2016 World Amateur Team Championship – Results

25th September 2016

AUSTRALIA won the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship by a huge 19-shots.

Equalling the 72 hole scoring record (534 / -38) their team of Cameron DAVIS, Harrison ENDYCOTT and Curtis LUCK took control of the event on Day 2 and never looked back. It was the fourth time Australia had won the Eisenhower Trophy, following victories in 1958, 1966 and 1996.

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), in their two counting rounds, ended up costing them dear.

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

SCOTLAND (-11) will be disappointed with their 11th place finish, given the team they put out and particularly after their strong start on Day 1 when they finished in the lead on -10.

I would have thought WALES would be pleased with their T16 result. David BOOTE (-9) as expected was the bedrock of the team but Owen EDWARDS and Joshua DAVIES both contributed two rounds to the overall team score.

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

T6.     USA                 -15

The full 2016 WATC Eisenhower Trophy team results can be accessed here: –
Eisenhower Trophy Team Results

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 63 (-9) in Friday’s third round.

Cameron DAVIS, as the winner of the low individual, earnt a start at the US PGA Tour’s OHL Classic which is played at the same El Camaleon Course at Mayakoba upon which Australia won on Saturday.

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.

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

The 2016 WATC Eisenhower Trophy individual results can be accessed here: –
Eisenhower Trophy Individual Results

For more information on the World Amateur Team Championship please read my earlier article – 2016 World Amateur Team Championship – Preview

For the record I predicted AUSTRALIA would win, I said the home nations would all do well and that the United States would not finish in the Top 3. I was let down by FRANCE and ITALY though !

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

2016 World Amateur Team Championship – Preview

18th and 20th September 2016 

The draws for rounds 1 and 2 of the 2016 Men’s WATC have been released today – Eisenhower Trophy Pairings

I posed the question on Sunday evening as to whether a home nation team could win the event ? Having now looked through all of the teams I genuinely believe they can.

The WATC’s stroke play format is of course uncompromising. With two scores from three counting on each of the four days there is little room for manoeuvre when the competition is so strong.

On balance AUSTRALIA must start as my favourites. Their team of Cameron DAVIS, Harrison ENDYCOTT and Curtis LUCK is probably the best on paper.

I think SCOTLAND (Grant FORREST, Robert MACINYTRE and Connor SYME) are not far behind them and expect them to finish in the Top 5, as a minimum.

The other two teams that stand out for me are ITALY and FRANCE – in that order. Italy have Luca CIANCHETTI, Stefano MAZZOLI and Guido MIGLIOZZI, all experienced players and winners. France include Ugo COUSSARD, Jeremy GANDON and Antoine ROZNER and should therefore also score well. 

ENGLAND (Jamie BOWER, Scott GREGORY and Alfie PLANT) and IRELAND (Stuart GREHAN, Jack HUME, Paul MCBRIDE) should also do well but I am not sure they are quite of the calibre of the four teams mentioned above.

My view on England may be being tarnished by the omission of Sam HORSFIELD though. Whilst I understand this decision it is a disappointment to me that the World’s, and therefore GB&I’s, No.1 amateur is not competing in this prestigious event.

WALES, consisting of David BOOTE, Joshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, could be a surprise package. Boote’s score should be assured but Davies and Edwards are a bit more hit and miss. If they both have good weeks, which they are more than capable of, then I can see a good result for them.

What makes 2016 such a good opportunity for the home nations in my eyes is the fact that the USA team is far from inspiring. The USA have won 15 of the previous 29 WATC and have only finished outside the top 3 on four occasions. Fortunately for the rest of the world there is no Bryson DECHAMBEAU and Beau HOSSLER to worry about this time. I don’t think their team of Brad DALKE, Maverick MCNEALY and Scottie SCHEFFLER will win in 2016 and frankly I think they will do very well to place.

ME.

_______________________________________________

18th September 2016

The 30th Men’s World Amateur Team Championship (WATC) will be played this week, between Wednesday 21st and Saturday 24th September 2016.

The WATC is a biennial international amateur golf competition run by the International Golf Federation (IGF). This year a record equalling 72 teams have entered.

The competition moves in turns between Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe-Africa. In 2018 the WATC will be hosted by the Golf Union of Ireland and held at Carton House, near Dublin.

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

The 2016 WATC
This year’s WATC is being hosted by the Mexican Golf Federation.

The Mayakoba El Camaleón and the Iberostar Playa Paraiso golf courses are to be used in Riviera Maya, near the holiday resort of Cancun. Both courses opened in 2005.

img_6760

Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Course, Mexico (Photo: PGA Tour)

The El Camaleón course was designed by Greg Norman and will play 6,988 yards to a par of 71. Playa Paraiso, designed by P.B. Dye, is shorter at 6,771 yards but has a par of 72. Clearly the emphasis will be on making a score on the latter.

Competition Format
Teams of three players 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 U.S.A. are the defending champions. In 2014 their team of Bryson DECHAMBEAU, Beau HOSSLER and Denny MCCARTHY scored 534 (-38) in Karuizawa, Japan to beat Canada by 2-shots.

2014 Eisenhower Trophy

The 2016 USA Team (Photo: IGF)

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

The historic WATC results are provided in an Appendix at the end of this article.

GB&I Competitors
Each of the home nations will be represented in 2016 with the following players having been selected: –

ENGLAND
Jamie BOWER (23), Scott GREGORY (21) and Alfie PLANT (24)

IRELAND
Stuart GREHAN (23), Jack HUME (22) and Paul MCBRIDE (20)

SCOTLAND
Grant FORREST (23), Robert MACINTYRE (20) and Connor SYME (21)

WALES
David BOOTE, Joshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS

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


The Eisenhower Trophy (Photo: USGA)

Appendix – 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: –

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-19-53-18

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The U.S. Amateur Championship – 2016 Preview & Stroke Play Stage

16th & 17th August 2016

U.S. Amateur – Stroke Play Qualifying Stage

Alex Smalley (USA), a sophomore at Duke University, earned medalist honours in the U.S. Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying. His 133 (-7) total came after two impressive rounds at Oakland Hills CC; a 65 on the North Course, followed on Day 2 by a 68 on the tougher South Course.

56 players scored +1 or better. This group, all of whom have confirmed their places in the Match Play Stage, included 4 GB&I players. Well done to Scott Gregory, Sam Horsfield, Connor Syme and Jack Hume.

T6     Scott Gregory 21 (ENG)   -3     69 NC, 68 SC
T11   Sam Horsfield 19 (ENG)  -2      66 NC, 72 SC
T30   Connor Syme 21 (SCO)    Ev    70 SC, 70 NC
T41   Jack Hume 22 (IRE)          +1    72 SC, 69 NC

From Europe the following players have also safely negotiated the Stroke Play Qualifier.

T11   Matthias Schwab 22 (AUS)   -2      69 SC, 69 NC
T30   Mario Galiano 21 (ESP)          Ev     69 SC, 71 NC
T30   Robin Petersson 24 (SWE)    Ev     65 NC, 75 SC

A further 23 players finished with a +2 total. This group included David Boote and Bradley Moore. They all participated in a sudden death play-off played over the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th holes of the North Course.

T57   David Boote 22 (WAL)       +2      70 SC, 72 NC
T57   Bradley Moore 18 (ENG)   +2     71 NC, 71 SC

From Europe just one other player made it through to the play-off.

T57   Federico Zucchetti (ITA)    +2    71 NC, 71 SC

David Boote and Bradley Moore both birdied the 11th to progress to the match play stage, holing putts of 20 and 45 yards respectively on the 465 yard par 4. Federico Zucchetto bogeyed the 17th to drop out of the play-off on the 3rd hole. WAGR-ranked no. 1 Maverick McNealy (USA) also missed out bogeying the 10th, the 5th play-off hole.

The results of the other GB&I and European players are provided below, all of whom missed the match play cut were: –

T80      Jack Singh Brar 19 (ENG)         +3    71 SC, 72 NC
T80      Ewen Ferguson 20 (SCO)         +3    72 NC, 71 SC
T99      Robert MacIntyre 20 (SCO)      +4    68 NC, 76 SC
T185    Grant Forrest 23 (SCO)            +9    73 NC, 75 SC
T243    Jamie Bower 23 (ENG)            +11    74 SC, 77 NC

T80     Pierrick Fillon 20 (FRA)           +3     74 NC, 69 SC
T126   Ivan Cantero 20 (ESP)             +5      72 SC, 73 NC
T143   Antoine Rozner 23 (FRA)        +6     72 NC, 74 SC
T185   Luca Cianchetti 20 (ITA)         +8      73 SC, 75 NC
T185   Andreas Gjesteby 21 (NOR)   +8      76 SC, 72 NC

Click here for the full Stroke Play Results and Play Off Live Scores – Stroke Play Results

ME.

____________________________________

14th August 2016

The U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Oakland Hills Country Club, just north of Detroit in Michigan.

Administered by the United States Golf Association (USGA) the U.S. Amateur is without question the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

Competition Format
On Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one on each of Oakland Hill’s two courses.The Top 64 qualifiers will then move forward to the match play stage of the competition. Ties for the last qualifying place will be resolved by a hole-by-hole play-off.

18 hole match play rounds will be played between Wednesday 17th and Saturday 20nd, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 21st August. Extra holes will be played in the match play to resolve any halved games.

Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills CC, established in October 1916 and therefore celebrating it’s centenary this year, consists of two championship courses – the South and the North. The former is extremely challenging with a notorious finish. As the superior course the South will exclusively host the match play stage.


18th hole South Course, Oakland Hills Country Club

South Course
Architect – Donald Ross (1918) / Robert Trent Jones Sr (1951) / Rees Jones (2004/06)
Distance – 7,334 yards, Par 70.

North Course
Architect – Donald Ross (1923)
Distance – 6,849 yards, Par 70.

Click this link to access the Oakland Hills CC YouTube channel and view the full 36 holes – South and North Course Hole Flyovers 

2016 Field
A field of 312 players from 29 different countries will contest this year’s Championship. 247 players are from the U.S.A. with Canada (13) the next best represented country.

The decision by the U.S.G.A. in 2012 to exempt the Top 50 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings continues to help broaden the entry. This year 99 (2015: 97) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too. Just in case anyone from the U.S.G.A. reads this it would be great to see one in GB&I or Europe in the future too – just like they do for the U.S. Open Championship.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.29 (2015: 22.16). The oldest player being Chip Lutz (61, b.11th January 1955) and the youngest Edwin Kuang (15, b. 1st August 2001), one of three 15 year olds playing.

Lutz is the reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion who won the Seniors Amateur Championship at Formby GC last weekend before flying to Ohio to take his place in this week’s U.S. Senior Open. Having made the cut he is due to play in the final round before travelling to Oakland Hills for a 2.10pm (local time) tee time tomorrow. Following heavy rain today at Scioto CC and an almost certain Monday finish it will be interesting to see what Mr. Lutz decides to do.

Surprise 2014 champion Gunn Yang is the only former U.S. Amateur champion in the field. 70 of this year’s players also competed in last year’s Championship at Olympia Fields CC near Chicago.

There are eleven GB&I players competing. Here is a list of them with their exemption category or sectional qualifying event noted: –

David Boote 22 (WAL)             – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Jamie Bower 23 (ENG)            – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Ewen Ferguson 20 (SCO)       – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Grant Forrest 23 (SCO)           – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Scott Gregory 21 (ENG)          – 2016 Amateur Champion
Sam Horsfield 19 (ENG)         – 2016 US Open, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Jack Hume 22 (IRE)                 – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Robert MacIntyre 20 (SCO)    – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Bradley Moore 18 (ENG)         – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Jack Singh Brar 19 (ENG)       – Qualifier at Ada, Michigan (05/07/16)
Connor Syme 21 (SCO)           – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16

Sam Horsfield (ENG) – No. 2 in the current World Amateur Golf Rankings

Nine other players have qualified from the Continent of Europe: –

Ivan Cantero 20 (ESP)              – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Luca Cianchetti 20 (ITA)          – 2016 European Amateur Champion
Pierrick Fillon 20 (FRA)           – Qualifier at Napperville, Illinois (25/07/16)
Andreas Gjesteby 21 (NOR)    – Qualifier at Knoxville, Tennessee (12/07/16)
Mario Galiano 21 (ESP)            – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Robin Petersson 24 (SWE)      – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Antoine Rozner 23 (FRA)         – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Matthias Schwab 22 (AUS)      – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Federico Zucchetti 21 (ITA)     – Qualifier at Lubbock, Texas (19/07/16)

2016 Stroke Play Draws
The draws for the 36-hole stroke play qualifying competition can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur SP Draw

Weather Forecast (as at 5.00pm 14th August 2016)
Stroke Play Stage
Mon 15th August – Showers. Wind 6 mph (N). Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 21°C.
Tues 16th August – Showers. Wind 10 mph (NW). Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 20°C.
Match Play Stage
Weds 17th August – Sunny. Wind 6 mph (E). Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 21°C.
Thurs 18th August – Sunny. Wind 6 mph (E). Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 22°C.
Fri 19th August – Sunny. Wind 7 mph (N). Temp. Max. 30°C / Min 22°C.
Sat 20th August – Showers. Wind 9 mph (NE). Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 21°C.
Sun 21st August – Sunny. Wind 10 mph (SE). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 18°C.

The forecast rain is likely to come with thunderstorms so suspensions in play are possible during the week.

If the current weather forecast proves to be accurate it may have a significant impact on the stroke play qualifying depending on the timing of the rain on both days.

From GB&I Jamie Bower, David Boote, Jack Hume, Jack Singh Brar and Connor Syme are playing the tougher South on Monday. Oppositely Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Scott Gregory, Sam Horsfield, Robert MacIntyre and Bradley Moore are scheduled to play it on Tuesday.

img_6497

GB&I Results At The 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship
Last year nine GB&I players competed at Olympia Fields CC. Paul Dunne (IRE) was our best finisher reaching the quarter finals of the match play (MP) stage – he lost to the eventual champion Bryson DeChambeau (USA). Sam Horsfield (ENG) was our only other player to make the Top 64 MP cut which fell at +3.

T14     Paul Dunne 71 69 (-1)              – MP Quarter Finals
T36     Sam Horsfield 72 70 (+2)        – MP Round 2 (last 32)
T73     Cormac Sharvin 72 72 (+4)     – Missed T64 MP Cut
T89     Grant Forrest  74 71 (+5)        – Missed T64 MP Cut
T115   Henry Smart 77 69 (+6)          – Missed T64 MP Cut
T115   Gary Hurley 72 74 (+6)            – Missed T64 MP Cut
T115   Tom Bayliss 75 71 (+6)           – Missed T64 MP Cut
T189   Ewen Ferguson 78 71 (+9)      – Missed T64 MP Cut
T246   Nick Marsh 80 72 (+12)           – Missed T64 MP Cut

History has shown, that the quality of the field is such, that simply making the match play cut is an achievement for many of the GB&I and European players that qualify to compete in the Championship.

UK Television Coverage
Sat 20th August – Sky Sports For iPad 8.00 pm.
Sun 21st August – Sky Sports 4 Red Button 8.00 pm

Prizes
The 2016 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following: –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the ensuing year.
b) An exemption to play in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
c) An exemption to play in the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Troon G.C.
d) A likely invitation to play in the 2017 Masters at Augusta National G.C.
e) An exemption to play in the 2017 – 2026 U.S. Amateurs; and no doubt
f) Invitations to play in a variety of PGA Tour and European Tour competitions.

A Silver Medal is awarded to the runner-up and Bronze Medals to the two semi-finalists.

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the USGA 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. 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 USGA Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

Championship History
The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 116th 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 Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), 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) and Peter Uihlein (2010).

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). Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) is the only  player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Last year Bryson DeChambeau, who had already won the NCAA Division 1 Individual title earlier in the summer, completed a memorable double beating compatriot Derek Bard 7&6 in the 36 hole Final.

Bryson DeChambeau US Amateur 2015

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo: USGA)

ME.

Copyright © 2016, 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: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 18.55.13

ME.

 ______________________________

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.

ME.

______________________________

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: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 21.52.38

ME.

______________________________

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

 

ME.

______________________________

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.

img_6377

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.

The Lytham Trophy – 2016 Preview & Results

1st May 2016

UPDATE 

Alfie Plant won the Lytham Trophy today by 7-shots helped in no small part by a superb level par final round of 70.

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

Click this link to view the final Lytham Trophy scores – Results

Click this link to view Sunday’s Lytham Trophy start sheet – Rds 3 & 4 Draws

Rd 4 – Alfie Plant won the Lytham Trophy by 7-shots after a superb final round 70 (E). Bradley Moore (79 +11) who led by 2-shots with 9 holes to play, fell away but still finished in a very creditable tie for 2nd place (4th on countback). He was joined on +11 by France’s Ugo Coussard (2nd) and Jamie Savage (3rd).

Rd 3 – Bradley Moore (72, 68, 72 +2) moved into pole position after out scoring Alfie Plant (67, 73, 74 +4) and final day playing partner James Walker (74, 66, 79 +9). Scotland’s Jamie Savage (73, 71, 73 +7) moved into position to spoil the English party on Sunday morning.

Rd 2 – James Walker (74, 66 E), Bradley Moore (72, 68 E) and Alfie Plant (67, 73 E) will take a 2-shot lead over Sandy Scott (70,72 +2) into Sunday’s final 36-holes. Walker birdied four holes on the front nine before paring in for an exceptional 66 on Day 2.

Rd 1 – Alfie Plant (67 / -3), benefitting from a late 3.20pm tee time, took the early lead in the Lytham Trophy. Jamie Li (69 / -1) was the only other player to finish Day 1 under par.

24th April 2016

The Lytham Trophy, played annually at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C., is the first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season.

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

In 2015 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) ranked it the 14th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field. It ranked 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy.

The famous links course certainly presents a stern test. Playing off the blue championship tees competitors have to meet a 7,118 yard par 70 challenge; the front nine being 3,437 yards, a par 34, and the back nine being 3,681 yards, a par 36.

The Lytham Trophy is a 72-hole stroke play event. 18 holes are played on the first two days before a top 40 and ties cut is made. 36-holes are then played on the final day by the leading competitors.

In the event of a tie for the lowest score there is a 3-hole stroke play play-off on holes 1, 2 and 18. If a winner still hasn’t been determined then the play-off moves to sudden death over the same holes. The Winner receives a silver replica of the Lytham Trophy.

Lytham Trophies

The Lytham Trophy and the Winner’s Replica (Photo: Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.)

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

This year’s Lytham Trophy will be played between Friday 29th April and Sunday 1st May 2016.

144 scratch golfers from 21 different countries have paid the £90 entry fee and will tee off in what will be the 52nd playing of this prestigious competition. Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing.

The 2016 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 is here – Lytham Trophy Start Sheet.

Here is a list of players showing some early season form and as such who I expect to do well this week: –
John Axelsen (DEN) – Arrives in form like Marcus Kinhult last year, T4 Junior Invitational.
Jamie Bower (ENG) – 2016 Gauteng North Am & Southern Cape Open Winner.
Owen Edwards (WAL) – 2016 Spanish Int Am medallist, European Nations T2, Portuguese Int Am T4.
Mattias Eggenberger (SUI) – 13th in 2014 and 16th in 2015. 2016 R&A Scholars Champion.
Grant Forrest (SCO) – 2016 Battle Trophy, T9 African Amateur.
Scott Gregory (ENG) – 2nd Spanish Int Am.
Josh Hilleard (ENG) – 2016 Berkhamsted Trophy, Faldo Series Wales, Hampshire Salver, West of England winner.
Jack Hume (IRE) – 2016 South African SP Champion & European Nations Winner.
Robert MacIntyre (SCO) – 2016 Scottish Champion of Champions Winner.
Dermot McElroy (IRE) – 7th in 2014 and 10th in 2015.
Bradley Moore (ENG) – 8th in 2015. Never finishes outside the Top 10 in any SP event !
Craig Ross (SCO) – 2016 South African Am Champion.
Marcus Svensson (SWE) – 2015 British Boys Am Champion, T9 Junior Invitational.
Connor Syme (SCO) – 2016 Australia Am Champion.
Ashton Turner (ENG) – 7th in 2015. 2016 European Nations T9.
Jonathan Yates (IRE) – 2016 West of Ireland Champion.
Jack Yule (ENG) – 2016 Portuguese Int Am T9, Italian Int Am T2.

Guido Migliozzi (ITA) has withdrawn having been offered an amateur invitation to the Challenge de Madrid event on the European Challenge Tour. Two of Europe’s other leading amateurs Mario Galliano (ESP) and Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (ESP) are also playing in Spain next weekend.

Weather Forecast (updated daily ahead of play commencing)

The weather forecast (@ Thursday 28th April, 9.00 pm) has generally deteriorated as the week has progressed with Friday and Sunday now looking particularly cold and wet.

Fri 29th April – Heavy Showers. Wind 25 mph W. Temp. Max. 8°C / Min 5°C.
Sat 30th April – Sunny Intervals. Wind 15 mph NW. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 6°C.
Sun 1st May – Heavy Rain. Wind 15 mph SW. Temp. Max. 11°C / Min 7°C.

Like The Open players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.30pm on Friday and Saturday so the weather may very well play a big part in scoring.

Betting Odds

Ireland’s Jack Hume is the favourite with the bookmakers.

Click on the links below to view the current betting odds (which will be removed when play starts): –

Sky Bet – Outright Winner Odds

Paddy PowerOutright Winner Odds

img_5953
Sky Bet Leading Ante Post Betting Odds 

Each Way Terms 1/4 places 1,2,3,4,5.
All bets to be placed before 8.00am on Friday 29th April 2016.

The 2015 Lytham Trophy

Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult won the 2015 Lytham Trophy by 8-shots. In testing conditions he shot rounds of 68, 69, 71 and 72 to finish on Even par and comfortably hold off Richard James (WAL), Robin Roussel (FRA) and Cormac Sharvin (IRE), who all tied for second place on +8.

Marcus Kinhult Lytham Trophy

Marcus Kinhult – 2015 Winner (Photo: GolfChannel.com)

Highlights of the 2015 Lytham Trophy (© Golfing World)

History, Past Winners and Records

The competition was first played in 1965 after the Club identified a need for another top class amateur competition and one that was in the North of England.

A date on the first weekend in May was established and a 72 hole stroke play format adopted.

Member’s subscribed to purchase a unique sputnik trophy. This does not leave the Club with a smaller replica issued annually to that year’s winner.

As one would expect the list of past winner’s is a who’s who of GB&I and more recently world amateur golf.

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael Bonallack – 1965(s), 1972
Rodney Foster – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey Marks – 1970(s)
Charles Green – 1970(s), 1974
Michael King – 1973
Peter McEvoy – 1978
Ian Hutcheon – 1980
Roger Chapman – 1981
John Hawksworth – 1984
Paul Broadhurst – 1988
Gary Evans – 1990, 1991
Graham Rankin – 1997

In 2004 21 year old James Heath won with a record score of 266 (-18), recording rounds of 67, 68, 66, and 65. No one else has ever come close to this mark before or after. The next best scores being Daan Huizing’s 273 in 2013 and Richard McEvoy’s 276 in 2001. Garth McGimpsey, the then Walker Cup captain, described Heath’s performance as ‘the best amateur golf I’ve ever seen’.

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

The last six winners show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
Paul Cutler – 2010 (Irish)
Jack Senior – 2011 (English)
Daan Huizing – 2012 (Dutch)
Albert Eckhardt – 2013 (Finnish)
Thriston Lawrence – 2014 (South African)
Marcus Kinhult – 205 (Sweden)

The Royal Lytham website lists all of the Past Winners and their Scores.

img_5938

Lytham Trophy Winner’s Board (Photo: Andrew Pennington)

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – Match Briefing

9th September 2015

The United States of America (USA) will start as firm favourites to win the Walker Cup when the 2015 match is played this coming weekend.

The 45th match in the biennial series is being played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club, just south of the famous seaside town of Blackpool in Lancashire, England.

However, with plenty of links experience, a good knowledge of the Lytham course, a little bit of rain and wind forecast and the support of thousands of home fans who’s to say Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) can’t pull off an upset.  Recent matches on these shores – at Ganton, Royal County Down and Royal Aberdeen – have all been close and no one should be surprised if this one follows suit.

Walker Cup 2015 Logo

Match Format
Over the two days there will be 26 matches played in the following order: –
Saturday Day 1 – Four foursomes (AM) and eight singles (PM).
Sunday Day 2 – Four foursomes (AM) and ten singles (PM).

With one point awarded for each win and a half point for a draw the winning team will be the first to achieve 13.5 points.

Teams
Both teams were finalised in late August following the playing of the United States Amateur Championship.  The two Teams that will contest the Walker Cup are: –

Great Britain & Ireland
Ashley Chesters   (England)         26
Paul Dunne           (R. Ireland)      22
Ewen Ferguson    (Scotland)        19
Grant Forrest        (Scotland)        22
Jack Hume           (R. Ireland)      21
Gary Hurley          (R. Ireland)      22
Jack McDonald    (Scotland)        22
Gavin Moynihan   (R. Ireland)      20
Jimmy Mullen       (England)        21
Cormac Sharvin   (N. Ireland)      22

WC 2015 Team GB&I

Back Row (l-r) – E Ferguson, A Chesters, C Sharvin, J Mullen and G Hurley
Front Row (l-r) – J McDonald, G Forrest, J Hume, [P McGinley], N Edwards (Captain), P Dunne and G Moynihan 

United States of America
Bryson DeChambeau  (California)           21
Scott Harvey                (North Carolina)   37
Beau Hossler               (California)           20
Denny McCarthy         (Maryland)           22
Lee McCoy                  (Georgia)             21
Mike McCoy                (Iowa)                   52
Maverick McNealy       (California)          19
Jordan Niebrugge       (Wisconsin)         22
Robby Shelton             (Alabama)           19
Hunter Stewart            (Kentucky)           22

WC 2015 Team USA

Back Row (l-r) M McCoy, L McCoy, B Hossler, S Miller (Captain), J Niebrugge, S Harvey, B DeChambeau, R Zalzneck
Front Row (l-r) – R Shelton, H Stewart, D McCarthy and M McNealy

Captains
The GB&I team will be captained, for the third consecutive time, by Nigel Edwards, a four time player (2001-03-05-07) whilst the USA team will be captained for the first time by John “Spider” Miller, who competed in 1999 at Nairn, Scotland.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club
One of the most famous links courses in the world, Royal Lytham was founded in 1886.  It was laid out in 1897 but then re-designed in 1919 by the great Harry S. Colt.  It is a strategic, heavily bunkered course where accuracy nearly always overcomes length.

137852880RM00087_141st_Open

An Aerial View Of Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC

Off the blue championship tees Royal Lytham is a 7,118 yard par 70.  The front nine plays 3,437 yards, a par 34, whilst the longer back nine, being 3,681 yards, is a par 36.

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

18th Hole, Clubhouse and Dormy House – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC

Match History
The Walker Cup is contested by ten male amateur players from both the USA and GB&I. The former team is selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the latter by The R&A.

The first official Walker Cup match was played in 1922.  It was the brainchild of George Herbert Walker, the maternal grandfather of President George H.W. Bush.  Walker was the President of the USGA in 1920 and offered to donate the trophy that is still played for today.  It should be noted that it was the American press that christened the trophy the Walker Cup rather than the far more modest Mr. Walker.

The USA leads the series W35-L8-D1.  However, in recent years the match has been more even – each side winning five of the last ten matches since 1995.  Having said that the USA are building up some momentum again winning four of the last five.

Weather Forecast
This far out there still remains some uncertainty about this weekend’s forecast.

Updated – as at 16.00 on 11th Sept. 2015: –
Sat. 12th Sept. – AM Showers / PM Cloudy. Wind 16 mph (NE). Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.
Sun. 13rd Sept. – AM / PM Cloudy. Wind 12 mph (NW). Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 11°C.

Watch It Live
The opportunity to watch some of the best amateur golfers in the world up close shouldn’t be missed for those that can make it to Lytham. There is free public car parking close to the course and day tickets costing £30 can be acquired on the gate.

Event Coverage
Internet (GB&I) – News and score links will be available here on the R&A’s website – Walker Cup
Internet (USA) – Other news can be found on the USGA website – www.walkercup.org
Twitter – @RandA / @WalkerCup / #WalkerCup, not forgetting @GolfBible !
Television – BBC2 (GB&I) / ESPN (US) – Sat. 12th Sept. 2.00 – 6.45pm / Sun. 13th Sept. 1.30 – 6.00pm (GMT)

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – The GB&I Team (5)

20th August 2015

The R&A Selection Committee meets tomorrow to finalise the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) team for the 45th Walker Cup match.  The team is scheduled to be announced on Monday 24th August following the conclusion of the U.S. Amateur Championship.

The match will be played at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England on 12th and 13th September 2015.

Walker Cup 2015 Logo

This is the fifth GB&I Team update I have written and you may wish to read through the others to follow the story so far.  Just click here to do so – Walker Cup Home Page.

Since my fourth update on 12th July the Open Championship, the English, Scottish and Welsh Close Amateurs, the International European Amateur and the Boys and Mens Home Internationals have been played.  This week the U.S. Amateur and Irish Close are being contested.

The Selectors – Captain Nigel Edwards, Andy Ingram (WAL), Garry Hay (SCO) and Michael Burns (IRE) – will also have had the benefit of seeing some of the leading contenders at close quarters at the Squad Session that took place at the host course, Lytham, on 21st and 22nd July.  However, only they and the players invited know what happened there.

So let’s look at some of the objective evidence that the Selectors will no doubt have in front of them.  First and foremost that means the two Amateur World Rankings which should clearly show us who has been playing well in recent times.

The R&A and USGA oversee the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and update them weekly on a Wednesday.  So let’s start with the WAGR rankings released yesterday covering the 12 month period to 16th August 2015.  I am going to focus on the Top 25 as it is hard to see the Selectors wanting to dip lower than this. WAGR 190815 WC

WAGR as at 19/08/15 – Top 25 GB&I players (click to enlarge)

If the WAGR was used in isolation then based on the current rankings the players highlighted above in yellow would be selected.  The above table also shows each player’s WAGR moves since the start of the year.

Let’s now have a look at the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR), generally accepted as being the most thorough and accurate of the two amateur listings.  This ranking covers a 24 month period and includes many more events.

SPWAR 190815 WC

SPWAR as at 19/08/15 9.41am PST – Top 25 GB&I players (click to enlarge)

I have maintained the yellow highlighting from the WAGR list above but highlighted in green the new players that make the SPWAR GB&I Top 10, namely Jack McDonald and Ben Taylor.  Again the above table also shows each player’s SPWAR moves since the start of the year.

As has been the case for some time Ben Taylor (WAGR 181 / SPWAR 52) and Graeme Robertson (WAGR 52 / SPWAR 144) are outliers in the GB&I ranking analysis when you consider both lists.  The WAGR doesn’t like Ben and likewise the SPWAR doesn’t rate Graeme.

Finally let’s have a look at the GolfBible Combined Ranking (GBCR) which brings together both rankings by simply averaging out the WAGR and SPWAR results.

GBCR 190815 WC

GBCR as at 19/08/15 – Top 25 GB&I Players (click to enlarge)

The Top 10 GB&I players in my combined ranking are clearly shown above as are their 2015 movements on this list.

I also think the Selectors should consider course form.  We have the benefit of being able to review the scoring and results from The Lytham Trophy in 2014 and 2015.  Whilst not comprehensive, as this early season event is not available to our US College based players, it is still a useful reference point.  The Lytham is one of the world’s most prestigious events and this year it had the 14th strongest field in amateur golf.

Lytham Form Extract - 19th August 2015

   2014 and 2015 Lytham Trophy Scores and Form (click to enlarge) 

The above table shows how the leading players who competed at Lytham got on.  Just four players made the cut in both years and it shows very clearly that Gary Hurley, Dermot McElroy and Jack McDonald have performed very well here over the last two years.  As we all know different courses suit different players and turning up positively is half the battle in golf.

So without further a do here are the ten players plus two reserves that I believe should be selected for the 2015 GB&I Walker Cup Team (in the order in which I would select them): –

1. Paul Dunne (IRE) 22 – SPWAR 9  / WAGR 33 (WC SQUAD)
A superb Open Championship performance followed by a T11 at the International European Amateur in Slovakia and qualification for the US Amateur Match Play stage this week.  Paul has played consistently well this year with the above results backing up his 5th place finish at the NCAA Division 1 National Championship, a Brabazon T9 and a European Team Stroke Play (SP) Qualifier T8.

2. Ashley Chesters (ENG) 26 – SPWAR 8 / WAGR 6 (WC SQUAD)
A T12 finish at The Open, which could have been even better save for a poor finish to his Rd. 1, must be the highlight of Ashley’s season.  He has also enjoyed good results at the Welsh Amateur (T2), The Amateur (last 16) and the Brabazon Trophy (T7).  Importantly he has also demonstrated good match play form contributing well at the European Amateur Teams (W5/H0/L1), for England against Spain (4/0/0) and at last week’s Home Internationals (3/1/2).

WC Team 1 190815

Paul Dunne, Ashley Chesters, Grant Forrest and Gavin Moynihan (clockwise)

3. Grant Forrest (SCO) 22 – SPWAR 25 / WAGR 40 (WC SQUAD)
Back from San Diego, where he ranked 84th in the Golfstat US college player rankings (2nd only to Paul Dunne in GB&I terms) for the 2014/15 season Grant delivered a superb Amateur Championship performance, finishing runner up to Romain Langasque.  Whilst he would have liked to go further in the recent Scottish Close Amateur (a match play event) and at this week’s US Amateur there can be no questioning his contribution to Scotland’s 2015 European Amateur Team Championship victory (5 points out of a possible 6).

4. Gavin Moynihan (IRE) 20 – SPWAR 22 / WAGR 29 (WC SQUAD)
Gavin, a member of the 2013 Team, has found a little more consistency since winning the Irish Amateur.  He made the Last 32 at The Amateur, finished 2nd at the Brabazon and recently came 3rd at the European Amateur.  Now fully deserving of his second Walker Cup selection.

5. Gary Hurley (IRE) 22 – SPWAR 21 / WAGR 26 (WC SQUAD)
Whilst I picked Gary in July I expressed some concerns about his recent form and scheduling – where in particular he chose to miss The Amateur and Brabazon.  He had a strong winter overseas (South African Amateur T5, Spanish International Amateur 2nd, Argentina Stroke Play T8 and Southern Cross Invitational 3rd) and followed it up back home in the early summer  (Lytham Trophy T19 and Irish Amateur T25).  However, I felt he needed one more result – therefore it was great to see him finish 2nd at the European Amateur to cement his spot.  He has a proven Foursomes partnership with Paul Dunne and will be confident at Lytham having finished 4th and 19th at the 2014 and 2015 Lytham Trophy events.

6. Cormac Sharvin (IRE) 22 – SPWAR 26 / WAGR 20 (WC SQUAD)
Consistently high finishes this season – Lytham Trophy (T2), Irish Amateur (2nd) and Scottish Amateur (3rd) – culminating in a superb Brabazon Trophy victory in late June.  Cormac’s dropped a few places since last month in my list but is still fully deserving of his selection.

WC Team 2 190815

Gary Hurley, Cormac Sharvin, Jack McDonald and Sam Horsfield (clockwise)

7. Jack McDonald (SCO) 21 – SPWAR 42 / WAGR 70 (WC SQUAD)
Jack reached the semi-finals of The Amateur losing on the 19th hole to the eventual champion Romain Langasque.  He missed the Brabazon but made the cut at the conflicting Challenge Tour event in Scotland. He was the highest GB&I finisher in the European Amateur Team Championship SP Qualifier (T4) and alongside Forrest largely delivered the Championship to Scotland (also delivering 5 out of 6 possible points).  Whilst not at this best at last week’s Home Internationals (2/1/3) he does have good Lytham form to fall back on – finishing 13th and 15th at the Lytham Trophy in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

8. Sam Horsfield (ENG) 18 – SPWAR 45 / WAGR 23 (WC SQUAD)
How can you select someone for Lytham who has never played on a links course and hardly knows any of his team mates ?  Not easily but Sam hasn’t really given the selectors any choice.  His rankings are high across the board and he is competing week in week out against the best fields in amateur golf.  My only question mark would be his match play experience and record.  I said last time that for me he needed to do well in both the Western Amateur and US Amateur to force his way in.  He has done.  He made the 16-man Match Play Stage of the Western losing in the Quarter Finals to Aaron Wise and this week has done the same at the US Amateur and at the time of writing is comfortably through to Rd. 2.

9. Jack Hume (IRE) 21 – SPWAR 34 / WAGR 42 (WC SQUAD)
Jack has done well in recent weeks.  He finished T19 on -13 at the European Amateur (which could have been better after a -12 first 36 holes) and contributed well to Ireland’s Home Internationals victory last week (3/1/2).  Additionally at Royal Portrush Jack was unbeaten in Singles playing at No. 1 (2/1/0) but his foursomes partnership with Gavin Moynihan failed to spark (1/0/2), which is a slight concern.  Earlier this season Hume finished T6 at the St. Andrews Links Trophy and followed it up with a T3 at The Brabazon Trophy.

10. Ewen Ferguson (SCO) 19 – SPWAR 55 / WAGR 34
Ewen has played very well this year, winning twice in Scotland and following it up with good results at the Irish Open Amateur (T3), Scottish Open Amateur (T4), Amateur Championship (T7 / 64s) and Brabazon (T11).  He was invited to the Walker Cup squad session in July on the back of this.  A strong match play track record both in the Boys’ Amateur, which he won in 2013, and for Scotland, where he has played foursomes with Forrest, means he must be there or thereabouts.  A surprise Rd. 3 loss at the Scottish Close Amateur had perhaps left him needing something in the final weeks.  However, he chose to skip the European Amateur and Home Internationals and therefore had a lot riding on the US Amateur which clearly didn’t work out.  Let’s hope he doesn’t regret these scheduling decisions on Monday morning as he is now right on the cusp for me.

WC Team 3 190815

Jack Hume, Ewen Ferguson, Dermot McElroy and Jimmy Mullen (clockwise)  

Reserves

11. Dermot McElroy (IRE) 22 – SPWAR 84 / WAGR 165
‘Horses for courses’ – anyone who has followed my postings know how highly I rate Dermot’s T7 and T10 finishes at the 2014 and 2015 Lytham Trophy events in the context of this team selection.  He has also played consistently well since Lytham – Irish Amateur (5th), Brabazon Trophy (11th) and European Team (SP T8 / 2 out of 3 points in the MP). His 2015 Home Internationals record (3/0/3) was a bit mixed where it really needed to be perfect.  Of course he also won the West of Ireland earlier in the year.  He has just fallen short for me and his non-invitation to the recent Squad Session suggested the Selectors hadn’t been persuaded either.  His case obviously hasn’t been helped by the fact there are already potentially five other Irish players (above him) in the Team.  His knowledge of the course and many of the team make him an ideal reserve though.

12. Jimmy Mullen (ENG) 21 – SPWAR 123 / WAGR 90 (WC SQUAD)
Not quite the Home internationals I had hoped for for the normally strong Mullen / Chesters partnership (0/1/2) which is not really what Jimmy needed. Having said that the partnership is nearly as well established as the Dunne / Hurley one and Mullen was unbeaten in Singles (1/2/0).  He just hasn’t done enough to make the Team for me.  Having said that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in it and, if not, he would certainly make a very sound Reserve.

Finally, I could also make a case, in alphabetic order, for David Boote (WAL), Bradley Moore (ENG), Marco Penge (ENG), Alfie Plant (ENG), Graeme Robertson (SCO) or Ben Taylor (ENG) making up the Reserve positions.  However, I would be surprised if any of these were to make the actual Team after following their performances this year and based on their current rankings.

I particularly like the idea of Moore and Penge being invited to attend – possibly as the reserves – as the Walker Cup dates don’t fall kindly for these two outstanding young players.  2015 has probably come too soon and 2017 may come too late for both of them.  With neither planning to go to a US College they may need some persuading to hang around for the next Walker Cup match – what better way than seeing the event at close quarters this year.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.