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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

The Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

24th June 2017

England and Florida State’s Harry ELLIS today won the 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 21 year old Hampshire man. 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.

img_7757Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA)

Here are the hole-by-holes scores for what proved to be a titanic battle: –

img_7747Harry Ellis will now receive exemptions into the 2017 Open Championship and 2018 U.S. Open Championship as well as an invitation to the 2018 Masters. He has also guaranteed himself a spot in Great Britain & Ireland’s 2017 Walker Cup team.

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 play so hopefully I can do something (at Royal Birkdale).” 

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Final Results

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

ME.

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23rd June 2017

Semi-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Semi-Finals Results

Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Luca Cianchetti (ITA) 3&2 in their semi-final match.

Cianchetti took an early lead after Ellis bogeyed the 4th hole but a par on 6 helped the Englishman regain parity. The Italian retook the lead on the 8th after Ellis’ approach found a greenside bunker but a birdie on 9 and a good par save on 10 from the 2012 English Amateur champion, which he won when he was just 16, meant the players were level with 8 holes to play.

The next two holes were to prove pivotal. Cianchetti bogeyed the long par 3 11th before Ellis birdied the par 4 12th to move ahead. Ellis defended this 2Up lead well before winning the 16th, with a nerveless up and down from the right hand bunker, and securing a 3&2 win.

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Harry Ellis (Photo: Andrew Griffin / @griffinongolf)

In the first semi-final Dylan Perry (AUS) got into a 3 Up lead early on against Alejandro Tosti (ARG) and like Ellis held on to see out a 3&2 victory. Dylan is the first Australian to play in the Final since Bryden Macpherson became champion in 2011 at Hillside G.C.

Quarter-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Quarter Final Results

In a close match this morning Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) by 2 holes to set up a semi-final with Italy’s Luca Cianchetti.

Alejandro Tosti (ARG) will play Dylan Perry (AUS) in the first semi-final.

ME [with some additional reporting by Andrew Griffin].

                 ___________________________________________

22nd June 2017

Play on Day 4 of the 122nd Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s finished later than expected due to a two hour thunder and lightening weather delay around lunchtime.

We started the day with 14 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) players. Read my reports below on Rounds 3 and 4 to see how we ended up with just two left standing.

Round 4 (16)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 4 Results

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) was the first of our six remaining players to lose. Alejandro Tosti (ARG), clearly not the worst for wear after his Round 3 exertions, set up a Quarter Final match with Stefano Mazzoli (ITA) with a 4&3 win.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) was next to go succumbing to Norway’s Jarle Kaldestad Volden by 2 holes.

In the England-Ireland match Paul MCBRIDE beat Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 hole. McBride who lost to Robert MacIntyre on the 20th hole of an epic semi final match last year at Royal Porthcawl is round by round playing himself into the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Like McBride Harry ELLIS (ENG) isn’t doing himself any Walker Cup harm at Royal St. George’s either. This evening he beat fellow European Arnold Palmer Cup team member Kristoffer Ventura (NOR) 3&1.

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Harry Ellis of Florida State University (Photo: Ross Obley / seminoles.com)

Is it possible that tomorrow’s Quarter Final match between Paul McBride and Harry Ellis may end up being a Walker Cup eliminator ?

Scotland’s last man Robert MACINTYRE was 1Up with 2 to play before the GB&I nemesis Fredrik Niléhn (SWE) disappointingly won the last two holes with birdies to prevail by 1 hole.

Tomorrow morning’s Quarter Final line up is therefore: –
Alejandro Tosti (ARG) v. Stefano Mazzoli (ITA)
Dylan PERRY (AUS) v. Jarle Kaldestad Volden (NOR)
Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) v. Harry ELLIS (ENG)
Luca Cianchetti (ITA) v. Fredrik Niléhn (SWE)

Round 3 (32)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 3 Results

Prior to the weather delay four matches were completed. In the first of those Jordan SUNDBORG was comprehensively beaten 6&5 by Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), the 2015 European Amateur champion, who has just finished his sophomore year at Texas Christian University in the United States (U.S.), appears to be enjoying his time on the Kent links.

It was better news for Jordan’s compatriot Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG). He fought back from 2 down with 3 to play to record a memorable 1 hole win against Min Woo Lee (AUS), the reigning US Junior Amateur champion.

Perhaps reinvigorated by their extended lunch break Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Alejandro Tosti (ARG) seemed as if they wanted to play 36 holes in their match. Game 1 ended up being one of the last to finish, Tosti finally winning on the 25th hole. Given the 7th is right on the coastline, nearly as far from the clubhouse it is is possible to be, I hope they had buggies on hand to return them home.

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) put up a good fight before being edged out by Australia’s Zach Murray on the final hole.  The Nottinghamshire man, who has just completed his freshman season at McNeese State in U.S., continues to show improvement.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) beat Stuart GREHAN (IRE) by 1 hole in one of the more interesting Round 3 encounters. The London-based Lumsden is on a scholarship at Northwestern University and this win will further enhance his growing reputation in our amateur game.

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) both moved in to the next round to set up a game against each other. Singh Brar overcame U.S.-based Perry Cohen (SUI) by 1 hole whilst McBride had a notable 2 holes win against highly ranked Floridian Jimmy Stanger, a member of the U.S. Walker Cup squad.

img_7724Paul McBride of Wake Forest University (Photo: wakeforestsports.com)

Another American Joshua Seiple, albeit one not in the same league as Stanger, found himself on the end of a 6&5 defeat by Harry ELLIS (ENG). Ellis was, in my opinion, on the periphery of the GB&I Walker Cup team prior to The Amateur starting so this run of match play form is certainly well timed and most encouraging for him.

The three Englishman Tom SLOMAN, George BAYLIS and David LANGLEY all fell in Round 3. All of them can be pleased with their efforts. Sloman lost to Finland’s Matias Honkala and Baylis to Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), both narrowly by 1 hole. Langley lost 4&3 to Sweden’s Fredrik Niléhn who is frankly starting to annoy me – Langley being the third straight GB&I player he has defeated after Conor Purcell and David Boote.

In an interview with the R&A after his match with Baylis MacIntyre said: “It was a rollercoaster from the word go. I mean to get 3Up early doors and then to come down the last there was just..I hung on. Nerves every time. Last year getting to the Final doesn’t mean anything because it’s just another guy in front of you. It’s one v. one and you’ve got to wear the guy down.”

Craig HOWIE (SCO) was unfortunate not to join Messrs. Lumsden and MacIntyre in Round 4. He lost to Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura on the 20th hole after a tight match.

So at the end of a stop-start Round 3 there were just 6 GB&I golfers who advanced to Round 4.

ME.

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21st June 2017

77 players started the day in with a chance of winning The Amateur Championship. That number quickly became 32 as the Match Play stage progressed.

Here’s the story of Rounds 1 and 2, with the normal Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) bias you would expect.

Round 2 (64)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 2 Results

The 7 GB&I players who negotiated Round 1 (see below) were joined later in the day by 20 more from the home nations, all of whom were amongst the stronger stroke play qualifiers.

Medalist Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) showed no hangover from his heroics at Prince’s yesterday. He made quick work of David Ravetto (FRA), winning 5&3 before lunchtime.

England had the beating of Scotland in four ‘auld enemy’ matches this afternoon. In one of the day’s more interesting games Charlie STRICKLAND beat Sandy SCOTT 2&1. Shortly afterwards Jordan SUNDBORG got the better of Euan WALKER 3&2. Daniel O’LOUGHLIN held on to record a 1 hole victory over Craig ROSS before Chris MACLEAN then lost by 1 hole to Somerset’s TOM SLOMAN.

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Charlie Strickland – Winner of the 2017 Peter McEvoy Trophy (Photo: Golf Bible) 

Later in the day there were further English wins for Harry ELLIS (2&1 over Tim Harry’s conqueror Kim Koivu), George BAYLIS (who easily beat Iceland’s Gisli Sveinbergsson 5&4) and David LANGLEY who backed up his great morning win with an easier 5&3 victory over Alberto Castagnara (ITA).

It proved to be a bad afternoon for Wales with all of their four remaining players losing out. Evan GRIFFITH (4&2 to Hayden Springer USA), Ben CHAMBERLAIN (2&1 to Hurly Long GER), Llewellyn MATTHEWS (3&1 to Luca Cianchetti ITA) and David BOOTE (3&2 to Fredrik Niléhn).

After their early losses Ryan LUMSDEN gave Scotland something to cheer about. He produced one of the best performances of Round 2 despatching Ireland’s Robin DAWSON 5&3.

Stuart GREHAN and Paul MCBRIDE quickly turned the tide for Ireland. Stuart beat Peter Melching (NED) 4&2 whilst Paul recorded his second win of the day, this time against Sweden’s Oliver Gilberg (4&2). However, another Irishman Sean FLANAGAN was unable to prevent the in form Jack SINGH BRAR from progressing, the Englishman winning 2&1.

Later on Scottish amateur stars Craig HOWIE and Robert MACINTYRE moved through to Round 3 relatively unscathed. Craig beat Zan Luka Stirn (SLO) 4&2 whilst Robert sent the Scottish born Ben Ferguson (AUS) packing with a 3&2 result.

Other GB&I second round losers included Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), who lost to Florida University’s Alejandro Tosti (ARG), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) who had the misfortune to be paired with US Junior Amateur champion Min Woo Lee (AUS) and  Matthew JORDAN (ENG) whose run of great results finally came to an end on the Kent coast.

Other remaining International players not mentioned above to keep an eye on tomorrow include Harrison Endycott (AUS), Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), Zach Murray (AUS), Dylan Perry (AUS), Jimmy Stanger (USA) and Kristoffer Ventura (NOR).

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Harrison Endycott – Winner of the 2016 Porter Cup (Photo: Jon Scott)

2017 Brabazon Trophy winner Kyle McClatchie (RSA) can consider himself a little unlucky to go out in Round 2. He lost on the 3rd extra hole of his match with Casper Simberg, the Finnish player holing in one on the 239 yard par 3.

We now have 14 GB&I players left standing. Good luck to them all in Round 3.

Round 1 (Preliminary)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 1 Results

26 players, including 13 from GB&I, were called upon to contest the Preliminary Round 1. 24 of these qualified on -1, with the remaining two having finished on -2 after the 36 holes of stroke play (the latter two were included after a count back was applied).

Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) was out first at 7.00am and he delivered a strong win, taking out much fancied Australian David Micheluzzi by 1 hole.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) in game 4 had to fight hard for his 20th hole win over Mateusz Gradecki from Poland.

Llewellyn MATTHEWS (WAL) beat Franck Medale (FRA), one of the two -2 qualifiers, by 1 hole.

In the two all-England games Tom SLOMAN beat Will WHITEOAK by 2 holes and George BAYLIS comfortably beat Josh HILLEARD 5&4.

2016 finalist Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) took out the other -2 qualifier Zheng Kai Bai (CHI) 3&1.

In the final game David LANGLEY (ENG) took the Round 1 plaudits with his 1 hole victory over GB&I No. 1 Connor SYME (SCO).

Other GB&I first round losers included Tim HARRY (WAL), who having led for much of his match fell on the 19th to Kim Koivu (FIN), JR GALBRAITH (IRE), who succumbed 3&2 to another Fin, Casper Simberg, and Conor PURCELL (IRE) who was beaten 3&1 by Fredrik Niléhn (SWE).

ME.

___________________________________________

20th June 2017

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

The big story on Day 2 of The Amateur Championship was Caolan RAFFERTY‘s (IRE) amazing round at Prince’s Golf Club. His new course record 62 (-10), with a bogey on the 448 yard par 4 18th, lifted him 82 places and helped him achieve medalist honours in some style.

77 players qualified for the Match Play Stage with the Top 64 and Ties cut falling at 141 or 1 under par.

Welsh pair Ben CHAMBERLAIN and Evan GRIFFITH showed earlier in the day that Prince’s was again going to be very scorable. Ben’s 65 (-7) and Evan’s 66 (-6) helped them to tied 23rd (-3) and tied 4th (-7) finishes respectively in the Stroke Play Qualifying Stage.

David BOOTE (-3), Llewellyn MATTHEWS (-1) and Tim HARRY (-1) made it five Welsh qualifiers in total. Boote had left himself some work to do after a 71 at Prince’s yesterday but will be pleased with his 68 (-2) at Royal St. George’s today.

In addition to Rafferty Ireland will be represented by Robin DAWSON (-5), Stuart GREHAN (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), Sean FLANAGAN (-2), Conor PURCELL (-1), JR GALBRAITH (-1) and Paul MCBRIDE (-1) in the Match Play draw.

Harry ELLIS (ENG) -8 and Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) -7 both secured their match play qualification on Day 2 with best of the week 65’s (-5) at Royal St. George’s. Ellis finished 3rd and Endycott tied 4th with Evan Griffith.

Chris MACLEAN (SCO), who was medalist at the Spanish International Amateur, once again demonstrated his qualifying prowess with a second 68, this time at Royal St. George’s. His -6 total secured a tied 6th finish. Fellow Scots Craig HOWIE (-5), Sandy SCOTT (-5), Craig ROSS (-3), Euan WALKER (-3), Ryan LUMSDEN (-2), Robert MACINTYRE (-1) and Connor SYME (-1) all joined him.

English pair Matthew JORDAN and Josh HILLEARD both dug deep to make the cut. Matthew started the day on +4 but delivered a 67 at Prince’s to finish on the -1 mark. Josh shot a par 70, never to be sniffed at particularly under some pressure, at Royal St. George’s.

In addition to Harry Ellis, Josh Hilleard and Matthew Jordan, Jack SINGH BRAR (-4), Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (-3), Jordan SUNDBORG (-2, who like Jordan shot 67 at Prince’s to bounce back well), Charlie STRICKLAND (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-2), Tom SLOMAN (-1), George BAYLIS (-1), David LANGLEY (-1) and Will WHITEOAK (-1) all live to fight another day.

Notable players, mainly in the context of the Walker Cup, to miss the cut included Bradley MOORE (ENG) Ev, Alfie PLANT (ENG) Ev, Jamie STEWART (SCO) Ev, Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) +1, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +2, Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) +3), Dan BROWN (ENG) +5, Peter O’KEEFFE (IRE) +5, Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) +6, James WALKER (ENG) +6, Marco PENGE (ENG) +7, Alex GLEESON (IRE) +7, Harry HALL (ENG) +8, Owen EDWARDS (WAL) +12 and Barry HUME (SCO) +12.

ME.

___________________________________________

19th June 2017

The Amateur Championship started at 7.00am today with 288 players embarking on this marathon event.

The leading 64 players and ties after 36 holes of stroke play, 18 on each of the adjacent host courses in Kent, will progress to the match play stage.

In near perfect playing conditions it quickly became clear that scoring was generally going to be very good. This was particularly true at the shorter and less demanding Prince’s. The only caveat to this being the late starters who faced stronger winds in the evening and as such some of their scores drifted upwards.

Gils SVEINBERGSSON (ISL) led the field with a superb bogey free 64 (-8), a new course record at Prince’s.

There were plenty of players queuing up behind him too. From GB&I Tim HARRY (WAL) 66 (-6), Joshua MCMAHON (ENG), George BAYLIS (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all 67 (-5), Tom GANDY (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Sam BROADHURST (ENG), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Matt MYERS (ENG), Craig HOWIE (SCO) and Jeff WRIGHT (SCO) all 68 (-4) have also made good starts.

Next door at Royal St. George’s (RSG) scoring was understandably tougher. Zach MURRAY (AUS) shot 7 birdies in his 66 (-4) to lead the way on this course. Craig ROSS (SCO) 67 (-3) was the second best at RSG with Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68 (-2), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) all 69 (-1) not too far behind.

For what it’s worth the current Top 64 and Ties cut line sits at -1, with 82 players currently ‘qualifying’. To highlight the difference in the scoring just 17 of these played at RSG today.

ME.

___________________________________________

15th June 2017

The 122nd Amateur Championship starts on Monday 19th June at Royal St. George’s GC and Prince’s GC in Kent.

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.

img_4767

Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Getty Images)

 Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th June. Tee times will start at 7.00 am and end at 3.52 pm on both days.

To view the stroke play draw click here – Amateur Championship SP Draw

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

This second stage will be played solely at Royal St. George’s between Wednesday 21st and Saturday 24th June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for the Final which will be over 36 holes.

img_4709

Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Photo: Golf Bible)

Players

Players from 40 countries will contest the 2017 Amateur.

20 of the 21 players in the GB&I Walker Cup squad are competing as are many of the other hopefuls.

Scott GREGORY (ENG / SPWAR #78), the defending champion, is unfortunately the missing player. He has been playing in the US Open Championship at Erin Hills this week so is unavailable.

Connor SYME (SCO / SPWAR #15), David BOOTE (WAL / SPWAR #17), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO / SPWAR #21), Matthew JORDAN (ENG / SPWAR #26), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG / SPWAR #30), Craig HOWIE (SCO / SPWAR #32), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO / SPWAR #47), Robin DAWSON (IRE / SPWAR #52), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL / SPWAR #53), JR GALBRAITH (IRE / SPWAR #70 and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE / SPWAR #74) are the leading GB&I players competing.

Our Walker Cup captain Craig WATSON (SCO) is also in the field, exempt as a past champion. He of course won The Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s in 1997.

Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA / SPWAR #2), Jimmy STANGER (SPWAR #27), Alejandro TOSTI (ARG / SPWAR #28), Min Woo LEE (AUS / SPWAR #29), Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS / SPWAR #31), Dylan WU (USA / SPWAR 33), Garrick HIGGO (RSA / SPWAR #34), Viktor HOVLAND (NOR / SPWAR #35), Kristoffer VENTURA (NOR / SPWAR #43) and Travis SMYTH (AUS / SPWAR #48) are the highest ranked international players on show.

Whilst there are some Americans playing, notably USA Walker Cup squad member Jimmy Stanger, it sadly remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the ‘prizes’ on offer.

Host Courses

The Championship is being staged at Royal St. George’s and Prince’s in Sandwich, Kent.

This will be the 14th time Royal St. George’s has been the lead course at The Amateur Championship. Only Royal Liverpool (18) and St. Andrews (16) has hosted it more often.

Founded in 1887 it has recently been invited to host The Open Championship for the 15th time in 2020. It has also previously staged The Walker Cup (1930 and 1967) and The Curtis Cup (1988).

Royal St. George’s plays to 7,204 yards from the championship tees and has a par of 70.

Neighbouring Prince’s was established in 1906 and hosted The Open for the first and last time in 1932, That Championship was famously won by Gene Sarazen. It also hosted The Curtis Cup in 1956.

It plays to 6,880 yards over the Shore and Dunes nines and a par of 72.

Weather Forecast

As at Saturday 17th June the weather forecast is very nice, albeit the wind looks like it will be moving around a little: –

Mon 19th June – Sunny. Wind 7mph NE. Temp. Max. 24°C / Min 15°C.
Tue 20th June – Light Cloud. Wind 10mph NE. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 15°C.
Wed 21st June – Sunny. Wind 14mph NE. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 15°C.
Thu 22nd June – Light Cloud. Wind 9mph SE. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
Fri 23rd June – Sunny. Wind 12mph SW. Temp. Max. 23°C / Min 16°C.
Sat 24th June – Sunny. Wind 13mph NE. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 14°C.

Just like at The Open players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.52pm on Monday and Tuesday so the weather and wind may very well play a part in the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions        

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

They will also be exempt into the 2018 US Open Championship which is being held at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York State.

Traditionally, the Amateur Champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

It is also an unofficial rule that should The Amateur be won by a GB&I player in the year of a Walker Cup match then that player will be selected for the team. 

2016 Amateur Championship

Scott GREGORY (ENG) beat Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) 2&1 in the 36-hole final of the 2016 Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl GC.

Scott Gregory Amateur Champion 2016

Scott Gregory (Photo: R&A / Getty Images)

Gregory shot 72 at Royal Porthcawl and 71 at Pyle & Kenfig in the stroke play stage to qualify 13th (+1).

He then proceeded to beat Andre NEL (RSA) by 2 holes, Pierre MAZIER (FRA) by 1 hole, Harry HALL (ENG) 4&3, Javier SAINZ (ESP) 5&4 and Adrian MERONK (POL) to reach the Final.

Click this link to view the – 2016 Amateur Championship MP Results 

Click this link to view the – 2016 Amateur Championship SP Results

A Short History of The Amateur 

The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool GC. 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 a 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 better than most of the professionals of the time.

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 Gregory’s win last year the last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

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
2006 Julien Guerrier (FRA) – Royal St. George’s

A great honour for all of the players listed above but perhaps when one reviews where most of them are now another clear reminder that golf is an incredibly tough game and career to pursue at the professional level.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.SaveSave

The Scottish Mens Open Stroke Play Championship – 2017 Preview & Results

4th June 2017 – Rounds 3 and 4 Report

Click here to view the – Scottish Open SP Results

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) shot rounds of 69 and 71 on the final day to win the Carrick Neill Scottish Men’s Open Championship. His -9 total at the tough Western Gailes course was good enough for a two shot victory.

Liam was the first home winner since Wallace Booth in 2008. Following on from his African Amateur win earlier this year he must now be a certainty for the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Liam Johnston (Photo: Kenny Smith / Scottish Golf)

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) continued his superb run off form over the last 6 weeks by securing second place on -7. Matthew has now recorded successive Top 5’s in the Irish Open Amateur, Brabazon Trophy and Scottish Open Amateur.

Craig HOWIE (SCO) and David MICHELUZZI (AUS) shared third place on -5 as both stumbled a little in the final round as the wind picked up.

Connor SYME (SCO) finished 5th on -4 confirming his status as GB&I’s No. 1 amateur golfer.

Clément CHARMASSON (FRA) and Matty LAMB (ENG) shot final round 67’s to move through the field and finish tied 6th on -3.

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3rd June 2017 – Round 2 Report

Craig HOWIE (SCO) matched the best score of the week, a course record -7 64, to move nicely through the field into a share of 1st place.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and David MICHELUZZI (AUS) shot 66 and 68 respectively to make it a three way tie at the top of the leaderboard on -7.

Walker Cup squad players Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) showed good battling skills to make the cut. O’Rourke fought back from a Round 1 79 with a 65 whilst Scott followed his opening 75 with a 69.

The 36 hole cut fell at +2 with 42 players making it through to Sunday, where the final 36 holes will be played.

Amongst those to miss the cut were Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) +3, Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) +6, Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) +7, Marco STEYN (RSA) +12, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +12 and Zach MURRAY (AUS) +13.

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2nd June 2017 – Round 1 Report

Alister BALCOMBE (ENG) and Calum FYFE (SCO) shared the Round 1 lead after rounds of 64 (-7). Both players improved the course record by 1-shot.

Connor SYME (SCO) and Thomas PLUMB (ENG), who both shot 66 (-5), were in close pursuit in tied second.

In form duo Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), two of our stronger Walker Cup candidates, remained nicely in touch in tied 10th place after 69’s (-2).

Notable players with work to do to make the top 40 and ties 36 hole cut include Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 75 (+4), Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) 75 (+4), David HAGUE (ENG) 77 (+6), Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) 77 (+6), Zach MURRAY (AUS) 78 (+7), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) 79 (+8), Jamie STEWART (SCO) 79 (+8) and Marco STEYN (RSA) 80 (+9).

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31st May 2017

The 51st Scottish Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship, sponsored by Carrick Neill, starts this Friday at Western Gailes Golf Club in Ayrshire.

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Western Gailes G.C. (Photo: GolfBreaks website)

Format

This open amateur competition consists of 72 holes of stroke play.

18 holes will be played on both Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd June.

A 36 hole cut will then take place with only the leading 40 competitors and ties qualifying for the final two rounds which will be played on Sunday 4th June.

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

Field

144 competitors, all off scratch or better, will start the 2017 Championship.

The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Scottish Open Amateur Tee Times

Just 5 members of the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad will be competing. These are Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Connor SYME (SCO).

Home players Barry HUME, Robert MACINTYRE and Craig ROSS are obvious omissions from this elite group.

Of course many of the other leading Scottish players will be chasing this prestigious title, including Calum FYFE, Liam JOHNSTON, Chris MACLEAN, Euan MCINTOSH, Graeme ROBERTSON and Jamie STEWART.

Other entries from the rest of GB&I that I’ll be watching closely include John-Ross GALBRAITH (IRE), David HAGUE (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) and Jonathan YATES (IRE).

There is also a strong international contingent too, most notably Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS), Garrick HIGGO (RSA), Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Pierre PINEAU (FRA), Travis SMYTH (AUS), Marco STEYN (RSA) and Albert VENTER (RSA).

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) listed the Scottish Open Amateur as it’s 23rd most important amateur competition based on the strength of it’s field.

Prizes

The Winner receives the distinctive Championship Trophy and a silver gilt medal.

Silver and bronze medals are also awarded to the runner-up and third place finisher(s). A 36-hole card count back will only be used to determine the runner up.

Western Gailes Golf Club

Surprisingly given its reputation 2017 will be the first time Western Gailes has staged the Scottish Men’s Open Amateur.

The links, like many others on the west coast of Scotland, is situated on undulating land between the railway and the sea.

The Championship course plays to 7,014 yards and a testing par of 71 as can be seen from the scorecard below.

Scorecard (Photo: Western Gailes GC website)

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast has improved as the Championship has got closer (as at 8.00am Friday 2nd June):-

Fri   1st June – Sunny / Wind 9 mph SW / Temp. Min. 16°C, Max. 10°C.
Sat  2nd June – Cloudy / Wind 10 mph SW / Temp. Min. 16°C / Max. 11°C.
Sun 3rd June – Cloudy AM, Showers PM / Wind 13 mph SW / Temp. Min. 14°C / Max. 11°C.

Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.30pm.

The 2016 Scottish Men’s Open Amateur

Australia’s Cameron JOHN (-15) won the title last year at Gullane GC (No. 1 course) in East Lothian.

Stuart GREHAN and Grant FORREST (-11) tied for second place. Craig HOWIE (-10) and Connor SYME (-9) made up the top 5.

Cameron John (Photo: Kenny Smith / Scottish Golf)

Click this link to view the 2016 Scottish Open Amateur results – Results

Past Winners

The Scottish Men’s Open Amateur was first contested in 1967 and has an impressive list of past winners. Here are some of them: –

2015 – Marco Penge (ENG)
2014 – Gavin Moynihan (IRE)
2013 – Garrick Porteous (ENG)
2011 – Andy Sullivan (ENG)
2009 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)
2004 – Richie Ramsay (SCO)
2003 – Gary Wolstenholme (ENG)
2002 – Barry Hume (SCO)
1997 – Barclay Howard (SCO)
1996 – Alastair Forsyth (SCO)
1995 – Stephen Gallacher (SCO)
1992 – Dean Robertson (SCO)
1991 – Andrew Coltart (SCO)
1985 – Colin Montgomerie (SCO)
1981 – Philip Walton (IRE)
1980 – Gordon Brand Jr (ENG)
1975 and 1984 – Charlie Green (SCO)
1971, 1974 and 1979 – Ian Hutcheon (SCO)
1970 – Dale Hayes (RSA)
1968 – Ronnie Shade (SCO)
1967 – Bernard Gallacher (SCO)

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Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.