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.

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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.

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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: –

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ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The U.S. Amateur Championship – 2016 Match Play Stage

17th – 21st August 2016

U.S. Amateur – Match Play Championship Stage

I believe 2016 will prove to be an historic U.S. Amateur Championship for Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I). I say this because I can’t recall six of our players progressing to the match play stage before and certainly not one from each of the four home nations.

Unfortunately one of our qualifiers couldn’t go on to win it ! David Boote (WAL) was the most successful reaching the quarter-finals of the match play stage.

Here is the story, at least from from a GB&I perspective, of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship played at Oakland Hills CC, near Detroit.

Final – Sunday 21st August 2016

Curtis Luck (AUS) won the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion, beating Brad Dalke (USA) 6&4 in the 36-hole Championship match at Oakland Hills CC, in Detroit.

img_6613Curtis Luck (Photo: USGA)

Curtis Luck (SPWAR 37 / WAGR 7) went into the final as the favourite based on his superior world rankings; Brad Dalke (SPWAR 180 / WAGR 265) sitting well below him.

In many respects both players have already won though; by reaching the Final both Curtis and Brad guaranteed themselves invitations to the 2017 Masters and U.S. Open. By winning Curtis also picked up an invitation to The Open. Of course all of these exemptions are subject to them remaining amateur players.

Match 63    Curtis Luck 28 (AUS) Won 6&4 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

To review all of the U.S. Amateur Championship results click this link – 2016 U.S. Amateur Results

Semi-Finals – Saturday 20th August 2016

Match 61   Nick Carlson 41 (USA) LOST 21st Hole v. Curtis Luck 28 (AUS)

Local player Nick Carlson made a good start to this semi-final taking a 2 Up lead after just 3 holes. Australian Curtis Luck hung around and eventually got the match back to 1 Down with 1 hole to play. Tragically for Carlson he could only manage a double bogey 6 letting Luck square the match on 18 with a bogey 5. Both players parred the 1st and 2nd holes before Luck birdied the par 5 3rd to take the lead for the first time all day and to make it through to the Final.

Match 62  Jonah Texeira 31 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

In the second semi-final Californian Jonah Texeira led 2 Up at the the turn. However, he proceeded to bogey 10 and 11 allowing Brad Dalke to draw level. Two birdies on 13 and 15 and a badly timed bogey on 14 by Texeira allowed Dalke, 19 yesterday, to pull away, the man from Oklahoma securing a 3&2 victory on the 16th green.

Quarter Finals – Friday 19th August 2016

Match 60  David Boote 62 (WAL) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

Brad Dalke is well known for two things – ‘signing’ for Oklahoma College when he was 12 and beating Rory McIlroy in an arm wrestling match at the 2015 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. He also has some game which he demonstrated by starting this quarter final with five birdies in his first 6 holes. It was to David Boote‘s credit that despite this onslaught he managed to turn just 2 Down after three birdies of his own. Boote continued to play well on the back nine but further birdies from Dalke on 11 and 16 were good enough to secure a 3&2 win for the American. David Boote played his best round of the week thing to Dalke. It was just one of those match play days for the Welshman (who lives in Surrey, England 😉) where he came up against an unstoppable Dalke A-game.

Interestingly Dylan Meyer, who enjoyed such a good day yesterday, ran out of steam on the back nine of his quarter final losing 3&1 to Nick Carlson after three bogeys and one double bogey.

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Round of 16 – Thursday 18th August 2016

Match 49  Dylan Meyer 33 (USA) WON 19th hole v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG)
Match 55   David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 2&1 v. Collin Morikawa 14 (USA)

There are no easy matches at this stage of the U.S. Amateur and the two facing our remaining GB&I representatives were certainly no exception to this rule.

Meyer’s amazing short game and putting skills were again on display as he and Sam Horsfield played out a quality match where par golf was largely the order of the day. With no player able to take command of the match it was always likely to come down to a small error. Meyer holed a 15 footer on 18 to take the match back down the 1st and was quickly rewarded when Horsfield missed a short 3 footer for par gifting the Indiana-man the win. It was some day for Western Amateur champion Meyer who knocked out medalist Alex Smalley in the morning before seeing off Sam, the SPWAR No. 1 ranked player in the world, in the afternoon.

Collin Morikawa, a California college golfer, and former Stanford-man David Boote will surely have been well known to each other before their Rd of 16 match teed-off.  Birdies on the first two holes by Boote would have sent a clear message to Morikawa and whilst the Californian got the match back to even on the 4th poor bogies 0n 5, 7 and 8 handed back the initiative to Boote. With a 3 Up lead to defend on the back nine Boote had the mental fortitude and golfing ability to par his way into a 2&1 victory which he secured on the 17th. This was a very impressive win for the Welshman as Morikawa has been in excellent recent form, winning the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur before finishing second at the Air Capital Classic on the professional Web.com Tour.

Round of 32 – Thursday 18th August 2016

Three GB&I players progressed to the Round of 32.

Match 34   Doc Redman 49 (USA) LOST 5&4 v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG)
Match 36   Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) LOST 19th Hole v. Nick Carlson 41 (USA)
Match 45   David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 3&1 v. Ben Schlottman 35 (USA)

Sam Horsfield celebrated moving to the top of the SPWAR earlier this week by playing his very best golf to beat Doc Redman this morning. He shot 29 on the front nine before finishing the match 7-under on the 14th. Let’s hope he hasn’t used up all his putts this afternoon as he now has to face his recent nemesis, Dylan Meyer. Meyer beat Horsfield two weeks ago in the final of the Western Amateur Championship.

Scott Gregory played really well – he was 3-under for the 19 holes with just one bogey – but came up against an in form Nick Carlson. Despite fighting back from 3-down with 8 holes to play to take the match into extra time the excitement was short-lived. A 10-foot birdie putt from the local Michigan man saw him progress.

In probably the least spectacular match of the three involving GB&I players David Boote wore down Ben Schlottman to progress to the last 16. Boote had three birdies and two bogies but pulled away as Schlottman appeared to lose his game a little on the back-9.

Round of 64 – Wednesday 17th August 2016

Here are the Round of 64 Match Play results involving GB&I players with their qualifying positions included: –

Match 2     Connor Syme 32 (SCO) LOST 2 Up v. Dylan Meyer 33 (USA)
Match 4     Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG) WON 3&1 v. Hugo Bernard 48 (CAN)
Match 7     Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) WON 7&5 v. Raymond Knoll 56 (USA)
Match 17   Dawson Armstrong 2 (USA) WON 1 Up v. Bradley Moore 63 (ENG)
Match 24   Bryson Nimmer 23 (U SA) WON 1 Up v. Jack Hume 42 (IRE)
Match 25   Gavin Hall 3 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. David Boote 62 (WAL)

Connor Syme and Sam Horsfield both came up against recent amateur championship winners – Dylan Meyer won the Western Amateur whilst Hugo Bernard picked up the Canadian Amateur title just last weekend. In tight matches Syme was beaten 2Up, losing the last two holes to par, whilst Horsfield, who shot -4 for the 17 holes he completed, managed to ease out the competitive Bernard. Sam Horsfield has Terry Mundy, a family friend and the long-time caddie of Ian Poulter, on his bag at Oakland Hills CC this week.

Scott Gregory had a much easier task in his match against Raymond Knoll who simply never got going today. Knoll bogeyed 7 of the 13 holes they completed making life far too easy for the confident Amateur champion.

Afternoon rain and thunderstorms in the Detroit area led to a two hour suspension in play between 3.40pm – 5.40pm local time.

Unfortunately the tough finish on Oakland Hills South Course proved too much for both Bradley Moore and Jack Hume. Moore did very well to fight back to All Square against the highly rated No. 2 qualifier Dawson Armstrong having been 2 Down with 6 holes to play. However, having birdied the 13th and 16th, he bogied the last two holes to let Armstrong progress. Hume was 1 Up with 3 to play before he bogeyed 16 and 17 to give his opponent, Bryson Nimmer a 1 Up lead heading up the 18th. With the hole halved in par Nimmer moved on from another close match.

David Boote appeared to be in control of his match from the start, his consistent play enabling him to build up a 4 Up lead after 11 holes. He finally saw off Gavin Hall, the 3rd seed, 3&2 on the 16th green.

It is clear from today’s first round matches that almost anything can happen on the last 5 holes of Oakland Hill’s South Course.

For my preview of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship and information on the Stroke Play Stage please click here – U.S. Amateur Championship Preview & Stroke Play Stage

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.

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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.

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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 Amateur Championship – 2016 Preview & Results

18th June 2016

UPDATE

Scott Gregory (ENG) today beat Robert MacIntyre (SCO) 2&1 in the 36-hole final of The Amateur Championship on a dry day at Royal Porthcawl GC.

Scott Gregory Amateur Champion 2016

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

Gregory shot 72 at Royal Porthcawl and 71 at Pyle & Kenfig in the Stroke Play Qualifying. This saw him finish tied 13th with a +1 total.

Seeded 13th he then proceeded to beat Andre Nel (RSA) by 2 holes, Pierre Mazier (FRA) by 1 hole, Harry Hall (ENG) 4&3, Javier Sainz (ESP) 5&4 and Adrian Meronk (POL) to reach the Final.

Click this link to review all of the Match Play results – Amateur Championship MP Results

14th June 2016

UPDATE

The Stroke Play Qualfying stage of The Amateur Championship was completed this evening.

Click this link to view the Stroke Play Results and Seedings – Amateur Championship SP Results

The top 64 and ties cut fell at +5 with 79 players progressing to the Match Play stage which is being played exclusively at Royal Porthcawl GC.

11th June 2016

The 121st Amateur Championship starts on Monday at Royal Porthcawl and Pyle & Kenfig Golf Clubs in South Wales.

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

Royal Porthcawl Amateur 2016

Royal Porthcawl GC (Photo: @Royal_Porthcawl Twitter)

Format
Entry is limited to 288 players with the event administered by the Championship Committee of The R&A.

Two qualifying rounds of stroke play, one round on each course, will be played on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th June. Tee times will start at 7.00 am and end at 3.52 pm on both days.

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

The 64 players with the lowest stroke play scores, and ties for 64th place, will be seeded in line with their finishes and will advance to the match play stage. All other players will be eliminated at this point. This second stage will be played solely at Royal Porthcawl between Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th June. Matches will be played over 18 holes except for the Final which will be over 36 holes.

Royal Porthcawl Golf ClubBridgend County South Golf Activities and Sports

Royal Porthcawl GC (Photo: welshgolfvacations website)

Players
Players from 32 countries will contest the 2016 Amateur.

The leading players that are competing, based on their Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (Nationality / SPWAR*), are: –
Matthias Schwab (AUS / 7)
Jack Hume (IRE / 9)
Grant Forrest (SCO / 13)
Harrison Endycott (AUS / 23)
Conor Syme (SCO / 24)
Antoine Rozner (FRA / 27)
Jamie Bower (ENG / 30)
Travis Smyth (AUS / 33)
Robin Sciot-Siegrist (FRA / 36)
Cameron John (AUS / 40)
Albert Venter (RSA / 43)
Craig Ross (SCO / 44)
Craig Howie (SCO / 45)
Herman Loubser (RSA / 46)
Aubrey Beckley (RSA / 49)

* All SPWARs quoted were correct as at 11th June 2016

Whilst there are some American’s playing, including 2015 Walker cup mid-amateur Mike McCoy, it remains the case that the vast majority sadly continue to skip the Championship. Without their participation it will always lack a little something despite the ‘prizes’ on offer. This year, with the Palmer Cup taking place at Formby GC in a few weeks time, I had hoped that one or two might make the extra effort to come over early.

Unfortunately Wales’ No. 1 amateur David Boote (SPWAR 29) has his Stanford graduation ceremony on Monday so is unable to play. Fellow Palmer Cup player Sam Horsfield (ENG / SPWAR 6) was always unlikely to enter but at least he now has the excuse of qualifying for the US Open at Oakmont which also takes place next week.

This latter point begs the question, even allowing for the exceptional challenges of this Olympics year, why do the R&A schedule the Amateur Championship against a professional men’s Major ? It’s hardly likely to help with media coverage and interest as the event reaches it’s climax next week is it ? 

Courses
The Championship is being staged at Royal Porthcawl and Pyle & Kenfig, two of the best courses in Wales.

Pyle & Kenfig Golf CourseAerial South Golf Activities & Sports

Pyle & Kenfig GC (Photo: welshgolfvacations website)

This will be the seventh time Royal Porthcawl has been the lead course at The Amateur Championship. It has also hosted the Curtis Cup (1964) and Walker Cup (1995 – GB&I beating a US Team including Tiger Woods 14-10).

Porthcawl plays to 7,065 yards and a par of 72 from it’s black championship tees. Pitched down to the shore it famously allows golfers to see the sea from every hole on the course but also feel the wind on most of their shots too.

James Mason’s Plant Golf Review of Royal Porthcawl GC

Neighbouring Pyle & Kenfig has co-hosted The Amateur with Royal Porthcawl on two previous occasions, 1988 and 2002.

P&K has a total yardage of 6,860 from it’s blue championship tees. It is a par 71 course of two different halves; an inland parkland start gives way to a final 9 played across a road amongst sand dunes nearer to the coast.

James Mason’s Plant Golf Review of Pyle & Kenfig GC

The Amateur Championship has been played at Royal Porthcawl on six previous occasions. The winners then were: –

1951 – Dick Chapman (USA)
In the first Amateur to be held in Wales and with comedian Bob Hope in the field Chapman beat fellow American Charles Coe 5&4. Chapman had lost in two Finals in the previous four years so was certainly deserving of his eventual win.

1965 – Sir Michael Bonallack (ENG)
Sir Michael made a terrible start to the Final against Clive Clark, finding himself 7 down after 8 holes. At lunch he won the jackpot on the club’s fruit machine before completing his comeback to win 2 and 1.

1973 – Dick Siderowf (USA)
Siderowf, a 34 year New York stockbroker, beat England’s Peter Moody (24) 5&3. He went on to win The Amateur again in 1976, this time at St. Andrews.

1980 – Duncan Evans (WAL)
Playing in heavy rain on a flooded course Evans (21), who had beaten a 16 year-old Ronan Rafferty in the semis, became the first Welshman to win the Amateur in front of a home crowd. His 73 in round 1 of the final was particularly memorable given the conditions. He beat South Africa’s David Suddards 4&3 on a day that gradually improved weather wise.

1988 – Christian Hardin (SWE)
Hardin beat South Africa’s Ben Fouchee 1Up in the Final.

2002 – Alejandro Larrazábal (ESP)
Caddied by his brother Pablo, now a successful European Tour golfer, Alejandro beat Wales’ Martin Sell 1Up.

Weather Forecast
As at Saturday 11th June, 17.00pm the weather forecast looks reasonably positive: –

Mon 13th June – Light Rain PM. Wind 7 mph S. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.
Tue 14th June – Light Cloud. Wind 13 mph W. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 12°C.
Wed 15th June – Light Showers. Wind 9 mph W. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Thu 16th June – Sunny. Wind 10 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 17th June – Sunny. Wind 9 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Sat 18th June – Sunny. Wind 8 mph W. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 13°C.

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

Betting Odds
SkyBET released their Amateur Championship ‘Outright Winner’ Odds on Monday 6th June.

As they are removed from their website when play starts I have taken photos of the original odds so we can look back at them once the results are known.

Amateur 2016 skyBET 1Amateur 2016 skyBET 2Amateur 2016 skyBET 3Amateur 2016 skyBET 4

Ireland’s Jack Hume was the 28-1 initial favourite with SkyBET when they released their original odds.

The current SkyBET odds can be accessed here – Amateur Championship Outright Winner.

Prizes
The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon.

They will also be exempt into the 2017 US Open Championship, which is for the first time being played at the stunning Erin Hills in Wisconsin.

_ hole at Erin Hills a (Hurdzan/Fry and Ron Whitten design) daily fee golf course in Erin, Wisconsin. September, 2010. PM shoot. Photo by Paul Hundley.

Erin Hills Golf Course (Photo: http://www.erinhills.com)

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

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

Up until the Second World War it was a hugely prestigious event and in a many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and better than most of the professionals of the time.

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

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

With the growth and transformation of the professional game from the early 1980s onwards both the better players and the media increasingly started to turn their backs on the amateur game. Save for exceptional cases like Gary Wolstenholme (ENG) all continuity has been lost over the last 30 years and most of the young golfing stars of today rarely play any more than 2 or 3 Amateurs before being lured into the pro ranks by the huge rewards on offer. With the sports media facing their own challenges most of their resources sadly have to be directed towards the superstar players and the Major Championships leaving the amateur game scrambling for any coverage it can get.

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

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

France’s Romain Langasque beat Scotland’s Grant Forrest 4&2 in last year’s final staged at Carnoustie and Panmure in Angus, Scotland.

The last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

2015 Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie GL
2014 Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush GC
2013 Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports GC
2012 Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon GC
2011 Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside GC
2010 Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009 Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby GC
2008 Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry
2007 Drew Weaver (USA) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC
2006 Julien Guerrier (FRA) – Royal St. George’s

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

ME.

Copyright © 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

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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.

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

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.