My Review Of GB&I Men’s Amateur Golf In 2017

24th December 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 I thought I would record the more memorable performances that we have seen from Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golfers throughout the year.

When one reads through the months below it’s hard not to conclude that the year has generally been another successful one, with many highs and just a few lows.

An unusually large number of players have turned professional in the last 3 months (‘Amexit’) but I think we can take comfort from the positive signs already emanating from the next generation of players coming through.

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JANUARY

The year started with various touring parties heading off to events in the Southern Hemisphere.

Evan GRIFFITH (quarter finals) and Robert MACINTYRE (semi-finals) enjoyed good runs in the Australian Men’s Amateur.

Jack DAVIDSON and Conor O’ROURKE finished 4th and tied 7th at the South American Amateur in Argentina.

Jack SINGH BRAR and Bradley MOORE finished 2nd and 3rd in the Avondale Amateur in Australia.

FEBRUARY

Scott GREGORY delivered GB&I’s first major win of 2017, beating compatriot Marco PENGE by 1 hole in the Final of the New South Wales Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd), Dan BROWN (3rd), Liam JOHNSTON (5th) and Craig HOWIE (7th) made good starts to their seasons with high finishes in the South African Stroke Play Championship.

Back in Europe Josh MCMAHON (2nd), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (T4), David BOOTE (T4) and Bailey GILLGeorge BLOOR and Tiarnan MCLARNON (T7) all showed early season form at the Portuguese International Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd) lost a play-off to South African star Garrick Higgo in the Cape Province Open.  Stuart GREHAN and Alex GLEESON finished T4 in the same event whilst Craig HOWIE was T9.

Dan BROWN (-15) was co-medalist in the South African Amateur. Dan sadly lost the play-off for the Proudfoot Trophy on the 4th extra hole albeit his second round 63 at Humewood GC will no doubt live long in his memory. He was 6-under after his first 5 holes having eagled two par 4’s. Liam JOHNSTON and Joe LONG made the Quarter-Final when the Championship match play got going.

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Liam Johnston (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

Liam JOHNSTON didn’t have to wait much longer to get his name up in lights. The following week he went on to win the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek CC. In a good week for Scottish Golf Connor SYME (2nd), Jamie STEWART (3rd) and Craig HOWIE (5th) also finished high up.

Ben AMOR (ENG) turned Pro in February.

MARCH

Jack DAVIDSON got the European season underway by winning the Spanish International Amateur. Interestingly Jack was the final stroke play qualifier after Chris MACLEAN had pipped Stuart GREHAN to medalist honours. Nevertheless he soon got to grips with EL Saler ultimately beating Marco PENGE 4&3 in the 36 hole final.

In an event with little GB&I support David HAGUE popped up with a T7 result at the Italian International Amateur. Even more surprisingly Sean CROCKER the highly rated US College golfer turned up and ended up winning the Championship comfortably by 5 shots.

A superb opening day’s play from Bailey GILL, where he shot two 65’s, helped the Yorkshireman literally blow the field away at the subsequently weather shortened Darwin Salver.

Scott GREGORY re-affirmed his match play credentials with an impressive 1st Extra Hole win over Australia’s 2016 US Amateur champion Curtis LUCK in the pre-Masters Georgia Cup match.

APRIL

WALES, represented by David BOOTEJack DAVIDSONJoshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, won the European Nations Cup Team competition at RCG Sotogrande in Spain. WALES’ total of +13 was 11 shots better than second placed IRELAND (+24) and 21 shots better than fourth placed SCOTLAND (+34). An out of sorts ENGLAND (+61) finished a disappointing 12th.

Jack DAVIDSON won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots. Rounds of 70, 70, 70 and 73 (-5), which included 20 birdies and 2 eagles, gave him his second major title in less than a month.

Charlie STRICKLAND, who was runner-up to Bailey GILL at the Darwin Salver, then came to the fore, winning two 72 hole events in consecutive weeks. First came the Duncan Putter – which will be moving to three days at Southerndown in 2018 – and quickly following it up with the U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy at my home club, Copt Heath.

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Charlie Strickland with Peter McEvoy (Photo: @GolfBible)

The 2016 US Mid-Amateur champion, Stewart HAGESTAD, won the Silver Cup at The Masters following rounds of 74, 73, 74 and 73 (+6). His tied 36th finish saw him comfortably win low amateur honours. Our Amateur champion, Scott GREGORY, missed the cut after rounds of 82 and 75 (+13).

The Scottish Boys Open Championship, disappointingly scheduled directly against the Peter McEvoy Trophy, was won in style by John PATERSON who came past runner-up Jamie STEWART at Monifieth with an exceptional final round of 67.

The Hampshire Salver again proved a popular weekend for competitors. Jack SINGH BRAR won Saturday’s Selborne Salver and Jake BURNAGE Sunday’s Hampshire Hog at North Hants. Singh Brar beat Burnage by 1shot for the combined 72 hole Hampshire Salver.

Up in Scotland Craig HOWIE, the clear favourite at the start of play, dominated the Craigmillar Park Open shooting rounds of 66, 66, 66 and 67 (-15) and winning by 8 shots.

Barry ANDERSON won the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo beating Jack PIERSE 3&2 in the Final. Earlier Conor O’ROURKE had edged out fellow Naas member Jonathan YATES to secure medallist honours in the 36 hole stroke play qualifier.

Chile’s Joaquin NIEMANN started his rise to the top of the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking by winning the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the United Sates.

Owen EDWARDS (-3) won the West of England Stroke Play after a strong final day’s play at Saunton left him as the only player under par. David HAGUE (+1) was 2nd and Will POOLE (+3) tied 3rd.

On the same weekend Connor SYME won the Battle Trophy at Crail. Despite giving the field a chance with a final round 79 the Drumoig man still won by 5 shots.

Meanwhile in South Wales Matthew HARRIS won the Carmarthenshire Open at Ashburnham and Callum MORRIS the Golden Eagle at Tenby. However, it was Luke HARRIES who won the Trubshaw Cup for the best 72 hole score over the weekend.

MAY

May saw the focus return to Great Britain and Ireland with our leading amateur events now starting to be played.

Jack SINGH BRAR won the Lytham Trophy helped in no small part by a superb first round of 68 achieved in strong winds when the rest of the elite field struggled (CSS 79). Charlie STRICKLAND and Jake BURNAGE finished 2nd and 3rd in what proved to be a very good week for England Golf with 7 of the top 10 coming from the home nation.   

Just down the road George RAITT and Conor GOUGH finished 2nd and tied 3rd respectively in the Boys’ Fairhaven Trophy. However, Sweden’s Ludvig ABERG was in a class of his own that week winning by 9 shots.

Having come close in the West of England a few weeks’ earlier Will POOLE found Kent’s links courses even more to his liking winning the South East of England Links Championship.

Peter O’KEEFFE won the Irish Open Amateur Championship holding off a strong field at Royal County Down GC. A posse of English and Scottish players made Peter work for it with Chris MACLEAN and Tom SLOMAN ultimately finishing 3 shots back in tied 5th.

David HAGUE won the Lagonda Trophy by 12 shots. An astonishing 62 63 final day finish on the 6,367 yards par 70 Old Course blitzing the field.

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David Hague (Photo: Kevin Diss)

Josh HILLEARD won the Murat Cup at the French International Amateur beating the home junior Pierre PINEAU on the second play-off hole. Both players came through the field in the final round of the 72 hole contest at Chantilly; Hilleard shooting 64 and Pineau 66.

In what proved to be a successful weekend for England Golf Gian-Marco PETROZZI secured the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play title at The Vale Resort. Gian-Marco (-13) won by 9 shots from fellow Staffordshire player Jack GAUNT (-4) and local favourites Jack DAVIDSON (-3) and Owen EDWARDS (-1).

Woodhall Spa staged the 2017 Brabazon Trophy with South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE beating Jamie STEWARTJake BURNAGE and Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 shot to secure the prestigious English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play title and beautiful gold plated trophy.

In what proved to be a generally disappointing US Collegiate season for GB&I players Braden THORNBERRY won the NCAA Division 1 Individual Stroke Play before OKLAHOMA secured the Team title in the subsequent Match Play stage.

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) turned Pro in May 2017.

JUNE

June started with England’s Max MARTIN picking up the Welsh Open Youths Championship at Prestatyn.

Liam JOHNSTON won the Scottish Men’s Open Championship at Western Gailes, holding off an in form Matthew JORDAN (2nd) by 2 shots and fellow Scottish Internationals Craig HOWIE (T3) and Connor SYME (5th).

The East of Ireland Amateur went to Reece BLACK whose final round 66 at County Louth was needed to hold off a fast finishing Robbie PIERSE (69).

Matthew JORDAN finally got the win his outstanding play in May and June deserved when he picked up the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Two late bogeys on the Old Course from Matthew enabled Ireland’s John Ross GALBRAITH, who birdied two of his last four, to finish 1 shot back, making the result tighter than it really should have been.

Somewhat ominously, given September’s Walker Cup match, USA ran out easy winners against Europe in the Arnold Palmer Cup played at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Driven on by unbeaten Doug GHIM, with Maverick MCNEALYCollin MORIKAWA and Norman XIONG all featuring, USA won easily 19.5 – 10.5. The Arnold Palmer Cup match moves to a new mixed format in France next July.

One of the highlights of the year was Harry ELLIS’ magnificent win in The Amateur Championship staged at Royal St. George’s and Princes in Kent. 4 Down with five holes to play Ellis somehow fought back, helped in no small part by Dylan PERRY bogeying four of these remaining holes. The Hampshire man ultimately won on the second extra hole when the Australian could do no better than a 6 on the par 4 2nd hole. The win secured Harry his place in history but also this year’s Open Championship and the GB&I Walker Cup team. With a trip to Augusta National in April 2018 still to come it really is the Championship that keeps on giving. A quick word also for medallist Caolan RAFFERTY whose 62 on Day 2 at Prince’s, even with a bogey on the last, was one of the amateur stroke play rounds of the year.

Ben JONES won the U18 Boys Sir Henry Cooper Masters by 10 shots at Nizels G&CC, separating himself from his peers after a 9-under, bogey free, 63 in round 3. In a stellar year for the competition the outstanding Lily May HUMPHRIES won the Girls event by 12 shots.

The 2017 Berkshire Trophy was won by Adam LUMLEY who finished on -18, 7 shots ahead of JACK CLARKSONDavid HAGUE and Billy MACKENZIE finished tied 3rd.

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Mark Power (Photo: Castleroy GC)

Mark POWER retained his Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship title at Castleroy GC, the first person to do so since Paul Dunne a few years ago. He and England’s Jack COPE finished on -5 before Mark ended a topsy-turvy three hole play off in style by holing a 129 yard wedge on the 18th.

Kevin LE BLANC (IRE) turned Pro in June.

JULY

July 1st saw Alfie PLANT memorably win the European Men’s Amateur at Walton Heath GC. A near tap-in birdie on the 72nd hole helped the man from Kent draw level on -15 with Lorenzo SCALISE and defending Luca CIANCHETTI, helped in no small part by both Italians bogeying the same hole. With a place in The Open Championship on the line Plant went on to birdie the Old Course’s 2nd hole, winning the sudden death play off on the fifth extra hole.

 

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 Alfie Plant (Photo: GolfBible)

Greg DALZIEL won the Scottish Boys Amateur Championship at Scotscraig, beating Australian-based Josh GREER by 1 hole in the Final.

A week later The Scottish Boys U16 Open Championship at Fairmont Kittocks went to 13 year old Calum SCOTT, younger brother of Scottish Men’s International Sandy.  Josh GREER finished tied 2nd four shots back. Equally of note were the 7th and tied 12th place finishes of Max HOPKINS and Aidan O’HAGAN, new names that would come to mean more as the year unfolded.

The North of Ireland Championship was played at Royal Portrush GC with Caolan RAFFERTY winning the stroke play qualifier on -10. Caolan fell to Colin FAIRWEATHER in the semi-finals before Rowan LESTER beat Colin by 2 holes in the final.

DENMARK won the European Boys Team Championship at La Manga beating SPAIN 4-3 in the Final. ENGLAND (T4) and IRELAND (8th) both qualified for Flight A but found little success in their three matches.

ENGLAND (1st)SCOTLAND (5th) and IRELAND (6th) all made Flight A in the Men’s European Amateur Team Championship which was played concurrently with the Boys’ at Diamond CC in Austria. In a closely fought match SPAIN beat ENGLAND 4-3 in the final.

Estonia’s Joonas TURBA was something of a surprise winner at the MacGregor Trophy (Boys’ U16 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English propsects Max HOPKINS and Robin WILLIAMS were second and third respectively.

Noah GOODWIN (USA) beat Matthew WOLFF (USA) 1Up in the final of the US Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National GC in Kansas.

Alfie PLANT collected the Silver Medal for the low amateur at The Open Championship after rounds of 71, 73, 69 and 73 (+6) secured a T62 at Royal Birkdale GC. Connor SYME (73 76, +9) and Harry ELLIS (77 75, +12) both missed the cut.

Jake BURNAGE beat a fast finishing Jack YULE to win the South East of England Amateur Championship played on the New and Old Courses at Walton Heath GC. The Club have recently announced that the event will be renamed as The Walton Heath Trophy from 2018.

img_4962Jake Burnage (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrea ROMANO from Italy beat France’s Jean BEKIRIAN in a play-off to secure the Carris Trophy (Boys’ U18 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English trio Jack COPETaylor STOTE and Robin WILLIAMS all finished in the Top 5 at West Sussex GC.

Conor GOUGH (-5, 7th), Barclay BROWN (+1 T14), Lily May HUMPHRIES (-2, 1st) and Annabell FULLER (Ev, T3) collectively won the Team title at the European Young Masters with a -12 total score in Oslo.

The 2017 South of Ireland Open Championship was won by James SUGRUE at Lahinch. After the North champion Rowan LESTER had won the 36 hole stroke play qualifier James worked his way through a strong field before beating Conor O’ROURKE 3&2 in the final.

AUGUST

Evan GRIFFITH dominated stroke play qualifying in the Wales Amateur Championship at Aberdovey GC with two rounds of 68 and 64 (-10) seeing him achieve medalist honours by an impressive 6 shots. However, Wales’ player of the year Jack DAVIDSON got the better of him in a tight semi-final before going on to beat Tim HARRY in the 36 hole final by 8&7.

The Scottish Amateur was played at Prestwick and was won by Sam LOCKE. Sandy SCOTT and Calum FYFE were the leading qualifiers. LOCKE played superbly in the match play stage ultimately beating Ryan LUMSDEN 9&8 in the 36 hole final.

The English Men’s Amateur was contested at The Berkshire. The story from the stroke play stage was medalist’s David LANGLEY’s superb 61 on the Blue Course on Day 1. However, it was Todd CLEMENTS who prevailed in the match play eventually beating Jack GAUNT 2&1 in the final.

Like the Brabazon Trophy earlier in the year it was a South African who won the Reid Trophy, awarded to the winner of the English Boy’s U14 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Casey JARVIS (-4) held off fast finishing Spaniard Jose BALLESTER at the Manchester GC. For those looking for potential GB&I stars of the future Rory MCDONALD-O’BRIEN (ENG), George DURKAN (ENG), Joshua HILL (IRE), Joseph BYRNE (IRE) and Jack BIGHAM (ENG) all finished in the top 10.

ENGLAND won The Boys’ Home Internationals at St. Anne’s Old Links. Toby BRIGGS, Conor GOUGH, Joe PAGDIN and Robin WILLIAMS all compiled W5 L1 H0 records during the week. Whilst SCOTLAND came last they did provide the highlight of the week; the unbeaten foursomes pairing of 13 year olds Calum SCOTT and Aiden O’HAGEN.

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 Calum Scott and Aiden O’Hagen (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrew WILSON (-4), the only player to finish under par for the 72 holes and helped on his way by a 62 in round 1, won the Lee Westwood Trophy at Rotherham GC. Charlie THORNTON and Olly HUGGINS (Ev) were tied 2nd.

IRELAND continued their superb run at the Men’s Home Internationals winning the Raymond Trophy for a fourth consecutive year at Moortown GC in England. Caolan RAFFERTY (W5 L1 H0), Paul MCBRIDE (W4 L0 H1) and Colin FAIRWEATHER (W4 L1 H0) starred in a strong team performance.

The 2017 Boys’ Amateur Championship was played at Nairn GC and Nairn Dunbar GC. Home player Darren HOWIE (-8) was medallist with Alex FITZPATRICK (-7) tied 2nd and Danny DANIELS (-6) tied 4th. However, it was Portugal’s Pedro LENCART SILVA, who had qualified in tied 6th on -4, who came through the match play stage to win. He beat defending champion Falko HANISCH (GER) 5&4 in the 36 hole final.

Played at the magnificent Riviera CC and Bel-Air CC’s in Los Angeles Doc REDMAN won the U.S. Amateur Championship in stunning fashion. Hayden WOOD (-9) achieved medallist honours in the stroke play qualifying. Jack SINGH BRAR (-2) T8 led the way for GB&I, with Connor SYME and Robert MACINTYRE (both +2) T35 following him into the match play stage. Syme went furthest at Riviera ending up losing 2&1 in the quarter finals to Doug GHIM. Ghim went on to reach the final where he found himself 2Up with two to play and just over the back of the green in two on the par 5 17th. With Redman just on the green in front of him easily 50 yards away from the hole he could be forgiven for thinking the Havemeyer Trophy was his and for allowing his mind to wander to the first tee of Augusta National in April 2018. Unfortunately the golfing gods stepped in. After Ghim had left his chip 6 feet short Redman stepped up and at pace holed the most amazing right to left downhill putt of the year, or for that matter almost any year, for eagle. Redman then followed it up with a superb birdie on the uphill 18th from 6 foot with Ghim only managing a scrambled par. With the match now All Square, Redman hit a perfect drive to the front of Riviera’s short 315 yard par 4 10th, the first extra hole. Visibly shocked at what was happening in front of him Ghim then hooked his drive and having hacked around for a while before securing a 6 conceded Redman the Championship. An unbelievable finish to amateur golf’s premier event.

The North of England U16 Boy’s Championship was won by Callum MACFIE at Pannal GC. Matthew JACKMAN was one back with Max HOPKINS a little further back in 3rd place.

The Irish U16 Boys Amateur Open Championship was played at Rockmount and was won by Mullingar’s Adam SMITH. Odhran MAGUIRE, the younger brother of Leona and Lisa, was 2nd.

Down at Sundridge Park GC Liam BURNS (-5) defenced the Waterford Trophy. A 67 66 final day finish was required by the man from Chiselhurst to hold off Nick PANTING by 1 shot.

The U16 Welsh Boys was won by Bryn THOMAS at Cradoc GC. Thomas’ final round of 67 helped him to a 9 shot victory over Tom PEET.

The Irish Amateur Close Championship was won by Jamie FLETCHER at Galway GC. Peter KERR and David BRADY were seeded 1st and 2nd after both recorded 138 (-2) in the stroke play stage. In a tight 18 hole final Fletcher beat David KITT by 1 hole.

Richard MANSELL (ENG), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Marco PENGE (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG) all turned Pro in August.

SEPTEMBER

The CONTINENT OF EUROPE won the annual Jacques Léglise Trophy U18 Boys’ match against GB&I at Ballybunion GC by 15.5 – 9.5. Unbeaten pair Pedro LENCART SILVA (W3-L0-H1) and Eduard ROUSARD SABATE (SWE) helped the away side to a second successive win. Ben JONES (W2-L1-H1) and Robin WILLIAMS (W2-L1-H0) put up the best defence for GB&I.

The Walker Cup result was an even more sobering experience for GB&I the following week. Craig WATSON had to step down as GB&I captain on the eve of the match but with Andy INGRAM a very capable deputy I am sure this in no way contributed to what followed at Los Angeles Country Club. Whilst the final result was not unexpected the manner of the 17-9 defeat was. Only Jack SINGH BRAR (W3-L1-H0), Robert MACINTYRE (W1-L1-H1) and Scott GREGORY (W2-L1-H1) really came away with any credit from the match. From the USA side Captain Spider Miller had clearly learned a few lessons from Royal Lytham in 2015 and backed up by superb performances from Doug GHIM, Maverick MCNEALY, Colin MORIKAWA, (all W4-L0-H0) and Norman XIONG (W3-L0-H1) the one sided result felt inevitable as soon as the Day 1 singles were concluded.

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The USA Walker Cup Team (Photo: GolfBible)

Ben JONES won The Duke of York Champions Trophy at Royal Liverpool GC by 8 shots from Sweden’s Oscar TEIFFEL. John PATERSON, who shot a 69 in round 2, the best of the week, finished 7th.

David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG) Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Tom GANDY (ENG), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Cameron LONG (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO), Will WHITEOAK (ENG) and Jack YULE (ENG) all turned Pro in September.

OCTOBER

David HAGUE (+1) won the North of England Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship at Alwoodley GC. Andrew Wilson (+3) was 2nd with Harry GODDARD and Nick POPPLETON (+4) tied 3rd.

Joshua DAVIES (WAL), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Colin FAIRWEATHER (IRE), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) all turned Pro in October.

NOVEMBER

A birdie, eagle finish helped China’s LIN YUXIN to the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship title at Royal Wellington GC in New Zealand. We can therefore look forward to seeing him in action at The Masters in 2018.

14 year old Max HOPKINS (-2) became the youngest ever winner of the Boys’ Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship at Quinta do Lago in Portugal. Ben JONES (+1) was 2nd and Alfie FOX (+3) 3rd.

Jamie CLARE (ENG), John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) and Chris MACLEAN (SCO) all turned Pro in November.

Sam HORSFIELD won the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Spain. His final -27 score, with all six rounds in the 60’s and a best of the day final round of 63 (-8), saw him win the 108 hole event by an impressive 8 shots. Amongst the other players to pick up a 2018 Tour card were Connor SYME, who finished tied 9th on -17 and Jonathan THOMSON, who finished tied 18th on -14.

DECEMBER

Ben JONES (-12) finished tied 2nd at the South Beach International Amateur in Miami. In an event which enjoyed the 5th strongest field of the year it was also pleasing to see Harry HALL (-7) and Joe PAGDIN (-4) record impressive results; tied 10th and tied 19th respectively.

Ben JONES finished tied 28th at the Boy’s Junior Orange Bowl Championship in Miami, 22 shots behind runaway winner Jerry JI from The Netherlands. Lily May HUMPHRIES enhanced her growing reputation by winning the Girls event by 9 shots.

Mason OVERSTREET (USA) won The Patriot All-America in Arizona. The six GB&I players struggled to make an impression with George BURNS (T38) recording the best finish.

Josh HILLEARD (ENG) turned Pro earlier in the month.

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If you want to review the detailed results of any of the above competitions then please take a look at the GolfBible Results Page where you will be able to find links to nearly all of those mentioned above.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

European Tour Q-School – 2017 First Stage Preview & Results

September / October 2017

The First Stage QSchool Results can be found at the bottom of this article.

The 2017 European Tour Qualifying School started on Tuesday 12th September.

A new Far East First Stage Qualifying competition had been scheduled to be played at Saujana G&CC in Malaysia on 5th September. However, the Tour cancelled this on 23rd August due to a lack of interest.

The First Qualifying Stage consisted of eight separate 72-hole events which were split into four Sections, A, B, C and D. The final Section D events of the series came to a conclusion on 6th October.

There were 54-hole cuts at each of these Qualifiers. Only those players who were within 7 shots of the final allocated qualifying place at this point played the final rounds.

2017 saw a record First Stage entry with a total of 838 competitors signing up. 45 countries were represented with England contributing the most with 211 players.

The leading five Q-School entrants as at 23rd August 2017, up to a limit of 15th place, in the World Amateur Golf Rankings were exempted into the Second Stage. This year Scott GREGORY (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) were therefore not required to contest the First Stage.

The European Tour Q-School entrance fee is €1,800. Each First Stage Qualifier has a prize fund of €5,000 with the winner being allocated €1,800.

At the end of the series 176 players were allocated places in Second Stage. That’s 21% of the entries received.

The Second Qualifying Stage consists of four separate 72-hole events that will be played concurrently in Spain on 3rd-6th November 2017.

The Final Qualifying Stage consists of 108 holes at Lumine GC which has taken over from PGA Catalunya Resort this year. This competition will be played on 11th-16th November 2017.

As in previous years I am following the Q-School series, specifically focussing on the amateur and recently turned pro entries from Great Britain & Ireland.

Check out all the First Stage results below: –

European Tour QS

FIRST QUALIFYING STAGE RESULTS

SECTION D – BOGOGNO GOLF CLUB, ITALY (3-6 October)

QUALIFIED (24 players at -7 or better)

No GB&I AM / new PRO qualifiers

DID NOT QUALIFY

Richard MANSELL (ENG)  T25 (-6)
Seb CROOKALL-NIXON (ENG)  T83 MC
Owen EDWARDS (WAL)  T96 MC

Click here for the full – Bogogno Q-School Results

SECTION D – FRILFORD HEATH GC, ENGLAND (3-6 October)

QUALIFIED (20 players at -2 or better)

Joe DEAN (ENG)  3rd (-7)
Colin FAIRWEATHER (NI)  T5 (-4)
David BOOTE (WAL)  T10 (-3)
Sam HORSFIELD (ENG)  T10 (-3)
Dermot MCELROY (IRE)  T10 (-3)
Jonathan THOMSON (ENG)  T19 (-2)
Henry SHERIDAN-MILLS (ENG)  T19 (-2)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) AM  T21 (-1)
Conor O’ROURKE (IRE)  T21 (-1)
Paul KINNEAR (ENG)  T24 (Ev)
Adam CHAPMAN (ENG)  T29 (+1)
Alex STUBBS (ENG) AM  T29 (+1)
Billy SPOONER (ENG)  T37 (+3)
Craig LAWRIE (SCO)  T42 (+4)
Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) AM  T42 (+4)
Travis SMYTH (AUS) AM  T49 (+5)
Dan BROWN (ENG) AM  T58 (+7)
Tomasz ANDERSON (ENG)  T65 MC
Cameron MORALEE (RSA) AM  T65 MC
Stuart GREHAN (IRE)  T65 MC
Luke TURBETT AM  T71 MC
Patrick RUFF (ENG)  T73 MC
Ben AMOR (ENG)  T79 MC
Freddie SHERIDAN-MILLS (ENG)  T92 MC
Kevin LE BLANC (IRE)  97th MC

Click here for the full – Frilford Heath Q-School Results

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SECTION C – HARDELOT, FRANCE (26-29 September)

QUALIFIED (21 players at -6 or better)

No GB&I AM / new Pro qualifiers

DID NOT QUALIFY

Ben ROBINSON (ENG)  T64 MC
Callum MACKAY (ENG) AM  T92 MC

Click here for the full – Hardelot Q-School Results

SECTION C – RIBAGOLFE, PORTUGAL (26-29 September)

QUALIFIED (24 players at -7 or better)

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG)  T3 (-12)
Jack DAVIDSON (WAL)   T9 (-10) 
Alfie PLANT (ENG)  T15 (-8)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Robin DAWSON (WAL) AM  T33 (-3)
Albert VENTER (RSA)  T51 (+2)
Jamie BOWER (ENG)  T78 MC

Click here for the full – Ribagolfe Q-School Results

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SECTION B – STOKE BY NAYLAND GOLF & SPA, ENGLAND (19-22 September)

QUALIFIED (20 players at -3 or better)

Dan BROWN (Yorkshire, ENG)  5th (-7)
Josh HILLEARD (ENG) AM  T6 (-6)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Ashton TURNER (ENG)  T21 (-2)
Will ENEFER (ENG)  T33 (+1)
James WALKER (ENG) AM  T33 (+1)
Evan GRIFFITH (WAL)  T43 (+3)
Jay BEISSER (ENG) AM  T45 (+4)
Oliver CLARKE (ENG)  T49 (+5)
Tom GANDY (IOM)  T52 (+6)
Jack YULE (ENG) AM  T60 (+10)
Lewis PEARCE (ENG) AM  T72 MC
Jordan FORSTER (ENG) AM  T84 MC
Delon HAU (ENG) AM  T94 MC

Click here for the full – Stoke By Nayland Q-School Results

SECTION B – EBREICHSDORF GC, AUSTRIA (19-22 September)

QUALIFIED (22 players at -4 or better)

No GB&I AM / new PRO qualifiers

Click here for the full – Ebreichsdorf Q-School Results

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SECTION A – FLEESENSEE G&CC, GERMANY (12-15 September)

QUALIFIED (23 players at -1 or better)

Craig ROSS (SCO)  T2 (-9)

Click here for the – Fleesensee Q-School Results

SECTION A – ROXBURGHE HOTEL & GC, SCOTLAND (12-15 September)

QUALIFIED (22 players at -5 or better)

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) AM  T4 (-9)
Craig HOWIE (SCO) AM  T8 (-7)
Jamie CLARE (ENG) AM  T8 (-7)
JR GALBRAITH (IRE) AM  T11 (-6)

DID NOT QUALIFY

Will WHITEOAK (ENG)  T27 (-3)
Sean TOWNDROW (ENG)  T47 (+2)
George BLOOR (ENG) AM  T76 MC
Tom DOLAN (ENG) AM  T76 MC
Chris MACLEAN (SCO) AM  T82 MC
Bradley MOORE (ENG)  T100 MC
Marco PENGE (ENG)  RETIRED AFTER RD 1 MC

Click here for the – Roxburghe Q-School Results

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2017 Preview, Daily Reports & Results

18th August 2017 – Day 3 

The Men’s Home Internationals came to a dramatic conclusion this afternoon at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds.

The Raymond Trophy was won by IRELAND. They drew the deciding match with ENGLAND 7.5 – 7.5 but in doing so pipped the home nation by a half point in total match points earned, 26.5 against 26.0.

Game 6 – IRELAND v. ENGLAND – Results

This was Ireland’s fourth consecutive victory in the event, a national record for them in the long history of this competition.

img_8391-1Ireland (Photo: Leaderboard Photography) 

Earlier in the day Wales beat Scotland 9.5 – 5.5, consigning the Scots to the wooden spoon.

Game 5 – WALES v. SCOTLAND – Results

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

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

Points Table (Photo: England Golf Event Microsite)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) and Jamie STEWART (SCO) were the ‘Most Valuable Players’ for the four competing countries as can be seen in the following analysis: –

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 19.18.01Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 19.19.11

ME.

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17th August 2017 – Day 2

Game 3 – IRELAND v. SCOTLANDResults

Ireland beat Scotland 10-5 to remain on course for a fourth consecutive Raymond Trophy win.

Ireland won the Foursomes 4-1, with only Ryan LUMSDEN and Euan WALKER able to come out on top for the Scots.  The Singles were much closer with the Irish narrowly winning the series 6-4.

Paul MCBRIDE followed up a morning Foursomes win with Conor O’ROURKE with a notable 5&4 against fellow Walker Cup hopeful Liam JOHNSTON.

Game 4 – WALES v. ENGLAND – Results

England beat Wales 9.5-5.5 to secure a winner takes all match against Ireland tomorrow.

Wales had the better of the Foursomes winning the series 3-2. However, England came back strongly in the afternoon Singles (7.5-2.5) to run out comfortable winners in the end.

Jack DAVIDSON beat Matthew JORDAN 3&2 in the top Singles game.

David HAGUE beat Llewellyn MATTHEWS 8&6 to remain the only player in the competition with a 100% Win record.

The Day 2 Points Table (Photo: England Golf Website)

ME.

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16th August 2017 – Day 1

Game 1 – IRELAND v. WALES – Results

Ireland overcame Wales 9-6 on Day 1 of the Men’s Home Internationals. Wales won the morning Foursomes series 3-2 but struggled in the Singles, losing 7-3.

Paul MCBRIDE, having won his morning Foursomes with Conor O’ROURKE, was rested in the afternoon presumably due to a minor injury.

Jack DAVIDSON beat Conor O’ROURKE 2&1 in the afternoon Singles.

Game 2 – ENGLAND v. SCOTLANDResults

England also beat Scotland 9-6. England took a 4-1 lead into the afternoon and looked for a while as if they may run away with the match but the Scots fought back to reduce the deficit to 3 points.

Craig HOWIE beat Dan BROWN by 1 hole whilst Matthew JORDAN halved with Liam JOHNSTON.

ME.

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12th August 2017 – Preview

The 2017 Men’s Home Internationals will be contested between 16th and 18th August at Moortown Golf Club near Leeds in England.

Ireland will travel to Yorkshire hoping to win the Raymond Trophy for a fourth consecutive year.

A competitive series of matches is guaranteed as all of the players will be looking to impress ahead of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team announcement which is expected to be made on 21st August.

Moortown Golf Club (Photo: Moortown GC)

The Competition

11-man teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales play against each other annually, taking it in turns to the host the event.

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

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

2017 Players

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

ENGLAND
Jack BURNAGE
Dan BROWN
Todd CLEMENTS
Jack GAUNT
David HAGUE
Josh HILLEARD
Matthew JORDAN
Bradley MOORE
Gian-Marco PETROZZI
Tom SLOMAN
Will WHITEOAK

IRELAND
Colm CAMPBELL
Robin DAWSON
Colin FAIRWEATHER
Alex GLEESON
John-Ross GALBRAITH
Rowan LESTER
Paul MCBRIDE
Peter O’KEEFFE
Conor O’ROURKE
Conor PURCELL
Colin RAFFERTY

img_8282The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

SCOTLAND
Matthew CLARK
Rory FRANSSEN
Craig HOWIE
Liam JOHNSTON
Sam LOCKE
Ryan LUMSDEN
Chris MACLEAN
Craig ROSS
Sandy SCOTT
Jamie STEWART
Euan WALKER

WALES
Ben CHAMBERLAIN
Jack DAVIDSON
Joshua DAVIES
Owen EDWARDS
Evan GRIFFITH
Jake HAPGOOD
Matthew HARRIS
Tim HARRY
Llewellyn MATTHEWS
Lewys SANGES
Tom WILLIAMS

It remains a frustration to followers of amateur golf that this prestigious international  match continues to be scheduled directly against the US Amateur Championship.

This year David BOOTE (WAL), Harry ELLIS (ENG), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Alfie PLANT (ENG) and Connor SYME (SCO) are all playing in the US Amateur, thus weakening their respective national teams and reducing the importance of this historic competition.

Moortown Golf Club

Founded in 1909 Moortown was designed by the famous golf course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie.

One of the finest inland golf courses in England it is noted for it’s large greens and superb bunkering.

The courses measures 6,980 yards from the Blue Championship tees, playing to a par of 71.

img_8280Moortown Golf Club Scorecard

Moortown hosted the 1929 Ryder Cup, the first on British soil, as well as many other professional tournaments between 1929 and 1986.

On the amateur circuit it has hosted the Boys’ Amateur Championship (1934, 1958, 1966 & 1972), the English Amateur Championship (1938, 1962, 1980 & 1994), the English Ladies Championship (1955), the Brabazon Trophy (1957, 1968, 1974, 1999 & 2009), the Ladies’ Home Internationals (1978), the Ladies’ British Amateur Open Stroke Play (1983 & 2015) and the Boys’ Home Internationals (2001).

2016 Men’s Home Internationals

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

img_9405

Ireland with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Kenny Smith)

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

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

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

I include below the Individual Performances Analysis from last year as much so we can reflect on who played as to how well each player did: –

1. IRELAND

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.22.57

2. ENGLAND

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.23.48

3. SCOTLAND

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.25.02

4. WALES

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 08.25.48

I am looking forward to this week’s competition and to some of the match ups, which may very well end up being unofficial Walker Cup deciders.

Good luck to all the players and teams.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

28th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE today celebrated his 20th birthday by winning the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and lifting the famous Brabazon Trophy.

Kyle shot 71 (-2) today with five birdies, including one on the last, offsetting three bogeys. His -10 score was good enough for a narrow 1-shot win.

He follows in the footsteps of four previous South African winners of the Brabazon Trophy – Neville Sundelson (1974), Richard Kaplan (1986), Craig Rivett (1989T) and Charl Schwartzel (2002).

img_7615

Kyle McClatchie (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

If that wasn’t enough the victory also took McClatchie to the top of the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR). He is the first South African to hold the No. 1 spot in this ranking. However, with the NCAA Division I National Championships currently being played this status is likely to be short lived (at least for the time being).

Jamie STEWART (SCO), Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all finished on -9 to tie for second place.

Jamie Stewart had a superb weekend shooting the lowest two scores on both days. He followed yesterday’s 67 (-6) with a 68 (-5) today. Having dropped two shots in his first three holes he reeled off 7 unblemished birdies over his remaining 15 holes. He will surely take huge confidence from a 5 birdie 32 on his finishing 9 holes.

Jake Burnage continued his rich vein of form too. Having finished 3rd at the Lytham Trophy he put together a very consistent 71, 70, 70 and 72 at Woodhall Spa. I was particularly impressed with his three birdies in a row finish in the heat of battle. He has moved up to 98th in the SPWAR and must now firmly be in the GB&I Walker Cup mix.

Jack Singh Brar also shot 72 for another excellent finish in 2017. He continues to look in complete control of both himself and his golf game.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) shot a final round 70 (-3) to finish 5th. He has now finished in the Top 10 at the Lytham Trophy, Irish Amateur Open and the Brabazon in the last month which clearly tells you he is starting to fulfil his potential and that he now sits firmly amongst our finest amateurs.

It was also good to see Dan BROWN (ENG) finish in 6th place after rounds of 72, 68, 75 and 72. Hopefully he can use this as momentum to put together a string of good results in the coming weeks.

David BOOTE (WAL) finished 7th and Connor SYME (SCO) tied 8th. Both started poorly today but showed their experience in grinding out good scores at the end of the day. Boote was 4-over after 5 holes before securing 4 birdies on the way back home to record a very creditable par 73. Syme (71) was 2-over after 3 holes before he turned his day around with 3 birdies and an eagle on the par 5 14th.

Both Boote and Syme will travel south tonight to Walton Heath GC to join the other three amateurs competing in tomorrow’s 36 hole US Open Sectional Qualifying event. Good luck to them all.

Click here to see the full Brabazon Trophy Results

ME.

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27th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

After another windy day at Woodhall Spa Jake BURNAGE (70), Jack SINGH BRAR (74) and Kyle MCCLATCHIE (75) share the 54 hole lead on -8.

The trio have a 4 shot lead over a group of five players on -4. Jamie STEWART (67) and Matthew JORDAN (68) produced the best two scores of the day to join David BOOTE (72), Conor O’ROURKE (72) and Dan BROWN (75) as the leading chasers.

Having played in Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Harry GODDARD‘s disrupted preparation and long journey up to Lincolnshire haven’t affected his performance. Rounds of 72, 70 and 74 (-3) have left him in striking distance with 18 holes to play.

David HAGUE (73 73 71 -2), who won the Laguna Trophy so impressively last week, continues to creep up the leaderboard too. He’ll start the final day in tied 12th place.

After his disappointing 78 in the opening round Connor SYME recorded his second successive 70 to move up to -1 and tied 16th place.

ME.

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26th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE matched the best round of the week (66) to move into the 36-hole lead on -10 on a pleasant but windy day at Woodhall Spa.

Craig ROSS (67) and Jack SINGH BRAR (70) are tied for 2nd place on -9.

Dan BROWN (68), Mitch WAITE (69) and Tom THURLOWAY (69) all enjoyed good days and went into the weekend nicely placed in the top 10.

A little further down the leaderboard just three other players broke 70 on Day 2. Rowan LESTER (67), David BOOTE (69) and Alisdair MCDOUGALL (69).

The 36 hole cut saw 63 players on +4 and lower qualify for the final 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday.

Ben CHAMBERLAIN (76 75 / +5) just missed the cut but left Lincolnshire with the consolation of having scored the Championship’s fifth hole-in-one on the 5th hole.

Josh HILLEARD (74 77 +5), Robin DAWSON (68 83 +5), Marco PENGE (79 73 +5), Owen EDWARDS (74 78 +6), Colm CAMPBELL (73 79 +6), Charlie STRICKLAND (75 80 +9), Charlie THORNTON (75 81 +10) and Liam JOHNSTON (79 77 +10) were amongst the more notable, in form players to miss the cut.

ME.

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25th May 2017 – Round 1 Report 

Playing in near perfect conditions a course record 66 (-7) gave Braintree’s Todd CLEMENTS the Round 1 lead at the Brabazon Trophy. His only bogey came on the par 4 2nd hole before he reeled off eight birdies including six on the back nine to finish with an inward score of just 31.

Clements’ 31 was matched by Jack SINGH BRAR the recent winner of the Lytham Trophy. Jack had just the one bogey in his round of 67 (-6) on the tough Woodhall Spa heathland course.

Frenchman Alexandre FUCHS (-6) is tied second having hit something of a purple patch on Woodhall’s fourth and fifth holes. His 2-1 scores, two eagles and four under the card, clearly went along way to making him the the early clubhouse leader in Round 1.

Robin DAWSON, Robert MACINTYRE and Jacob OAKLEY followed Fuchs in on the short 5th, playing 163 yards to a back pin. Amazingly four holes-in-one were recorded on this hole during round 1. Dawson and MacIntyre went on to deliver 68’s (-5) and therefore were tied 4th after Day 1.

Other players to make solid starts to this 72-hole stroke play championship included Craig ROSS (-3), George BLOOR (-3), Alfie PLANT (-2), James WALKER (-2), Jake BURNAGE (-2), Kevin LE BLANC (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), John Ross GALBRAITH (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-1), Jack DAVIDSON (-1), Daniel BROWN (-1) and Matthew JORDAN (-1) all of whom are nicely placed in the Top 25.

England international Bradley MOORE withdrew after 10 holes.

ME.

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21st May 2017

The English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Woodhall Spa Golf Club this coming week.

The 71st playing of this event takes place between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th May on the Lincolnshire Club’s Hotchkin Course.

img_7588

Woodhall Spa G.C. (Photo: WoodhallSpaGolf.com)

Format

The competition consists of 72 holes of stroke play golf with 18 holes being played each day.

A 36 hole cut will take place with only the leading 60 competitors and ties progressing to the two weekend rounds.

In the event of a tie for the Championship on Sunday, there will be a sudden death play off.

Field

150 competitors will start the 2017 Championship.

The 2017 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Brabazon Trophy Start Sheet.

88 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with 62 coming through a qualifying process.

Two Qualifying Competitions were held last week; the North at Sandiway G.C. in Cheshire and the South at Littlestone G.C. in Kent, with 31 players progressing from each one.

Sam BROADHURST (-5) of Atherstone G.C. was the medalist at Sandiway. Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Matt TURNER (-5) from Burnham & Berrow G.C. led the qualifiers at Littlestone. Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

16 of the 21 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad players will be competing at the Brabazon. These are David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG), Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Marco PENGE (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Connor SYME (SCO) and James WALKER (ENG).

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) had entered but withdrew before play commenced.

Barry HUME (SCO), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Scott GREGORY (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) are the four that are missing. Gregory is playing in The Memorial Tournament and US Open Championship in early June so has travelled over to USA this week.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), who by rights should also be in the Squad based on their 2017 performances, are also competing at Woodhall Spa.

Other players on show who have been doing well this year and could easily feature at the top of the scoreboard are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), David HAGUE (ENG), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG), Charlie THORNTON (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG).

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) listed the Brabazon Trophy as it’s 24th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field.

Prizes

The Winner receives the magnificent gold Brabazon Trophy shown in the centre of the photo below.

img_7586

The Brabazon Trophy and Other Prizes (Photo: London Golf Club)

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

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition. The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. The Philip Scruton Jug is awarded later in the year to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy (which will be played on 24th and 25th June).

Woodhall Spa Golf Club

Situated in Lincolnshire Woodhall Spa’s Hotchkin course is one of England’s finest heathland layouts.

From the blue Championship tees it plays to 7,080 yards with a par of 73. Here is the scorecard: –

img_7587

* The 12th has been extended to 176 yards since the above card photo was taken so the course now plays to 7,084 yards in total.

Golf in Woodall Spa dates back to 1890 with the Hotchkin opening for play in 1905. Harry Vardon (1902), Harry Colt (1911) and the Hotchkin Family (1920-1995) all playing a part in the course’s development since.

The Hotchkin family sold the facilities to the English Golf Union in 1995. Over time an impressive National Golf Centre has been developed with a second course, The Bracken, also opened in 1998.

The Hotchkin Course is currently in the middle of a three year refurbishment programme by Renaissance Golf, with the work being overseen by their acclaimed lead architect Tom Doak.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Tuesday 23rd May) is currently positive for all four competition days.

Thu 25th May – Sunny / Wind 4 mph N / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 22°C.
Fri  26th May – Sunny / Wind 10 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat  27th May – Sunny / Wind 12 mph SE / Temp. Min. 15°C / Min 24°C.
Sun 28th May – Cloudy / Wind11 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C / Max. 21°C.

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

The 2016 Brabazon Trophy

Jamie BOWER won the Brabazon Trophy last year at the London Golf Club with a total score of -12. He pipped Cameron DAVIS (-11) on the final green after a rain delay with Ryan LUMSDEN (-10) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-9) finishing third and fourth respectively.

img_7585

Jamie Bower (Photo: London Golf Club)

Click this link to view the 2016 Brabazon Trophy results – Results

History, Past Winners and Records

The English Amateur International Trophy competition was first played in 1947.

In 1957 the official title was changed to the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

The current trophy was donated by Lord Brabazon of Tara in 1948 and the event has come to be widely known as the Brabazon Trophy.

Here is a list of all of the past winners, their scores and the Championship venues: –

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 18.16.48

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 18.20.34

The first player to successfully defend the title was Ronnie WHITE who won at Birkdale in 1950 and nearby Formby in 1951.

Shortly afterwards Philip SCRUTTON won the Brabazon three times in four years (1952, ‘54 & ‘55).

Sir Michael BONALLACK has four wins to his name. The first came at Royal Cinque Ports in 1964 and the last at Hillside in 1971. At Moortown in 1969, with play-offs having been discarded at this time, he shared the title with Rodney FOSTER.

Other well known British winners of the Brabazon include Gordon Brand Jnr, Sandy Lyle (2), Peter MCEVOY, Ronan Rafferty and Ronnie SHADE (3).

There have been several overseas winners over the years. South African’s Neville SUNDELSON (1974), Richard KAPLAN (1986) and Charl SCHWARTZEL (2002) have all won.  Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2017 Preview & Results

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR won the 2017 Lytham Trophy on an exciting final day at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club.

Whilst a two shot wire-to wire win looks reasonably comfortable on paper the afternoon final round was far from straight forward for the Remedy Oak based Englishman.

With the wind picking up Singh Brar quickly saw his four shot 54-hole lead evaporate. Two doubles and a bogey led to an outward 39 and when he bogeyed the short 10th it appeared he maybe opening the door for the chasing pack. It was to his credit that he pulled himself together and parred the remaining holes, save for the 17th where a birdie – he holed out from a bunker – gave him some breathing space to play the finishing hole.

Jack Singh Brar (Photo: @Golfing4Life_)

Charlie STRICKLAND, 18 later this month, continued his rich vein of form with an impressive 2nd place finish. A final round 73, with a bogey on the last, represented another excellent result for the Ham Manor player.

Making it an England 1-2-3 was Saunton’s Jake BURNAGE. Burnage won the Hampshire Hog a couple of weeks ago and showed with a consistent final day pair of 72’s at Lytham that he is increasingly a player to be reckoned with in 2017.     

Earlier in the afternoon, with Singh Brar hitting reverse, it looked like William WHITEOAK may set an unbeatable clubhouse target. Standing on the 17th tee on +9 he unfortunately finished 5-7 to drift out to +13 and a 6th place finish that could clearly have been much better.

Other players to finish strongly with good final rounds included Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 70 / +15 (7th),  Sam DONE (ENG) 71 / +15 (8th) and Owen EDWARDS (WAL) 71 / +15 (9th).

The best final round scores came from England’s George BLOOR (+17) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (+17) both shot 69’s (-1) to secure Top 20 finishes.

In what was generally a disappointing event for our leading players Welsh pair Owen EDWARDS (+15 / 9th) and Jack DAVIDSON (+16 / 14th) were the two highest finishers of the 18 GB&I Walker Cup squad players competing.

The average score fell to it’s lowest level in Round 4 – 73.8. The CSS was 75.

Round 4 Start Sheet / Round 4 Results / Final Results

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Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR (72 / +3) took a 4-shot lead over Charlie STRICKLAND (71 / +7) and Simon RICHARDSON (73 / +7) into the afternoon final round.

Today’s ‘star pairing’ of Robert MACINTYRE (70 / +9) and Jack DAVIDSON (72 / +11) both did well in Round 3 moving up the standings.

Jamie STEWART (+12) recovered some of the ground he lost yesterday with a 71, finishing with 13 straight pars.

Early starters William WHITEOAK (+10) and Todd CLEMENTS (+12) showed that good scores were going to be possible. The English pair recorded rounds of 69 and 70 respectively in Round 3.

The average score from the 42 qualifiers in Rd 3 was 75.2 with the CSS being 76.

Round 3 Start Sheet / Round 3 Results

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Saturday 6th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

Jeff WRIGHT produced a 67, ultimately the best round of the week, to move into a share of the lead on +1 with first round leader Jack SINGH BRAR (73).

On a slightly easier day the average score in Round 2 was 75.8 and the CSS 76.

Simon RICHARDSON (ENG) shot only the third under par round of the competition. His 69 lifting him in to third place on +4.

Charlie STRICKLAND, recent winner of both the Duncan Putter and U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy, recorded a second 73 to remain firmly in the mix on 146 (+6).

Tom SLOMAN (78, 70), Jack DAVIDSON (79, 70), Dan BROWN (78, 71) and Llew MATTHEWS (78, 71) showed admirable toughness in bouncing back from high first round scores to move into the Top 15.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) is also tied 12th on +9 after he followed an opening 76 with a 73.

The cut fell at +12 with 42 players qualifying for the final day’s 36 holes. 13 of the 18 Walker Cup squad players competing missed the cut.

Round 2 Start Sheet / Round 2 Results

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Friday 5th May 2017 – Round 1 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) produced a superb round of 68 (-2) to take the early lead at Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC.

To put this round in context the average score from the 144 players who teed off was 79.9 and the CSS was 79. Whilst it was dry the offshore easterly wind proved challenging particularly on the outward nine holes.

Matthew CLARK (SCO) was second after an even par 70 and in form Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) third after his 73. A group of seven players, including Scottish trio Jeff WRIGHT, Liam JOHNSTON and Jamie STEWART, were tied for fourth after shooting 74 (+4).

Round 1 Start Sheet / Round 1 Results

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26th April 2017

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

Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Brian Young)

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) ranked it the 13th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field. It normally ranks 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. I anticipate the 2017 field will be slightly weaker than recent years but will remain in the top 20 in the world in quality terms.

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

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

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

Lytham Trophies

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

The 2017 Lytham Trophy

This year’s Lytham Trophy will be played between Friday 5th May and Sunday 7th May.

144 scratch golfers from 16 different countries have paid the £90 entry fee and will tee off in what will be the 53rd playing of this prestigious competition.

The 2017 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Lytham Trophy Start Sheet.

Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing. Here is a list of some players showing some early season form as well as those who I expect to do well (SPWAR rankings as at 26th April): –

David BOOTE (WAL) – SPWAR 31st
David has finished tied 4th in the Portuguese Int. Amateur and tied 10th in the European Nations Cup this year.

Daniel BROWN (ENG) – SPWAR 148th
After some encouraging results in South Africa Dan will be looking to make a strong push for a Walker Cup spot.

Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) – SPWAR 75th
GB&I’s star player this season with wins in both the Spanish Int. Amateur and European Nations Cup.

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – SPWAR 45th
Runner up three times this season already at the South African SP, Cape Province Open and European Nations Cup.

Owen EDWARDS (WAL) – SPWAR 282nd
Owen followed up his tied 10th finish at the European Nations cup by recently winning the West of England SP at Saunton GC.

Alex GLEESON (IRE) – SPWAR 127th
The reigning Irish Amateur Close champion has performed well in Argentina and South Africa in 2017.

Stuart GREHAN (IRE) – SPWAR 59th
Stuart won the R&A Foundation Scholars event at St. Andrews a few weeks ago following up solid early season performances in both South Africa and Europe.

Scott GREGORY (ENG) – SPWAR 46th
The 2016 Amateur champion has continued his good form into 2017 already winning both the New Sales Wales Amateur and Georgia Cup.

Craig HOWIE (SCO) – SPWAR 52nd
Winner of the 2017 Criagmillar Park Open in Scotland last weekend, Craig is due a big win soon.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) – SPWAR 55th
The 2017 African Amateur champion will be keen to get his European season up and running with a big Lytham performance.

Bradley MOORE (ENG) – SPWAR 226th
Bradley will be looking for a big result in this Walker Cup year. What better place than Lytham where he has form; 8th here in 2015 and tied 2nd in 2016.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) – SPWAR 32nd
Robert has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Amateur and finished tied 7th in the European Nations Cup this year.

Marco PENGE (ENG) – SPWAR 88th
Finalist at both the New South Wales Amateur and Spanish International Amateur this year. On his day capable of beating anyone.

Alfie PLANT (ENG) – SPWAR 79th
After an impressive 2016 the defending champion (see below) has made a slowish start to 2017. He will be looking to get back on track at a course he will have happy memories of.

Craig ROSS (SCO) – SPWAR 124th
The 2016 South African Amateur Champion again wintered well and looks to be coming into form nicely after a tied 4th place at the recent Battle Trophy at Crail GS.

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) – SPWAR 102nd
Jack is making a big move in 2017. After a string of fine results in Australia his continued good form culminated in a win at the Hampshire Salver earlier in April.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) – SPWAR 295th
Charlie delivered two wins in a week in April; he quickly followed the Duncan Putter with the Peter McEvoy Trophy (U18).

Connor SYME (SCO) – SPWAR 16th
After top 10s in the African Amateur and European Nations Cup Connor recently won the Battle Trophy back home.

Barry HUMEPaul MCBRIDE and Sandy SCOTT are the only two members of the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup squad who are not competing. MCBRIDE and SCOTT are obviously still committed to Wake Forest and Texas Tech as the US College season comes to a close.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Thursday 3rd May) is positive for all three days.

Fri  5th May – Sunny / Wind 17 mph E / Temp. Min. 7°C, Max. 15°C.
Sat  6th May – Cloudy / Wind 13 mph E / Temp. Min. 7°C / Min 13°C.
Sun 7th May – Sunny / Wind 7 mph NW / Temp. Min. 5°C / Max. 15°C.

Like The Open Championship players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.40pm on Friday and Saturday so changes in the weather and wind speeds throughout the first two days may very well play a big part in the scoring.

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

Alfie PLANT won the Lytham Trophy by 7-shots with a +4 total score. He led from the front after following up an opening round 67 with a 73, 74 and 70.

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

Click this link to view the 2016 Lytham Trophy results – Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

Member’s subscribed to purchase the unique sputnik trophy. This remains at Royal Lytham with a smaller replica handed out annually to the winner.

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

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael BONALLACK – 1965(s), 1972
Rodney FOSTER – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey MARKS – 1970 (s)
Charles GREEN – 1970 (s), 1974
Michael KING – 1973
Peter MCEVOY – 1978
Ian HUTCHEON – 1980
Roger CHAPMAN – 1981
John HAWKSWORTH – 1984
Paul BROADHURST – 1988
Gary EVANS – 1990, 1991
Graham RANKIN – 1997

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

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

The six winners prior to Alfie PLANT show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Irish)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (English)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (Dutch)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finnish)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African)
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The U.S. Amateur Championship – 2016 Match Play Stage

17th – 21st August 2016

U.S. Amateur – Match Play Championship Stage

I believe 2016 will prove to be an historic U.S. Amateur Championship for Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I). I say this because I can’t recall six of our players progressing to the match play stage before and certainly not one from each of the four home nations.

Unfortunately one of our qualifiers couldn’t go on to win it ! David Boote (WAL) was the most successful reaching the quarter-finals of the match play stage.

Here is the story, at least from from a GB&I perspective, of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship played at Oakland Hills CC, near Detroit.

Final – Sunday 21st August 2016

Curtis Luck (AUS) won the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion, beating Brad Dalke (USA) 6&4 in the 36-hole Championship match at Oakland Hills CC, in Detroit.

img_6613Curtis Luck (Photo: USGA)

Curtis Luck (SPWAR 37 / WAGR 7) went into the final as the favourite based on his superior world rankings; Brad Dalke (SPWAR 180 / WAGR 265) sitting well below him.

In many respects both players have already won though; by reaching the Final both Curtis and Brad guaranteed themselves invitations to the 2017 Masters and U.S. Open. By winning Curtis also picked up an invitation to The Open. Of course all of these exemptions are subject to them remaining amateur players.

Match 63    Curtis Luck 28 (AUS) Won 6&4 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

To review all of the U.S. Amateur Championship results click this link – 2016 U.S. Amateur Results

Semi-Finals – Saturday 20th August 2016

Match 61   Nick Carlson 41 (USA) LOST 21st Hole v. Curtis Luck 28 (AUS)

Local player Nick Carlson made a good start to this semi-final taking a 2 Up lead after just 3 holes. Australian Curtis Luck hung around and eventually got the match back to 1 Down with 1 hole to play. Tragically for Carlson he could only manage a double bogey 6 letting Luck square the match on 18 with a bogey 5. Both players parred the 1st and 2nd holes before Luck birdied the par 5 3rd to take the lead for the first time all day and to make it through to the Final.

Match 62  Jonah Texeira 31 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

In the second semi-final Californian Jonah Texeira led 2 Up at the the turn. However, he proceeded to bogey 10 and 11 allowing Brad Dalke to draw level. Two birdies on 13 and 15 and a badly timed bogey on 14 by Texeira allowed Dalke, 19 yesterday, to pull away, the man from Oklahoma securing a 3&2 victory on the 16th green.

Quarter Finals – Friday 19th August 2016

Match 60  David Boote 62 (WAL) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

Brad Dalke is well known for two things – ‘signing’ for Oklahoma College when he was 12 and beating Rory McIlroy in an arm wrestling match at the 2015 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. He also has some game which he demonstrated by starting this quarter final with five birdies in his first 6 holes. It was to David Boote‘s credit that despite this onslaught he managed to turn just 2 Down after three birdies of his own. Boote continued to play well on the back nine but further birdies from Dalke on 11 and 16 were good enough to secure a 3&2 win for the American. David Boote played his best round of the week thing to Dalke. It was just one of those match play days for the Welshman (who lives in Surrey, England 😉) where he came up against an unstoppable Dalke A-game.

Interestingly Dylan Meyer, who enjoyed such a good day yesterday, ran out of steam on the back nine of his quarter final losing 3&1 to Nick Carlson after three bogeys and one double bogey.

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Round of 16 – Thursday 18th August 2016

Match 49  Dylan Meyer 33 (USA) WON 19th hole v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG)
Match 55   David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 2&1 v. Collin Morikawa 14 (USA)

There are no easy matches at this stage of the U.S. Amateur and the two facing our remaining GB&I representatives were certainly no exception to this rule.

Meyer’s amazing short game and putting skills were again on display as he and Sam Horsfield played out a quality match where par golf was largely the order of the day. With no player able to take command of the match it was always likely to come down to a small error. Meyer holed a 15 footer on 18 to take the match back down the 1st and was quickly rewarded when Horsfield missed a short 3 footer for par gifting the Indiana-man the win. It was some day for Western Amateur champion Meyer who knocked out medalist Alex Smalley in the morning before seeing off Sam, the SPWAR No. 1 ranked player in the world, in the afternoon.

Collin Morikawa, a California college golfer, and former Stanford-man David Boote will surely have been well known to each other before their Rd of 16 match teed-off.  Birdies on the first two holes by Boote would have sent a clear message to Morikawa and whilst the Californian got the match back to even on the 4th poor bogies 0n 5, 7 and 8 handed back the initiative to Boote. With a 3 Up lead to defend on the back nine Boote had the mental fortitude and golfing ability to par his way into a 2&1 victory which he secured on the 17th. This was a very impressive win for the Welshman as Morikawa has been in excellent recent form, winning the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur before finishing second at the Air Capital Classic on the professional Web.com Tour.

Round of 32 – Thursday 18th August 2016

Three GB&I players progressed to the Round of 32.

Match 34   Doc Redman 49 (USA) LOST 5&4 v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG)
Match 36   Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) LOST 19th Hole v. Nick Carlson 41 (USA)
Match 45   David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 3&1 v. Ben Schlottman 35 (USA)

Sam Horsfield celebrated moving to the top of the SPWAR earlier this week by playing his very best golf to beat Doc Redman this morning. He shot 29 on the front nine before finishing the match 7-under on the 14th. Let’s hope he hasn’t used up all his putts this afternoon as he now has to face his recent nemesis, Dylan Meyer. Meyer beat Horsfield two weeks ago in the final of the Western Amateur Championship.

Scott Gregory played really well – he was 3-under for the 19 holes with just one bogey – but came up against an in form Nick Carlson. Despite fighting back from 3-down with 8 holes to play to take the match into extra time the excitement was short-lived. A 10-foot birdie putt from the local Michigan man saw him progress.

In probably the least spectacular match of the three involving GB&I players David Boote wore down Ben Schlottman to progress to the last 16. Boote had three birdies and two bogies but pulled away as Schlottman appeared to lose his game a little on the back-9.

Round of 64 – Wednesday 17th August 2016

Here are the Round of 64 Match Play results involving GB&I players with their qualifying positions included: –

Match 2     Connor Syme 32 (SCO) LOST 2 Up v. Dylan Meyer 33 (USA)
Match 4     Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG) WON 3&1 v. Hugo Bernard 48 (CAN)
Match 7     Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) WON 7&5 v. Raymond Knoll 56 (USA)
Match 17   Dawson Armstrong 2 (USA) WON 1 Up v. Bradley Moore 63 (ENG)
Match 24   Bryson Nimmer 23 (U SA) WON 1 Up v. Jack Hume 42 (IRE)
Match 25   Gavin Hall 3 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. David Boote 62 (WAL)

Connor Syme and Sam Horsfield both came up against recent amateur championship winners – Dylan Meyer won the Western Amateur whilst Hugo Bernard picked up the Canadian Amateur title just last weekend. In tight matches Syme was beaten 2Up, losing the last two holes to par, whilst Horsfield, who shot -4 for the 17 holes he completed, managed to ease out the competitive Bernard. Sam Horsfield has Terry Mundy, a family friend and the long-time caddie of Ian Poulter, on his bag at Oakland Hills CC this week.

Scott Gregory had a much easier task in his match against Raymond Knoll who simply never got going today. Knoll bogeyed 7 of the 13 holes they completed making life far too easy for the confident Amateur champion.

Afternoon rain and thunderstorms in the Detroit area led to a two hour suspension in play between 3.40pm – 5.40pm local time.

Unfortunately the tough finish on Oakland Hills South Course proved too much for both Bradley Moore and Jack Hume. Moore did very well to fight back to All Square against the highly rated No. 2 qualifier Dawson Armstrong having been 2 Down with 6 holes to play. However, having birdied the 13th and 16th, he bogied the last two holes to let Armstrong progress. Hume was 1 Up with 3 to play before he bogeyed 16 and 17 to give his opponent, Bryson Nimmer a 1 Up lead heading up the 18th. With the hole halved in par Nimmer moved on from another close match.

David Boote appeared to be in control of his match from the start, his consistent play enabling him to build up a 4 Up lead after 11 holes. He finally saw off Gavin Hall, the 3rd seed, 3&2 on the 16th green.

It is clear from today’s first round matches that almost anything can happen on the last 5 holes of Oakland Hill’s South Course.

For my preview of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship and information on the Stroke Play Stage please click here – U.S. Amateur Championship Preview & Stroke Play Stage

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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

16th & 17th August 2016

U.S. Amateur – Stroke Play Qualifying Stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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14th August 2016

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

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

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

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

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


18th hole South Course, Oakland Hills Country Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the USGA on March 1895 in honour of the Association’s first President Theodore A. Havemeyer. This was lost in a fire at Bobby Jones’ home club, East Lake, in 1925. A new gold trophy was produced in 1926. This was retired in 1992 with a copy of the trophy being produced and passed from champion to champion ever since. Sadly the original gold trophy was stolen from the USGA Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

Championship History
The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 116th playing. It was first played in 1895, the winner being Charles B. Macdonald.

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

Former US winners include Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959-61), Deane Beman (1960-63), Lanny Wadkins (1970), Craig Stadler (1973), Mark O’Meara (1979), Hal Sutton (1980), Phil Mickelson (1990), Justin Leonard (1992), Tiger Woods (1994-95-96), Matt Kucher (1997) and Peter Uihlein (2010).

British players have won the Championship on six occasions but just twice in the last 100 years – H.J. Whigham (1896-97), Findlay Douglas (1898), Harold Hilton (1911), Richie Ramsay (2006) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013). Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) is the only  player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

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

Bryson DeChambeau US Amateur 2015

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo: USGA)

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.