Bronze Medal is also awarded to the stroke play medalist(s).

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

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

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

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

2018 U.S. Amateur Championship

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

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

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Viktor Hovland (Photo: USGA)

From a GB&I perspective Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) did superbly well eventually losing in the Quarter Finals to Cole HAMMER (USA) 3&2. Harry HALL (ENG) and Eoin LEONARD (IRE) also qualified for the match play stage but both lost in the Rd of 64, to Stewart HEGASTAD (USA) by 1 Hole and Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) by 6&4 respectively.

In the preceding stroke play competition, played at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, only Eoin LEONARD (IRE) on 145 +2 [74 SH / 71PB], Harry HALL (ENG) 146 +3 [72 PB / 74 SH] and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) 146 +3 [72 PB / 74 SH] qualified from the seven strong Great British and Irish contingent. Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 148 +5 [77 SH / 71 PB], Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) 148 +5 [78 SH / 70 PB], Robin DAWSON (IRE) 150 +7 [76 SH / 74 PB] and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 150 +7 [78 SH / 72PB] all missed the Top 64 match play cut.

Click here to view the full – 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship Results

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U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 119th playing.

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

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

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

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

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

Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) and Norway’s Viktor Hovland (2018) are the only player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

10-16 August 2020 – Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon

9-15 August 2021 – Oakmont Country Club,

15-21 August 2022 – Ridgewood Country Club, Paramus, New Jersey

14-20 August 2023 – Cherry Hills Country Club, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado

12-18 August 2024 – Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minnesota

11-17 August 2025 – The Olympic Club, San Francisco, California

10-16 August 2026 – Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pennsylvania

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Western Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

3rd August  2019

Garrett RANK (CAN) beat Daniel WETTERICH (USA) by a score of 3&2 in the 18 hole Final of the Western Amateur at Point O’ Woods G. & C.C.

Rank, aged 31, is a full time National Hockey League referee in North America and his golf is therefore largely restricted to the summer months.

He is the first Canadian to win the prestigious title since 1977 and the first mid-amateur since 1997.

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Garrett Rank (Photo: Western Amateur)

Here are the full Match Play results: –

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MP Results – Upper Half (Photo: Western Amateur / GolfGenius Scoring)

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MP Results – Lower Half (Photo: Western Amateur / GolfGenius Scoring)

Medalist Davis THOMPSON (USA) beat young Australian Karl VILIPS on Day 1 but fell later on the same day to David LASKIN (USA), the Arizona University player, in the Quarter Finals.

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – MP Qualifying Results

Interestingly from a Walker Cup selection perspective this major event is raising more questions than answers for the USGA. All of the leading U.S. players either crashed out in stroke play or in match play round 1.

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The ‘Sweet 16’ Match Play Qualifiers (Photo: Western Amateur) 

ME.

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1st August 2019

Davis THOMPSON (USA) 67 68 65 67 (-13) secured Stroke Play Qualifying medalist honours by 4 shots from Eric BAE (USA) 69 69 67 66 (-9) and Daniel WETTERICH 66 68 69 68 (-9) on Day 3 of the Western Amateur Championship.

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Davis Thompson Receives The Cameron Eddy Trophy (Photo: Western Amateur) 

The 53 remaining competitors all played a further 36 holes today to determine the Sweet 16 match play field.

Here are the leading stroke play scores after 72 holes: –

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The Sweet 16 Qualifiers (Photo: Western Amateur / GolfGenius Scoring)

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) 70 70 70 73 (+3) missed the final match play cut finishing tied 44th.

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying Scores (Select ‘Round 4’)

ME.

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31st July 2019

Ben JONES (ENG) 74 69 (+3) T78 missed the first stroke play cut which was made at the close of play on Day 2.

53 competitors made the cut which is set at the leading 44 players and ties after 36 holes.

The remaining players now play a final 36 holes to determine the ‘Sweet 16’ match play qualifiers tomorrow.

Defending champion Cole HAMMER (USA) also failed to advance to Day 3. His rounds of 72 and 69 left him on +1 which proved to be 1-shot too many.

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying Scores (Select ‘Round 2’)

ME.

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29th July 2019

The 117th Western Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan in the Unites States.

The Western Amateur is one of the world’s leading amateur golf tournaments. Only the U.S. Amateur Championship and the Amateur Championship could be considered more prestigious.

Put simply The Western has history and tradition, strong entry procedures, the best format and arguably the best trophies in all of amateur golf.

The Championship is run by the Western Golf Association (WGA). The WGA were established in 1899 and appropriately set up their headquarters in the town of Golf, Illinois. In addition to the Western Amateur the WGA also run the Western Junior Championship (since 1914) and the BMW Championship, the second oldest professional tournament in the U.S.A.

The event sits uncomfortably in the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golf calendar, coming at the height of the European season. Despite the small number of GB&I entries normally seen the event is of such standing that it is always worthy of our attention, particularly in Walker Cup years from a U.S.A. team selection perspective.

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Field

156 players are exempted or invited to compete. Free to choose whichever ranking it wishes the WGA uses the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) to assess exemptions (top 175).

In 2018 more players in the Top 300 of the SPWAR competed in the Western Amateur (113) than in both the U.S. Amateur (103) and the Amateur Championship (103). That is despite the two major Championships having much larger fields, 312 and 288 players respectively.

Ben JONES (ENG) and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) are the only entries from GB&I this year. Jones is playing for the second time whilst Lumsden debuts despite having been a

student at nearby Northwestern University in Chicago for the last few years.

2019 Draw

Click here to view the 2019 Western Amateur Championship’s – SP Qualifying Startsheet

Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. (Photo: Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. Website)

For more information take a look at the Championship website – www.thewesternamateur.com

Format

Not only is the field often the strongest in amateur golf the current format, which was first adopted in 1961, is arguably the best of any amateur tournament in the world. It certainly offers a thorough examination of the players.

All of the field start by playing 18 holes of stroke play on each of the first two days.

A 36 hole cut to the low 44 scores and ties is then made.

The remaining players then play a further 36 holes of stroke play on Day 3.

At the end of 72 holes the low 16 finishers progress to the match play stage. A sudden death play off is used to separate those players tied for 16th place.

The “Sweet Sixteen” then play match play over the final two days of competition, the finalists having to play two matches on each day.

2019 Venue

Point O’ Woods G. & C.C., located in Benton Harbor, southwest Michigan has long been associated with the Western Amateur Championship having previously held the event 40 times. Firstly in 1963, then in 1965 before becoming its permanent home between 1971-2008.

Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. (Photo: Point O’ Woods G. & C.C. Website)

Point O’ Woods was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened for play in June 1958.

The course plays 7,075 yards from the Championship tees and has a par of 70 (72 for the members). It is protected by tree lined fairways and large, undulating greens. The two nines are similar in length with both playing to a par of 35 (36).

2018 Western Amateur

Last year 18 year old Cole HAMMER (USA) beat Davis RILEY (USA) by 1 Hole to become the 116th Western Amateur champion at Sunset Ridge C.C.

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Cole Hammer With The Cameron Eddy Trophy (SP) and George R. Thorne Trophy (MP) (Photo: Western Amateur)

Hammer had to work hard for the title, playing a record equalling 76 holes of match play in addition to the stroke play qualifying. In an outstanding performance Hammer led from the front for virtually the whole Championship. He was co-medalist, with Sam STEVENS (USA), in the stroke play qualifying, with both players producing a superb 261 (-23) total for the 72 holes. Hammer’s total also included a new course record 61 in Round 3 which included 10 unblemished birdies on the par 71 Sunset Ridge course.

Only two GB&I players competed last year, Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) and Ben JONES (ENG). McKenzie recorded scores of 71 and 69 (-2) to lie tied 68th whilst Jones’ 74 and 72 (+4) saw him sitting in tied 132nd when the first stroke play qualifying cut fell.

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

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

History and Other Past Winner’s

The Western Amateur was founded in 1899 and the 2019 event will be its 117th playing. It is the third-oldest amateur championship in the world.

As the various photos in this article show the trophies certainly match the history and prestige of the event.

Virtually all of the great names in U.S. golf have competed in and in many cases won the Western Amateur.

There has never been a GB&I winner albeit Florida-based Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) went close in 2016 at Knollwood C.C. Sam won the stroke play qualifying by 9 shots (63, 75, 67, 64 / -15) before losing to Dylan MEYER (USA) 3&1 in the Final.

Here’s a selection of former winners: –

Last 6 Years

2018 Cole Hammer – Sunset Ridge C.C.
2017 Norman Xiong – Skokie C.C.
2016 DylanMeyer – Knollwood Club
2015 Dawson Armstrong – Rich Harvest Farms
2014 BeauHossler – The Beverly C.C.
2013 JordanNiebrugge – The Alotian Club

Others

Jamie Lovemark – 2005 (youngest winner at 17 years, 6 months and 8 days).
Ryan Moore – 2004.
Tiger Woods – 1994.

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Tiger Woods (Photo: Western Amateur)

Justin Leonard – 1992 and 1993 (1991 Runner-Up).
Phil Mickelson – 1991.

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Phil Mickelson (Photo: Western Amateur) 

Chris DiMarco – 1988.
Scott Verplank – 1985.
Hal Sutton – 1979 and 1980. 
Bobby Clampett – 1978
Andy Bean – 1975
Curtis Strange – 1974.
Ben Crenshaw – 1973.
Andy North – 1971.
Lanny Wadkins – 1970. 
Steve Melnyk – 1969. 
Tom Weiskopf – 1963.
Jack Nicklaus – 1961. 
Tommy Aaron – 1960.
Dr. Ed Updegaff – 1957 and 1959. 
Charles Coe – 1950. 
Frank Stranahan – 1946, 1949, 1951 and 1952 (4).
Marvin Ward – 1940, 1941 and 1947. 
Charles Yates – 1925.
Don Moe – 1929 and 1931.
Francis Ouimet – 1917.
Chick Evans – 1909, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1920, 1921, 1922 and 1923 (8). 
H. Chandler Egan  – 1902, 1904, 1905 and 1907 (4).  

Bobby Jones first played in 1917 when he was just 15. He reached the match play stage before losing in Round 1 (32) to Daniel ‘Ned’ Sawyer. He played for the second time in 1920 where he was medalist before losing to Chick Evans in the semi-finals (36 holes in those days).

Future Venues

The Western Amateur will be staged at the following clubs over the next four years: –
2020 – Crooked Stick G.C., Carmel, Indiana
2021 – Glenview G.C., Golf, Indiana
2022 – Exmoor C.C., Highland Park, Illinois

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The European Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

29th June 2019

Matthias SCHMID (GER) finished the job off at the European Amateur today. A final round 70 took him to a 273 (-15) total and a comfortable 3 shot victory. Well done Matthias !

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Matthias Schmid (Photo: European Golf Association)

Euan WALKER (SCO), confirming his status as Great Britain & Ireland’s No. 1 player, shot a 66 (-6) in the final round to move up to solo 2nd on -12.

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Euan Walker’s Scorecard (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Ben JONES (ENG) 68 and Joe LONG (ENG) 74 finished the Championship on -9 tied for 3rd place. Jones collected the bronze medal based on last 36 holes count back.

It was also another good week for Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) 69 who finished tied 6th on -8.

Lytham Trophy winner Josh MCMAHON (ENG) -5 finished tied 13th which may help push him in to the next Walker Cup squad.

Harry HALL (ENG) will be disappointed with his tied 16th finish on -4. After a superb front nine of 31 (-5) he looked like pushing Schmid all the way home but sadly a returning 43 (+7) destroyed much of his excellent work over the preceding three and half days.

The ever consistent David LANGLEY (ENG) was the seventh and last GB&I player to finish in the top 20. A late double bogey on the 16th took the edge off his closing 70 today.

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European Amateur Championship Leading Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Victor VEYRET (FRA) recorded the lowest round of the day with a 65 (-7) which included an outward 29 (-7) with 7 successive birdies on holes 2 – 8.

Click here to view the full – 2019 European Amateur Championship Results

ME.

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28th June 2019

Matthias SCHMID (GER) jumped to the head of affairs after posting a 63 (-9) on Day 3. His round was the best of the week so far and three shots better than the two opening round 66’s. The Louisville University player has been showing up regularly on leaderboards in recent weeks so to see him leading now on 203 (-13) is no surprise.

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Matthias Schmid’s Scorecard (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Joe LONG (ENG) is tied 2nd on 205 (-11). His 68 today included an impressive front nine of 31.

Euan WALKER (SCO) moved through the field with his own 68 in Round 3 and is now tied 5th on -6. Harry HALL (ENG) struggled a bit but contained the damage to a 74 and sits alongside the Scotsman well placed to attack tomorrow.

Ben JONES (ENG), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) are all placed on -5 in tied 8th.

Other GB&I players to make the cut included Josh MCMAHON (ENG) -4 tied 13th, Jamie STEWART (SCO) -2 tied 18th, Sandy SCOTT (SCO), Jake BOLTON (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) all -1 tied 21st, Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) +1, Tom PLUMB (ENG) both +1 tied 36th, Tom SLOMAN (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG), Conor PURCELL (IRE) all +2 tied 49th and finally Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) and Tom THURLOWAY (ENG) both +3 tied 55th.

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) showed his class bouncing back with a 68 to make the cut after yesterday’s freak 85.

61 players, 19 of whom are from Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I), made the top 60 and ties cut which fell at +3.

The average score in Round 3 was 73.67 (+1.67), better than yesterday but still higher than on Day 1.

ME.

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27th June 2019

Harry HALL (ENG) now leads the European Amateur after second 68 moved him onto -8 for the Championship.

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Harry Hall’s Scorecard (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Jerry JI (NED), Joe LONG (ENG) and overnight leader Blake WINDRED (AUS) are all tied 2nd on -7.

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Joe Long’s Scorecard (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE), now tied 19 on -2, and David LANGLEY (ENG), now tied 32 on -1, matched Hall’s best of the day 68.

Other GB&I players going well include Jamie STEWART (SCO) -5 tied 5th, Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) -3 tied 10th, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Connor MCKINNEY (SCO), Euan WALKER (SCO), Ben JONES (ENG) and Josh MCMAHON (ENG) all -2 tied 19th.

Rasmus NEERGAARD-PETERSEN (DEN) produced the shot of the day. A hole-in-one on the 185 yard par 3 2nd hole.

The other Round 1 leader Daniel HILLIER (NZL) shot an 85 (+13) today, the worse score of Day 2 by 4-shots and 19 shots higher than his first effort. He is now up against it to make the 54 hole cut.

The average score in Round 2 was 74.30 (+2.30), 1.33 shots higher than in Round 1 due to stronger winds. The players found the back nine much harder on Day 2 with the average score rising to 37.43 from 36.30.

ME.

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26th June 2019

Blake WINDRED (AUS) and Daniel HILLIER (NZL) lead the European Amateur Championship in Austria after first round 66’s (-6). Windred had 6 unblemished birdies whilst Hillier had seven offset by a single bogey on the 206 yard par 3 14th.

Joe LONG (ENG), Mark POWER (IRE), Conor MCKINNEY (SCO) and Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) are tied 3rd alongside Germany’s Matthias SCHMID (GER) on 67 (-5).

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GB&I Round 1 Leading Scorecards (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Harry HALL (ENG), Jamie STEWART (SCO), Joshua MCMAHON (ENG) and Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) are in a group of 12 players on -4 in tied 8th. Hall matched Long’s sparkling 30 on the back nine to more than recover from a slow start.

The average score in Round 1 was 72.97 (+0.97); 36.67 (+0.67) on the front nine and 36.30 (+0.30) on the back. There were 10 eagles on Day 1 including a 2 from Tim WIDING (SWE) on the 338 yard par 4 13th. Harry Hall and Takumi KANAYA (JAP) both had 8 birdies in their opening rounds.

ME.

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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, Austria, 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.

There are 39 GB&I players competing in Austria. Amateur champion James SUGRUE (IRE) was originally entered in the Golf Union of Ireland squad but withdrew late last week. Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) had also entered but again was a late withdrawal.

In total 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) #67, 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

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 6,766m 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. Tom MCKIBBIN (IRE) played as an amateur invite in this tournament and returns this week.

It has staged a number of 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 being played at Royal Portrush G.C. in Northern Ireland in July.

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 in The Netherlands.

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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 the silver and bronze medals respectively, based on a last 36 and then 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

Rory McIlroy – 2006 Champion (Photo: EGA)

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, 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.

ME.

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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 © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.