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

4th June 2017 – Rounds 3 and 4 Report

Click here to view the – Scottish Open SP Results

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

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

Liam Johnston (Photo: Kenny Smith / Scottish Golf)

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

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

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

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

ME.

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3rd June 2017 – Round 2 Report

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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2nd June 2017 – Round 1 Report

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

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

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

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

ME.

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31st May 2017

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

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

Format

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

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

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

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

Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prizes

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

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

Western Gailes Golf Club

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

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

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

Scorecard (Photo: Western Gailes GC website)

Weather Forecast

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

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

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

The 2016 Scottish Men’s Open Amateur

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

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

Cameron John (Photo: Kenny Smith / Scottish Golf)

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

Past Winners

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2016 Results & Reflections

13th August 2016

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

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Ireland with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Kenny Smith)

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

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

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

Ireland’s win was their third consecutive one in the Home Internationals and they will no doubt travel to Moortown GC, England full of confidence next year. Next year’s match will be played between 16-18 August 2017.

Well done to Ireland.

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Here are some additional thoughts on this year’s Home Internationals and the Individual Player performances: –

1) It remains a frustration to me that such an historic and important competition is treated so poorly by the GB&I Unions even after allowance for the crowded amateur golf calendar. The scheduling of the event against next week’s US Amateur Championship left it sadly bereft of 10 of our leading players.

Hosts Scotland, the reigning European Men’s Amateur Team champions, were the most affected, left playing without Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Robert MacIntyre and Connor Syme.

Until this is properly resolved the Home Internationals results will to a degree continue to have something of a hollow ring to them.

2) It was pleasing to see five mid-amateur players amongst the ‘positive’ contributors. Colm Campbell (IRE), Barry Hume (SCO), Matthew Clark (SCO), Lee Jones (WAL) and Graeme Robertson (SCO) all showed they remain competitive at this level. Could we have a mid-amateur in our 2017 Walker Cup team ?

3) Ireland’s production line remains strong. Despite losing Paul Dunne, Gary Hurley,  Dermot McElroy, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin in the last year, and not having Jack Hume available, they still won.

Robin Dawson did very well in the Singles – he beat Thomas Williams (WAL) who was unbeaten in his other two games, George Duncan (SCO), the recently crowned Scottish Amateur champion and Jack Yule (ENG) who had a disappointing week but has been playing well this year.

Ireland failed to win a foursomes series all week. However, the JR Galbraith and Colm Campbell foursomes pairing won all of their matches – pretty comfortably too, 3&2 being their ‘worst’ result – and provided a foundation for their own individual performances and the Irish victory.

The Irish player that continues to impress me more and more though is Stuart Grehan who enjoyed another good week. Fingers crossed he stays amateur for another year.

With Kevin Le Blanc, Marc McKinstry, Thomas Mulligan and Mark Power all coming through the ranks the future continues to look bright for Ireland.

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4) England will obviously be disappointed they couldn’t close out yesterday’s winner takes all match against Ireland after winning the Foursomes series.

Ashton Turner played superbly winning all 6 of his matches, pairing up well with James Walker in the foursomes and taking care of Sandy Scott (SCO) 5&3, Evan Griffith (WAL) 3&2 and most impressively Stuart Grehan (IRE) 3&2 in the Singles. Grehan was previously unbeaten in 2016 international Singles games, winning 5 and drawing 1 across the Arnold Palmer Cup, the St. Andrews Trophy and the Home Internationals. Ashton was the only player to achieve the 100% ‘clean sweep’ and was justifiably awarded the Fairstone Player of the Championship award. I wonder if this achievement had anything to do with him not playing in last week’s European Amateur Championship in Estonia, unlike many of the other competitors.

img_9406Ashton Turner – Fairstone Player of the Championship (Photo: Kenny Smith)

Marco Penge, who has been missing in action in recent months, made a welcome return to form with a strong contribution, notably winning all three of his Singles. Hopefully he is now fully back on track.

Marco’s results were indicative of the England team’s week to some degree – players who you would have expected to be leading the way like experienced campaigners Alfie Plant and Dan Brown and young up and comers Will Enefer and Gian-Marco Petrozzi never really got going. It was therefore left to the likes of James Walker, Adam Chapman, Harry Hall and Josh Hilleard (who was unbeaten in his three games) to pick up the points that nearly took England to the title.

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England, with greater strength in depth, suffered less from US Amateur absences than Scotland but I am sure their selectors would still liked to have been able to consider Jamie Bower, Scott Gregory, Bradley Moore and Jack Singh Brar, all of whom were en route to Oakland Hills in Detroit.

5) Scotland, weakened by their inability to select their leading players, put up a valiant fight. All of their matches were tight affairs and their two losses to England and Ireland both came by narrow 8.5-6.5 scorelines.

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Liam Johnston and Jamie Savage formed a successful foursomes pairing, winning two and halving one. Johnston also did well in the Singles, preventing James Walker on Day 1 from subsequently going 100% and beating Owen Edwards on the final afternoon.

Sandy Scott and Calum Fyfe won all three of their foursomes games but surprisingly both could only manage one Singles win each.

Foursome partners Craig Howie and Craig Ross will wonder how they didn’t finish higher up the above table. The answer probably lies in generally playing up the order and as a result of some inconsistency. Both seemed to have their moments before then losing a bit of form.

6) Save for the England game where they were thrashed 11.5-3.5 Wales put up a good fight this year. 8-7 losses to both Ireland and Scotland could easily have gone the other way on another day.

Perhaps if David Boote had been available to them these two losses could have been turned around, making them a real factor in this year’s competition.

On a positive note, the Welsh selectors will take heart from the performances of relative newcomers Thomas Williams and Patrick Mullins.

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This year’s Home Internationals were clearly a really competitive event. With the exception of one match all the results were very close which has to be a good thing for Great British & Irish golf and player development.

It’s now time to see whether those players that missed the competition in Nairn can make an impact on the biggest stage of all – the US Amateur Championship.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.