R&A Men’s Home Internationals – 2021 Preview & Results

Friday 17th September 2021 – Day 3 Matches

Ireland won the 2021 R&A Home Internationals after a thrilling contest at Hankley Common GC which went down to the final putt of the competition.

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Ireland With The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Luke Walker / Getty Images / The R&A)

After a disappointing morning Foursomes against England on the final day the Irish fought back bravely to secure an all important half in the match which in turn locked out Scotland. 

Scotland had earlier beaten Wales 11-4 to apply pressure on Ireland and England who both entered the final afternoon with a good chance of winning the competition.

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Final Table / Match Points (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Scotland who secured 27.5 winning points, compared with Ireland’s 27, finished second, England a very disappointing 3rd and Wales 4th. 

England had already won the Seniors, Girls and Boys and Women’s Home Internationals this season but were found wanting in the Men’s event. No one would have predicted before play started that they would be comfortably beaten in both Singles series against Scotland (8-2) and Ireland (6.5-3.5) and it was these two performances that cost them.

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Match Overview (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to view the full results – 2021 R&A Home internationals

Robert MORAN (IRL), Andrew NI (SCO), John GOUGH (ENG) and Luke HARRIES / Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) were the leading players for the four nations based on the SPWAR analysis of team events: –

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Scotland v. Wales

Scotland beat Wales 11-4 to fulfil their side of the last day bargain. 

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All of the Foursomes and Singles games in this match started from the 5th tee after early morning fog in Southern England caused a 30 minute delay in play.

Scotland enjoyed another strong session winning four and halving one of their Foursomes games against Wales.

Captain Matthew CLARK continued his unbeaten run securing a half with partner Angus CARRICK on the final hole (4th) when their opponents conceded early.   

With Ireland struggling against England in their Foursomes encounter (see below) the Scots went into the Singles as favourites for the title.

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Scotland won the Singles 6.6-3.5 to complete a comfortable overall victory over Wales.

George BURNS, Angus CARRICK and Andrew NI all enjoyed 4&3 wins at the tail of the line up after the Scots had made a slow start to the afternoon games.

Ben CHAMBERLAIN, Matt ROBERTS and Tomi BOWEN, who beat Scotland’s talisman Matt CLARK, all signed off from Hankley Common with Singles wins. 

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Scotland v. Wales Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Ireland v. England

Ireland and England halved their match 7.5-7.5 on the final afternoon.

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England won the Foursomes 4-1 against Ireland to give themselves some hope of recovering from their poor showing against Scotland yesterday. 

The best performance on the final morning came from unbeaten Foursomes pairing Sam BAIRSTOW and Haider HUSSAIN who produced six birdies and no bogeys to beat Marc BOUCHER and Liam NOLAN by 6&5.

With Robert MORAN halving his Foursomes with partner Alex MAGUIRE John GOUGH entered the Singles as the only player with a 100% winning record in this year’s competition. He and Olly HUGGINS have also won all three of their Foursomes games.

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The Robert MORAN and John GOUGH match proved to be of the highest quality and in some respects it was nice to see a half meaning both players finished the competition with unbeaten records – the only two do so.

The real heroes for the Irish were Hugh FOLEY and Liam NOLAN who secured 1Up victories over Sam BAIRSTOW and Callan BARROW under the most intense pressure. Barrow had a 10ft birdie putt on the 18th green to half his game and secure the match win for England (and the event win for Scotland). When he missed Ireland had the half and enough points to secure the title. 

Matt MCCLEAN and Caolan RAFFERTY secured big early wins over Zach CHEGWIDDEN and Laird SHEPHERD respectively to provide the Irish with momentum and the confidence that they could overturn the 3-point Foursomes deficit they carried into this final series.

On a disappointing afternoon for the home side Jack BIGHAM confirmed his promise by completing a third Singles win, this time over Alan FAHY

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Ireland v. England Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

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Thursday 16th September 2021 – Day 2 Matches

Ireland made it two wins from two games to take control of the 2021 R&A Home Internationals.

However, with Scotland beating England today and Ireland still to face the hosts all three of these teams still have a chance of winning The Raymond Trophy.

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If England beat Ireland and Scotland beat Wales tomorrow the title will be decided by total winning match points. Here’s the current position in this regard: –

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Day 2 Table / Match Points (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

England v. Scotland

Scotland surprised England by comprehensively out playing them in the afternoon Singles to easily win their Day 2 match.

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England won the morning Foursomes 3-2 but the scoreline hardly told the full story.

Jack DYER and Arron EDWARDS-HILL, who had been 3Up after 7 holes, ended up having to win both the 17th and 18th holes to secure a point against Rory FRANSSEN and James WILSON.

In a game where neither side ever led by more than 1Up Sam BAIRSTOW and Haider HUSSAIN birdied the par 3 16th to get their noses in front just in time against Andrew NI and George BURNS.

Olly HUGGINS and John GOUGH were again England’s strongest pairing producing five birdies in their match to easily beat Ruben LINDSAY and Darren HOWIE by 5&3.

However, the best performance of the morning came from Scotland’s Lewis IRVINE and Stuart EASTON who fought back from 4Down after 8 holes to run out 3&1 winners against Zach CHEGWIDDEN and Laird SHEPHERD who lost five holes in a row from the 9th to completely lose the initiative.

In the final match Matthew CLARK and Angus CARRICK handed Jack BIGHAM and Josh HILL their second foursomes defeat. The English pair produced two lates birdies to put a little respectability on the final result but having been 5Up after 12 the Scots coasted in to victory.

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Scotland won the afternoon Singles 8-2 to turn the match in their favour.

James WILSON, Rory FRANSSEN, Connor WILSON, Lewis IRVINEMatt CLARK and Andrew NI took their Singles with a barrage of birdies that their English opponents simply couldn’t live with.

Stuart EASTON and George BURNS also won their games but to a greater degree than their teammates benefitted from Callan BARROW and Zach CHEGWIDDEN playing poorly.

On a disappointing day for England the only really bright spot for the home team was 17 year old R&A Boys’ Amateur champion Jack BRIGHAM winning his second Singles game of the event.

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England v. Scotland Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Wales v. Ireland

Ireland comprehensively beat Wales 11-4 in the second match of Day 2.

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The Foursomes games in this match ended up being relatively comfortable for the respective winning pairs, Ireland ultimately taking a 3-2 advantage over Wales into the afternoon Singles.

Marc BOUCHER and Liam NOLAN, who replaced Caolan RAFFERTY in the line up, starred for the Irish. Six birdies in the 13 holes played understandably proved too much for Matt ROBERTS and Aled GREVILLE who went down by 6&5.

Hugh FOLEY and Alan FAHY, who had received a drubbing against Scotland yesterday bounced back well to record a solid 4&3 win against Tomi BOWEN and Tom MATTHEWS.

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Just like Scotland in the earlier game Ireland easily beat Wales in the Singles, albeit looking through the hole-by-hole scores the 8-2 margin of victory perhaps flattered them a little.

The biggest winners for the Irish were Robert MORAN, who after a slow start went into overdrive on the back nine, Matt MCCLEAN, who birdied the opening three holes of his match against Aled GREVILLE to take control, and pleasingly Caolan RAFFERTY, who bounced back well after a difficult opening day in Surrey.

For the Welsh Luke HARRIES won his game with a birdie on the last and Ben CHAMBERLAIN hung on well after going 4Up after four holes.

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Wales v. Ireland Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

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Wednesday 15th September 2021 – Day 1 Matches

England and Ireland moved into the box seats after recording wins on the opening day of the 2021 R&A Home internationals.

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Day 1 Table (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

England v. Wales

England beat Wales in today’s opening match.

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England got off to a good start winning the morning Foursomes 4-1.

The BB&O pairing of Olly HUGGINS and John GOUGH produced the best win of the series beating Craig MELDING and Kieron HARMAN by 5&3.

Matt ROBERTS and Aled GREVILLE proved too strong for England’s junior pairing of JACK BIGHAM and Josh HILL to ensure Wales took a point into the Singles.

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England won the Singles series 6.5-3.5 with wins from Sam BAIRSTOW, Olly HUGGINS, John GOUGH, Jack BIGHAM, Zach CHEGWIDDEN and Amateur champion Laird SHEPHERD.

Luke HARRIES, Tom MATTHEWS, who was rested in the morning, and Kieron HARMAN were victorious for the Welsh.

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England v. Wales Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Scotland v. Ireland

Ireland got the better of Scotland in a competitive opening match at Hankley Common.

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Ireland edged the morning Foursomes 3-2.

Robert MORAN and Alex MAGUIRE gelled perfectly to win the opening game against Angus CARRICK and Connor WILSON by 8&6. Six birdies in their opening eight holes set them up for a memorable win.

Almost as impressively Matt CLARK and Darren HOWIE posted a 6&5 win against an out of sorts Hugh FOLEY and Alan FAHY.

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Ireland won the Singles series 5.5-4.5 to complete the win over Scotland.

Liam NOLAN, who sat out the Foursomes, and Hugh FOLEY, who bounced back well after his loss this morning, were the big winners for the Irish. Nolan beat Connor WILSON 5&4 whilst Foley got the better of Darren HOWIE by the even bigger margin of 7&5.

Scottish playing captain Matt CLARK, starting as he finished the 2019 competition – unbeaten, took down TJ FORD by 6&5 whilst a flawless Andrew NI surprised 2019 Walker Cupper Caolan RAFFERTY by 7&6.

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Scotland v. Ireland Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

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9th September 2021

The R&A Men’s Home Internationals will be played at Hankley Common Golf Club on the North Downs in Surrey, England between 15th and 17th September 2021.

This year’s staging will be the 80th playing of this prestigious event.

England will start as favourites but will carry the burden of expectation whilst having to overcome highly motivated opponents.

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7th Hole, Hankley Common Golf Club (Photo: David Lee / @Davidlee123)

The Competition

Historically the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Golf Unions have taken it in turns to host the event but from this playing The R&A will be taking over responsibility for it.

The competition was first played in 1932.

The 2020 competition was due to be played at Royal Dornoch G.C. in Scotland but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last cancellation came in 1979 when the competition was scheduled to be played at Royal County Down G.C. in Northern Ireland. Before that there had been an uninterrupted run stretching back to 1947 when six years (1939-46) were lost due to World War II.

To assist with the selection of this year’s Walker Cup team The R&A initially attempted to bring forward the 2021 Men’s Home Internationals to 14-16 April and to play them at Royal Dornoch but the pandemic again led to a postponement.

The 2021 event had originally been scheduled to be played at Hankley Common G.C. on 8-10 September but is now taking place a week later.

Format

11-man teams from ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND and WALES play against each other once over three days.

Each series consists of five morning foursomes and ten afternoon singles match play games.

The overall winner is the country with the highest number of match points. 1 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a half and 0 for a loss.

Ties are resolved by considering the number of individual game points secured in the three matches played.

Since 1952 the winning team has received The Raymond Trophy.

In the 79 competitions played today England have won 38, Scotland 21, Ireland 12 and Wales 1. The remaining 7 were tied before it was decided that ties would be resolved by using game points.

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The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

2021 Players

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

I have also included the Team (total) and Individual Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) and World Amateur Golf Rankings below (as at 9th September): –

ENGLAND – Team SPWAR 1,728 / WAGR 3,569
Sam BAIRSTOW (34 / 30) – Hallowes
Callan BARROW (114 / 188) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Jack BIGHAM (159 / 1,586) – Harpenden
Zach CHEGWIDDEN (125 / 642) – Orsett
Jack DYER (44 / 110) – Boyce Hill
Arron EDWARDS-HILL (101 / 274) – Chelmsford
John GOUGH (65 / 136) – Stoke Park
Josh HILL (177 / 217) – Trump International Dubai
Olly HUGGINS (100 / 163) – Frilford Heath
Haider HUSSAIN (125 / 173) – The Kendleshire
Laird SHEPHERD (684 / 50) – Rye

All 11 English players are making their debut in the tournament.

Jack Dyer is the only 2021 GB&I Walker Cup player in the field.

Jack BROOKS (The Mere) and Joe HARVEY (The Kendleshire) were also named as 1st and 2nd Reserves respectively.

IRELAND – Team SPWAR 4,706 / WAGR 5,490
Marc BOUCHER (281 / 321) – Carton House
Alan FAHY (427 / 353) – Dun Laoghaire
Hugh FOLEY (290 / 542) – Royal Dublin
T.J. FORD (515 / 592) – County Sligo
Alex MAGUIRE (372 / 428) – Layton & Bettystown
Matt MCCLEAN (487 / 513) – Malone
Jack MCDONNELL (720 / 1,066) – Forrest Little
Robert MORAN (278 / 231) – Castle
Liam NOLAN (308 / 1,008) – Galway
PETER O’KEEFFE (520 / 293) – Douglas
Caolan RAFFERTY (508 / 143) – Dundalk

Matt McClean and Caolan Rafferty both played in 2019 at Lahinch Golf Club.

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SCOTLAND – Team SPWAR 6,305 / WAGR 7,049
George BURNS (688 / 533) – Williamwood
Angus CARRICK (962 / 1,605) – Cragielaw
Matthew CLARK (713 / 1,015) – Renfrewshire
Stuart EASTON (459 / 423) – Irvine
Rory FRANSSEN (193 / 238) – Auchterarder
Darren HOWIE (821 / 717) – Peebles
Lewis IRVINE (388 / 396) – Kirkhill
Ruben LINDSAY (655 / 775) – Turnberry
Andrew NI (395 / 461) – Murrayfield
Connor WILSON (210 / 335) – Castle Park
James WILSON (821 / 551) – Balmore

Scotland are the most experienced team with George Burns, Matthew Clark, Stuart Easton, Darren Howie, Lewis Irvine and James Wilson all having played in 2019. Indeed Clark will be playing in his ninth consecutive Home Internationals.

WALES – Team SPWAR 27,931 / WAGR 15,551 + 2 ‘No Ranking’ players
James ASHFIELD (283 / 449) – Delamere Forest
Tomi BOWEN (2,566 / NR) – Welshpool
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (2,783 / 943) – Padeswood & Buckley
Jacob DAVIES (5,181 / 1,076) – Rhuddlan
Aled GREVILLE (2,510 / 1,391) – Ashburnham
Kieron HARMAN (2,466 / 4,180) – St Athan
Luke HARRIES (1,010 / 1,201) – Tenby
Tim HARRY (3,808 / 4,624) – The Vale
Tom MATTHEWS (2,902 / 1,111) – Aldersey Green
Craig MELDING (2,783 / NR) – Neath
Matt ROBERTS (1,639 / 576) – Royal Porthcawl

Ben Chamberlain, Jacob Davies, Kieron Harman and Matt Roberts all return for the Welsh in Surrey.

Highlighting the speed at which players turn professional nowadays just 12 of the 44 players who competed at Lahinch in 2019, admittedly two years ago, are on show this year. This compares with 23 returnees last time and 14 at Conwy in 2018.

Venue – Hankley Common Golf Club

Hankley Common G.C. in Tilford, near Farnham in Surrey was first opened as a nine hole course in May 1897. A further nine holes were added by James Braid in 1923/24 but it was only after Harry Colt undertook some remodelling and replaced three holes in 1935 that it started to be recognised as one of England’s best inland courses.

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Hankley Common G.C. (Photo: Jake Austin / @jbaustin2703)

It sits on a huge piece of heathland which allows the holes to meander across the property often in isolation. The area has been designated as a ‘site of special scientific interest’ due to its range of trees and abundant wildlife.

Off the back tees the course measures 6,909 yards and plays to a par of 71, there being only one par 5 on the back nine.

The uphill par three 7th is the ‘signature hole’ but in truth their are many memorable holes on the property.

There are a number of roads, paths and tracks on the course all of which have been deemed integral with no free relief available.

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Where My Ball Finished Off The 13th Tee When I Played There In September 2015 ! (Photo: GolfBible)  

Hankley Common has hosted a number of major events through the years most recently the English Men’s Amateur Championship (Closed) in 2019 which was won by Conor Gough.

2021 Weather Forecast (as at 14th September)

The latest forecast is encouraging with dry weather and low winds forecast for the three competition days: –

Wed. 15th Sept. – Light Cloud / Wind 7mph NW / Temp. Min 11º, Max 21º
Thurs. 16th Sept. – Sunny Intervals / Wind 6mph SW / Temp. Min 11º, Max 21º
Fri. 17th Sept. – Sunny Intervals / Wind 8mph S / Temp. Min 12º, Max 20º

2019 Men’s Home Internationals

The 2020 Men’s Home Internationals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

England won the 2019 Men’s Home Internationals at Lahinch G.C. in Ireland, winning all three of their games, and retaining The Raymond Trophy after their 2018 win at Conwy G.C.

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The England Team (Photo: Nigel Edwards)

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

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

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Colm CAMPBELL was the star man for Ireland with Caolan RAFFERTY and Conor PURCELL also contributing strongly with four wins. Connor JONES played the best for Wales winning two Singles.

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Click here to view the – Men’s 2019 Home Internationals Results
– click the match score to see the individual games and the game score to view the hole by hole scores.

Historic Results

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

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Copyright © 2014-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The St. Andrews Trophy – 2016 Preview and Results

21st July 2016

Click here to view the complete – MATCH RESULTS

David BOOTE bravely pared the 18th hole at Prince’s Golf Club this evening to secure the point which enabled Great Britain & Ireland to half the match 12.5-12.5.

As the holders the draw was good enough to ensure GB&I retained the St. Andrews Trophy they won in Sweden back in 2014.

Given they started the day 4-8 down to the Continent of Europe they will surely view the final score as a moral victory if not exactly a numerical one.

Great Britain & Ireland Retain The St. Andrews Trophy (Photo: Darren Plant) 

GB&I quickly got back on track this morning. Whereas yesterday all four of the foursomes games were lost today was thankfully a totally different story – GB&I winning the series 3.5-1.5. Stuart GREHAN and Scott GREGORY (5&4) led the team out and quickly secured the first point of the day against Italian pair Luca CIANCHETTI and Stefano MAZZOLI. Equally impressive were Grant FORREST and Connor SYME (4&3) who dealt with Matthias SCHWAB and Guido MIGLIOZZI. Jack HUME and David BOOTE were GB&I’s other outright winners.

This afternoon’s singles were again a rollercoaster affair. Just like yesterday GB&I got off to a strong start before Europe pegged them back.

There were crucial early wins for Scott GREGORY (2 holes), Stuart GREHAN (4&3, 7 under par when his match against Luca CIANCHETTI ended on the 15th) and Alfie PLANT (4&3).

Jack HUME was then unlucky to lose to Stefano MAZZOLI (1 hole) who birdied the last 3 holes to turn their game around. After losses for Grant FORREST (2&1) and Jamie BOWER (3&2) Scottish pair Connor SYME and Robert MACINTYRE secured important halves, both birdieing the short 374 yard 16th to draw level before seeing out their matches with pars.

All eyes started to drift to the 8th game in the series – David BOOTE against Ivan CANTERO GUTIERREZ. For much of the afternoon this had appeared a given for GB&I. Boote had got off to a great start which he consolidated with birdies on 12 and 13 to go 4Up with 5 to play. However, the highly rated Cantero Gutierrez refused to lie down and before we knew it birdies for the Spaniard on the 14th and 15th followed by a mistake by Boote on 17 saw the Surrey-based Welshman having to defend a 1Up lead going down 18.

Thankfully the experienced David Boote was up to the task and with the final hole of the game and match halved Captain Craig WATSON could breathe a sigh of relief and the GB&I supporters could begin celebrating.

Here are the updated Individual Team Contributions for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy: –

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20th July 2016 – Day 2 Draws

DRAW – 21st July – Day 2 Morning Foursomes

For Great Britain & Ireland Grant FORREST has been drafted into the foursomes. He will pair up with Connor SYME in game 3 with Robert MACINTYRE stepping down. Captain Craig WATSON has kept his other pairings unchanged and will give his players the opportunity to redeem themselves in a format that normally favours GB&I.

Unsurprisingly European captain Yves HOFSTETTER has left his foursome pairings well alone.

With both captains tweaking their running orders none of today’s games are repeated. At this stage one can only speculate on what difference this may make to the series result.

DRAW – 21st July – Day 2 Afternoon Singles

All 18 players are competing in the Day 2 singles with no players rested.

The draw has thrown up 3 Day 1 re-matches – Scott GREGORY v. Jeroen KRIETEMEIJER, Stuart GREHAN v. Luca CIANCHETTI and Alfie PLANT v. Mario GALIANO.

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20th July 2016 – Day 1 Report

Day 1 of the St. Andrews trophy proved to be a triumph for the Continent of Europe. They will take an 8-4 advantage into tomorrow’s final day.

DAY 1 RESULTS

Great Britain & Ireland’s new captain Craig WATSON could not have got off to a worse start this morning. His four foursomes pairings all lost, not one able to take their match beyond the 17th hole at Prince’s Golf Club.

GB&I fought back in the singles and for much of the afternoon it looked as if Day 1 parity could be rescued. Scott GREGORY (3&2), Jack HUME (5&4), Connor SYME (5&4) and Stuart GREHAN (6&4) all won to salvage some personal pride.  However, late losses for Grant FORREST (2&1), David BOOTE (3&1), Alfie PLANT (1 hole) and perhaps most notably, given the lead he held, Robert MACINTYRE (1 hole) saw the second series ultimately halved 4-4.

Europe’s Mario GALIANOIvan CANTERO GUTIERREZ, Robin PETERSSON and Matthias SCHWAB will all take 100% unbeaten records into Day 2.

Europe have won only once on GB&I soil in the history of the match – at Portmarnock GC in 2012. With a 4 point lead and needing just 5 more points from a possible 13 they will no doubt go in to tomorrow’s identical series of games in confident mood, optimistic of a 6th victory.

Here is my analysis of the Day 1 Individual Player Contributions: –

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19th July 2016 – Day 1 Draws

The draws for tomorrow’s St. Andrews Trophy foursomes and singles matches were announced this afternoon.

For Great Britain & Ireland Grant FORREST sits out the foursomes on Day 1 whilst Jamie BOWER misses out in the singles. Europe’s Jeroen KRIETEMEIJER has to wait for the afternoon singles for his first competitive action whilst Victor VEYRET will play in just the foursomes.

Here are the Day 1 draw / live scoring links: –

Live Scores

DRAW – 20th July – Day 1 Morning Foursomes

DRAW – 20th July – Day 2 Afternoon Singles

 

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17th July 2016 – Preview

The 31st St. Andrews Trophy is being contested on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st July at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England.

This amateur men’s team match has been played biennially between Great Britain & Ireland and the Continent of Europe since 1956. It was originally established by The R&A to give more European countries 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 event.

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

St Andrews Trophy GBI Team 2014

2014 GB&I Team (Photo: R&A / Getty Images)

2016 Teams

Captain Craig WATSON (Scotland) and The R&A announced the nine players to represent GB&I on 10th July. Each player’s Scratch Player’s World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR), as of today, is noted in brackets behind their name and nationality.

David BOOTE, 22, Walton Heath, Wales (33)
Jamie BOWER, 23, Meltham, England (10)
Grant FORREST, 23, Craigielaw, Scotland (11)
Scott GREGORY, 21, Corhampton, England (31)
Stuart GREHAN, 23, Tullamore, Ireland (68)
Jack HUME, 22, Naas, Ireland (8)
Robert MACINTYRE, 19, Glencruitten, Scotland (18)
Alfie PLANT, 24, Sundridge Park, England (51)
Connor SYME, 21, Drumoig, Scotland (15)

Craig HOWIE, 21, Peebles, Scotland and Conor O’ROURKE, 24, Naas, Ireland were named as reserves.

The Europe Team led by non-playing captain Yves HOFSTETTER (Switzerland) was confirmed by the European Golf Association on 15th July. Again current SPWAR’s follow each name and nationality.

Ivan CANTERO GUTIERREZ, Spain (47)
Luca CIANCHETTI, Italy (95)
Mario GALIANO, Spain (71)
Jeroen KRIETEMEIJER, Netherlands (725)
Stefano MAZZOLI, Italy (76)
Guido MIGLIOZZI, Italy (119)
Robin PETERSSON, Sweden (92)
Matthias SCHWAB, Austria (7)
Victor VEYRET, France (108)

The total SPWAR team score for GB&I is 245 whilst it is 1,340 for Europe. Whilst matches are not won on past form it is clear that GB&I have the greater strength in depth and must therefore start as firm favourites. Home advantage by way of greater links experience may be mitigated this week due to the sunny weather forecast.

Unfortunately the match clashes with the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France on the European Challenge Tour. Ugo COUSSAUD (FRA – 63), Thomas PERROT (FRA – 126) Antoine ROZNER (FRA – 23) and Adrian MERONK (POL – 11) have all been invited to play as amateurs. Good news for GB&I, bad news for Europe.

Match Format 

The St Andrews Trophy format consists of match play foursomes and singles matches.

Wednesday 20th June AM – Foursomes x 4
Wednesday 20th June PM – Singles x 8
Thursday 21st June AM – Foursomes x 4
Thursday 21st June PM – Singles x 9

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.

Prince’s Golf Club

Prince’s Golf Club is located alongside Royal St. George’s in Sandwich Bay, Kent. Whilst it can’t match the history of it’s illustrious neighbour it is certainly noteworthy in its own right.

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Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Prince’s Golf Club)

Prince’s most famous moment came in 1932 when it staged the 67th Open Championship, won wire-to-wire by US golfing legend Gene Sarazen.

Following the Second World War, when once again the course was requisitioned by the military for training, Sir Guy Campbell and John Morrison were engaged to to redesign and restore the course.

More recently it has been used as a Local Final Qualifying course for the 2011 Open Championship. It co-hosted The Amateur Championship in 2006 and 2013 and will do so again in 2017. Later this year it will also host the Jacques Leglise Trophy match between the U18 Boy’s of GB&I and Europe.

Since the 1950s Prince’s has had 3 sets of 9 holes, The Shore (3,448 yards), The Dunes (3,432 yards) and The Himalayas (3,201 yards), each playing to a par of 36. The Shore and Dunes are being used for the St. Andrews Trophy.

Weather Forecast

As at Sunday 18th July, 7.00pm the weather forecast looks very good for both the practice and competition days: –

Wed 21st July – Sunny. Wind 17 mph S. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.

Thur 22nd July – Sunny. Wind 10 mph W. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 15°C.

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.

Here are the historic match results in full: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 07.38.12

I will of course post links to the live scoring when it becomes available and will add results and player analysis to this article as the match unfolds.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Charles B. Macdonald – A Short Profile

14th November 2014

Charles Blair Macdonald, a player, administrator and architect, was one of the leading figures in the establishment of golf in the United States.

As he was born on this day in 1855 I thought I would find out a bit more about him.  Here are the 10 key facts I discovered in a golfing life well led.

Charles B Macdonald

Charles B. Macdonald (1895)

1. Charles B. Macdonald was born on 14th November 1855  in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.  His father was Scottish and his mother Canadian.  He soon moved to Chicago where he grew up.

2. In 1872 at age 16, he was sent to St. Andrews University in Scotland where he started to play golf.  He took lessons from Old Tom Morris and played matches on the Old Course.

3. He returned to Chicago in 1874 and became a successful stockbroker.  Consumed with work he rarely played golf until his late 30’s.  He moved to Wall Street in New York in 1890 as his career progressed.

4. He built the first 18-hole course in the United States.  The first golf club, St. Andrews Golf Club, outside New York was established in 1888 by a small group of Scottish immigrants.  Macdonald brought the game to Chicago, establishing the Chicago Golf Club in 1892 and building a modest 9-hole course with the support of several business associates.  In 1893 he expanded it to 18-holes thus creating the first full length course in the US.  In 1895 the Club decided to move and Macdonald built a new 18-hole course at Wheaton, where they remain to this day.  The old course is now the site of a 9-hole club, Downers Grove.

5. He was a driving force in the founding of the United States Golf Association (USGA).  In Autumn 1894 he helped arrange a meeting of the leading clubs of the day to establish a national body – delegates from the Chicago GC, St. Andrew’s GC, The Country Club, Newport CC, and Shinnecock Hills GC attended.  The result was the formation of the USGA, whose primary purpose would be to administer a national championship.  Macdonald was named Vice President of the organisation.

6. He won the first U.S. Amateur championship, held in 1895 at the Newport Country Club.  He beat Charles Sands 12 & 11 in the final.  This remains the record winning margin.

7. He is often described as the “father of American golf course architecture”, as he went on to build many notable early courses.  His experience in Scotland enabled him to introduce a more sophisticated design approach with clear strategic thinking evident in his work.  In 1908/09 he part-funded, designed and built the National Golf Links Of America in Southampton, New York.  The course hosted the inaugural Walker cup in 1922 and more recently the 2013 match.  He continued to tweak the National for the rest of his life and it remains to this day one of the premier courses in the world of golf.  He subsequently started to collaborate with Seth Raynor and the two of them designed many other notable courses.

The National Links of America (Photo: Larry Lambrecht)

8. In 1928, Macdonald published ‘Scotland’s Gift: Golf’ a cornerstone book in any high quality golf library.  In it he discusses the spread of golf in the United States from its humble beginnings in the late 1880s to 1927, when there were more than 4,000 courses in the country.  He also talks about some of his golf courses and his design philosophy.

9. He died aged 83 on 21st April 1939.  The 75th anniversary of his passing was earlier this year.

10. In 2007 Macdonald was inducted as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, in the Lifetime Achievement category.

ME.

I Don’t Like Buggies Even When They Are Pimped Up (Video).

5th & 18th November 2014

No sooner do I post about my dislike for buggies and the impending doom of cart racing around our courses than the very topic finds the golfing headlines – well sort of.

Plum Quick Motors based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, are specialists in high performance golf cart motors.  Last week, on 31st October 2014, their team broke their own world golf-cart speed record – achieving 118.76 m.p.h. at the Darlington Dragway in “Bandit”.  Take a look below: –

Then I read boxer Floyd Mayweather has pimped up a gold-plated ‘Bentley’ buggy for his son.  Take a look at this: –

Floyd Mayweather Buggy

A point I didn’t make in my early post was that Buggies are also dangerous.  Please google cart or buggy accidents on Google if you don’t believe me.  It is often said that aeroplanes are one of the safest forms of transport.  Without knowing the figures I would guess that buggies are one of the most unsafe.  I would love to know the ratio of accidents to buggy rides.

Whilst I accept that the wider adoption of “Bandit” buggies would help solve the slow play problem engulfing golf – for example, a 250-yard drive could be reached in 4.2 seconds – the last thing I want is for buggies to start being glamourised in this way, however entertaining.

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

I Don’t Like Golf Buggies

30th October 2014

“We need more buggies” my playing partner suddenly blurted out the other day.

He may as well have punched me in the face.  In fact I am sure I recoiled as his words registered with me.  To be fair we were playing a match and as I have never been slow in expressing my dislike for them he may very well have been seeking to distract or disturb me.

Golf Buggies

A Colourful Selection Of Golf Buggies

Perhaps what really grated with me was the fact that objectively he was absolutely right.  We are both members of a traditional private club with a predominantly male membership with an average age of 58.  Just looking across our course we could see four buggies in view from the hole we were playing.  Our Club has six in total and up until recently they hardly ever came out the garage.

The UK population – and therefore golfers (and sadly myself too) – are generally getting fatter and more unhealthy.  Without anyone realising this has been impacting on golf for a while now.  30 years ago most people seemed to carry their clubs.  Some players pulled a trolley.  Nowadays the majority have an electric trolley.  The trend is clear – more people need help getting around and we all prefer the easy option if offered it.  If Club’s provide more buggies then it is inevitable that members will seek to use them in my opinion.  Any modest injury or mild discomfort will soon see golfers clambering for the keys as they seek assistance in covering the 4 or 5 miles they need to play a round.

The buggy or golf cart was invented in 1951 by Merle Williams and for many years was the sole preserve of the US Country Club.  It has gradually infiltrated the UK since but thankfully only to a modest extent, save for the larger resort courses.  Two of the main manufacturers E-Z-Go (1954) and Club Car (1958) have been trading for around 60 years and a quick review of their Parent company’s accounts – Textra Inc and Ingersoll Rand respectively – shows their businesses are both doing quite nicely with sales growing annually.  Interestingly both companies are based in Augusta, Georgia – so this City is famous for more than just The Masters after all !

All I ask of a golf course is well presented tees, fairways, bunkers and greens (with holes and flags).  Frankly, I see no need for bins, benches, halfway houses (although I appreciate a modest toilet facility is appropriate), shelters and most of all buggies.  Golf is a game that should be played on foot.  If you can no longer walk around the course then it’s simply time to move on.  It is no different to more active sports such as football and rugby – when you can no longer run around the field or the recovery time becomes too long you know it is time to find something else to do (often golf).  I fear more buggies will be coming to our Club soon and inevitably to your course too soon.  If you don’t want your course to turn into a race track or to see buggies parked up beside the clubhouse then get ready to push back.  I will be.

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Leave Golf Alone 1

29th October 2014

Eri Crum’s victory in the World SpeedGolf Championship, held at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort last weekend, got me thinking about all the golf derivatives that seem to have sprung up in recent years.

For the record 39-year-old Crum, a former Stanford University golf captain and the runner-up in the 2013 Championship, shot a 4-over-par 76 in 46 minutes and 1 second for a SpeedGolf total score of 122.01.  He earned $10,600 for his impressive performance and win in Oregon. Speedgolf

Golf + Running = SpeedGolf

Whilst I don’t want to knock anything that is golf-related I have to admit to getting a bit tired of all these different versions of ‘golf’.

If golf remains at the heart of the matter then fine.  Who can argue with hickory golf or for that matter miniature golf.

However, if you want to kick a football, go running or throw a frisbee into a metal net then do it but keep golf out of it.  Golf is golf and doesn’t need hijacking.  It may not be perfect and could certainly do with being a bit quicker at times but we just don’t need all of these distractions in my view.

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

An Introduction To US College Golf

18th October 2014

Like most UK golfers I was aware of College golf in the United States (US).  I had heard TV commentators reference the stellar college records of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at various times.  I also knew that from our side of the pond Graeme MacDowell and Luke Donald had studied and played golf in the US and done very well.  As that was broadly the extent of my knowledge I thought I should try and find out a bit more.

Here are the 8 key points I discovered: –

1) There are about 1,300 colleges and universities across the US.  Not surprisingly each one is different in terms of student numbers, sports facilities, budgets and scholarship packages.  In Year 1 a student is a ‘Freshman’, Year 2 a ‘Sophomore’, Year 3 a ‘Junior’ and finally in Year 4 a ‘Senior’.

2) Non-profit Athletic Associations organise competitive men’s and women’s sport for the US colleges.  It is big business too.  The better men’s football and basketball teams play in front of huge crowds, matches are televised and these sports generate millions of dollars of revenue for their institutions.  All other sports, of which golf is one, whilst prestigious to differing degrees, are unprofitable to run for their colleges.  The primary Association is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  This body focuses on the larger colleges.  It has history too – the first men’s golf event being staged in 1897.  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) performs a similar role for smaller colleges.  It has held a men’s golf championship since 1952.  The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) completes the group, arranging sporting events for community and junior colleges.  It held its first men’s golf championship in 1959.

3) Each Athletic Association is split into Conferences based on geographic regions.  Colleges are then split into different Divisions – normally I, II and III.  Generally, the larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III.  The NCAA, as it deals with the larger colleges with the most resources, is at the pinnacle of US college golf.  In turn the Division I colleges attract the best golfers as they offer the best coaches and practice facilities and compete in the elite competitions.  Division I of the NCAA is therefore the area that the interested observer should focus their attention on.

4) Only Division I and Division II schools can offer sports scholarships to athletes.  In Division I There are currently c.285 colleges offering men’s golf scholarships and c.255 offering financial support for women.  The NCAA allows 4.5 men’s and 6 women’s scholarship per college golf program.  A one week window exists in mid-November every year where National Letters of Intent (NLIs), essentially 12 month commitments for the following academic year, can be entered into by prospective students and institutions.   I believe there are currently c.100 GB&I golfers in the US College system.  Larger colleges run squads of between 7-12 players normally.  This can be problematic – particularly after the settling-in Freshman year – as most events are five person affairs, meaning some players struggle to get selected and therefore don’t get to play competitively.

5) The NCAA supports 31 regional Conferences for college’s that play men’s golf – 28 of them support women’s golf.  These are: – American Athletic; America Sky; Atlantic Coast; Atlantic Sun; Atlantic 10; Big East; Big South; Big Ten; Big 12; Big West, Colonial Athletic Association; Conference USA; Horizon League; Ivy League; Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-American; Mid-Eastern Athletic; Missouri Valley; Mountain West; Northeast; Ohio Valley; Pacific-12; Patriot League; Southeastern; Southern; Southland; Southwestern Athletic; Summit League; Sun Belt; Western Athletic; and West Coast.  The underlined ones have provided the better teams in recent years.

6) The Conferences and Divisions hold various regional competitions throughout the Fall and Spring seasons.  Five man teams compete for each college with additional team members playing individually sometimes.  From October onwards Golfstat publish Divisional rankings for the Teams and Individuals based on that season’s performances. These events are followed closely and act as a precursor to the NCAA finals series – Regionals followed by a National – which takes place every May.  Finals are held for each Division but the Division I event is clearly the US College Major.  The NCAA Division I Championship is given TV coverage by the Golf Channel in the USA.

7) The winners of each Conference are granted automatic entry to the Regional Championships.  The Golfstat rankings are then used by the NCAA Golf Committee to select the other teams and individuals that will participate.  In total 81 teams fight it out at six NCAA Division I Regional Championships held across the country.  The five teams with the lowest team scores at each of the Regional qualifiers progress for both the Team and Individual National championships.  The player not affiliated with one of the other teams in their Regional with the lowest score also progresses to play in the Individual event.

8) The NCAA Championship National Finals – the premier event in US College golf – is played annually at the end of May.  30 teams of five players plus six individual qualifiers take part, making a total field of 156 players.  Since 2015 the Women’s event has preceded the Men’s on the same course.  The men’s now consists of 54-holes of stroke play from Friday to Sunday before a cut is made.  Thereafter the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will play a final 18 holes on the Monday.  The results from these 72-holes will determine both the Individual Champion and the top eight teams that will advance to the Team match play stage.  The Team Champions, which is the primary focus of the NCAA, will then be finalised on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

 LSU NCAA DI Champions 2015

Louisiana State University – 2015 NCAA Division I Champions

Copyright © 2014-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Golf Club Membership

13th October 2014

Two articles in the news caught my eye last week.

The first was England Golf’s announcement that they had appointed Lauren Spray as their new ‘Women and Girls’ Participation Manager’.  This is clearly a positive step which should help to attract more females to play the game.  A targeted programme and advisory group to support Clubs and Lauren will also be launched in 2015.  Golf is a male dominated sport in the UK with over 85% of players being men.  This is very different to all other establish golfing countries where woman and girls are much more strongly represented.

The second related to FA chairman Greg Dyke’s call for English football to adopt the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule’ to help address the lack of black coaches and managers.  Of the 92 professional teams in England just two employ black managers – Chris Powell (Huddersfield) and Keith Curle (Carlisle).  The ‘Rooney Rule’, used in the NFL since 2003, says that teams must interview at least one black or ethnic minority candidate when hiring a new head coach.  Of the 32 teams in the NFL, four currently have black head coaches in charge.  This made me think about the lack of black and ethnic minority men (and women) paying golf and whether enough was being done to encourage their participation in golf too.

The positives that support golf participation are well known – health and fitness, the countryside and being outdoors, the handicap system and numerous course and competition options, to name just the main ones.  Therefore, in theory it shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade either women, girls or ethnic minorities to give golf a go.

Given the well publicised financial difficulties at many British golf clubs in recent years it is hard to understand why clubs haven’t been more proactive in driving both of the above membership areas to date.  The reason they haven’t and sadly why I don’t anticipate too much progress in the short-term is fairly obvious.  It is that they simply don’t want to.  Most private golf clubs in Britain are very traditional and dominated by male members whose average age is normally close to 60.  Sadly that demographic are anti-change – they know what they like and like what they know.  Whilst a generalisation, and few would openly admit to it, I believe a great many of these individuals are both racist and sexist. Until they become too infirm to play or have died and the next generation of members come through, more open-minded people who have been brought up and worked in a society where diversity and equality are taken for granted, I personally foresee little progress in these areas.

I hope I am proved wrong but without a change in the people who run private golf clubs and make membership policies and decisions I fear real progress in both areas is still a long way off.

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.