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

16th August 2020 – Match Play Final

Tyler STRAFACI (USA) is the 120th U.S. Amateur champion. He beat Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA) in a high quality Final by 1 Hole.

Allowing for the usual match play concessions there were 23 birdies and 1 eagle in the 36 holes played. Strafaci shot rounds of 69 and 67 and Osborne rounds of 66 and 68.

2020 U.S. Amateur

Tyler Strafaci With The Havemayer Trophy (Photo: Steve Gibbons / USGA)

Tyler STRAFACI (USA), 22, started the Final as favourite based on his WAGR of 56th compared with Osborne’s 460th. Strafaci had also won the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst earlier this summer too.

There were two facts that made Tyler’s participation in the Final interesting. His late grandfather Frank Sr was a USGA champion, winning the U.S. Public Links Championship in 1935 and like the 2019 U.A. Amateur champion, Andy Ogletree (USA), he is a product of the Georgia Tech University golf program.

However, golf is no respecter of rankings or history. Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA), 20, a rising junior at Southern Methodist University (SMU), made a dream start birdieing the opening three holes and building a 5Up lead after 12 holes having played just 41 shots (6-under par).

Perhaps the key part of the Final were the next 5 holes where Strafaci found his form and reduced the deficit to just 1Up after the opening 18 holes.

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Strafaci v. Osborne Match Play Final Scorecard, 1-18 Holes (Photo: USGA)

Strafaci achieved parity on the second hole of the afternoon round with a birdie on the 2nd and moved into the lead for the first time on the 25th with another.

Whilst pegged back on the 31st birdies on the 32nd and 33rd appeared to have earned Strafaci the title. He was after all now 2Up with 3 holes to play.

However, the realisation of what he was about to achieve perhaps overcame him and bogeys on the 34th and 35th set up a nervy final hole decider. Strafaci recovered his composure and a 245 yard 4-iron to 25 feet set up a tap-in birdie which proved good enough to win the Championship.

The Final was the fourth consecutive match which Strafaci had won on Bandon Dunes’ 18th hole.

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Strafaci v. Osborne Match Play Final Scorecard, 19-36 Holes (Photo: USGA)

Conditions were again near perfect in Oregon with sunshine and a gentle breeze seen for almost all of the match. A sea mist drifted in as the players completed the final holes.

Here are the USGA’s video highlights of the Final: –

The two finalists earned an exemption into the 2021 U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines and the 2021 U.S. Masters Tournament.

By taking the title Strafaci also secured a place in the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s (if he remains an amateur) and a place on the USA’s 2021 Walker Cup team. Hailing from Davie, near Fort Lauderdale, in Florida Strafaci’s family home is a short distance from Seminole, the venue of the next May’s match.

Click here to view the full – 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship Results

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15th August 2020 – Match Play Semi-Finals

Playing conditions were perfect on Saturday with temperatures in the 70’s and very light winds.

Tyler STRAFACI (USA) was taken to the final hole for the third match running before overcoming Aman GUPTA (USA) 1Up. Strafaci had led 4Up after 12 holes but needed to win the 18th to take his place in the final.

‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA) took control of his match with Matthew SHARPSTENE (USA) with a birdie on the 9th, a winning par on the difficult par 4 11th and consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th.

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14th August 2020 – Match Play Quarter Finals

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Match Play Quarter Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

Tyler STRAFACI (USA), 22, beat mid-amateur Stewart HAGESTAD (USA), 29, by 1 Hole.

No mid-amateur has won the U.S. Amateur since John Harris in 1993. Hagestad has probably now done enough to secure a spot in the 2021 U.S.A. Walker Cup team, which will be his third consecutive appearance.

Philip BARBAREE (USA), 22 and Michael THORBJORNSEN (USA), 18, both lost thus losing the opportunity to join Tiger Woods as the only winner to date of both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur Championships. Barbaree won the Junior in 2015 and Thorbjornsen in 2018.

Aman GUPTA (USA), 21, is the highest stroke play seed remaining. He only earned a spot in the Championship when Ricky CASTILLO (USA) withdrew last friday.

Matt SHARPSTENE (USA), 21, won the opening hole of his match against Barbaree and was never caught.

Charles ‘Ollie’ OSBORNE (USA), 20, beat Cameron SISK (USA), 20, who had come through the stroke play play-off to earn the 62nd seed, by 2&1. Osborne led 4Up after 10 holes, lost the next four holes before recovering to take his place in the semi-finals.

For the first time since 2004 all of the quarter finalists were from America.

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13th August 2020 – Match Play Round of 32 and Round of 16

The winds picked up to gusts of over 30mph in the afternoon making conditions tough.

Of particular note in the Round of 16 was Tyler STRAFACI‘s (USA), 22, 1Hole win over Segundo OLIVA PINTO (ARG). With the match tied Oliva Pinto’s approach to the final green finished in a green side bunker and inexplicably when he reached the bunker his caddie jumped in and started rubbing the sand with his hand to test the depth. A loss of hole penalty was assessed and as a result Strafaci progressed.

Here are the afternoon Round of 16 results: –

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Match Play Rd of 16 Results (Photo: USGA)

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Sandy SCOTT (SCO) lost his morning Round of 32 match to Davis CHATFIELD (USA) by 2&1 thus ending GB&I interest in this year’s Championship.

Scott again got off to a bad start before recovering. However, Chatfield maintained his composure and two late mistakes from the Scotsman enabled him to regain the upper hand,

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Chatfield v. Scott Match Play Rd of 32 Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

Medalist Wilson FURR (USA) bogeyed the 18th and double bogeyed the 19th to hand his Round of 32 match to Harrison OTT (USA). No medalist has won the U.S. Amateur since 2003.

Conqueror of John Gough Segundo OLIVA PINTO (ARG) had a good win taking out McClure MEISSNER (USA) who had beaten Angus Flanagan in the previous round.

Here are the complete Round of 32 results: –

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Match Play Rd of 32 Results (Photo: USGA)

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12th August 2020 – Play-Off and Match Play Round of 64

Cameron SISK (USA), Evan KATZ (USA) and Aaron DU (CHN) came through the 18-for-3 play-off early on Wednesday morning. Sisk and Katz birdied Bandon Dunes’ 375 yard 10th whilst Du birdied the 435 yard 11th to finish affairs off relatively quickly.

From a GB&I perspective only Sandy SCOTT seeded 42 (SCO) was able to negotiate his Round of 64 match coming back from 3Down after 6 holes to beat Brayden GARRISON (USA) 23 by 3&2.

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Garrison v. Scott Match Play Rd of 64 Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

Scott should now be looking confidently towards the latter stages of this Championship. He won both of his singles in last year’s Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool, has a nice comeback win under his belt here at Bandon and he is the highest WAGR ranked player left in the field (6th).

Unfortunately Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) and John GOUGH (ENG) both came out on the wrong side of tight matches.

The Southern Amateur champion McClure MEISSNER (USA) 8 beat Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) 57 by 2&1. The American won the 16th and 17th holes with birdies to secure the win.

John GOUGH (ENG) 25 lost on the 19th hole to Segundo OLIVA PINTO (ARG) 40. Oliva Pinto birdied the 17th to regain parity before another birdie on the 19th hole saw him through to the Round of 32.

Medalist Wilson FURR (USA) continued his good form by beating Aaron DU (CHN) by 6&4. However, there were notable losses for highly fancied Davis THOMPSON (USA) and John AUGENSTEIN (USA) in Round 1.

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11th August 2020 – Stroke Play Qualifying Round 2

22 year old University of Alabama student Wilson FURR (USA) 132 -11 secured medalist honours after posting a course record 62 (-9) on the Bandon Trails course on Day 2. His 62 was the joint second lowest score in U.S. Amateur history.

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Wilson Furr (Photo: Steve Gibbons / USGA)

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Wilson Furr’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

James PIOT (USA) -9 and Ben SHIPP (USA) -7 finished second and third respectively after completing their qualifying with a 65 and 67 on Bandon Dunes.

Day 1 leaders McClure MEISSNER (USA) and Aman GUPTA (USA) were both over par in Round 2 but with their firm foundations in place still finished in the top 10.

Just three of the eleven GB&I players made it through to the match play stage of the Championship. John GOUGH (ENG) -2 finished tied 23rd, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) Ev tied 36th and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) +1 tied 48th. Sandy did well playing himself into the top 64 with a 70 (-2) around the Dunes course.

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John Gough’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

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Sandy Scott’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

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Angus Flanagan’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Photo: USGA)

The match play cut came at 145 (+2) with 18 players finishing on this score in tied 62nd place. An 18-for-3 spots play-off will therefore now be held tomorrow morning to finalise the match play field.

Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) both sadly bogeyed 3 of their last five holes to miss out on qualification and even a shot at the play-off.

Austin ECKROAT (USA) +3, Cole HAMMER (USA) +3, defending champion Andy OGLETREE (USA) +3, Preston SUMMERHAYS (USA) +4, John PAK (USA) +5 and Pierceson COODY (USA) +8 were amongst the leading home players to miss the cut.

Round 2 Average Scores: Dunes 72.931 (+0.931) and Trails 73.689 (+2.689). As with Round 1 the wind speeds picked up but not as significantly as on Day 1. As a result the score differential between the morning and afternoon starters was less material.

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GB&I Stroke Play 36 Hole Qualifying Scores (Photo: USGA)

Click here to view the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Results

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10th August 2020 – Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1

McClure MEISSNER (USA) -8 and Aman GUPTA (USA) -7 recorded the lowest rounds on Day 1 of the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship. Meissner was playing on the Dunes course whilst Gupta started his Championship on the Trails.

The wind picked up significantly in the afternoon and scores were around 3.5 shots higher on both courses from the second wave players.

Round 1 Average Scores: Dunes 75.583 (+3.583) and Trails 75.598 (+4.598).

At the end of Round 1 John GOUGH (ENG) -2 Dunes, Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) -1 Dunes and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) Ev Trails are all positioned in the all-important top 64.

These three and certainly the other 8 GB&I players still have work to do on Day 2 if they are to make the Match Play stage.

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GB&I Stroke Play 18 Hole Qualifying Scores (Photo: USGA)

Click here to view the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Results

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5th August 2020

Introduction

This year’s Championship is being played on Bandon’s Dunes and Trails courses.

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

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2020 Field

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic all Sectional Qualifying events were cancelled. In 2019 there were 96 36 hole events staged by the USGA with the qualifiers making up a large proportion of the final field.

The 2020 field is entirely made up of exempt players and has been reduced to 264 players – 312 normally compete. The entry fee for the U.S. Amateur Championship is $175.

Exemption categories, largely based on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), were established by the USGA with the aim of creating a field that most closely resembles those of a typical Championship.

Based on the main exemption categories originally announced 28 GB&I players earned a spot in the field – see Appendix below for more details. However, due to international travel restrictions many of these players have not been able to take up this opportunity. This in turn opened the door to six other GB&I players who were ranked lower in the WAGR but were based in USA.

On 30th July 14 GB&I players were confirmed by the USGA as being in the field. Barclay Brown, Tom McKibbin and John Murphy subsequently withdrew on travel grounds leaving us with 11 starters. They are: –

Dan BRADBURY (ENG)
Archie DAVIES (WAL)
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG)
Angus FLANAGAN (ENG)
John GOUGH (ENG)
Jamie LI (ENG)
Connor MCKINNEY (SCO)
Rhys NEVIN (ENG)
Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG)
Joe PAGDIN (ENG)
Sandy SCOTT (SCO)

There were 11 GB&I players at Pinehurst last year, 7 in 2018 at Pebble Beach, 9 in 2017 at Riviera and 11 in 2016 at Oakland Hills.

Sadly it will not be possible for any of the above GB&I entrants to play in the Brabazon Trophy (18-21 August) or the Amateur Championship (25-30 August) this year due to the current quarantining rules.

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The par-4 fifth hole at Bandon Dunes (Photo: USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Most of the leading USA players will be competing at Bandon Dunes and I expect the following to feature strongly: –

John AUGENSTEIN (USA) – 2019 runner-up
Pierceson COODY (USA)
Quade CUMMINS (USA)
Austin ECKROAT (USA)
Cole HAMMER (USA)
Meissner MCCLURE (USA)
Maxwell MOLOVAN (USA)
Andy OGLETREE (USA) – 2019 champion
John PAK (USA)
Tyler STRAFACI (USA)
Preston SUMMERHAYS (USA)
Davis THOMPSON (USA)

Click here to view the – USGA’s 2020 U.S. Amateur Information PDF

Click here to view the – USGA’s 2020 U.S. Amateur Exemptions List

Click here to view the – 2020 U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Draw Sheets

With Oregon being 8 hours behind the UK play will start in our late afternoon and proceed through the night.

Competition Format

On Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th August all of the competitors will play 36-holes of stroke play, one round on the Dunes Course and the other on the Trails Course.

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 the Dunes Course between Wednesday 12th and Saturday 15th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 16th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

Host Courses

Bandon Dunes Course
7,218 yards (maximum), Par 72
Opened in 1999.
Designed by David McLay Kidd.

Bandon Dunes Course Video (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

Bandon Dunes Course Scorecard (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

Bandon Trails Course
6,883 yards (maximum), Par 71
Opened in 2005.
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Bandon Trails Course Video (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

Bandon Trails Course Scorecard (Photo: bandondunesgolf.com)

The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is the realisation of a dream by golf-mad owner Mike Keiser, a greetings card millionaire. It now incorporates six courses, including a spectacular 13 hole par 3 set up, all built on sand dunes 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

The Resort has previously hosted the 2006 Curtis Cup Match, 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at 9th August) is positive for Championship week. Bandon Dunes in Oregon is on the north west pacific coast so temperatures will be cool and winds will be a factor.

Stroke Play Qualifying
Mon 10th August – Sunny / Wind 21 mph N / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 9°C.
Tues 11th August – Sunny Intervals / Wind 17 mph N / Temp. Min. 19°C, Max. 8°C.

Match Play Stage
Weds 12th August – Sunny / Wind 19 mph N  / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 9°C.
Thurs 13th August – Sunny Intervals / Wind 19 mph N  / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 10°C.
Fri 14th August – Sunny / Wind 21 mph N  / Temp. Min. 22°C, Max. 10°C.
Sat 15th August – Sunny / Wind 15 mph N  / Temp. Min. 23°C, Max. 13°C.
Sun 16th August – Sunny Intervals / Wind 11 mph NW / Temp. Min. 19°C, Max. 12°C.

UK Television Coverage

In recent years the Sky Sports Golf channel has taken the U.S. television feed, via the Red Button, over the final match play weekend.

Prizes

The 2020 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 2021 U.S. Open to be staged at [Winged Foot Golf Club or Torrey Pines];

and assuming they remain amateur,

c) An exemption to play in the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club;

d) An invitation to play in the 2021 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club;

e) An exemption to play in the 2021 – 2030 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.

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2019 U.S. Amateur Championship

Andy OGLETREE (USA) won the Final of the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship beating John AUGENSTEIN (USA) 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.

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) was for the second year running GB&I’s leading performer in the Championship. He eventually lost in the Round of 16 to Cohen TROLIO (USA) 5&4. Trolio recorded five birdies on his front nine to take a 4Up lead and eventually saw out the game with another birdie on the 14th.

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

Brandon WU (USA) won the Stroke Play Qualifying competition with rounds of 65 -5 (No. 4) and 72 +2 (No. 2).

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Brandon Wu (Photo: @USGA)

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was one of six players one shot back of Wu on -2. Thomas FORSTER (ENG) and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) -1 also qualified in the top 20.

11 GB&I players competed in 2019 with just five progressing to the Match Play Stage. Ben JONES (ENG), who finished tied 62nd, missed out after a 27-for-3 sudden death play-off on Course No. 4.

Here are the full GB&I Stroke Play Qualifying Results: –

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

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

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and 2020 will see its 120th 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

09-15 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

09-15 August 2027 – Oak Hill Country Club, Pittsford, New York

11-17 August 2031 – Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tennessee

Appendix – GB&I Players Eligible For The 2020 U.S. Amateur

Based on the main exemption categories originally announced by the USGA 28 GB&I players earned a spot in the field.

However, due to international travel restrictions many of these players were not able to take up this opportunity. This in turn opened the door to six other GB&I players who were ranked lower in the WAGR but were based in USA.

Here’s a list of the relevant exemption categories, the GB&I players initially caught by them and confirmation of the 11 who will be competing.   

Round of 64 from the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) ENTERED
Sandy SCOTT (SCO) ENTERED
James SUGRUE (IRL)

From the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, winners in 2016-2019; runners-up in 2018-2019 and quarterfinalists in 2019
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) ENTERED

Playing members of the United States and Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Teams, four year exemption once appointed to the team (2017 & 2019)
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG)
Conor GOUGH (ENG)
Thomas PLUMB (ENG)
Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL)
Sandy SCOTT (SCO)
James SUGRUE (IRL)

Winners of The Amateur Championship (five year exemption) (2016-2019).
James SUGRUE (IRE)

From the current Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) the top 225-ranked players as of 24th June 2020
Sandy SCOTT (SCO) #9
Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) #17
James SUGRUE (IRL) #19
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) #20
Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) #27
Ben JONES (ENG) #30
Conor GOUGH (ENG) #43
Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) #63
Jake BOLTON (ENG) #69
Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) #73 ENTERED
Mark POWER (IRL) #81
Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) #116
John MURPHY (IRL) #127
Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) #136
Matty LAMB (ENG) #145
Joe LONG (ENG) #147
Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) #151
Thomas PLUMB (ENG) #153
Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) #157
Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) #158
Keith EGAN (IRL) #160
Harry GODDARD (ENG) #167
Max MARTIN (ENG) #173
Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) #178
Callum FARR (ENG) #188
Jamie LI (ENG) #205 ENTERED
Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) #224 ENTERED

From the current Men’s WAGR, the top 25-ranked players using the WAGR Age Filter as of 24th June 2020. Players must be age 25 on or before August 10, 2020. Player’s WAGR profile must include date of birth to be considered for this exemption category
Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) #17 (2nd)
Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) #157 (8th)
Colm CAMPBELL (IRL) #399 (24th)

[Matthew Clark (SCO) #319 – date of birth not added to WAGR biography so excluded]

Remaining spots in the championship field will be filled using the World Amateur Golf Ranking
Dan BRADBURY (ENG) #298 ENTERED
Barclay BROWN (ENG) #353
Archie DAVIES (WAL) #244 ENTERED
John GOUGH (ENG) #239 ENTERED
Rhys NEVIN (ENG) #346 ENTERED
Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) #326 ENTERED

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

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.

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.

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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.

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 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.

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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

ME.

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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

ME.

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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

ME.

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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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ME.

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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.

ME.

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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.

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

9th June 2019

Round 4

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

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

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

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

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Jake Burnage and Family (Photo: Burnage Family)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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8th June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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7th June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

36 players scored 69 (-3) or better.

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

ME.

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6th June 2019

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

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

St Andrews Clubhouse

R&A Clubhouse, St. Andrews (Photo: R&A Website)

Competition Format

The Links Trophy is a 72 hole scratch stroke play competition played over the St. Andrews Links in early June.

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

This year Round 1 will be played on the Jubilee Course – the New Course was used last year – with Round 2 on the Old Course.

Following a top 40 and ties cut on Saturday the leading players will play a final 36 holes on the Old Course on Sunday.

The Jubilee Course plays 6,742 yards to a par of 72. The front nine is 3,238 yards long with a par of 36 whilst the tougher back nine is 266 yards longer but to the same par.

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

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

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

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

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

Ties for other places will be decided by the lowest score for the last 18 holes or the last 9 or 6 or 3 or 2 or 1 hole if necessary.

The Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weather Forecast (as at Tuesday 4th June)

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

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

Tee times in Rounds 1 and 2 start at 7.00am and end at 3.10pm so as with any links course the draw could play a big part in proceedings.

Prizes

The winner receives The St Andrews Links Trophy and a cheque for £500.

The runner-up and third place finisher also receive commemorative medals.

Reducing cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 finishers in all.

In addition to the main prizes The Ian Forbes Memorial Cup is awarded for the best aggregate score on the first two days of the Championship.

2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Past Winners

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

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

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

Only Craig WATSON (1992 and 1998), the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup captain, and Barclay HOWARD (1994 and 1996) have won the title twice.

The most famous winner is Justin ROSE who won in 1997.

Interestingly given the normally cosmopolitan nature of the fields the Links Trophy has only been won by players from outside GB&I on three occasions – Australia’s Stuart BOVIER (1990), Daan HUIZING from The Netherlands (2012) and Federico ZUCCHETTI from Italy (2015).

Huizing, who had won the 2012 Lytham Trophy by 11 shots just a few weeks earlier, set a scoring record of -23 in 2012 (65 New, 64, 68 and 67 all Old) and won by an astonishing 14 shots.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

5th May 2019 – Round 4 

Josh MCMAHON (ENG) won the 55th Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham & St Annes G.C.

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Josh McMahon (Photo: Golf Bible)

McMahon (22) produced a solid final round under pressure to secure the biggest title of his amateur career.

Josh McMahon’s Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

His round started with 13 straight pars, combining some birdie near misses with notable saves, none more so than on the 8th where he got up and down from well over the green. After having lost his way a little on 14 and 15, where he dropped three shots, he showed some composure to bounce back with a birdie on the short par 4 16th. With a par tucked away on the challenging dog leg 17th he then finished with a clutch 40 foot putt on the final green to record a 71 (+1). His total score of 288 (+8) setting a strong target for the eight remaining players following him in. A target that ultimately proved good enough.

Josh McMahon’s 72nd Hole Birdie That Secured The 2019 Lytham Trophy Title

With his win Josh rose 478 places in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking to 124th and has now given himself a great opportunity to make the Great Britain & Ireland 2019 Walker Cup team. The match at Royal Liverpool G.C coincidentally taking place just a few miles from his home.

Prior to McMahon’s grandstand finish Gerold FOLK (AUT) had posted a 289 (+9) total. The Austrian following his morning 72 with a best of the day 69, which also included a closing birdie. As the winds picked up there appeared a chance that his score may hold up despite 30 players teeing off after him on Day 3.

As the afternoon round proceeded it also looked for a long time as if Harry GODDARD (ENG) would be the winner. He showed no ill effects from his disappointing morning round with early birdies on the 1st, 5th and 7th. Having hit his approach close on the par 3 9th he had the chance to turn in 30 but his birdie putt just slipped by. It looked like a turning point after he went on to hit poor tee shots on the challenging 10th, 11th and 12th to quickly drop 4 shots. However, to his credit he steadied the ship parring the next five holes including a great save in the circumstances on the 17th where he holed a lengthy putt. Having then hit a long straight drive into the wind down 18 he looked to be in a strong position. Unfortunately he pushed his approach and despite playing an excellent bunker shot failed to convert a short three foot par putt effectively handing the title to the man from Wallasey G.C.

Harry Goddard Playing the 18th Hole in Round 4 (Photos: Ben Haworth)

Jack BROOKS (ENG), who incidentally bogeyed the tough 17th, finished 3rd behind Folk on countback (+9).

View the complete 2019 Results here – 2019 Lytham Trophy Results

5th May 2019 – Round 3

Play started at 7.00am on the final morning with the two leading players teeing off at 10.12am.

A round of 70, including 5 birdies, gave Bailey GILL (ENG) the 54 hole lead on 215 (+5).

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Bailey Gill’s Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

The three leading players overnight, Harry GODDARD (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and Callum FARR (ENG) all struggled in the morning round shooting 78, 77 and 83 respectively.

Ludvig ABERG (SWE) 71, Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) 72, Stephen ROGER (SCO) 73, Marc HAMMER (GER) 74 and Laurie OWEN (ENG) 75 found themselves well placed for an afternoon assault on 216 (+6), just one shot back of our new leader.

Goddard and Hutchinson were now on on 217 (+7) after Round 3 and were joined by Jack BROOKS (ENG), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) and Joshua MCMAHON (ENG).

View the Draw for Rounds 3 and 4 here – 2019 Lytham Trophy Day 3 Tee Times

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4th May 2019 – Round 2 Report

Scores were generally higher on Saturday with stronger winds seen throughout the day and seemingly tougher hole locations on many of the greens. The CSS of 77 was one shot higher than Friday’s first round.

Harry GODDARD (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and Ludvig ABERG (SWE) all posted impressive 71’s (+1) given the testing conditions. There were eleven 72’s.

Goddard holds the lead on 139 (-1) and he is now the only player under par at the Lytham Trophy. His lead could have been higher too given his relatively disappointing back nine.

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Harry Goddard’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

It was another steady day on the links for Yorkshire’s Ben Hutchinson. He has recorded just 5 bogeys in his first 36 holes and now finds himself tied 2nd with the Round 1 leader Callum FARR (ENG) who posted a 75 today.

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Ben Hutchinson’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

The top 40 and ties cut fell at +9 with 49 players progressing to the final day.

ME.

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3rd May 2019 – Round 1 Report

Callum FARR (ENG) shot a 65 (-5) to take the Round 1 lead in the Lytham Trophy. After a bogey on the 206 yard par 3 opener the Northampton man reeled off 6 birdies over his remaining holes.

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Callum Farr’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

In an unfortunate aside one of his playing partners for the opening rounds was Taylor STOTE (ENG) who shot the highest score on Day 1; his 87 a full 22 shots more than our leader.

Harry GODDARD (ENG), out in the fourth group teeing off at 8.00am, set a strong early marker for the remainder of the field. His 68 (-2) held the clubhouse lead for over three hours.

Laurie OWEN (ENG), Stephen ROGER (SCO), Jim JOHNSTON (SCO), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and James BILLINGHAM (ENG) were the only other players to shoot under par on the demanding Royal Lytham & St. Annes course. All five posted 69’s (-1).

Owen, Roger, Hutchinson and Billingham all teed off after 3.00pm and as is often the case by the sea an early or late tee time proved to be beneficial with the wind abating. Owen, who seems to have come from nowhere to record a number of high finishes this year, recorded 6 birdies in a rollercoaster of a round. The other four players were a little steadier, recording three or fours birdies each in their opening rounds.

The two highly ranked South Africans Jayden SCHAPER and Wilco NIENABER got off to good starts. Neither did any damage with opening rounds of 72 and 70.

Nienaber was joined by seven other players on 70 (Ev) and there were a further ten players who shot 71 (+1). Beyond Farr and Goddard the leaderboard is tightly packed.

Finally while perusing the hole-by-hole scores I saw Matthew CLARK‘s (SCO) card. His 80 (+10) contained a 12 on the par 3 9th. How one hole can ruin an otherwise reasonable day.

The Round 1 CSS was 76 highlighting just how good Callum Farr’s effort was.

ME.

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2nd May 2019 (Updated)

The 2019 Lytham Trophy will be played on 3rd – 5th May at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

The first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season is always eagerly anticipated.

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Golf Bible)

In 2018 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed it 18th in it’s list of worldwide amateur competitions based on field strength. It normally ranks 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Coming early in the season it is held back by missing out on European players studying at U.S. colleges.

Format and Tee Times

144 scratch golfers from 15 diffrent countries will tee off in what will be the 55th playing of this prestigious competition.

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 will be 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.

View the Draw for Rounds 1 and 2 here – 2019 Lytham Trophy Tee Times

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. Sign (Photo: Golf Bible)

Players

Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing.

Here are ten players to watch out for (SPWAR rankings as at 2nd May): –

Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) – SPWAR 11th
Not quite in the same league as Nienaber but Schaper will arrive in confident mood after winning the 2019 South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) – SPWAR 15th
A prolific winner in recent years the 2019 South African Amateur champion must start as one of the favourites.

Conor PURCELL (IRE) – SPWAR 22nd
The 2019 Australian Amateur champion is playing consistently well and with plenty of links experience can be expected to feature highly again.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) – SPWAR 36th
Caolan has finished tied 21st, tied 7th and tied 14th in the last three Lytham Trophies. It will therefore be no surprise to see the Dundalk man go well again in 2019, particularly after his recent win in the West of Ireland Open Championship.

Euan WALKER (SCO) – SPWAR 43rd
The 2019 African Amateur champion knows a top 10 finish at Lytham will go a long way to securing his place in the 2019 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) – SPWAR 47th
A recent win in the Individual competition at the European Nations Team Championship in Sotogrande, Spain will have gone a long way to securing Tom’s place in this year’s GB&I Walker Cup team.

Joey SAVOIE (CAN) – SPWAR 56th
Canadian Savoie played well in Australia earlier this year and will be looking to secure a high finish at Lytham.

Tom PLUMB (ENG) – SPWAR 83rd
Plumb, recent winner of the Cape Province Open in South Africa, is the highest 2018 finisher returning this year. Another 5th place or better in 2019 would be very welcome for the Dorset man whose Walker Cup ambitions are increasing by the month.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) – SPWAR 105th
Saunton’s Burnage finished 3rd at Lytham in 2017 and whilst he has been a bit inconsistent since he is certainly capable of another high finish.

Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) – SPWAR 339th
Tom will arrive on the Fylde coast full of confidence having won both the Peter McEvoy Trophy and Junior Invitational in the last few weeks. Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult won the latter in South Carolina before travelling back to England and winning The Lytham. Could Tom complete a hat-trick ?

Course

The famous Royal Lytham 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.

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

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Thursday 2nd May) looks dry, albeit cold, with only moderate breezes expected during the competition.

Friday 3rd May – Light Cloud / Wind 11 mph N / Temp. Min. 3°C, Max. 10°C.
Saturday 4th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 16 mph N / Temp. Min. 3°C, Max. 11°C.
Sunday 5th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 14 mph NW / Temp. Min. 6°C, Max. 10°C.

Prizes

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 2018 Lytham Trophy

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) won the 2018 Lytham Trophy by an impressive 9-shots after recording rounds of 67, 69, 70 and 66 – not one of over par – for a 272 total (-8).

Mitch WAITE (ENG) finished 2nd with a 281 (+1) total whilst Sam LOCKE (SCO) and David NYFJALL (SWE) finished tied 3rd with a 284 (+4) score. Tom PLUMB (ENG) was 5th, one shot further back, on 285 (+5).

49 players on +7 or better made the top 40 and ties cut in a competition unusually played in dry and sunny weather.

Click here to view the full 2018 Lytham Trophy results – Final Results

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Matthew Jordan (Photo: Angie McGlue)

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
George MACGREGOR – 1975
Peter MCEVOY – 1978
Ian HUTCHEON – 1980
Roger CHAPMAN – 1981
John HAWKSWORTH – 1984
Paul BROADHURST – 1988
Gary EVANS – 1990, 1991
Stephen GALLAGHER – 1995
Graham RANKIN – 1997
Stuart WILSON – 2003
(s) = shared

In 2004 21 year old James HEATH won with a record score of 266 (-18), recording rounds of 67, 68, 66, and 65. Garth McGimpsey, the then Walker Cup captain, described Heath’s performance as ‘the best amateur golf I’ve ever seen’.

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.

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

The eight winners prior to Matthew JORDAN show just how international the amateur game has become. However, after a spell of overseas winners the last three have all come from England: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Ireland)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (England)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (The Netherlands)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finland)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)
Alfie PLANT – 2016 (England)
Jack SINGH BRAR – 2017 (England)

Here’s is the Winner’s Board which is situated on the main staircase in the Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. clubhouse.

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Lytham Trophy Past Winners’ Board (Photo: Golf Bible) 

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s European Nations Championship – 2019 Preview & Results

13th April 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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Tom Sloman (Photos: @Golfing4Life_)

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

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

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

ME.

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8th April 2019

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

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

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

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Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scores

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Tee Times

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

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

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

In the Team event the best three 18-hole scores from the four players count towards the overall total.

In the case of a tie for 1st place a team member will be nominated and a sudden death play-off will be contested on the 9th hole. Other ties will be determined by a count back of the team score for the last 18, 27, 36, etc. holes.

The Individual prize is awarded to the lowest scoring player. Ties will be broken in line with the Team approach outlined above.

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

Venue and Course
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande was opened in 1964 and was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones. One of the best courses in Continental Europe it first held the Spanish Open in 1966, won that year by Roberto de Vicenzo.

In 1970 The Sherry Cup, the precursor of the European Nations Cup, was established. Former Individual winners of this include Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia. (see below for the full list of past Individual winners).

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

In 1983 Sotogrande hosted the Spanish Amateur Championship with Jose Maria Olazabel victorious.

Sotogrande was awarded royal patronage by HM King Juan Carlos I in 1994.

Between 1996 and 2001, in tandem with nearby San Roque GC, the course hosted the European Tour’s Qualifying School.

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

In 2011, ahead of it’s 50th anniversary, the Club decided to embark upon a major course renovation appointing Roger Rulewich and David Fleury. With the work on greens, bunkering and drainage taking place in 2015 and early 2016 the ENC moved temporarily to the nearby La Reserva Club de Golf for two years. In 2017 the competition returned being played on the renovated course for the first time.

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

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

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

Past ENC Winners / 2018 Results

Team Competition

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

2018  England     2018 ENC Team Results

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

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

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

2017  Wales    2017 ENC Team Results

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

2016  Ireland    2016 ENC Team Results

Ireland European Nations Cup 2016

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

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

Past Sherry Cup Team Winners (started 1998)

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

Individual Competition

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

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

2017  Jack DAVIDSON (Wales)    2017 ENC Individual Results
Jack Davidson won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots last year. Rounds of 70, 70, 70 and 73 (-5), which included 20 birdies and 2 eagles, gave him his second major title in less than a month. He had won the Spanish International Amateur a few weeks before.

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

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

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Rory McIlroy (Photo: RCG Sotogrande)

Past Sherry Cup Individual Winners

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

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Sergio Gracia (Photo: RCG Sotogrande)

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

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Jovan REBULA (RSA) is the 2018 Amateur champion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Final Scores

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

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

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

ME.

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Friday 22nd June 2018

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

Semi Finals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quarter Finals

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Thursday 21st June 2018

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

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

Round 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Round 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Tuesday 19th June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Monday 18th June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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17th June 2018

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

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

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

ME.

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15th June 2018

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

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

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

Format

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

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

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

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

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

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

Players

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Host Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Murcar Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

Weather Forecast (last updated Sunday 17th June)

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

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

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

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

Prizes / Exemptions

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Amateur Championship

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

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

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

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Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA / Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

A Short History of The Amateur

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

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

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

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

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

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

Past Winners

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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