World Amateur Team Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

8th September 2018

DENMARK won the Men’s World Amateur Team Championship at Carton House in Ireland with a record 541 (-39) team score.

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Denmark With The Eisenhower Trophy (Photo: International Golf Federation)

The Danes produced a -13 team score in the final round which was played on the O’Meara Course. European Amateur champion Nicolai HOJGAARD was their star man producing a 66 (-7) right on cue.

This was Denmark’s first victory in the Championship. Their previous best result was second in Argentina in 2010.

The UNITED STATES finished 2nd paying the penalty for their poor first day. In the final analysis they found themselves coming up 1-shot short on 542 (-38) after a -11 team score today.

SPAIN were third on 544 (-36) two shots further back. Alejandro DEL RAY continued his fine play this week with a 65 (-8) to help the Spaniards finish the day with a -9 team score.

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The Leading Final Team Results (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

ENGLAND recorded the second best team score of the day with a -12. This strong finish lifted them up to 8th on 549 (-31). MATTHEW JORDAN left the amateur game in style shooting a bogey-free 65 (-8), the joint low round of the day. Matthew is set to make his pro debut in the KLM Open in The Netherlands next week.

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Matthew Jordan’s Round 4 Championship Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

IRELAND finished tied 10th on 553 (-27) after a good -9 team score on the final day. John MURPHY 68 (-5) and Robin DAWSON 69 (-4) contributed the Irish scores.

SCOTLAND also finished the Championship well with a -8 team score in Round 4. Sandy SCOTT doing the main damage today with a 67 (-6). The Scottish total of 554 (-26) was good enough for tied 12th.

WALES finished on 560 (-20) for a tied 18th result. Tom WILLIAMS 69 (-4) led the Welsh to a -7 team score on the final day.

Click here to view the – 2018 Eisenhower Trophy Team Scores

Spain’s Alejandro DEL RAY was the low individual with a superb -23 final score. It was a bit harsh on Japan’s Takumi KANAYA who did little wrong today (67 -6) but ended up second best on -22.

Robin DAWSON and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-14) both finished tied 13th to share low GB&I honours. Matthew JORDAN, Sandy SCOTT and Ryan LUMSDEN (-12) were a couple of shots further back.

Dawson and Petrozzi will both be turning Pro in the next few weeks ahead of competing in a European Tour Qualifying Stage 1 event.

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The Leading Final Individual Team Results (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

Click here to view the – 2018 Eisenhower Trophy Individual Scores

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7th September 2018

NEW ZEALAND showed no nerves at all on Day 3 extending their lead over the field to 3-shots. Denzel IEREMIA showed his 66 on the Montgomerie yesterday was no fluke by following it up with a 65 (-7) today.

SPAIN, UNITED STATES and ITALY matched the leaders with a -10 team score in Round 3. With THAILAND and DENMARK still in the mix we now have five teams within 4-shots of New Zealand. A final day shoot out therefore seems assured.

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The Leading Round 3 Team Scores (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

ENGLAND (-19) moved into 11th after posting their best team score of the week so far; a -7 with Gian-Marco PETROZZI once again delivering the low card. Petrozzi’s 67 today took him to -12 for the Championship. He is now the leading GB&I individual with just 18 holes to play.

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Gian-Marco Petrozzi’s Championship Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

IRELAND and SCOTLAND (-18) are now tied 12th. Ireland fell down the rankings with a disappointing +1 team score in Round 3. Conor PURCELL’S 71 (-1) was the best score they could produce. On the other hand Scotland continue to rise; Sandy SCOTT came to the party in Round 3 and his 67 (-5) helped them move up another 5 places on the leaderboard.

WALES (-13) had a steady day with Ben CHAMBERLAIN’S 70 leading them to a -2 team score. They will start the final round in tied 20th place.

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6th September 2018

A strong finish to their rounds on the Montgomerie Course by Daniel HILLIER 65 (-7) and Denzel IEREMIA 66 (-6) helped NEW ZEALAND rise to the top of the Men’s World Amateur Team Championship leaderboard on Day 2.

New Zealand’s 270 (-20) total has given them a 1-shot lead over DENMARK, IRELAND and THAILAND, who are all tied for 2nd place.

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The Leading Round 2 Team Scores (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

THAILAND enjoyed a superb day on the Montgomerie Course producing a 131 (-13) score which catapulted them up into 2nd place on 271 (-19). Sadom KAEWKANJANA contributed a 65 (-7) and Witchayanon CHOTHIRUNRUNGRUENG a 66 (-6).

The Day 1 leaders, DENMARK, delivered an entirely satisfactory 137 (-8) score on the O’Meara Course but unfortunately it was a day when many of their peers were going even lower. John AXELSEN 69 (-4) again led the way with the HOJGAARD twins, Nicolai and Rasmus, both offering up 70’s (-3).

Home team IRELAND enjoyed another strong team performance in Round 2, producing a good 137 (-9) score on the O’Meara Course. Robin DAWSON, who is still to record a bogey at the Championship, shot a 68 (-5) today and he was well supported by Conor PURCELL who had a 69 (-4).

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Robin Dawson’s Championship Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

CANADA (-13 O’Meara), UNITED STATES (-13 O’Meara), SPAIN (-11 Montgomerie), ITALY (-13 O’Meara), SWEDEN (-11 Montgomerie), AUSTRIA (-10 O’Meara) and GERMANY (-12 O’Meara) all managed ‘double figure’ days to move into the Top 15 by the end of play.

Italy’s Stefano MAZZOLI had the low round of the day on the O’Meara Course with a 64 (-9). A great bounce back from a difficult day on the Montgomerie yesterday. He was 15 shots better today and amazingly -9 after 10 holes of his round.

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Stefano Mazzoli’s Championship Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

Spain’s Alejandro DEL RAY also a shot a 64 (-8) on the Montgomerie which was the best of the day on this course.

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Alejandro Del Ray’s Championship Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

ENGLAND, one of the last group’s out on the Montgomerie Course, battled hard for a second successive -6 score. Gian-Marco PETROZZI shot a 68 (-4) to help lead the English team into tied 12th place.

WALES followed up yesterday’s good start with an even better day on the Montgomerie Course. Jake HAPGOOD’S 68 (-4) and Tom WILLIAMS’ 70 (-2) left the Principality on 279 -11 for the Championship and tied 14th.

SCOTLAND also enjoyed an excellent day. Their 136 (-10) score, thanks to Ryan LUMSDEN’S 67 (-6) and Euan WALKER’S 69 (-4) on the O’Meara moved them through the field into a respectable tied 17th.

SOUTH AFRICA’S Championship continues to go from bad to worse. Today Malcom MITCHELL, their reserve fell ill and was unable to make his tee time. Then playing in the morning, in the worst of the day’s weather, their two remaining players Matt SAULEZ and Wilco NIENABER were only able to manage a 75 and 76 on the O’Meara Course. A 151 (+5) day took them to 294 (+4) in total and a hugely disappointing 46th place.

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5th September 2018

DENMARK lead the Men’s World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) at the end of Round 1.

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The Leading Round 1 Team Scores (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

Rounds of 64 (-8) and 68 (-4) on the tougher Montgomerie Course from John AXELSEN and Rasmus HOJGAARD respectively helped the Danes post an impressive 132 (-12) score.

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John Axelsen’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

The home nation IRELAND, who were also playing on the Montgomerie, are second on 134 (-10). Robin DAWSON shot a bogey free 65 (-7) with encouragingly both John MURPHY and Conor PURCELL backing him up with 69’s (-3).

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Robin Dawson’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

INDIA and SWITZERLAND are a surprise third on 137 (-9), albeit their scores were both compiled on the O’Meara Course. India’s star man Rayhan THOMAS shot a best of the day 64 (-9) on the easier par 73 track. Switzerland’s Perry COHEN produced a 65 (-8) to underpin his country’s total score.

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Rayhan Thomas’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: IGF / http://www.ghintpp.com)

ENGLAND, who were also on the O’Meara today, finished on 140 (-6) and are tied 7th. Gian-Marco PETROZZI 70 (-3) and Mitch WAITE 70 (-3) contributed their two scores.

WALES have made an encouraging start to the Championship too. Their 141 (-5) total on the O’Meara sees them lying in tied 12th place. Ben CHAMBERLAIN 69 (-4) and Jake HAPGOOD 72 (-1) put their scores on the board.

SCOTLAND 144 (Ev) are tied 34th. On a steady day for the Scots Ryan LUMSDEN shot 71 (-1) whilst Sandy SCOTT and Euan WALKER contributed hard fought matching 73’s (+1).

Two of this year’s favourites, the U.S.A. 140 M (-4) and AUSTRALIA 141 M (-3), have work to do from tied 19th and tied 23rd respectively at the end of Day 1. There is of course plenty of time left for both of them to catch the early leaders.

SOUTH AFRICA 143 M (-1) are tied 30th. Their day got off to a bad start when Jovan REBULA, the reigning Amateur champion, was forced to withdrawal with a back injury before play had started. He was replaced by travelling reserve Malcom MITCHELL.

All of the players and their teams will move onto the other course, i.e. the one they haven’t played today, for tomorrow’s second round.

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4th September 2018

The 31st Men’s World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) starts tomorrow at the Carton House resort in County Kildare, Ireland.

The WATC is a biennial international amateur golf competition run by the International Golf Federation (IGF), formerly known as the World Amateur Golf Council.

The IGF comprises 151 national governing bodies of golf in 146 countries and 22 international professional tours. It is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the body responsible for golf and as such, in addition to the Men’s and Women’s WATC’s it also organises the golf competitions in both the Olympics and Youth Olympics.

The competition has in recent years moved by rotation around the world taking in Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe-Africa in turn.

The first WATC took place in 1958 and was played over the Old Course at St. Andrews. Bobby Jones captained the United States of America famously receiving the Freedom of the Town during the trip, although his team ended up losing a play-off to Australia for the title.

Venue

The WATC will be played over Carton House’s two golf courses and will be hosted by the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf Union.

The Montgomerie is a par 72 inland-links course which measures 7,301 yards from the championship tees. The nines are relatively similar in length and follow the standard configuration with two par 3’s and two par 5’s on each side. It hosted the Irish Open Championship on the European Tour in 2005, 2006 and 2013.

The O’Meara is a par 73 parkland course which measures 7,165 yards from the championship tees. Again the two nines are similar in length, albeit the front nine includes three par 5’s.

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18th hole, The Montgomerie Course, Carton House (Photo: Albrecht Golf Guide)

Competition Format

72 teams are competing in the 2018 WATC.

The three players from each team play 72 holes of stroke play over four days. The two lowest rounds recorded on each day count towards the team’s total score.

The winning team receive the Eisenhower Trophy. The Trophy was provided in 1958 by the American Friends of Golf through the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient GolfGolf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. It is named in honour of the then United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The inscription on the trophy reads: “To foster friendship and sportsmanship among the Peoples of the World.”

Players in the leading three teams receive gold, silver and bronze medals.

Whilst individual results are reported and the player with the lowest score is recognised at the closing ceremony there is no prize awarded for the honour.

GB&I Competitors

Each of the home nations will be represented with the following players having been selected (Age / SPWAR): –

ENGLAND
Matt JORDAN (22 / #16), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (21 / #108) and Mitch WAITE (23 / #37)

IRELAND
Robin DAWSON (22 / #15), John MURPHY (20 / #94) and Conor PURCELL (21 / #34)

SCOTLAND
Ryan LUMSDEN (21 / #88 ), Euan WALKER (22 / #114 ) and Sandy SCOTT (20 / #132)

WALES
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (NK / #972), Jake HAPGOOD (NK / #395 ) and Tom WILLIAMS (NK / #728)

Good luck to all of the home nation teams competing in Ireland this week.

2018 WATC Prediction

Whilst there are 72 teams competing at the 2018 WATC just ten have a chance of a medal in my opinion.

This is my Top 10 prediction: –

1. United States of America
2. ENGLAND
3. IRELAND
4. South Africa
5. Australia
6. Denmark
7. Norway
8. Canada
9. France
10. Italy

The U.S.A. will be represented by Cole HAMMER (SPWAR #6), Colin MORIKAWA (#2) and Justin SUH (#10). The ‘undisputed’ World No. 1 Braden THORNBERRY has either not be selected or declined the opportunity to travel to Ireland.

Jovan REBULA and Victor HOVLAND, the 2018 Amateur and U.S. Amateur champions, are in action for South Africa and Norway respectively.

Future WATC Venues

2020 – Hong Kong G.C. (composite) and The Clearwater Bay G. & C.C., Hong Kong, China
2022 – Le Golf National and Golf de Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche, near Paris, France

The choice of France in 2022 was something of a surprise as the WATC was scheduled to be played in the Americas based on the rotation system that has been in place.

From 2024 due to escalating costs the WATC will be staged at a single course with the field reduced accordingly. It is expected a new qualifying competition for the smaller and newer golfing nations will be established ahead of this Championship.

2016 WATC

AUSTRALIA won the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship in Mayakoba, Mexico by a massive 19-shots.

The team of Cameron DAVISHarrison ENDYCOTT and Curtis LUCK equalled the 72 hole scoring record of 534 (-38).

It was the fourth time Australia had won the Eisenhower Trophy, following victories in 1958, 1966 and 1996.

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Australia – Harrison Endycott, Cameron Davis, Curtis Luck, Matt Cutler – with the Eisenhower Trophy (Photo: Golf Australia)

ENGLAND (-19) collected the silver medal with AUSTRIA and IRELAND (-18) sharing bronze.

Alfie PLANT holed a 9-foot birdie putt on the last to secure second place for England. The Irish team appeared to have second sown up but a double bogey from Jack HUME (68) and a bogey from Stuart GREHAN (72) on the 18th, in their two counting rounds, ended up costing them dear.

It was the first time that both ENGLAND and IRELAND had medalled since the home nations started competing individually rather than under the Great Britain & Ireland banner.

SCOTLAND (-11) finished in a disappointing 11th place given the strong team they put out and particularly after holding the Round 1 lead when they posted a -10 score.

WALES finished in tied 16th. David BOOTE (-9) was their mainstay but he was supported well by Owen EDWARDS and Joshua DAVIES, both of whom provided two scores over the Championship.

Team Results
1.       AUSTRALIA     -38
2.       ENGLAND       -19
T3.     IRELAND         -18
11.     SCOTLAND     -11
T16.   WALES             -8

T6.     USA                 -15

AUSTRALIA’s Cameron DAVIS (269 / -17) recorded the Championship’s lowest individual score. His compatriot Curtis LUCK (271 / -15) finished second, helped in no small part by a superb 63 (-9) in the third round.

England’s Alfie PLANT (-12) was GB&I’s leading player at the Championship. David BOOTE (-9), Jack HUME (-7) and Paul MCBRIDE (-5) all played very well too, finishing in the Top 20 Individual standings.

GB&I Individual Results
T3.      Alfie PLANT (ENG)              -12
9.        David BOOTE (WAL)            -9
T11.    Jack HUME (IRE)                  -7
T20.    Paul MCBRIDE (IRE)            -5
T27.    Robert MCINTYRE (SCO)    -3
T38.    Connor SYME (SCO)            Ev
T38.    Grant FORREST (SCO)        Ev
T38.    Scott GREGORY (ENG)       Ev
T48.    Stuart GREHAN (IRE)         +2
T53.    Jamie BOWER (ENG)         +3
T71.    Owen EDWARDS (WAL)     +5
T100.  Joshua DAVIES (WAL)       +11

2014 WATC

The United States of America, represented by  Bryson DECHAMBEAUBeau HOSSLER and Denny MCCARTHY won the 2014 Eisenhower Trophy in Karuizawa, Japan. The U.S. team set a new record score of 534 (-38).

2014 Eisenhower Trophy

U.S.A. – Bryson DeChambeau, Denny McCarthy, Jim Hyler (c) and Beau Hossler – with the Eisenhower Trophy (Photo: USGA / Steven Gibbons)

In 2014 Spain’s Jon RAHM won the Individual with a record breaking 263 (-23) total.

Historic Results

GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND (GB&I) have won the Eisenhower Trophy four times but only SCOTLAND have won it in their own right since each of the home nations started to compete separately.

The competion holds a special place in the story of English amateur Peter MCEVOY. He participated in the winning GB&I team in 1988, he also ‘won’ the Individual (284) that year and he went on to captain the GB&I team that won it again in 1998. A hat trick of Eisenhower Trophy achievements that may prove difficult for anyone else to match.

Here is the full list of historic results: –

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Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

U.S. Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 19th August 2018

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.

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Viktor Hovland (Photo: USGA)

The Final was effectively won around the turn on the first 18 holes when Hovland won four holes in a row. Bling bogeying 8, 9 and 10 before Hovland birdied 11. The Californian battled to the end but was always unlikely to recover such a deficit against the in form Norwegian.

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

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Match Play Final Results (Photo: USGA)

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

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Saturday 18th August 2018

Devon BLING (USA) beat Isaiah SALINDA (USA) by 1 Hole to win the first Semi-Final.

Devon will play Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) in tomorrow’s Final after the Norwegian overcame Cole HAMMER (USA) 3&2 in the other match.img_9822

Match Play Semi-Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

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Friday 17th August 2018

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) lost 3&2 to Cole HAMMER (USA) in their Quarter Final match.

Cole (18), arguably the best amateur golfer in the world at the moment, came into this week having already won the Azalea Invitational, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (with partner Garrett Barber) and most impressively the Western Amateur Championship this season. He starts his college career at the University of Texas in September and is certainly one to watch.

After the match Cole said to the U.S.G.A.: “I think when I won the Azalea earlier this year, when I came out on top in a playoff against Hugo Bernard and Joe Pagdin, I felt like I belonged in amateur golf rather than just in junior golf. Actually even before that, last year at the Jones Cup, I came in third, and that’s a pretty solid finish for 17 [years old]. But this whole year has gradually been a rise to the confidence that I have now.”

As can be seen from the hole-by-hole scores below this was a hard fought contest with both players in good form. Cole was -3 for the holes played and Alex -2.

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C. Hammer v. A. Fitzpatrick Match Play Quarter Final Scores (Photo: USGA)

Fitzpatrick (19) can now look forward to starting his freshman season at Wake Forest in September with renewed confidence knowing he belongs at this level.

As this year’s eight quarter finalists each earn an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Amateur he can at least take solace in the fact he has also punched his ticket for next year’s U.S. Amateur already.

Europe’s other representative Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) continues to impress. Following his second successive 7&6 win the Oklahoma State player appears to be the man to beat. In beating Austin SQUIRES (USA) he won seven consecutive holes (2-8) and equalled the largest margin of victory in an 18 hole Quarter Final record.

Here are the full results from the Quarter Finals: –

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Match Play Quarter Finals Results (Photo: USGA)

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Thursday 16th August 2018

Match Play Round 3

For the second time on Thursday Alex FITZPATRICK required extra holes to get the win.

This time McClure MEISSNER was beaten on the 19th Hole. As with this morning’s round Alex bogeyed the par 3 17th to put himself under pressure. After three putting the 18th for a 6 and a fortunate half it was great to see the Yorkshireman birdie the 1st extra hole to end the match. 39 holes in a day is more than enough for anyone.

Mesissner is not someone I have heard too much about but having beaten both Brad DALKE and John AUGENSTEIN in the previous rounds he was clearly playing very well.

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A. Fitzpatrick v. M. Meissner Match Play Round 3 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Speaking to the U.S.G.A. after the match Alex was understandably delighted to have made the Quarter finals: “It means a lot. This tournament has been something I’ve really wanted to get in from the start of the year. I’ve worked pretty hard to get in this, and it’s nice to actually play good golf when I get here. I didn’t expect to even qualify for the stroke play, so sort of each match getting further and further is getting more exciting, and as I said, if I was to get knocked out, I still wouldn’t be disappointed because I’ve had a great week.”

In the all-Norwegian match up Viktor HOVLAND beat Kristoffer REITAN 7&6 in a surprisingly one sided game.

Here are the full Round 3 results: –

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Match Play Round 3 Results (Photo: USGA)

Match Play Round 2

It was a close run thing but Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) finally overcame Jesus MONTENEGRO (ARG) in a tight match on the 20th Hole.

Alex pared the par 5 18th to draw level before Montenegro bogeyed the 2nd extra hole to allow the man from Sheffield to progress.

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A. Fitzpatrick v. J. Montenegro Match Play Round 2 Scores (Photo: USGA)

The two other remaining Europeans in the draw are Viktor HOVLAND and Kristoffer REITAN and sadly for Norwegian fans they will play each other in the penultimate game of this afternoon’s series.

Here are the full Round 2 results from Pebble Beach: –

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Match Play Round 2 Results (Photo: USGA)

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Wednesday 15th August 2018

Match Play Round 1

Harry HALL (ENG) lost by 1 Hole to Stewart HAGESTAD (USA). Stewart, the mid-amateur selection for the 2017 U.S.A. Walker Cup team, came into the match full of confidence after recording the lowest qualifying round; a bogey free 66 in his Rd 2 at Pebble Beach yesterday. In a tight match where neither player led by more than one hole Stewart just came out on top.

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S. Hagestad v. H. Hall – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) beat Ian SIEBERS (USA) 2&1. Ian handed control of the match to Alex with four bogeys in the first six holes and Alex was good enough to see it out from there. The draw was perhaps favourable to Alex but the match still had to be won.  Whilst Ian shot a 68, including 7 birdies, at Pebble Beach in Stroke Play Round 2 and qualified strongly in 7th place he is just 16 years old and therefore inexperienced at this level.

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I. Siebers v. A. Fitzpatrick – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

After a birdie on the opening hole Eoin LEONARD (IRE) appeared to lose his way on the famous cliff top holes that end Pebble Beach’s front nine, effectively handing the match to Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) with a sequence of bogeys. Reitan is an experienced international player ranked 44th in the SPWAR so there was certainly no shame in losing to him for the in-form Irishman.

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K. Reitan v. E. Leonard – Match Play Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA)

Here are the complete Round 1 results: –

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Match Play Round 1 Results (Photo: USGA)

Medalist Daniel HILLIER (NZL) safely overcame play-off winner Jacob BERGERON (USA) 3&2.

The main upsets in Round 1 fell in the lower half of the draw which potentially could be good news for Alex Fitzpatrick. Braden THORNBERRY (USA), Collin MORIKAWA (USA) and Justin SUH (USA), all ranked in the SPWAR’s top 10, lost their games. Brad DALKE (USA), runner-up to Curtis Luck in 2016, and highly rated Junior Akshay BHATIA (USA) also lost in this part of the draw.

24-For-1 Play-Off

The sudden death play-off for the 64th and final Match Play spot started at 7.30am (3.30pm BST) on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. The hole was set at 208 yards for the play off with the flag tucked on the back left hand side of the green.

The play-off was televised in full by the U.S.G.A. and streamed on Facebook and Twitter.

Unsurprisingly given the hole set up and circumstances just two players made birdie on the par 3 from the 24 who were competing. They were Jacob BERGERON (USA), the 12th to tee off, and Peter KUEST (USA), the 24th and last.

Both Bergeron and Kuest then hit great drives into the fairway on 18, the next play-off hole. Unfortunately at that point things went crazy. Bergeron mis-hit his lay up right blocking himself out behind the big tree in front of the green whilst Kuest, going for the green, hooked his approach into the Pacific. To cut a long story short Bergeron ended up winning the hole with a 6 with Kuest could only manage an 8.

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Tuesday 14th August 2018

63 players on +3 or better secured places in the Match Play Stage of the U.S. Amateur championship today.

A further 24 players on +4 will play-off tomorrow morning on Pebble Beach’s 17th hole to determine who takes up the final qualifying spot.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Results Summary (Photo: USGA)

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) secured medalist honours from Cole HAMMER (USA) after both finished on 137 (-6). Daniel edged Cole on Pebble Beach count back. Both played the lead venue on Day 1 with Daniel recording a 67 (-4) to Cole’s 69 (-2).

As expected after Day 1 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.

Eoin qualified in some style. Standing at +5 after 27 holes he needed something special on Pebble Beach’s front nine to make the cut. Thankfully he was able to deliver a 32 including an eagle and two birdies to qualify comfortably.

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Eoin Leonard’s Front 9 Scorecard At Pebble Beach (Photo: USGA)

Eoin has been seeded 43rd, Alex 56th and Harry 52nd for the Match Play Stage based on their qualifying scores.

Norway’s Kristoffer REITAN Ev T19 and Viktor HOVLAND +1 T24 were the only other European qualifiers. Fred LACROIX (FRA) +4 T64 has the opportunity to make it 8 European qualifiers as he is one of the players contesting tomorrow morning’s 23-for-1 play-off.

Whilst 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 produced improved scores at Pebble Beach in Round 2 they had simply left themselves too much to do after struggling at the tough Spyglass Hill on Day 1.

Amateur champion Jovan REBULA (RSA) also missed out on with a 148 +5 [76 SH / 72 PB].

ME.

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Monday 13th August 2018

Daniel HILLIER (NZL) and Trevor PHILLIPS (USA) lead the Stroke Play Qualifying competition at the US Amateur Championship at the end of Day 1.

Hillier, 19, shot a 67 (-4) at Pebble Beach which included 5 birdies and an eagle.

Phillips, 20, recorded a 68 (-4) at Spyglass Hill which included 6 birdies, 4 on an unblemished back 9.

Recent winners in the U.S. Isaiah SALINDA (USA) -3 (PB) 3rd, Cole HAMMER (USA) -2 (PB) T4, Akshay BHATIA (USA) -1 (PB) T12 and Michael THORBJORNSEN (USA) -1 (PB) T12 have all clearly brought their form to California.

Hammer is 18, whilst Bhatia and Thorbjornsen are just 16. All three are amongst the favourites this week.

Norway’s Kristoffer REITAN -1 (SH) T12 and Viktor HOVLAND Ev (PB) T28 are the leading European entrants after Round 1.

As you can see from the table below it was a generally disappointing day for the Great British and Irish players. Harry HALL, Alex FITZPATRICK and Eoin LEONARD now have the best chance of making the top 64 Match Play Stage. The other players will need something very special on day 2 to progress where the cut can now be expected to fall at +2 or +3 based on the first round scores.

Amateur champion Jovan REBULA (RSA) also has a lot of work to do if he is to progress.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1 Scores Summary (Photo: USGA)

ME.

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Sunday 12th August 2018  

The 118th U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow in Pebble Beach, California.

This year the championship is being staged at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

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.

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Competition Format

On Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one at Pebble Beach and the other at Spyglass Hill.

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 between Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 19th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

2018 Field

A field of 312 players from 24 (2017: 29) different countries will contest this year’s Championship.

261 players are from U.S.A. with Canada (10) and Australia (8) the next best represented countries.

This year 96 (2017: 100) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too. The introduction of a European Sectional Qualifier, like the U.S.G.A. stage for the U.S. Open Championship, remains long overdue.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.59 (2017: 22.39).

The oldest player will be Paul SIMSON (67, b. 10th May 1951) and the youngest Gaven LANE (14, b. 16th June 2004).

2015 Walker Cup player Mike McCOY will be making his 19th appearance in the Championship.

Denmark’s Nicolai HØSGAARD has chosen not to take up his exemption that came with his European Amateur Championship win at Royal Hague in late June. He is instead playing in the Boys’ Amateur Championship in Northern Ireland, aiming to secure his spot on Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup team.

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

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

Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Harry HALL (ENG) – Qualifier at Santa Rosa, California (23/07/17), 68 66 (-10) 1st.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) – GB&I Walker Cup 2017 and Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

Eoin LEONARD (IRE) – Qualifier at Westfield, New Jersey (16/07/17), 67 70 (-5) 1st.

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 27/6/18

2018 Stroke Play Qualifying Draw

The draw for the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur Tee Times

California is 8 hours behind us so much of the action will take place overnight.

Matthew JORDAN and Robin DAWSON are in the same threesome. They will tee off at 8.01am (1st) at Spyglass on Day 1 and 1.16pm (10th) at Pebble Beach on Day 2.

Host Courses

Pebble Beach Golf Links
7,039 yards, Par 71.
Opened in 1919.
Designed by Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) / Herbert Fowler (1920) / H. Chandler Egan (1928) / Jack Nicklaus (1998) / Arnold Palmer & Thad Layton (2007-2016).

Pebble Beach famously enjoys nine holes perched on the cliffs above the Pacific and is one of the world’s finest courses. An occasional criticism is that the poa-annua greens can be bumpy in the morning and late afternoon.

This will be the 12th U.S.G.A. Championship Pebble beach has staged. It has hosted four previous U.S. Amateurs; in 1929, 1947, 1961 and 1999, the latter won by David Gossett.

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Pebble Beach Golf Links (Photo: Bart Keagy)

Spyglass Hill Golf Course
7,049 yards, Par 72.
Opened in 1966.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones (1966) / Tom Fazio (R. 1996).

Spyglass starts with five opening holes set in sand dunes near to the Pacific coast before moving inland to more challenging holes amongst the Monterey pine covered hills. A top rated course in the U.S. many commentators believe it to be nearly as good as Pebble Beach.

Spyglass co hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1999 alongside Pebble Beach.

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3rd Hole, Spyglass Hill Golf Course (Photo: Pebble Beach Company)

Weather Forecast (as at 11.00pm 12th August 2018)

A cool spell of weather is forecast for next week with playing conditions expected to be virtually identical on each day.

Stroke Play Stage
Mon 13th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 12°C.
Tues 14th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.

Match Play Stage
Weds 15th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.
Thurs 16th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 19°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 17th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 20°C / Min 14°C.
Sat 18th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 22°C / Min 14°C.
Sun 19th August – Sunny. Wind 8mph (W). Temp. Max. 20°C / Min 14°C.

UK Television Coverage

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

Prizes

The 2018 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following: –

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

and assuming they remain amateur

b) An exemption to play in the 2019 U.S. Open coincidentally to be staged at Pebble Beach Golf Links;

c) An exemption to play in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club;

d) An invitation to play in the 2019 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club;

e) An exemption to play in the 2019 – 2028 U.S. Amateurs; and

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.

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.

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship

img_8417Doc Redman (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship was played at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

Doc REDMAN (USA) won beating Doug GHIM (USA) on the 37th hole of the Championship match.

In an astonishing finish Redman recovered from 2-Down with 2 holes to play. On the 35th hole Redman dropped a 60 foot eagle putt before finishing the match with a birdie on the 36th and a conceded birdie on the first extra hole.

The U.S.G.A. highlights video below is worth watching just for Redman’s putt on the 35th.

2017 U.S. Amateur Highlights (You Tube: U.S.G.A.)

The Stroke Play medalist was Hayden WOOD who broke the U.S. Amateur Championship 36-hole qualifying record with a total of 131. Wood followed his 64 at Riviera with a 67 at Bel-Air to beat the 132 shot by Hank Kim (1994), Gregor Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).

Jack SINGH BRAR, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME all qualified for the Match Play Stage. Harry ELLIS lost out in the play-off on Riviera’s famous short par 4 10th hole. His double bogey 6 in the second group out saw him fall out of contention quickly.

Connor SYME went the furthest reaching the Quarter Finals before eventually losing 2&1 to Doug GHIM.

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 118th playing.

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

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

Former US winners include 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) is the only player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

2019 – Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina – Courses No. 2 and 4.

2020 – Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The St. Andrews Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Friday 27th July 2018

The Continent of Europe beat Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) 15.5 – 9.5 in the 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match played this year at Linna Golf in Finland.

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The Continent of Europe Team (Photo: European Golf Association)

This was just the sixth time Europe had won the match and the 6 point margin represented their biggest ever victory. Prior to this year their best win had come in 1982 when they won 14.5 – 9.5 at Rosendaelsche G.C. in Netherlands.

GB&I entered the final day leading 7 – 5 but were comprehensively outplayed by an inspired European team who won the Day 2 games 10.5 – 2.5.

Europe won the morning Foursomes 3 – 1 to leave the match tied at 8 points each and in theory to perfectly set up the afternoon series of Singles where all eighteen players would be in action.

Unfortunately GB&I were thrashed 7.5 – 1.5 in the Singles. Matthew JORDAN (ENG) won his match and Mitch WAITE (ENG) secured a late half.

It is difficult to put a positive spin on this result for GB&I given that Europe were ‘missing’ at least five of what I would consider to be their potential first team. A number of Europe’s leading players chose to play in this week’s Porsche European Open on the European Tour or to return early to the Unites States in the run up to the U.S. Amateur.

I can’t criticise the GB&I selection as I picked exactly the same team independently before the match started. They were simply outplayed on the final day.

In The R&A’s match report GB&I Captain Craig Watson said: “The team is obviously very disappointed but if you look at the scoring by the Continent of Europe you can see we were up against a very high standard of golf. This is the level that the players need to aspire to and achieve and when they look back on the performance there will be many learning points to take away. If you are to win a match like this you obviously need to make your fair share of putts when it matters. We just couldn’t match the Continent of Europe today. I don’t think we were complacent.”

Coming a year after the 19 – 7 record breaking thrashing at the hands of the United States in the Walker Cup GB&I have just over 400 days to find a team ready to face them again at Royal Liverpool in September 2019.

Looking at the individual performances Matias HONKALA (FIN) was the star man for Europe winning all four of his matches. Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) didn’t play in the Day 1 Singles but won all three of the other matches he was selected for.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) was comfortably GB&I’s star man winning three of his four games.

Click here to view the St. Andrews Trophy – Match Results

Individual Performances Analysis

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 15.32.45

Day 2 Afternoon Singles

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Day 2 Afternoon Singles Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

The Continent of Europe’s captain Yves HOFSTETTER will be pleased with the changes he made to his pairings on Day 2 as the home side ran out 3 – 1 winners in the morning Foursomes.

Thankfuly for Great Britain & Ireland, who looked like they were heading for a clean sweep of losses after 9 holes, the Irish pairing of Robin DAWSON and John MURPHY battled back well to secure a 2 hole win in Game 2. Unfortunately our other pairings were all well beaten in the series (see below).

Day 2 Morning Foursomes

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Day 2 Morning Foursomes Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

ME.

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Thursday 26th July 2018

Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) lead the Continent of Europe 7 – 5 after Day 1 of the 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match in Finland.

English pair Matthew JORDAN and Gian-Marco PETROZZI are unbeaten for GB&I having won their foursomes match this morning before winning their individual Singles this afternoon.

Home favourite Matias HONKALA is the only European player to have a 100% unblemished record so far.

Nick POPPLETON (ENG) and Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) were both part of winning partnerships in the morning but were stood down for the afternoon Singles.

Day 1 Afternoon Singles

Day 1 Afternoon Singles Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Day 1 Morning Foursomes

Day 1 Morning Foursomes Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Robin Dawson In Action During The Day 1 Foursomes (Photo: @LinnaGolf)

ME.

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25th July 2018

Earlier today The R&A confirmed that the 2020 St. Andrews Trophy match will be played at Royal Porthcawl G.C. in South Wales.

ME.

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15th July 2018

The 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match will be contested on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th July at Linna Golf in Finland.

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9th Green and Clubhouse, Linna Golf (Photo: golfboo.com)

This amateur men’s team match has been played biennially between Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) and the Continent of Europe since 1956.

It was originally established by The R&A to give more European players the chance to play at the highest level and GB&I players more team match play experience for the Walker Cup which is held in alternate years with this competition.

The St. Andrews Trophy was put forward for the match by the Royal and Ancient G.C. of St. Andrews in 1963.

2018 Teams

Each team has nine players.

The golfing calendar is extremely busy at this time of year and therefore player availability may be impacted by other opportunities.

The 2018 St. Andrews Trophy clashes with the Porsche European Open (European Tour, 26-29 July), Euram Bank Open in Austria (Challenge Tour, 26-29 July), German International Amateur (Europe, 26-29 July), Pacific Coast Amateur (U.S., 24-27 July) and to a lesser degree the Western Amateur Championship (U.S., 30 July-4 August).

Continent of Europe

Yves HOFSTETTER (Switzerland) will once again be the Non-Playing Captain of the European team.

His team was announced by the European Golf Association (E.G.A.) on 11th July and is listed below. Each player’s nationality, their SPWAR’s and their SPWAR Regional Ranking on the date of selection is also provided.

Edgar CATHERINE – France  #153 (15th)

Marc HAMMER * – Germany  #537 (102nd)

Angel HIDALGO PORTILLO – Spain  #113 (11th)

Matias HONKALA – Finland  #325 (53rd)

Frédéric LACROIX – France  #126 (13th)

Stefano MAZZOLI – Italy  #62 (7th)

Frederik NILEHN – Sweden  #23 (2nd)

Lorenzo SCALISE – Italy  #29 (4th)

Sami VALIMAKI – Finland  #172 (22nd)

* replaced Falko HANISCH – Germany  #586 (106th) who withdrew on 24th July 2018.

Home players Matias HONKALA and Sami VALIMAKI were both in the Finnish team who yesterday won the 2018 European Men’s Amateur Team Championship.

It is disappointing that just 3 of the team were in the SPWAR’s Continent of Europe Top 9 on the date of selection.

The most obvious ‘missing persons’ include John AXELSEN (Denmark), Oliver GILLBERG (Sweden), 2018 European Amateur Championship Nicolai HOJGAARD (Denmark), Rasmus HOJGAARD (Denmark), Viktor HOVLAND (Norway), Hurly LONG (Germany), Victor PASTOR (Spain) and Kristoffer REITAN (Norway).

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The St. Andrews Trophy (Photo: Suomen Golfliitto / Finnish Golf Union)

Great Britain & Ireland Team

The R&A Selection Committee, including Non-Playing Captain Craig WATSON (Scotland), announced their nine man team on 16th July. Each player’s nationality, their SPWAR’s and their SPWAR Regional Ranking on the date of selection is also provided.

Todd CLEMENTS (21) – England  #36 (4th)

Robin DAWSON (22) – Ireland  #8 (1st)

David HAGUE (21) – England  #T75 (T10th)

Matthew JORDAN (22) – England  #11 (2nd)

John MURPHY (20) – Ireland  #61 (7th)

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (21) – England  #76 (9th)

Nick POPPLETON (24) – England  #223 (26th)

Conor PURCELL (21) – Ireland  #47 (5th)

Mitch WAITE (23) – England  #17 (3rd)

Unlike the European Team above it is hard to argue with The R&A’s GB&I team or feel disappointed with the players that have not made themselves available. Indeed I selected the same team on 15th July (when this article was first published), explaining how I came to it in the Appendix below.

Match Format 

The St. Andrews Trophy is played over two days and consists of match play foursomes and singles matches.

Thursday 26th July AM – Foursomes x 4
Thursday 26th July PM – Singles x 8
Friday 27th June AM – Foursomes x 4
Friday 27th June PM – Singles x 9

The additional Singles on Day 2 was first played in 2016.

With a maximum total of 25 points available and one point awarded for each match a team will be required to accumulate 13 points to secure victory. GB&I can of course retain the Trophy by reaching 12.5 points as they did in 2016.

Venue – Linna Golf, Finland

Linna Golf is a luxury golf resort located in the Vanajanlinna area of Hämeenlinna in Southern Finland. Linna is around 60 miles north of the capital city Helsinki.

The course was designed by European Golf Design and Tim Lobb and opened for play in 2005. It is a hilly parkland course routed through a pine and birch forest. Three lakes and elevated, well protected and quick undulating greens make Linna a challenge from the back tees.

From these Championship Tees the course can be stretched to 7,244 yards. The front 9 is 3,541 yards long with a par of 35 (one par 5) and the back 9 3,703 yards with a par of 37 (three par 5’s). However, previous major events have seen the nines switched and I expect this to be the case again at the forthcoming St. Andrews Trophy match.

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Linna Golf, Finland (Photo: European Golf Design)

Linna is consistently ranked as one of the best courses in Finland, normally alongside the two courses at Kytäjä.

It has previously hosted European Challenge Tour (2009) and Staysure Senior (2017) events as well as the 2010 European Amateur Championship. A part of the European Tour Properties chain it is expected to host a European Tour event in due course.

Weather Forecast

The long range weather forecast for Finland looks very good for both the practice and competition days: –

Thur 26th July – Sunny. Wind 8mph E. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
Fri 27th July – Sunny. Wind 8mph E. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.

2016 Match – Prince’s Golf Club

GB&I fought back bravely to draw the 2016 match at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England 12.5-12.5 and thus retain the St. Andrews Trophy they had won in Sweden in 2014.

GB&I lost the opening morning’s Foursomes series 0-4 and entered Day 2 4-8 down after halving the eight Day 1 Singles.

GB&I won the Day 2 Foursomes 3.5-1.5 before securing sufficient points in the final Singles series to clawback the deficit. Wales’ David BOOTE secured the all important point in the last game still out on the links.

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Great Britain & Ireland Retained The St. Andrews Trophy In 2016 (Photo: Darren Plant) 

Click here to view the complete – 2016 St. Andrews Trophy Match Results

Here are the Individual Player Contributions for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 18.55.13

Past Results

To date GB&I have won the St. Andrews Trophy 25 times with Europe having just five wins to their name, albeit two of them came recently in 2010 and 2012. GB&I got back on track in 2014, winning 14-10 at Barsebäck, Sweden.

2016 was the first time the match had been halved. This arguably represents another win for GB&I but I have excluded it from the above numbers.

Europe have won only once on GB&I soil in the history of the match, at Portmarnock GC in 2012.

Here are the historic match results in full: –

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 15.26.00

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Appendix – My 2018 St. Andrews Trophy Team With Analysis

Nobody who follows GolfBible will be surprised to learn that my primary reference point for selection is the latest Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR).

1. SPWAR (as at 15th July 2018)

The top 20 players in the SPWAR’s GB&I Region Ranking, updated for the European Men’s and Boys’ Team Championships which finished yesterday, are: –

1. Robin DAWSON, Ireland  #8
2. Matthew JORDAN, England  #11
3. Mitch WAITE, England  #17
4. Todd CLEMENTS, England  #36
5. Conor PURCELL, Ireland  #47
6. Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland  #57
7. John MURPHY, Ireland  #61
8. Harry HALL, England  #66
9. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England  #74

T10. David HAGUE, England  #T75
T10. Jake BURNAGE, England  #T75
12. Tom SLOMAN, England  #88
13. Ben JONES, England  #99
14. Alex GLEESON, Ireland  #101
15. Laird SHEPHERD, England  #105
16. Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland  #122
17. Sandy SCOTT, Scotland  #126
18. Rowan LESTER, Ireland  #137
19. Sam LOCKE, Scotland  #142
20. Andrew WILSON, England  #153

I personally wouldn’t bother but for completeness others may want to cast an eye over the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

2. WAGR (as at 8th July 2018 / published 11th July 2018)

Here are the current top 20 players from GB&I in the WAGR: –

1. Matthew JORDAN, England  #5
2. Robin DAWSON, Ireand  #10
3. Todd CLEMENTS, England  #14
4. Alex FITZPATRICK, England  #42
5. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England  #43
6. Billy MCKENZIE, England  #71
7. Harry HALL, England  #84
8. Ben JONES, England  #95
9. David HAGUE, England  #97

10. Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland  #102
11. David WICKS, England  #113
12. Alex GLEESON, Ireland  #124
13. Tom SLOMAN, England  #178
14. Peter O’KEEFFE, Ireland  #182
15. Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland  #189
16. Euan WALKER, Scotland  #193
17. Joe PAGDIN, England  #196
18. Charlie STRICKLAND, England  #199
19. Mitch WAITE, England  #201
20. Rowan LESTER, Ireland  #213

Next I would want to look at current form. Obviously this is fully reflected in the SPWAR (but not so well in the WAGR) but specifically we have a perfect last (team match play) event to also consider.

3. European Men’s Amateur Team Championship (10-15 July 2018)

Accepting England’s strength in depth the first thing to say here is if a player isn’t being picked for their 6-man National Team last week why should I pick them for a GB&I Team this week.

That’s obviously not good news for original St. Andrews Trophy Squad members Alex FITZPATRICK, Calum FYFE, Harry HALL, Ben JONES, Sam LOCKE, Billy MCKENZIE, Robin WILLIAMS and Andrew WILSON. All have had their moments in the critical recent months but perhaps haven’t shone to the same degree as some of their peers.

The above rule is of course only true if the teams for the European Men’s were picked well ! In the case of Ireland I feel Conor PURCELL was an unlucky omission. Conor’s strong end of season form in the U.S. was initially ignored by the Irish selectors before he then emphasised the point by having a great Amateur. Immediately after the team announcements in July Conor backed his form up with an excellent European Amateur Championships.

In the European Men’s Team Championship in Germany England finished 2nd, Scotland 8th and Ireland 10th in Germany. Wales played in Division 2. Therefore I see no reason for England not to dominate my selection. This benefits Nick POPPLETON who was selected for England on the back of his Brabazon Trophy win and who played his part for England last week.

Looking at the individual performances: –

ENGLAND (SP 2nd  – 693 / -27)
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – SP 1st 62 70 (-12), MP W3/L2/H1
Matthew JORDAN – SP 5th 69 66 (-9), MP W4/L1/H1
Nick POPPLETON  – SP 28th 77 66 (-1), MP W2/L2/H0
David HAGUE – SP 30th 72 71 (-1), MP W2/L1/H2
Todd CLEMENTS – SP 45th 74 71 (+1), MP W1/L2/H0
Mitch WAITE – SP 77th 72 77 (+5), MP W2/L1/H0

SCOTLAND (SP 6th – 709 / -11)
Euan MCINTOSH – SP 14th 72 68 (-4), MP W0/L3/H0
Sandy SCOTT – SP 20th 69 72 (-3), MP W0/L1/H2
Stuart EASTON – SP 35th 72 72 (Ev), MP W0/L3/H0
Jamie STEWART – SP 39th 71 73  (Ev), MP W2//L2/H0
Ryan LUMSDEN  – SP 41st 77 68 (+1), MP W2/L2/H0
Euan WALKER – SP 46th 73 72 (+1), MP W1/L3/H0

IRELAND (SP 9th– 719 /  -1)
John MURPHY – SP 6th 68 67 (-9), MP W2/L1/H0 
Robin DAWSON – SP 27th 67 75 (-2), MP W3/L0/H0
Caolan RAFFERTY – SP 49th 72 73 (+1), MP W2/L1/H0
Rowan LESTER – SP 68th 77 71 (+4), MP W2/L0/H1
Jonathan YATES – SP 88th 75 76  (+7), MP W1/L2/H0
Alex GLEESON  – SP 92nd 81 74 (+11), MP W2/L1/H0

Finally, I have looked back at the 20 man St Andrews Trophy Match Squad announced by The R&A on 14thMay 2018 to ensure no one has slipped through the net.

4. St. Andrews Trophy Squad

Todd CLEMENTS, England
Robin DAWSON, Ireland
Alex FITZPATRICK, England
Calum FYFE, Scotland
Alex GLEESON, Ireland
David HAGUE, England
Harry HALL, England
Ben JONES, England
Matthew JORDAN, England
Rowan LESTER, Ireland
Sam LOCKE, Scotland
Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland
Billy MCKENZIE, England
Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England
Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland
Sandy SCOTT, Scotland
Jamie STEWART, Scotland
Euan WALKER, Scotland
Robin WILLIAMS, England
Andrew WILSON, England

In early June Nick POPPLETON (England), who had just won the Brabazon Trophy, was added to the Squad ahead of a planned gathering at St. Andrews prior to the St. Andrews Links Trophy event.

There were 11 English players, 6 Scottish, 4 Irish and 0 Welsh players selected by the R&A.

Based on the above information the following players are definite’s for me: –

Matthew JORDAN – England
Robin DAWSON – Ireland
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – England
Mitch WAITE – England
John MURPHY – Ireland
David HAGUE – England

To make up my nine man team I’ve gone for: –

Todd CLEMENTS – England
Nick POPPLETON – England
Conor PURCELL – Ireland

but could as easily have included one of the following: –

Tom SLOMAN – England
Ryan LUMSDEN – Scotland
Harry HALL – England
Jake BURNAGE – England

Unfortunately I could find no justification for any Scottish or Welsh players in this team other than a desire to see representation from as many home nations as possible.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The European Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

30th June 2018

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

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

A final round 73 (+1), which included a double bogey 7 on the 18th, was good enough for a 281 (-7) total and a 1 shot win. The victory comes with an exemption to the 2018 Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie Golf Links in three weeks time.

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Nicolai Hojgaard’s Scorecard (Photo: European Golf Association / Golfbox)

Norwegians Viktor HOVLAND and Kristoffer REITAN both recorded best of the day 67’s (-5) in Round 4 to finish the event strongly.

Hovland finished tied 2nd on 282 (-6) alongside Robin DAWSON (IRE), who himself shot a 68 (-4) today, Jerry JI (NED) and Mitch WAITE (ENG). In accordance with the competition rules Dawson and Ji won the silver and bronze medals based on a 36, then 18, hole count back.

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Robin Dawson’s Scorecard (Photo: European Golf Association / Golfbox)

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Mitch Waite’s Scorecard (Photo: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

Dawson’s compatriots Conor PURCELL and Rowan LESTER also finished the Championship well and can be pleased with their 6th and tied 7th place finishes respectively.

Here is a list of the GB&I final results (only players who made the T60 54 hole cut): –
T2   Robin DAWSON (IRE) 71 72 71 68 282 (-6)
T2   Mitch WAITE (ENG) 72 69 68 73 282 (-6)
6     Conor PURCELL (IRE) 74 69 71 69 283 (-5)
T7   Rowan LESTER (IRE) 70 73 71 70 284 (-4)
T16 Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 74 70 69 73 286 (-2)
T21 Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) 75 69 71 72 287 (-1)
T21 Euan WALKER (SCO) 72 71 70 74 287 (-1)
T21 Jack GAUNT (ENG) 70 72 69 76 287 (-1)
T29 Jamie STEWART (SCO) 72 73 72 71 288 (Ev)
T37 Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) 77 70 71 72 290 (+2)
T44 Andrew WILSON (ENG) 75 68 76 73 292 (+4)
T49 Bailey GILL (ENG) 71 77 71 74 293 (+5)
T49 Ben JONES (ENG) 75 71 73 74 293 (+5)
T49 Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) 72 73 72 76 293 (+5)
T54 Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 72 69 72 81 294 (+6)
T59 Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) 78 68 73 76 295 (+7)
T59 Nick POPPLETON (ENG) 71 72 75 77 295 (+7)

To view the detailed final scores click here – 2018 European Amateur Championship Results

ME.

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29th June 2018

Nicolai HOJGAARD (DEN) leads the European Amateur after 54 holes with a 208 (-8) total. The 17 year old identical twin of Rasmus (who is tied 15th) shot a 68 today.

A number of British players moved nicely into position on Friday. Mitch WAITE (ENG) also shot 68 to move into sole second on -7 and Jack GAUNT (ENG) a bogey free 69 to start Day 4 in tied 3rd on -5.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 69, Euan WALKER (SCO) 70 and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 72 all finished their third rounds strongly to end the day on -3, tied 8th.

Irish trio Conor PURCELLRobin DAWSON and Rowan LESTER all recorded 71’s and are now tied 15th on -2. Dawson and Lester are paired together tomorrow at 11.20am so will hopefully drive each other on to good finishes.

63 players, including 17 from GB&I, made the top 60 and ties cut which fell at 220 (+3). Mark POWER (IRE), Joe PAGDIN (ENG) and BEN HUTCHINSON (ENG) were amongst the 8 players who just missed out on +4. It was particularly hard on both Power, who had fought back well from a first round 79, and 16 year old Pagdin who shot a brave 69 in Round 3.

Australia’s Charlie DANN went out in a blaze of glory recording a 67, the best round of the day. Unfortunately it could only lift him to +5 for the Championship and hence he still missed the cut by two shots.

ME.

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28th June 2018

Whilst Thursday was hot and sunny throughout unfortunately it proved to be a day of two halves with regard to the wind. This morning saw wind speeds of 10mph but this afternoon they were generally stronger gusting up to 30mph.

Inevitably this had an impact on the scoring. The first 72 players out today, teeing off between 7.00am and 11.17am (local time), had an average score of 72.39. The next 72, teeing off between 11.32pm and 3.49pm, were 1.47 shots higher at 73.86.

Blake WINDRED (AUS) finished with 4 birdies in his last 6 holes to post his second 69. He leads on 138 (-6) from overnight leader Perry COHEN (SUI) whose even par 72 left him on 139 (-5).

Giovanni TADIOTTO (BEL) bounced back from a first round 80 with a 66, the best of the week so far. He finished the day tied 51st nicely within the top 60 cut line which will be applied tomorrow.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) who have been pretty inseparable in recent weeks both shots 69’s to move up to tied 5th on 141 (-4).

Jack GAUNT (ENG) is the only other home player in the top 10. He produced a good 72 playing late this afternoon to stay on -2 and tied 8th.

Andrew WILSON (ENG) produced the best GB&I round of the day with a 68 (he’s T19). Conor PURCELL (IRE) had a 69 (also T19), notable as he is the first player to deliver a bogey free round in the Championship to date.

ME.

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27th June 2018

Switzerland’s American-based Perry COHEN leads the European Amateur at the end of Round 1 after a superb 67 (-5). After bogeying the 1st hole the recent graduate of St. Mary’s California University produced an unblemished round featuring three birdies on each side.

Jack GAUNT (ENG), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Rowan LESTER (IRE) and Tom PLUMB (ENG) were the best of the 36 Great British and Irish players competing at Royal Hague. Their 70’s (-2) represented a very creditable start to this prestigious amateur event.

Gleeson had more birdies (7) than any other player in the field in Round 1 and will clearly have been disappointed to tarnish a great day with a double bogey 7 on the home hole.

Robin DAWSON (IRE), Bailey GILL (ENG) and Nicholas POPPLETON (ENG) are also under par for the championship after shooting 71 (-1) today.

Congratulations to Alexander HERRMANN (GER) who recorded a hole-in-one on the par 3 12th in his round of 69.

The average score on Day 1 was 74.39 (+2.39) so anything around par represented a solid start.

The field of 144 players will be cut to the top 60 and ties after 54 holes so there is still lots to play for.

ME.

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26th June 2018

The 31st International European Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Royal Hague Golf & Country Club in Netherlands.

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

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Royal Hague G. & C.C. 18th Green and Clubhouse (Photo: rcedejong)

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 30th 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.

Exemptions were also available to the defending champion, a single nomination from each EGA member nation, four nominated players from the host nation, Netherlands, competitors in the most recent Bonallack Trophy, St. Andrew’s Trophy and Jacques Léglise Trophy matches, the 2018 South American Amateur champion and the 2018 European Mid-Amateur champion.

Most of the leading European and Great Britain and Irish (GB&I) players will be on show. There are 36 GB&I players in total competition at Royal Hague.

There are 17 of the current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking’s Top 100 competing. These are Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) #7, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) #11, Robin DAWSON #16, Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) #30, Frederik NILEHN (SWE) #35, Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) #41, Mitch WAITE (ENG) #52, Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) #56, David HAGUE (ENG) #71, Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) #66, TOM SLOMAN (ENG) #79, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) #82, Alex GLEESON #86, Victor PASTOR (ESP) #87, Conor PURCELL (IRE) #92, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) #93 and Shae WOOLS-COBB (AUS) #100.

Stefano Mazzoli is a past champion having won the event at Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia in 2015.

Event Information

Round 1 starts at 7.00am local time (BST + 1)

Click here to view the – 2018 European Amateur Championship Tee Times

Click here to view the – 2018 European Amateur Championship Leaderboard

I will be providing a short report after each day’s play on this webpage throughout the Championship.

Royal Hague Golf Club

The 2018 Championship is being staged at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club in Wassenaar, Netherlands. Better known to us in English as Royal Hague.

It is generally acknowledged to be the best course in Netherlands and one of the most challenging in Europe.

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15th hole, Royal Hague G. & C.C. (Photo: Frank Pont / Infinite Variety Golf Design)

Founded in April 1893 the Club is celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year.

The current course was designed by Englishmen C. Hugh Alison and Harry Colt and opened for play in 1939.

Since 2008 Dutch architect Frank Pont has been engaged on an extensive course restoration project. He has reviewed all of the greens, bunkers and tees greatly improving Royal Hague’s playability and presentation.

Located on the famous strip of Dutch links land, just north of The Hague city centre, the course lies a couple of miles inland from the North Sea. Uneven stances on an undulating dune landscape, with a few blind shots thrown in, are very much the order of the day here.

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10th hole, Royal Hague G. & C.C. (Photo: Frank Pont / Infinite Variety Golf Design)

A standard par 72 championship course it stretches to 6,844 yards with two very even nines.

It is going to play firm and fast this week albeit I understand the upturned saucer greens have been watered and are therefore holding well struck approach shots.

Weather Forecast

A hot and sunny week is forecast for Northern Europe and conditions should be very good over the four competition days. Winds tend to increase in speed here as the day goes on.

Weds 27th June – Sunny. Wind 15 mph (NNE). Max. 23°C / Min 14°C.
Thurs 28th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph (NNE). Max. 24°C / Min 14°C.
Fri 29th June – Sunny. Wind 20 mph (NNE). Max. 23°C / Min 13°C.
Sat 30th June – Sunny. Wind 16 mph (NNE). Max. 24°C / Min 16°C.

Prizes

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

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

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

2017 European Amateur Championship

England’s Alfie PLANT won the 2017 European Amateur Championship on the Old Course at Walton Heath Golf Club in England.

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Alfie Plant, 2017 European Amateur Champion (Photo: GolfBible)

Alfie overcame Italian duo Luca CIANCHETTI and Lorenzo SCALISE on the fifth play-off hole after all three had tied on -15 for the 72 holes of stroke play.

Luca had won the 2016 European Amateur in Estonia after seven play-off holes with Norway’s Victor HOVLAND so a trend appears to be developing.

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.

2018 will be the second occasion the Netherlands have hosted it. 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.

ME.

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

The Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Jovan REBULA (RSA) is the 2018 Amateur champion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Final Scores

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

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

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

ME.

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Friday 22nd June 2018

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

Semi Finals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quarter Finals

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Thursday 21st June 2018

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

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

Round 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Round 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Tuesday 19th June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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Monday 18th June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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17th June 2018

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

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

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

ME.

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15th June 2018

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

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

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

Format

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

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

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

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

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

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

Players

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Host Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Murcar Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

Weather Forecast (last updated Sunday 17th June)

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

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

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

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

Prizes / Exemptions

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Amateur Championship

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

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

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

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Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA / Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

A Short History of The Amateur

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

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

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

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

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

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

Past Winners

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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

The St. Andrews Links Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 10th June 2018

Play-off

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

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

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

Murphy looked second favourite after his approach to the 1st hole on the Old Course ended up 25 feet away after De Bruyn had left himself just 6 feet. However, the Irishman sank his birdie putt and perhaps unsurprisingly in the circumstances the German was unable to match him.

The St. Andrews Links Trust tweeted a video of the winning putt with a short interview with their winner.

This was a great win for the man from Kinsale who has just completed his sophomore year at University of Louisville in the United States. He rose to 143rd in the SPWAR, jumping 616 places, as reward for the biggest win of his career.

Here are the full – 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

Round 4

Round 4 started at 12 noon with the leaders setting off at 2.56pm.

Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) shot the best final round, his second 68 of the day. Whilst his morning round had included two bogeys this afternoon he produced a clean card with four birdies. He posted 278 (-9) and waited patiently in the clubhouse to see if it would hold up.

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Jannik De Bruyn Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)  

John MURPHY (IRE) also recorded the same score as he did in the morning. His 71 meant he was the only player to catch De Bruyn on -9 and that a play-off would be required to decide the winner.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) shot final day rounds of 70 and 69 to finish tied 3rd with Haydn BARRON (AUS) on 279 (-8), just one shot back.

Englishman Burnage was bogey free in the afternoon but his morning 70 was something of a rollercoaster. Without wishing to be dismissive of his seven birdies it included, with the benefit of hindsight, a painful double bogey 6 on 12 and bogeys on 15 and 16. Nevertheless this represented another very good result for the Devonian No. 1 and a welcome return to form. He was the leading GB&I player in one of the world’s best amateur events.

Compatriot Laird SHEPHERD finished well with a 70 to secure a tied 5th place result on 280 (-7). Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) was next best for GB&I. His 281 (-6) score was good enough to secure tied 8th.

Round 3

Round 3 started at 7.00am with Kieran CANTLEY (SCO) going out alone. The two leading players, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) -8 and John MURPHY (IRE) -7, teed off at 9.56am.

36 holes on the Old Course lay ahead as the 45 qualifying players set out to determine the winner of the 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy.

Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 67 and John MURPHY (IRE) 71 shared the 54 hole lead on -8.

Overnight leader Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) shot 75, faltering late on with a double bogey on the 15th and a bogey on 17.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) shot the best third round score. His blemish free 66 included an eagle on the par 5 5th and birdies on 9, 12, 13 and 14.

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Sandy Scott’s Round 3 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)  

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) also shot 67, with defending champion Matthew JORDAN (ENG) and fellow Englishman Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68 delivering the next best GB&I scores.

Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) moved up to -6 after a 68 in Round 3.

For those interested here is a link to today’s tee times – 2018 St. Andrews Trophy Round 3 and Round 4 Start Sheet

ME.

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Saturday 9th June 2018

The star of Day 2 was Laird SHEPHERD (ENG). The Stirling University student knows St. Andrews well and demonstrated it around the Old Course today. With a supportive wind on the way out he completed his front 9 in just 30 shots and held it together nicely on the way home. His 65 (-7) helped him move to the top of the 36 hole leaderboard on 135 (-8).

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Laird Shepherd’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf) 

There were a number of great rounds today reflecting the generally benign conditions in Fife. John MURPHY (IRE) shot 66, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) – winner of the East of Ireland Amateur earlier this week – 67, David HAGUE (ENG) 67, Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 67 and Jamie LI (ENG) 68, all moving into the top 10 as a result.

Stuart EASTON (SCO) 67, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68, Therion NEL (RSA) 68 and Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) 68 all knew they needed good rounds to make the cut and impressively delivered.

However, the bounceback prize has to go to Joao GIRAO (POR). After a disappointing 80 on the New Course yesterday, from which there was never going to be a way back, he at least went down fighting delivering a 66 which included 7 birdies.

First round leader Olly HUGGINS (ENG) found the going harder today – his 75, and 142 (-1) total, was at least good enough to ensure he made the cut.

The top 40 and ties 36 hole cut eventually fell at even par with 45 players making it through to the final day.

ME.

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Friday 8th June 2018

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) leads the St. Andrews Links Trophy after an impressive 67 (-4) on the New Course.

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Olly Huggins’ Round  1 Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf) 

Five players, Matias HONKALA (FIN), Jake BOLTON (ENG), Luca Filippi (RSA), Tom PLUMB (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO), shot 68 (-3).

46 players are on Even par or better highlighting how tight the leaderboard is.

ME.

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4th June 2018

144 golfers from 26 different countries will tee off on Friday 8th June in the 30th St. Andrews Links Trophy.

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

After various National Golf Union and St. Andrews Links Trust nominations the field is determined by World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) as at 3rd May 2018 rather than handicap as is normally the case.

This year Round 1 will be played on the New Course – the Jubilee 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 New Course plays 6,625 yards to a par of 71. The front nine is 3,270 yards long with a par of 36 whilst the tougher back nine is 85 yards longer but with a par of 35.

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

Ties for other places are 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

The 2018 St Andrews Links Trophy start sheets can be viewed here – Round 1 (New) and Round 2 (Old).

The Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed the Links Trophy 8th in its 2017 Amateur Tournament Ranking based on the strength of it’s field. It was 6th in the same ranking in 2016.

18 of the 20 members of the 2018 GB&I St. Andrews Trophy squad will be competing at St. Andrews this week. Harry HALL (ENG) and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) are the exceptions; both were competing in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying today in the United States. Many of the Squad have been drawn together in the opening rounds to help the selectors follow their play closely.

The attraction of St. Andrews always ensures a strong overseas entry. Australia, Canada and South Africa are particularly well represented in 2018 with Hugo BERNARD (CAN), Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Dylan PERRY (AUS) and Matt SAULEZ (RSA) all strong challengers.

Weather Forecast (updated on Wednesday 6th June)

The current weather forecast appears perfect for golf – dry with minimal chance of rain.

Friday 8th June – Cloudy. Wind 13 mph E. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 9°C.
Saturday 9th June – Cloudy. Wind 11 mph E. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 10°C.
Sunday 10th June – Cloudy. Wind 11 mph E. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°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 event.

2017 Event

Royal Liverpool’s Matthew JORDAN won the 2017 St. Andrews Links Trophy. Following an outstanding run of form the victory almost certainly secured his place in last year’s Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team.

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Kenny Smith)

Rounds of 70, 68, 69 and 70 took Matthew to a finishing total of 277 (-11).

J.R. GALBRAITH (IRE) shot 66, 71, 70 and 71 (-10) to secure second place with Ben FERGUSON (AUS) finishing 3rd on -9.

Other GB&I players to finish in the top 10 included Laird SHEPHERD (-8) 4th, David BOOTE (-8) 6th, Liam JOHNSTON (-6) 7th , Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-5) 8th and Jack DAVIDSON (-5) 9th.

Click here to view the – 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy Results

Click here to view the – 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results 

Past Winners

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

Only Craig WATSON (1992 and 1998), the current 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 FedericoZUCCHETTI 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 © 2015-2018, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 3rd June 2018

Nick POPPLETON (ENG) today won the 2018 Brabazon Trophy after a sudden death play-off with Wilco NIENABER (RSA).

Both players had started the day on 6-under, 3 shots back of overnight leader Jeong Weon KO (FRA).

Nick shot two rounds of 67 on the final day recording just two bogeys while Wilco posted a 65 and 69. Both players posting an impressive aggregate score of -10 for their final two rounds, played in glorious sunshine on Frilford Heath’s Red Course.

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 Nick Poppleton (Photo: Golf Bible)

Play-Off

The play-off took place on the 9th hole of Frilford’s Red Course. The 9th is a 180 yard par 3 played over a valley to an elevated green that slopes from back to front and is protected by two short bunkers. The flag was in the front right portion of the green.

Nick teed off first and finished short right in front of the bunker. Wilco followed him and finished in roughly the same area, a little closer to the bunker. Nick chipped up and watched in anguish as his well judged shot hit the flag and stayed out. Wilco followed and saw his chip finish an inch to the right of the hole. Both tapped-in quickly and returned to the tee to try again.

Despite now playing the hole for the fourth time on the day both players again missed the green short right. Nick was further away, perhaps as much as 30 feet. This time his chip ran up perfectly and dropped into the hole beside the flag. A magnificent shot played under the most extreme pressure. Wilco then chipped up from just in front of the green and amazingly lipped out, the ball finishing stone dead. The gallery had seen four difficult chips to a raised green and from reasonable distance in the play-off; three hit the hole and one stayed on the lip. It was some exhibition of the skills these elite amateurs have.

Nick had won the 2018 Brabazon Trophy in some style on the second extra hole. It was a great win for the likeable Yorkshireman.

Wilco should be disappointed he lost. This was my first viewing of him and he certainly looked the part, a professional in all but name. He hits the ball miles, has a beautiful short game and his temperament was first class. He clearly has a big future in the game, a prediction I wouldn’t normally make but feel confident of doing so with him. I am sure he will learn from this loss.

Click here to view the final – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Results

Round 4

I set off with the Wilco NIENABER and Jack COPE pairing this afternoon, keeping a close eye on Nick POPPLETON who was playing ahead of them with David LANGLEY.

Not for the first time this season I would end up watching a relatively comfortable leader grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Wilco seemed very relaxed and despite leaking most of his tee shots to the right took advantage of his power and beautiful short game. He seemed to escape with pars or earn birdies on most of the holes on the front nine. The exception being the downhill 500 yard 6th where he eagled after a long drive and iron shot to 10 feet. When he followed it with a birdie on the 7th he was 5-under for his final round and -18 for the Championship, leading Nick by 4 shots.

Jack was playing very well but simply couldn’t get anything to drop on the greens on the front nine. Up ahead Nick was continuing his good form and was 3-under on the front nine for his own round.

Wilco was a bit lose around the turn dropping shots on 8 and 11 but doing well to get one back on the 12th where his towering approach from the deepish rough was judged perfectly.

After a solid par on the strategic right-to-left dogleg 13th, where he hit an iron off the tee and a nice approach to the difficult back pin position, the South African Number 1 was -4 for the round and -17 for the event. He was leading Nick by 3 shots.

As the small gallery walked up the 354 yard par 4 – what appeared to be the tightest, most penal hole on the course – we discussed how Wilco would surely play an iron. Jack, who had birdied the 12th and was therefore playing first, did just that and found the centre of the fairway, leaving himself a wedge in.

This was the point at which the Championship was undoubtedly lost.

Wilco, who was confidently being advised and caddied for throughout by a Golf RSA coach / manager, proceeded to smash his drive well into the gorse, again long right. This was not a surprise; he had done the same thing on most of the proceeding holes, the difference being they had all been much wider, allowing short ‘recovery’ shots to be played to the green. Aggressive play is great and clearly Wilco’s preferred approach but certain situations – e.g. when you have a 3 shot lead with 5 holes to play and are facing a hole bordered by gorse on both sides – require a bit more subtlety and the removal of big numbers from the potential equation.

If I had been caddying for him neither his woods, or for that matter his long irons, would have gone within 100 yards of the tee box. After all this is a lad that probably hits his 7-iron 200 yards. Surprisingly he hit his provisional with his driver too. To be fair this time he came up 20 yards short of the green. His chip was poor by the high standards of earlier in his round and before he knew it he was writing down 6 on his scorecard. He may not of known it at the time but his lead was now just 1 shot.

On the 421 yard 15th Wilco smashed his ball to within 30 yards of the green. Even allowing for the perfect playing conditions this was a massive hit. However, he couldn’t get up and down for birdie. Playing from the semi-rough he misjudged the lack of spin he would be able to generate and ran well past the hole.

As he putted out Nick was waiting on the nearby 16th with his caddie, friend and professional Alex Stubbs.

This was the point where the Championship was won.

England Golf had pushed the tee up for the final round and as such the hole was playing as a drivable 295 yard par 4. Nick hit a superb drive that found a path up the narrow right side of the green to a pin perched on the right ledge. When he holed the 15 foot putt for eagle he led by 1 shot.

With the green clear Jack found the putting surface whilst Wilco bounced into the left hand bunker. Jack proceeded to three putt for par whilst Wilco played a superb long bunker shot to a few feet but to everyone’s surprise missed his short birdie putt.

I quickly scampered after the Yorkshireman who by this time was finishing off on the 17th. Nick held his nerve to par in. He did give himself a 20 footer on the last for the outright win but the putt lipped out.

Wilco missed a relatively short downhill putt on 17 to draw back level. Hitting driver – perfectly justifiable given he was now chasing – on the 324 yard par 4 18th he flirted with the members car park before coming up just short of pin high on the left hand side. His chip was well played but ran out four feet passed the hole which was on the right edge of the green. To his credit he bravely slotted the downhill right to lefter for birdie, thus gaining a chance for redemption in a play-off.

With four groups still to come in it took almost an hour before the play-off could commence.

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The Leading Brabazon Trophy Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

As can be seen from the above screenshot England’s Bailey GILL and Jack COPE (-13 / tied 3rd), Andrew WILSON (-11 / tied 6th), Mitch WAITE (-11 / tied 6th), Arun SINGH BRAR (-9 / 8th), Max MARTIN, David LANGLEY and Ben JONES (-8 / all tied 9th) all enjoyed Top 10 finishes.

Jack COPE (ENG) seemed to gain confidence from Wilco’s back nine difficulties coming home in 33 with four birdies and one bogey. His -13 total and tied 3rd finish helped him win The George Henriques Salver, a prize awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. Arun SINGH BRAR (-9) finished second in these supplementary standings.

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Jack Cope (Photo: GolfBible)

Round 3

Play commenced at 7.30am with the leaders, Messrs. Ko and Waite, heading off at 9.09am. Unfortunately they recorded a 73 and 72 respectively from which they were unable to recover in the afternoon despite posting much improved rounds of 68 and 69.

However, the two main stories from Round 3 concerned South African protege Wilco NIENABER (RSA) and Darlington’s Andrew WILSON.

Wilco started on the 10th being one of the leading players. His halves of 33 and 32 included six birdies and one eagle. His -13 total after 54 holes gave him a 2 shot lead over Nick POPPLETON who had also impressed with his own 6 birdie 67 to move into second on -11.

Andrew started on the 1st at 8.15am and shot a sparkling best of the tournament course record 63 which he told me could have been better; a bogey on three and with four birdie opportunities all passed up over the closing holes. He was now right in the mix but would need to go low again in the afternoon.

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Andrew Wilson’s 3rd Round Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

ME.

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Saturday 2nd June 2018

Round 2

Jeong Weon KO (FRA) leads Mitch WAITE (ENG) by 1 shot at the end of Round 2. Ko shot a 69 to move onto -9 whilst Waite posted a joint best of the day 67 (-5), including 7 birdies, to move on to -8.

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Jeong Weon Ko (Photo: Leaderboard Photography / England Golf)

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG), whose season has been interrupted with health issues, is pleasingly in a three way tie for third on -7; he’s joined by Stuart EASTON (SCO) and Ferdinand MUELLER (GER).

Thomas BEASLEY (ENG) was the other player to shoot 67 on Day 2. His bogey free round included 4 birdies in his last 6 holes. Thomas will start the final day on -2 and in tied 28th place.

The cut fell at -1 with 46 players progressing.

With 21 players within 5 shots of the lead Sunday’s 36 holes should provide an exciting race to the title.

ME.

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Friday 1st June 2018

Round 1

Round 1 was concluded by early afternoon with the scoring bar lowered even further.

Jeong Weon KO (FRA), Nick POPPLETON (ENG) and Jay BEISSER (ENG) all posted 66’s (-6) on Day 2 to tie the Round 1 lead.

Beisser birdied every par 3 and par 5 to hand in an unusual card made up solely of 2’s and 4’s.

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The Leading Round 1 Scorecards (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Frederic LACROIX (FRA) joined Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Jack COPE (ENG) and Ferdinand MUELLER (GER), yesterday’s clubhouse leaders, by recording a 67 (-5). The four of them are all tied for fourth at this early stage.

Round 1 scoring has been good with 42 players under par from the 155 who started the event.

England Golf have announced that the 36 hole cut will now be set at the top 45 and ties, rather than the normal top 60 and ties; the higher level having also been reaffirmed yesterday after the suspension in play.

With 59 players tied 45th or better and 78 players at tied 60th or better after Round 1, and with only another 18 holes to be played before the cut is made, I assume a fear of having too big a field for the final 36 holes on Sunday has driven this decision.

After disappointing first rounds Matt SAULEZ (RSA) 74 +2, Chris WOOLLAM (RSA) 74 +2, Sam LOCKE 75 (SCO) +3, Andrew WILSON (ENG) 75 +3, Lewis GEORGE (ENG) 76 +4  and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) 77 +5 are amongst the more notable players that will require a strong bounce back tomorrow to make the final day.

ME.

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Thursday 31st May 2018

Round 1

Play started at 8.00am but was brought to a premature close around 3.00pm by thunderstorms which left the Frilford Heath course flooded.

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The Practice Putting Green (Photo: Frilford Heath G.C.)

74 players managed to complete their first rounds before play was abandoned. The leaders in the clubhouse being Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Jack COPE (ENG) and Ferdinand MUELLER (GER) who all shot 67’s (-5).

Sadly Todd CLEMENTS (ENG), one of the highest ranked competitors, had to withdraw before his 9.05am tee time with a back injury. In an event already lacking some of the field depth seen in previous years this was a blow from a ranking perspective.

England Golf have now decided to complete Round 1 tomorrow before playing Round 2 on Saturday.

The Top 60 and Ties cut will still take place after 36 holes meaning the leading players will now have to play 36 holes on Sunday.

ME.

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28th May 2018

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

The 72nd playing of this event takes place between Thursday 31st and Sunday 3rd June on the Oxfordshire Club’s Red Course.

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Frilford Heath Golf Club (Photo: Frilford Heath G.C.)

Format

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

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

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

Field

156 competitors will start the 2018 Championship. Whilst England dominates the entries players from 12 other countries are also represented.

The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Start Sheet

78 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with 78 coming through a qualifying process.

Callan BARROW (-2) of Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. was the medalist at neighbouring Fairhaven in the North Qualifier, pipping Lincolnshire’s Sam DONE on count back. Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Cameron PHILLIPS (-6) from Hindhead G.C. led the qualifiers at Camberley Heath G.C. in the South Qualifier. Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

13 of the 20 recently announced Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) St. Andrews Trophy Squad will be competing at the Brabazon. These are Todd CLEMENTS (ENG), Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG), Calum FYFE (SCO), David HAGUE (ENG), Ben JONES (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Sam LOCKE (SCO), Billy MCKENZIE (ENG), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Jamie STEWART (SCO), Euan WALKER (SCO), Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) and Andrew WILSON (ENG).

Of those missing the event Harry HALL (ENG), Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) were unable to enter due to the conflicting NCAA Division I National Championships which is currently being played in Oklahoma.

Rowan LESTER (IRE) and Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) are playing in the East of Ireland Amateur Championship. The two leading Irish players Robin DAWSON (IRE) and Alex GLEESON (IRE) appear to be taking the week off.

To put the event in context the 2017 Brabazon was ranked the 17th most important amateur competition in the world last year based on the strength of it’s field by the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR). Unfortunately a scheduling clash with the East of Ireland Championship means a much lower event ranking can be expected in 2018.

Prizes

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

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The Champion’s Prize and Brabazon Trophy (Photo: GolfBible)

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

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition. The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. The Philip Scruton Jug is awarded later in the year to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy (which will be played on 23rd and 24th June).

Frilford Heath Golf Club

Frilford’s first course, the Red, was designed by J.H. Taylor, the five times Open Champion, in 1908 and opened in the following year. Club professional J.H. Turner undertook some later tweaks but it largely remains as originally planned.

This predominantly heathland course measures around 7,000 yards depending on which tees are selected. A par of 72 is split 36-36, albeit as you can see from the scorecard below the hole configurations are different on the two nines.

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Red Course Scorecard (Photo: Frilford Heath G.C.)

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Wednesday 30th May) is broadly positive for all four competition days, albeit the modest winds are expected to move around from day to day.

Thu 25th May – Thundery Showers / Wind 8 mph E / Temp. Min. 15°C, Max. 21°C.
Fri  26th May – Light Rain / Wind 11 mph SW / Temp. Min. 13°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat  27th May – Sunny / Wind 9 mph W / Temp. Min. 10°C / Min 21°C.
Sun 28th May – Cloudy / Wind 8 mph NE / Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 23°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 8.00am right through until 2.35pm.

The 2017 Brabazon Trophy

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE celebrated his 20th birthday by winning the 2017 English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Woodhall Spa Golf Club.

Kyle shot rounds of 70, 66, 75 and 71 for a 282 (-10) total and a 1-shot victory. He was the fifth South African to win the Brabazon Trophy, following in the footsteps of Neville Sundelson (1974), Richard Kaplan (1986), Craig Rivett (1989T) and Charl Schwartzel (2002).

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Kyle McClatchie (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

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

Jamie Stewart had a superb weekend shooting the lowest two scores on both days. He followed a 67 (-6) with a 68 (-5) in the final round.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) (-7) finished 5th, Dan BROWN (ENG) (-5) 6th and David BOOTE (WAL) (-4) 7th.

Click here to see the full – 2017 Brabazon Trophy Results

Click here to see the full – 2016 Brabazon Trophy Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

Click here to view the full list of – Brabazon Trophy Past Winners

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

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

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

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

Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.