Some Reflections On The 2019 GB&I Men’s Amateur Golf Year

31st December 2019

Here are a few thoughts on the 2019 Great British & Irish (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season: –

1. I will start with our defining event, the Amateur Championship. It was great to see James SUGRUE (IRL) deliver a memorable win at Portmarnock to the delight of the home fans who supported the event so well. Sugrue peaked perfectly and having played in The Open and in the Walker Cup in 2019 can now look forward to the remainder of his golfing rewards next year.

2. Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) continued to impress winning four times in 2019. The Yorkshireman became just the fourth player to win both the Brabazon Trophy and Carris Trophy – that’s the men’s and U18 boys’ English Open Stroke Play Championships – in the same year. Some achievement.

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Ben Schmidt With The Brabazon Trophy And His Parents (Photo: Jonathan Plaxton)

3. Talking about juniors Conor GOUGH (ENG), Connor MCKINNEY (SCO), Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) also stood out amongst the U18’s which hopefully bodes well for the immediate future of GB&I golf. McKibbin winning the Junior Invitational and Pagdin getting to the semi-finals of the U.S. Junior Amateur at Inverness G.C. were particular highlights that stand alongside Ben Schmidt’s wins for me.

4. I am particularly interested to see how the future unfolds for Schmidt and Gough, winners of the two English Amateur Championships this year and our two leading juniors. Schmidt is now focussing on his golf full time and heading towards the professional ranks at some speed whilst Gough appears to be ‘driving with the brakes on’, determined to focus on his education for the time being and happy to enjoy the journey. Followers of amateur golf know there is no right answer to this age old conundrum as everyone is different. Following this tortoise and hare fable over the next few years should be fun.      

5. Whilst I failed to record Tom McKibbin’s chip in to win the McEvoy Trophy on the 2nd play-off hole, despite videoing most of the final play at Copt Heath, I did manage to get Josh MCMAHON‘s (ENG) birdie putt on the 18th which won him the Lytham Trophy. The  “Yes, Get in !” shout from his caddie Dad will live long in my memory.

Josh McMahon Drops The Best Putt Of His Life (Video: GolfBible)

6. I believe a review of Championship entry exemptions may be required for the leading events in the summer months given how quickly one followers another. James NEWTON (ENG) and Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) were the surprise winners of the Irish Amateur Open and the Brabazon Trophy respectively in 2019 but with low WAGR rankings beforehand and having missed the cut off dates had no way of playing in either the St. Andrews Links Trophy or the Amateur Championship. There needs to be a mechanism – a blank entry to cover such eventualities – to allow recent winners to gain a late entry into subsequent events assuming they wish to compete in them. It doesn’t happen too often but this year not playing in two of our major Championships against his direct peers may have cost Ben Schmidt a place in our Walker Cup team.  

7. It was a good year for Scottish amateur golf. Few would argue that Euan WALKER was the outstanding GB&I amateur golfer of 2019 with fellow Walker Cupper Sandy SCOTT not too far behind him. Ryan LUMSDEN also won the prestigious Byron Nelson Award, handed out in late April to a graduating Senior in recognition of their entire collegiate academic and golf career as well as their character and integrity while in college. The Scottish administrators also made the decision to return the Scottish Open Amateur to its late May date from the irrelevant late August fixture it had become since 2018. 

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Euan Walker With His European Amateur Silver Medal (Photo: EGA)

8. Curtis KNIPES (ENG) and Thomas THURLOWAY (ENG) both came through Final Qualifying to join James Sugrue in The Open Championship field. Watching Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) try and follow them at Hollinwell was a highlight of my golfing year. Unusually no amateur made the cut at Royal Portrush so no Silver Medal was awarded this year.

9. GB&I lost the 47th Walker Cup match against USA at Royal Liverpool G.C. I may be deluded but I still believe this was a match we could have and should have won. I don’t think the opposition was quite as strong as they had been in previous years and playing at home we should have been spot on with our selection, pairings and preperation – we weren’t. Perhaps if the weather hadn’t been so pleasant we may have done a little better.   

10. Craig WATSON (SCO) stood down / was relieved of his GB&I Men’s Team captaincy duties with Stuart WILSON (SCO), the current Boy’s team captain, promoted as his replacement. Stuart will debut with the men at Royal Porthcawl in July in the next edition of the St. Andrews Trophy match against Continent of Europe. Good luck to him.

11. It wasn’t a vintage year for other GB&I men’s teams either – Sweden beat England in the Final of the European Amateur Team Championship and Europe beat GB&I in the boys’ Jacques Léglise Trophy. 

12. WAGR finally announced a new methodology to be introduced to their ranking with effect from January 2020. A more accurate ranking can be expected but at face value it still won’t be better than the SPWAR. If I was The R&A and USGA I’d have used some of my funds to simply take out Fred Solomon and his ‘gold standard’ SPWAR.

WAGR Logo

13. The R&A and the USGA confirmed that they are reviewing the Rules of Amateur Status to make them easier to understand and apply. The results are set to be published in late 2021 – no rush there then. Lucy LI’s (USA) ‘one time warning’ for her Apple Watch advert at the start of the year (she should have had her amateur status removed) and the more recent California State’s ‘Fair Pay To Play’ Act which means NCAA athletes, including golfers, within that jurisdiction will be able to negotiate endorsement deals from 2023 have accelerated the need for an update.     

14. Josh HILL (ENG) qualified to play in both the Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in early 2020 after winning the MENA Tour’s Amateur Order of Merit and then the Abu Dhabi Amateur Championship. What an opportunity for him on two courses he knows very well.                  

15. Ben JONES (ENG) finished the year as GB&I’s highest ranked amateur in the SPWAR after a top 5 finish at the South Beach International Amateur in Florida helped lift him above Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) a few weeks ago. Scant consolation for his surprise exclusion from the GB&I Walker Cup team.

16. One to watch in 2020 – as I haven’t mentioned him yet I’m going to pick Jake BOLTON (ENG). Jake’s crept up to 37th in the SPWAR and with his confidence high after adding the 2019 Scottish Open Amateur title to his resume, as well as a 4th place finish at this month’s South Beach International Amateur, I expect him to progress further next year.

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Jake Bolton With The Scottish Open Amateur Trophy (Photo: Bolton Family)

17. As always a number of players turned Pro, most notably, Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Calum FYFE (SCO), Bailey GILL (ENG), Harry HALL (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO), Billy MCKENZIE (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Ronan MULLARNEY (IRL), Conor PURCELL (IRL), Tom SLOMAN (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO). I wish them all well in the coming years.

18. Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) and Matthew JORDAN (ENG) gave encouragement to the next generation of amateurs with a number of excellent performances on the European Tour and Challenge Tour. Over in the U.S. on the PGA Tour Viktor Hovland (NOR), Matthew Wolff (USA) and Collin Morikawa (USA) also showed that a quick transition to the big time is possible for the highly talented and fortunate few.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

South Beach International Amateur – 2019 Preview & Results

22nd December 2019

Ben SHIPP (USA) won the 2019 South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) after a play-off with Garett REBAND (USA).

Ben Shipp (Photo: SBIA)

Reband three putted his 72nd hole to finish on 281 (-2) and fall back into a tie with Shipp whose 70 (-1) was the lowest round of the final group. Shipp then went on to win the tournament on the second play-off hole.

With late afternoon storms forecast the organisers took the decision to implement a two tee start with players asked to play off the 1st and 10th tees in fourballs from 7.30am. Conditions remained dry for most of the day and the wind receded to more manageable levels when compared with the speeds seen on the first three days.

Reband shot a final round 73 whilst co-leader at the start of the day Karl VILIPS (AUS) could only manage a disappointing 75. Vilips ultimately had to settle for 3rd place on 282 (-1).

Jake BOLTON (ENG), the reigning Scottish Open Amateur champion, finished 4th on 283 (Ev) after a 71. He was the leading GB&I player this week and continues to rise up the amateur rankings (he’s now 37th in the SPWAR).

Ben JONES (ENG) was 5th on 284 (+1). Ben enjoyed a strong weekend, recording a joint best round of the day and the week today with a 67 which included 5 birdies. His 5th place lifted him to 13th spot in the SPWAR meaning he will finish the year as the highest ranked GB&I player.

Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) also finished well today. His 69 saw him finish on 287 (+4) and he can be pleased with his tied 8th finish.

Barclay BROWN (ENG) finished tied 18th on +6 after a final round 72.

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) never quite got going at Miami Beach this week after a solid opening round at Normandy Shores and had to fight hard for his +9 total score and tied 25th finish.

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) climbed a few places with a final round 71. His 295 (+12) saw him finish in tied 37th.

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) +16 and Andy GIBSON (SCO) +20 finished tied 58th and tied 72nd respectively.

Click here to view the – SBIA 2019 Results

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21st December 2019

The 80 players who made the cut enjoyed a dry but windy day. Just 8 of the starting 18 GB&I players made it through for the two weekend rounds at Miami Beach.

Karl VILIPS (AUS) shot a 67 to move into a tie with overnight leader Garett REBAND (USA) on -5. Late birdies on 15 and 16 enabled Reband to post a 69 to draw back level with the Australian who finished a few groups ahead of him.

Four shots further back is Ben SHIPP (USA) who equalled Vilips’ 67, the two lowest scores at Miami Beach this week.

Jake BOLTON (ENG) remained well in the mix with a one-under 70 in Round 3. He heads into tomorrow’s final round on Even par and in sole 4th place.

Ben JONES (ENG) 71 and Barclay BROWN (ENG) 73 are on +5 tied 13th.

Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) 76 and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) 73 are one shot further back in tied 17th on +6.

Andy GIBSON (SCO) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) could only manage a 75 and 78 respectively so fell back to tied 49th on +11. Olly HUGGINS‘ (ENG) 77 sees him in tied 56th on +12.

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20th December 2019

Friday saw all of the competitors play their second course, be it Miami Beach or Normandy Shores depending on where they were sent for Round 1. The rain largely stayed away but the strong winds remained.

Garett REBAND (USA), a Senior at Oklahoma, retained the lead on -3 with a 1-under par round of 70 at Miami Beach.

Lucas ABRIAL (FRA), who was 2nd overnight, collapsed to an 81 at Miami Beach and ended up missing the cut.

Jannik De BRUYN (GER) and Garrett MARTIN (USA) moved up to tied 2nd on -2 after they both recorded 69’s (-2) at Miami Beach. The always impressive Karl VILIPS (AUS) finished the day 4th on -1 after a 68 at Normandy Shores.

Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) starred for GB&I on Day 2; he’s now tied 5th after a 70 (-1) at Miami Beach. The score didn’t tell the full story though with his card including two double bogeys, two bogeys and seven birdies, including five in a row on his front nine.

Jake BOLTON‘s (ENG) level par round at Normandy Shores, which included four birdies, sees him go into the weekend playing alongside McKibbin in tied 5th on +1.

Barclay BROWN (ENG) +3 for the tournament is tied 13th. A double bogey on his final hole at Normandy Shores left him signing for a 71 (+1) and rueing what could have been.

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) both found the going tougher on Day 2 at Miami Beach. Pagdin stumbled to a 75 (+4) whilst Flanagan posted a 73 (+2). Nevertheless the Englishmen will go into the weekend still well placed in tied 20th on +4.

Ben JONES‘s (ENG) 71 (+1) at Normandy Shores included 15 pars. A couple more scores around par over the weekend, where he starts in tied 28th on +5, should lift him further up the leaderboard.

80 players, tied 61st or better, made the top 72 cut which fell at +8. The second highest cut mark in the 9 years the tournament has been played. It was +11 in 2011, the SBIA’s inaugural year.

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) +6 tied 37th and Andy GIBSON (SCO) +7 tied 47th were the two other GB&I players to progress.

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) +9, Charlie THORNTON (ENG) +9, Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) +12, Archie DAVIES (WAL) +14, Philip ROWE (ENG) +15, Sam ROOK (ENG) +16, Max MARTIN (ENG) +17, Jack BROOKS (ENG) +20, Curtis KNIPES (ENG) +20 and Jake HIBBERT (ENG) +23 all missed the cut.

ME.

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19th December 2019

The main news on Day 1 was the weather. It rained most of the day with scoring conditions not helped by a 20mph north easterly wind which blew strongly across the two host courses.

Garett REBAND (USA) shot a 68 (-2) at Normandy Shores to take the outright lead on Day 1. Lucas ABRIAL (FRA) managed a 69 (-1) at the same course to secure 2nd place.

Joe PAGDIN (ENG) was the leading GB&I player in tied 4th after a scrambling 70 (Ev) at Normandy Shores.

Jake BOLTON‘s (ENG) 71 (+1) at the tougher Miami Beach was arguably an even better round given the conditions. Likewise Barclay BROWN (ENG) will be pleased to have left there with a 73 (+2).

Back at Normandy Shores Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) both recorded 72’s (+2) to also do themselves no harm in the early stages.

Unfortunately many competitors, including a number from GB&I, played themselves out of the tournament on Day 1 unable to cope with the challenging conditions on two tough courses.

ME.

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3rd December 2019

The 9th South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) will be played between 19th – 22nd December 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida (GMT -5 hours).

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First played in 2011 the SBIA has quickly become one of the world’s leading amateur golf competitions.

It has always attracted an international field and many of the world’s leading amateurs will again be competing this year.

I will continue to update this article once play commences.

Format

The SBIA is a 72 hole stroke play competition played over four days.

18 holes are played at both Miami Beach G.C. and the nearby Normandy Shores G.C. over the first two days.

After a top 72 and ties cut the final 36 holes are played exclusively at Miami Beach over the remaining two days.

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Miami Beach Golf Club (Photo: Miami Beach GC)

Players

A field of 210 players have paid the $385 entry fee and will contest the 2019 SBIA.

The SBIA is expected to have one of the strongest fields in amateur golf in 2019. Only the U.S. Amateur (1st), The Amateur (2nd), Western Amateur (3rd) and NCAA Division I National (4th) will have been better.

Historically around 50% of the players are drawn from overseas with around 30 countries normally represented.

18 golfers from Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) are in this year’s starting field. The highest number to date was 19 in 2018. I’ve listed this year’s GB&I entries below (in alphabetical order) along with their current SPWAR (as at 16th December): –

Jake BOLTON (ENG) #103
Jack BROOKS (ENG) #276
Barclay BROWN (ENG) #700
Archie DAVIES (WAL) #468
Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) #447
Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) #95
Andrew GIBSON (SCO) #1,493
Jake HIBBERT (ENG) #1,096
Olly HUGGINS (ENG) #201
Ben JONES (ENG) #18 – the highest ranked player in the field / Finished T2 in 2017
Curtis KNIPES (ENG) #124
Max MARTIN (ENG) #918
Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) #333
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) #164
Sam ROOK (ENG) #780
Philip ROWE (ENG) #3,280 – Assistant Coach UNLV, 1999 GB&I Walker Cup (P3 W3)
Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) #80
Charlie THORNTON (ENG) #227

Other players in the SPWAR Top 200 competing include (in rank order): –

Karl VILIPS (AUS) #19
Garett REBAND (USA) #20
Jack TRENT (AUS) #23
Philip BARBAREE (USA) #25
Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) #32
Austin HITT (USA) #53
Ryan GERARD (USA) #54
Thomas HUTCHISON (USA) #63
Alex SCHAAKE (USA) #70
Julien SALE (FRA) #82
Ben SHIPP (USA) #83
Julian PERICO (PER) #97
Jannik DE BRUYNE (GER) #99
Palmer JACKSON (USA) #105
Marc HAMMER (GER) #120
Chris GOTTERUP (USA) #121
Charles LARCELET (FRA) #125
Blake TAYLOR (USA) #139
Rasmus NEERGAARD-PETERSEN (DEN) #144
Jamie WILSON (USA) #145
Carl FOSAAS (NOR) #163
Alexandre FUCHS (FRA) #166
Blake WAGONER (USA) #179
Tim WIDING (SWE) #193

The United States has 85 players in the SPWAR Top 200 so it is interesting that just 12 of them have entered this year’s SBIA. The Junior President’s Cup match taking place the week before in Australia will certainly have impacted the field. The non-entrants include the defending champion Pierceson COODY #15.

Courses

Both courses were designed by Arthur Hills and play to around 6,800 yards.

They are typical Florida layouts with numerous lakes coming into play throughout the 18 holes. As a result scores can be high if the wind blows – which it frequently does.

Normandy Shores plays to a par of 70 and Miami Beach a par of 71.

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Normandy Shores G.C. (Photo: miamibeachguest.com) 

Weather Forecast (as at 19th December)

The weather looks interesting with cool conditions forecast and a shifting wind set to make play interesting.

Thur 19th Dec. – Light Rain / Wind 19 mph NE / Temp. Min. 19°C, Max. 23°C.
Fri  20th Dec – Thick Cloud / Wind 21 mph NE / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 25°C.
Sat 21st Dec – Light Cloud / Wind 19 mph E / Temp. Min. 22°C, Min 26°C.
Sun 22nd Dec – Thundery Showers / Wind 20 mph SE / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 26°C.

SBIA Website Links

Click here to view the – SBIA 2019 Leaderboard

Click here to view the – SBIA Website

2018 South Beach International Amateur

The 2018 South Beach International Amateur was played in windy conditions with play on Day 3 ultimately having to be suspended.

Pierceson COODY (USA), a Freshman at the University of Texas and the grandson of 1971 Masters Champion Charles Coody, won the competition with a 272 (-11) total.

A fast finishing Manuel TORRES (VEN), who studies at the nearby Lynn University, shot an impressive 33 on his final back nine for a 66 (-5) to finish one shot back.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) finished 3rd on 275 (-8). Jake shot a 64 (-6) at Normandy Shores on Day 1 to share the lead before playing very consistently throughout the remainder of the tournament; rounds of 70, 70 and 71 at Miami Beach enabling him to place.

Four other Englishmen made the cut. Jake BOLTON (+1) finished tied 21st, Joe PAGDIN (+3) tied 26th, Ben JONES and Max MARTIN (both +10) tied 62nd.

19 players from Great Britain and Ireland competed last year.

Click here to view the – SBIA 2018 Results

Click here to view the – SBIA 2017 Results

Here is a list of past winners and the 36 hole cut marks for each year: –

2018 – Pierceson COODY (USA) -11 / Cut +3
2017 – Jacob BERGERON (USA) -3 / Cut Ev
2016 – Danny WALKER (USA) -4 / Cut +1
2015 – Jorge GARCIA (VEN) -5 / Cut +6
2014 – Gabriel LENCH (USA) -4 / Cut +3
2013 – Greg EASON (ENG) -5 / Cut +6
2012 – Juan Pablo HERNANDEZ (MEX) -10 / Cut +3
2011 – Kelly KRAFT (USA) -4 / Cut +11

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Scottish Men’s Open Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

25th August 2019

Round4

Jake BOLTON (ENG) won the Scottish Men’s Open Championship with a 272 (-12) total.

img_1793.jpg Jake Bolton (Photo: Mark Bolton)

Jake shot a final round 64 (-7) including birdies on 16 and 18. He bravely holed a 15 footer on the home green to secure the title by 1-shot.

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Jake Bolton Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: Scottish Golf / Golfbox)

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) finished 2nd on -11, Matthew CLARK (SCO) -8 3rd and Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) -7 4th.

There were two holes in one in the final round. Jake HIBBERT (ENG) posted one on the 12th and Kieran CANTLEY (SCO) on the 16th.

Click here to view the – 2019 Scottish Men’s Open Championship Results

Round 3

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) -10 moved into the lead on Sunday morning with a 66, 10 shots better than overnight leader Jake BOLTON who struggled to a 76.

Matthew CLARK (SCO) moved into 2nd place on -8 with a 69 whilst Bolton drifted out to 3rd on -5.

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24th August 2019

Jake BOLTON (ENG) developed a 3-shot lead on Day 2 of the Scottish Men’s Open Championship after he posted a 68 (-3) on The Duke’s Course.

His 132 (-10) 36 hole total is 3 shots better than compatriot Ben HUTCHINSON who could only manage a par 71 in Round 2.

Jake HIBBERT (ENG) and Matthew CLARK (SCO) are tied 3rd after matching opening rounds of 66 and 70 (-6).

Alasdair MCDOUGALL (SCO) recorded the low round of the championship on Saturday with a 63 (-8). The score lifted him up 40 places to tied 5th on -5 alongside Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG).

 Alisdair McDougall Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: Scottish Golf / Golfbox)

21 players broke par on Day 2 compared with the 16 in Round 1.

42 players made the top 40 and ties cut which fell at 145 (+3) and will now play a final 36 holes on Sunday.

ME.

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23rd August 2019

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and Jake BOLTON (ENG) share the Round 1 lead at the Scottish Men’s Open Championship after opening with superb 64’s (-7) on The Duke’s Course in St. Andrews.

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Ben Hutchinson Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: Scottish Golf / Golfbox)

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Jake Bolton Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: Scottish Golf / Golfbox)

Matthew CLARK (SCO) and Jake HIBBERT (ENG) are tied 3rd after posting 65’s (-5) with Charlie THORNTON (ENG) 5th after a 67 (-3).

Just 16 players out of the 137 that started the Championship managed an under par round on a breezy day in Fife.

ME.

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22nd August 2019

The 53rd Scottish Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship starts on Friday 23rd August at The Duke’s Course in St. Andrews, Fife.

18th hole ‘Ice House’, The Duke’s Course, St. Andrews (Photo: oldcoursehotel.co.uk)

Format

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

18 holes will be played on both Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th August.

A 36 hole cut will then take place with only the leading 40 competitors and ties qualifying for the final two rounds which will be played on Sunday 25th August.

In the event of a tie for the Championship there will be a sudden death play off. All other ties will be resolved via card count back.

Field

138 competitors, all off scratch or better, will start the 2019 Championship.

Click here to view the – 2019 Scottish Men’s Open Championship Tee Times

The Championship was historically played in late May or early June but in 2018 was moved to late August. As a result its status has been reduced. Field quality has diminished due to overseas touring parties moving on, international teams largely having been selected, players returning to college in the United States, others finalising moves into the professional ranks and in some cases funds simply having run out.

This year no members of the recently announced ten man Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team are competing at St. Andrews. If the event had been in early June I am sure most of them would have been there.

Standout names in this year’s field include Jake BOLTON (ENG), Jack BROUN (SCO), Kieran CANTLEY (SCO), Andrew DAVIDSON (SCO), Arron EDWARDS-HILL (SCO), Callum FARR (ENG), Bailey GILL (ENG), Olly HUGGINS (ENG) Matty LAMB (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Joe LONG (ENG),  Euan MCINTOSH (SCO), Gaelan TREW (WAL), James WILSON (SCO) and Jeff WRIGHT (SCO).

Prizes

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

Silver and bronze medals are also awarded to the runner-up and third place finisher(s).

The Duke’s Course, St Andrews

The Duke’s is a heathland course set in Craigtoun Park in the hills above the town of St. Andrews.

Originally designed by Peter Thomson the course was revised and renovated by Tim Liddy in 2006.

It is named after HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who opened the course in July 1995.

13th hole ‘Braw View’, The Duke’s Course, St. Andrews (Photo: oldcoursehotel.co.uk)

A number of prestigious amateur Championships have been staged on the course since it opened, namely, the Scottish Amateur in 2003, the Scottish Amateur Open Stroke Play in 2008 and the European Amateur in 2014.

The course plays to 7,002 yards and a par of 71. The front nine measures 3,476 yards (36) and the back nine 3,526 yards (35).

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast is very good; sunny intervals and a reasonable breeze should ensure good scoring and a memorable Championship:-

Fri 23rd Aug – Sunny / Wind 20 mph W / Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 21°C,
Sat 24th Aug – Sunny /  Wind 11 mph SW / Temp. Min. 13°C /Max. 21°C
Sun 25th Aug – Sunny / Wind 8 mph E / Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 21°C

Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.20pm.

The 2018 Scottish Men’s Open Amateur

France’s Victor VEYRET won the 2018 Carrick Neill Scottish Open Amateur Championship at Gleneagles.

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Victor Veyret (Photo: Scottish Golf / Kenny Smith Photography)

Four under par rounds of 69, 65, 67 and 67 on the Kings Course gave the tall Frenchman a 268 (-12) total and an impressive 6-shot victory.

Ireland’s Conor PURCELL (-6) finished second coming through the field strongly on the final day with rounds of 67 and 68.

Euan WALKER (-5) wasn’t able to repeat his form of the first two days but two par 70’s helped him secure third, taking the leading Scot honours in the process.

Joe LONG (ENG), Thomas PLUMB (ENG) and Stuart EASTON (SCO) all finished tied 4th on 278 (-2).

Just seven players finished under par in the Championship. The final one being Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) who finished in seventh on -1.

Click here to view the – 2018 Scottish Men’s Open Championship

Past Winners

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

2017 – Liam Johnson (SCO)
2016 – Cameron John (AUS)
2015 – Marco Penge (ENG)
2014 – Gavin Moynihan (IRE)
2013 – Garrick Porteous (ENG)
2011 – Andy Sullivan (ENG)
2009 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)
2004 – Richie Ramsay (SCO)
2003 – Gary Wolstenholme (ENG)
2002 – Barry Hume (SCO)
1997 – Barclay Howard (SCO)
1996 – Alastair Forsyth (SCO)
1995 – Stephen Gallacher (SCO)
1992 – Dean Robertson (SCO)
1991 – Andrew Coltart (SCO)
1985 – Colin Montgomerie (SCO)
1981 – Philip Walton (IRE)
1980 – Gordon Brand Jr (ENG)
1975 and 1984 – Charlie Green (SCO)
1971, 1974 and 1979 – Ian Hutcheon (SCO)
1970 – Dale Hayes (RSA)
1968 – Ronnie Shade (SCO)
1967 – Bernard Gallacher (SCO)

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Brabazon Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

2nd June 2019

Rotherham’s Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) won the 2019 English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship finishing the competition with another hugely impressive under par round.

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The Schmidt Family (Photo: Yorkshire Golf / Jonathan Plaxton)

When Schmidt took the lead on Friday night very few people would have expected the 16 year old to see out such a prestigious event with apparent ease.

In the end two 69’s over the weekend took him to a 271 (-13) finishing total and a 5 shot victory. He is believed to be the youngest ever winner of the Brabazon Trophy which was being played for the 73rd time.

To drop only 6 shots over the 72 holes at Alwoodley G.C. clearly shows the potential of the Yorkshireman who seemed to thrive on being the hometown favourite.

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Ben Schmidt’s Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Schmidt and Harry HALL (ENG) were tied on -11 after 11 holes of the final round but it was the teenager who showed nerves of steel over the closing holes. He picked up birdies on the 12th and 17th and calmly pulled away from the experienced Cornishman in what was always going to be an 18 hole shoot out. Three late bogeys from the now chasing Hall helped make the tough Alwoodley finish relatively straight forward for the champion elect.

Talking to England Golf afterwards Schmidt said “It’s amazing. I played great. It’s good to get my name on the trophy and to be the youngest ever one to do it makes it even more special.”

Hall finished 2nd on -8 one shot ahead of a fast finishing Euan WALKER (SCO) whose 66 was the joint best score of the day and lifted him into 3rd place. Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) matched the Scotsman’s -5 round earlier in the afternoon.

Ben FIRTH, also from Yorkshire, finished 4th on 280 (-4) for the best finish of his career.

In what proved to be a largely disappointing tournament for International players Kyle DE BEER (RSA) benefited from a 7-under weekend to finish tied 5th alongside David LANGLEY (ENG).

Here’s a screenshot of the leading players with a link to the full results beneath.

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Click here to view the full – 2019 Brabazon Trophy Results

Round 4 saw an average score of 72.30 (+1.30). The average front nine score today was 35.83 (-0.17 to par) whilst the back nine score was 36.47 (+1.47).

ME.

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1st June 2019

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) moved on to -11 after a third round 69 (-2) at Alwoodley. He showed no sign of nerves with a 3-under par front nine but may live to regret a final hole bogey which took the edge of a steady back nine and saw his 54 hole lead reduced to just 1 shot.

Harry HALL (ENG), who produced a new course record 63 (-8), moved back up the leaderboard and into 2nd place on -10.

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Harry Hall’s Round 3 Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) continues to impress in Yorkshire. Three under par rounds of 69, 68 and 70 will see him enter the final day in 3rd place on -6.

Charlie THORNTON (ENG) 70 and David LANGLEY (ENG) 71 are on -5 and are tied 4th.

Luca FILIPPI (RSA) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) both enjoyed good days too. Their 66’s (-5) lifted them up to 7th and tied 14th respectively.

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Leading Round 3 Scores (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Round 3 saw the average score lowered to 71.74 helped by a reduction to 63 competing players. 64 players made the cut but Alex Dixon +4 WD before play started. The average front nine score today was 35.57 (-0.43 to par) whilst the back nine score was 36.14 (+1.17).

ME.

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31st May 2019

16 year old Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) backed up his good opening round with a 64 (-7) in Round 2. He tied the Alwoodley course record with an unblemished card and 7 birdies. He now leads the Brabazon Trophy by 3-shots on 133 (-9).

Talking to England Golf afterwards Ben said “I got off to a good start, birdieing the first three holes. Front nine was really solid, quite a few birdies. I hit a lot of good iron shots in today. I hit a couple really stiff for tap in birdies. A couple of long irons which were key for me. It’s my lowest ever round, 7-under. I’m just looking for the same again for the next few days. It’s probably not going to be 7-under again but I can’t go out with the mindset of like I’m leading. I’ve just got go out, refresh and start again. I’ve played well and putted well, key putts and long birdie putts.”

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Ben Schmidt’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) recorded a 70 in Round 2 and will go into the weekend in 2nd place on -6.

Day 2 saw much lower scoring. There were 21 rounds in the 60’s compared with just 6 yesterday.

David LANGLEY (ENG) 67, Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) 68, Jamie STEWART (SCO) 65, Charlie THORNTON (ENG) 67, Ben FIRTH (ENG) 66, Ben HALLAM (ENG) 68, Ben JONES (ENG) 68, Ben CATON (SCO) 69, Euan WALKER (SCO) and Josh MCMAHON (ENG) all moved nicely into contention.

Of particular note Jamie Stewart’s 65 included a 29 (-7) on the front nine whilst Ben Firth’s 69, a 30 (-5) on the back nine.

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Leading Round 2 Scores (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

The Round 2 scores followed a similar pattern to Round 1 but with easier playing conditions and more experience the scoring was better. The average front nine score today was 35.91 (-0.09 to par / Rd 1 36.70) whilst the back nine score was 37.04 (+2.04 / Rd 1 38.29). The average Round 2 score by the field was 72.95 (+1.95 / Rd 1 74.99).

64 players made the top 60 and ties cut which fell at 146 (+4). Amongst those to miss out were Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) +5, John MURPHY (IRE) +5, Oliver FARRELL (ENG) +6, Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) +7, Tom THURLOWAY (ENG) +7, David HAGUE (ENG) +8 and Kieran CANTLEY (ENG) +9.

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30th May 2019

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) leads the Brabazon Trophy at the end of Day 1. Charlie has shown good form in 2019 and will be delighted with an opening bogey-free 66 (-5) around the tough Alwoodley course.

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Charlie Strickland’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

Harry HALL (ENG) is second on 68 (-3), two shots further back. Harry, who recently graduated from UNLV, travelled back from the NCAA Division I National Championship in Arkansas earlier this week and I am pleased to see he has quickly re-acclimatised to the UK.

James WILSON (SCO), Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) and Jake BOLTON (ENG) are all tied 3rd on 69 (-2).

Ben Schmidt is unsurprisingly not the only Yorkshireman to be featuring at home. Bailey GILL 70 (-1), Sam BAIRSTOW 70 (-1), Charlie THORNTON 71 (Ev), winner at Alwoodley of the 2018 North of England Amateur Open, and Charlie DAUGHTREY 71 (Ev) are all in the top 15 too.

Irish pair Caolan RAFFERTY 70 (-1) and Conor PURCELL 71 (Ev) are both nicely placed despite disappointing finishes today. Both continue to be travelling nicely down the path to Walker Cup selection in my eyes.

The Round 1 scores clearly highlighted the fact that the front nine at Alwoodley is much easier than the back. As the table below shows the average front nine score was 36.70 (+0.70 to par), helped by the prevailing wind, whilst the back nine played to 38.29 (+3.29).  The closing holes proved to be very challenging and their rankings show why so many of today’s rounds were ruined in the latter stages. The average round by the field was 74.99. (+3.99).

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Round 1 Course Stats (Photo: England Golf / GolfBox)

As you can also see there were 9 eagles on Day 1, all on the front nine. Interestingly three of them came on par 4’s. I assume Cameron LOMBARD (ENG) and Tom THURLOWAY (ENG) both chipped in on the 305 yard 2nd but Alexander HERMANN (GER) must have holed a longer shot on the 370 yard 5th.

ME.

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27th May 2019

The 73rd English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Alwoodley Golf Club between 30th May and 2nd June.

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Alwoodley Golf Club in October 2018 (Photo: Golf Bible)

Format

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

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

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

Field

164 competitors will start the 2019 Championship, an increase of 8 on last year at Frilford Heath.

England has 94 entries with 10 other countries represented.

The start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – 2019 Brabazon Trophy Draw

98 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with a further 66 progressing from two qualifiers held on 14th May 2019.

Charlie DAUGHTREY (Rotherham G.C.) and Blair MORTON (Royal Troon G.C.) shot 68’s (-2) at Lindrick to lead the way in the North Qualifier. Ben HALLAM (Wychwood Park G.C.) was one of 10 players to shoot 73 (+3) but the only one to progress as he picked up the 33rd spot on count back.

James NEWTON (ENG) finished T56 at Lindrick after a 74 (+4) to miss out. I mention this as just a few days later he easily won the Irish Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo G.C.

Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Liam PHIPPS (Olton G.C.) and George LEVERSUCH (Wanstead G.C.) led the qualifiers at Hindhead G.C. in the South Qualifier after both posted 66 (-4). 73 (+3) was again the cut mark with Josh DAVIS (Sedlescombe G.C.), James EARL (Tandridge G.C.) and Matt KIPPEN (Enmore Park G.C.) taking the final qualifying spots. A further 8 players missed out after the count back was applied.

Phipps went on to win The Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog G.C. on 23rd May so is clearly confident and in form.

Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

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9th Hole, Alwoodley Golf Club in October 2018 (Photo: Golf Bible)

19 of the 26 players included in the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad will be competing at Alwoodley. These are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Kieran CANTLEY (SCO), Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL), Bailey GILL (ENG), David HAGUE (ENG), Harry HALL (ENG), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL), Ben JONES (ENG), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO), John MURPHY (IRE), Tom PLUMB (ENG), Conor PURCELL (IRE), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Tom SLOMAN (ENG), Jamie STEWART (SCO), James SUGRUE (IRE), Tom THURLOWAY (ENG), Euan WALKER (SCO) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG).

Other players who have shown good form in 2019 and are therefore worth keeping an eye on include Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG), Jake BOLTON (ENG), Joe BRYCE (SCO), Harvey BYERS (ENG), Stuart EASTON (SCO), Callum FARR (ENG), Oliver FARRELL (ENG), Harry GODDARD (ENG), Marc HAMMER (GER), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG), Matty LAMB (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Joe LONG (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG), Laurie OWEN (ENG), Jayden SCHAPER (RSA), Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) and Charlie THORNTON (ENG).

Last year’s Brabazon Trophy was ranked 41st by the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) based on the strength of its field. This represented a significant fall from 17thin 2017. Hopefully it will recover some of its prestige this year when the field analysis is completed.

Interestingly Alwoodley G.C. will also be broadcasting live coverage of the first round on their YouTube channel and sharing highlights across their other social media channels.

Prizes

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

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

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

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition.

The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20.

The Philip Scruton Jug is awarded later in the year to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy (which will be played on 22nd and 23rd June).

Alwoodley Golf Club

Alwoodley G.C. is located on heathland a few miles north of Leeds city centre in Yorkshire.

The first design by renowned architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie, one of the founders of the Club, it was opened in 1907. Alwoodley is nowadays rightly considered one of the finest courses in Great Britain.

The recent addition of new championship tees has stretched the course to over 6,900 yards so whilst the players are in for a treat they are hopefully going to be challenged too given the par of 71.

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Alwoodley G.C. Scorecard (Photo: Alwoodley G.C.)

Whilst the back nine is a little shorter it delivers a good finish with six strong finishing holes. The inward nine has the lower par of 35 and generally plays into the prevailing westerly wind.

Weather Forecast

The weather is looking good; generally dry with a modest breeze over the four days.

Thu 30th May – Showers / Wind 17 mph W / Temp. Min. 13°C, Max. 19°C.
Fri 31st May – Light Cloud / Wind 14 mph SW / Temp. Min. 13°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat 1st June – Light Cloud / Wind 10 mph SW / Temp. Min. 15°C / Min 23°C.
Sun 2th May – Light Cloud / Wind 12 mph SW / Temp. Min. 11°C / Max. 19°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.40pm.

2018 Brabazon Trophy

Nick POPPLETON (ENG) won the 2018 Brabazon Trophy at Frilford Heath G.C.

Poppleton and Wilco NIENABER (RSA) both finished the 72 holes on the Red Course with 272 -16 totals.

The par 3 9thhole was used for the sudden death play-off. On the second playing of it Poppleton chipped in to take the famous title.

Click here to view the – 2018 Brabazon Trophy Results

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Nick Poppleton (Photo: Golf Bible)

Click these links to view the other recent results: –

Woodhall Spa – 2017 Brabazon Trophy Results

London G.C. – 2016 Brabazon Trophy Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Irish Amateur Open Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

19th May 2019

James NEWTON (ENG), from the Prestbury G.C. in Cheshire, England, has won the 2019 Irish Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo G.C.

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James Newton (Photo: Pat Cashman Photography / @GUIGolf)

Entering the event Newton was ranked 1,879th in the SPWAR and 2,710th in the WAGR so a victory of this magnitude has to be considered a major surprise.

He recorded rounds of 66, 66, 69 and 74 for a 275 -9 total.

Not surprisingly he started and finished a little nervously today but having settled down he played very nicely between holes 4 and 14, where he was 4 under par, to ensure he completed the job with some ease. After a triple bogey on the par 3 16th he showed good composure to par his final two holes.

“It’s nice to have a win early on in the season,” Newton said in an interview with the Golf Union of Ireland afterwards. “One of my goals was to win a 72 hole event, I’ve ticked that off quite early. I need to go back and re-evaluate my goals now. I changed coach last October and moved to Peter Barber at Didsbury Golf Club. The good has always been good enough and he has made the bad a lot better”.

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James Newton’s Complete Scorecard (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

Sadly earlier this week he failed to qualify for the Brabazon Trophy at the Lindrick Qualifier and with the above rankings has currently not made the grade for either the St. Andrews Links Trophy or The Amateur Championship. Hopefully a ‘Committee Exemption’ can be found to get him into some or all of these events in the next few weeks.

Conor PURCELL (IRE) 280 -4 finished 2nd 5-shots back. It was another excellent result for GB&I’s number 1 player, particularly coming after his missed cut at Lytham.

Josh MCMAHON (ENG), recent winner of the Lytham Trophy,  also continued his good form with a tied 7th finish on +2.

The best Round 4 came from the Italian International Amateur champion Brandon DIETZEL (GER) who shot a bogey free 67. He rose 39 places to finish alongside McMahon in the Top 10.

The average score on Day 4 was 74.53 with the majority of the players again going backwards.

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The Irish Amateur Open Final Results (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

View the Full Results here – 2019 Irish Amateur Open Results

ME.

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18th May 2019

Overnight leader James NEWTON (ENG) showed no sign of nerves on Day 3. His 69 lifted him to -12 and extended his lead to 5 shots heading into tomorrow’s final round.

Scoring proved to be much tougher in Round 3 with cloudier and windier conditions finally allowing County Sligo to take some revenge on the field. The average score rising to 76.26, nearly four shots higher than in both of the opening two rounds.

With 18 holes to play tomorrow Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) is 2nd on -7 and Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) -6 3rd.

Mark POWER (IRE) benefitted from an early tee time to post a 68 (-3), the best score of the day. Like Marc Hammer yesterday he finished with an eagle 2 on the short 18th. As a result he rose 65 places to tied 28th on moving day.

Conor PURCELL‘s (IRE) consistent play, rounds of 70, 69 and 69 to date, has seen him creep up the leaderboard each day; he’s now up to tied 4th on -5. He should theoretically be able to play with a bit more freedom than his peers tomorrow so could easily mount a challenge.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) shot a 1-over 72 today to finish the round on -5 for the tournament. He now sits alongside Purcell in tied 4th.

The top 50 and ties cut fell at +6 with 56 players progressing.

ME.

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17th May 2019

James NEWTON (ENG) shot a second successive 66 at the Irish Amateur Open to move into the lead on -10. In an almost identical round to yesterday he recorded one eagle (again on the 12th), four birdies and a bogey.

Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) unsurprisingly found golf a little harder on Day 2 after the heroics of yesterday. His 72 (+1) saw him finishing Round 2 in 2nd place overall.

The best round of the day came from Marc HAMMER (GER) who shot a 7-under 64. The icing on the cake coming with a holed wedge on his final hole. Marc moved to -7 and will start tomorrow in 3rd.

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Marc Hammer’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

Five players are tied 4th for the Championship on -6. Keith EGAN (IRE) 66, Robert MORAN (IRE) 68, Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) 69,  Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) 69 and Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) 69 all played their way into contention in Round 2.

It’s worth recording the consistency to date of both Moran and Edwards-Hill. They have both just bogeyed one hole over the first 36 holes on the testing County Sligo course.

Lytham Trophy winner Josh MCMAHON (ENG) is tied 9th after a 65 (-6) lifted him 50 places up the leaderboard.

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Josh McMahon’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

Cathal BUTLER (IRE) matched McMahon with a blemish free 66 of his own. The Kinsale man jumped 82 spots after opening with a 75 in Round 1.

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Cathal Butler’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

The Round 2 average score was identical to yesterday’s at 72.49 so despite a little more breeze lots of high quality golf was again seen.

By way of reminder the top 50 and ties cut will take place after Saturday’s third round.

ME.

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16th May 2019

Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) shot a course record 62 (-9) to take the Round 1 lead at the Irish Amateur Open.

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Ronan Mullarney’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: GUI / Golfbox)

Tied for 2nd James NEWTON (ENG), Robbie MUIR (SCO) and Euan WALKER (SCO) all posted 66’s (-5).

The average Round 1 score was 72.49 with 36 players shooting under par on a near perfect day at Rosses Point.

ME.

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12th May 2019

The 2019 Irish Amateur Open Championship, sponsored by Flogas, starts on Thursday 16th May at County Sligo G.C. at Rosses Point, in the western province of Connacht.

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County Sligo G.C. (Photo: Rossespoint.ie)

Format and Tee Times

A field of 132 golfers from 14 different countries will tee off in what will be the 82nd playing of this competition.

The Irish Amateur Open is a 72-hole stroke play event organised by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI).

18 holes are played on the first three days before a top 50 and ties cut is made. A final 18 holes are then played by the leading competitors.

View the Draw for Rounds 1 and 2 here – 2019 Irish Amateur Open Tee Times

In the event of a tie for the Championship the players concerned will play 3 holes of stroke play. The player with the lowest aggregate total being the winner. If a winner still hasn’t been determined then the play-off moves to sudden death over the same holes.

The Irish Amateur Open Champion Golfer is awarded a superb silver trophy (see below). Irish winners are allowed to take the trophy back to their Club for the year whereas overseas winners must return it to the GUI after the prize presentation.

Course

County Sligo G.C.’s championship course was designed by Harry Colt and measures 7,157 yards, playing to a par of 71. The front nine is 3,557 yards long (par 36) and the back nine 3,600 yards (par 35).

Players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.15pm on each of the first three days so changes in the weather and wind speeds can be expected to play a big part in scoring.

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County Sligo G.C. (Photo: Golfbreaks.com)

Players

Many of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing in north west Ireland.

However the field does look weaker than in previous years when Royal County Down was the host. Players finishing the U.S. college season, some taking exams at home and the harder logistics of getting to Sligo have all contributed to this position.

There are nine members of the recently announced 26-man Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Squad playing; these are (Nationality / SPWAR), Jake BURNAGE (ENG / #114), Kieran CANTLEY (SCO / #450), Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL / #508), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL / #372), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO / #242), Mark POWER (IRE / #183), Conor PURCELL (IRE / #22), James SUGRUE (IRE / #220) and Euan WALKER (SCO / #45).

Josh MCMAHON (ENG / #123), the winner of the Lytham Trophy, is in the field as are Harry GODDARD (ENG / #173), Stephen ROGER (SCO / #326) and Laurie OWEN (ENG / #401) who also featured prominently in Lancashire.

Other players who could contend include Jake BOLTON (ENG / #276), Aaron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG / #304), Michael HIRMER (GER / #69), Matias HONKALA (FIN / #352), Jim JOHNSTON (SCO / #494), Matty LAMB (ENG / #332), David LANGLEY (ENG / #126),  Peter O’KEEFFE (IRE / #659), Tiarnan MACLARNAN (IRE / #207), Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE / #120), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG / #606), Charlie THORNTON (ENG / #459), James WILSON (SCO / #358) and Jeff WRIGHT (SCO / #569).

Weather Forecast

The latest weather forecast (as at Sunday 12th May) currently looks very good for all four competition days – mainly sunny with relatively modest winds.

Thu 16th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 9 mph E / Temp. Min. 8°C / Max. 17°C.
Fri  17th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 10 mph E / Temp. Min. 8°C / Max. 16°C.
Sat  18th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 11 mph NE / Temp. Min. 8°C / Min. 16°C.
Sun 19th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 11 mph E / Temp. Min. 9°C / Max. 17°C.

The 2018 Irish Amateur Open Championship

Robin DAWSON (IRE) completed a wire to wire victory at the 2018 Irish Amateur Open, helped in no small part by a superb 65 (-6) in Round 1.

The Tramore G.C. man started the final round 6-shots clear but after a final round 77 had to settle for a 282 (-2) total.

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Robin Dawson (Photo: Cashman Photography)

John GOUGH (ENG) and Alex GLEESON (IRE) tied for 2nd on +2 with Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) one shot further back on +3, 3rd.

Click this link to view the final – 2018 Irish Amateur Open Championship Result

History, Past Winners and Records

The Irish Amateur Open Championship was first played in 1892 with early winners including the English amateur greats John Ball and Harold Hilton.

Between 1894 and 1901 (6 years) the competition was played as part of the Irish Championship Meeting alongside a professional tournament.

The Championship was not played during both World Wars.

It was also not played between 1960 and 1994, I assume, due to a lack of interest from overseas players amidst concerns over safety.

Prior to 1958 it was a match play event but since returning to the amateur calendar in 1995 it has been 72 holes of stroke play.

To view a list of past winners click here – Irish Amateur Open Past Champions

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

South Beach International Amateur – 2018 Preview & Results

22nd December 2018 – Results

Pierceson COODY (USA), a Freshman at the University of Texas and the grandson of 1971 Masters Champion Charles Coody, won the 2018 South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) with a 272 (-11) total.

The pre-tournament weather forecast suggested conditions would be challenging for the 210 players in the field, particularly on Days 2 and 3 when very strong winds were expected. That certainly proved to be the case with winds of 25mph gusting to 50 mph recorded.

Coody made a solid start to the competition with a 67 (-3) at Normandy Shores (NS) on Day 1 before backing it up with a joint best of the day 67 (-4) at Miami Beach (MB). However, the SBIA was won in Round 3. Benefitting from his late tee time and the subsequent suspension of play due to the high winds he was able to complete his third round in the calmer conditions of this morning. His 64 (-7) at Miami Beach, which included eight birdies, was four shots better than any other player managed.

Despite taking a 6 shot lead into the final round a fast finishing Manuel TORRES (VEN) made the Texan sweat. Torres, who studies at the nearby Lynn University, shot an impressive 33 on the back nine for a 66 (-5) but was left rueing a final hole bogey.

Coody played the front nine in Round 4 in even par but started to leak oil on the back side. When he also bogeyed the last he was left signing for a 74 (+3) and relieved to hear he had secured a narrow one shot victory.

Ranked 183rd in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) at the start of the week Coody now sits 40th after the biggest win of his career.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) was our leading performer, finishing a clear 3rd on 275 (-8). Jake shot a 64 (-6) at Normandy Shores on Day 1 to share the lead before playing very consistently throughout the remainder of the tournament; rounds of 70, 70 and 71 at Miami beach testament to that.

I assume all of those rounds on the exposed links of Saunton G.C. came in useful when the wind started to blow in South Florida. With six birdies on his card in Round 4 and Torres’ late run he probably feels a little frustrated not to have been closer to the win and certainly the runner-up spot.

Nevertheless this is notable result for Jake who now sits 44th in the SPWAR. Just a handful of points behind Harry Hall amortisation over the next few days may still see him finish as GB&I’s leading golfer by the year end. Not a bad place to be going into a Walker Cup year.

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Jake Burnage at Miami Beach G.C. (Photo: Burnage Family)

Fellow Englishmen Jake BOLTON 71 NS, 70 MB, 74 and 69 (+1) finished tied 21st and Joe PAGDIN 68 NS, 73 MB, 74 and 71 (+3) was tied 26th.

The two other GB&I players to make the cut found the going harder over the final two rounds finishing tied 62nd on +10. Max MARTIN recorded rounds of 66 NS, 75 MB, 80 and 72 and Ben JONES, who finished tied 2nd last year, 71 NS, 71 MB, 74 and 77.

74 players made the 36 hole cut on Thursday which fell at 144 (+3) with each competitor having played a round at Miami Beach G.C. (par 71) and Normandy Shores G.C. (par 70).

The remaining GB&I players in the field all missed the cut: –

145 (+4)
Sam ROOK (ENG) – 71 NS 74 MB
Charlie THORNTON (ENG) – 71 NS 74 MB
David LANGLEY (ENG) – 68 NS 77 MB

146 (+5)
Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) – 71 NS 75 MB
Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) – 67 NS 79 MB
Michael YOUNG (IRE) – 75 MB 71 NS

147 (+6)
Conor GOUGH (ENG) – 72 NS 75 MB
Conor RICHARDS (ENG) – 71 NS 76 MB
Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) – 74 MB 73 NS

149 (+8)
Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) – 74 NS 75 MB
Bradley BAWDEN (ENG) – 70 NS 79

150 (+9)
Thomas PLUMB (ENG) – 75 NS 75 MB 150 (+9)

152 (+11)
John GOUGH (ENG) – 70 NS 82 MB 152 (+11)

155 (+14)
Eoin LEONARD (IRE) – 74 NS 81 MB 155 (+14)

Click here to view the – SBIA 2018 Results

ME.

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17th December 2018

The 8th South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) will be played between 19th – 22nd December 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida.

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First played in 2011 it has within a few years become one of the world’s leading amateur golf competitions.

It has always attracted an International field and many of Europe’s leading amateurs will again be competing this year.

Format

The SBIA is a 72 hole stroke play competition played over four days.

18 holes are played at both Miami Beach G.C. and the nearby Normandy Shores G.C. over the first two days. Tee times between 7.30am and 12.19 pm (GMT -5 hrs).

After a top 72 and ties cut the final 36 holes are played exclusively at Miami Beach over the remaining two days.

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Miami Beach Golf Club (Photo: Miami Beach GC)

Players

A field of 210 players have paid the $385 entry fee and will contest the 2018 SBIA.

In 2017 the SBIA was ranked 5th in terms of field quality by the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR). Only the U.S. Amateur (1st), The Amateur (2nd), Western Amateur (3rd) and NCAA Division I National (4th) were stronger. It is likely to be 6th in 2018 as the World Amateur Team has been played this year too.

A review of the 2018 entries suggests it will retain its status after this latest edition.

Historically around 50% of the field has been drawn from overseas with as many as 30 countries represented.

This year the highest ranked player competing is Tyler STRAFACI (USA) who is 19th in the SPWAR. Floridian Tyler is a junior at Georgia Tech. He was medalist at the 2017 U.S. Amateur, qualified for the 2018 U.S. Open and reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Western Amateur.

There are 19 golfers from Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) playing this year. The previous highest number was 13 in 2014. I’ve listed them all below with their current SPWAR: –

Bradley BAWDEN (ENG) #404
Jake BOLTON (ENG) #483
Jake BURNAGE (ENG) #121
Enrique DIMAYUGA (ENG) #2,949
Conor GOUGH (ENG) #338
John GOUGH (ENG) #267
Ben JONES (ENG) #123
David LANGLEY (ENG) #140
Eoin LEONARD (IRE) #295
Maxwell MARTIN (ENG) #1,053
Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) #1,067
Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) #191
Joe PAGDIN (ENG) #321
Thomas PLUMB (ENG) #136
Conor RICHARDS (ENG) #1,558
Sam ROOK (ENG) #510
Charlie THORNTON (ENG) #609
Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) #199
Michael YOUNG (IRE) #2,526

This event starts the countdown for me to the 2019 Walker Cup match and a high finish in Miami this week will certainly be rankings enhancing and lay down a nice early marker to the GB&I selectors.

In 2017 Ben JONES was our leading finisher, securing tied 2nd with an impressive -12 total. Harry HALL (ENG) -7 was tied 10th and Joe PAGDIN -4 tied 19th.

Click here to view the – SBIA 2017 Results

Courses

Both courses were designed by Arthur Hills and play to around 6,800 yards.

They are typical Florida layouts with numerous lakes coming into play throughout the 18 holes. As a result scores can be high if the wind blows – which it often does.

Normandy Shores plays to a par of 70 and Miami Beach a par of 71 during the SBIA.

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Normandy Shores G.C. (Photo: miamibeachguest.com) 

Weather Forecast

As one would expect the weather forecast looks generally good for the duration of the competition, albeit strong winds are expected to move around from day to day.

Wed 19th Dec. – Sunny / Wind 13 mph SE / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 27°C.
Thur 20th Dec – Thundery Showers PM / Wind 24 mph S / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 29°C.
Fri 21st Dec – Sunny / Wind 28 mph W / Temp. Min. 11°C / Min 22°C.
Sat 22nd Dec – Sunny / Wind 11 mph NW / Temp. Min. 8°C / Max. 21°C.

SBIA Website Links

Click here to view the – SBIA 2018 Tee Times

Click here to view the – SBIA 2018 Leaderboard

Click here to view the – SBIA website

History

Here is a list of past winners and the 36 hole cut marks for each year: –

2017 – Jacob BERGERON (USA) -3 / Cut Ev
2016 – Danny WALKER (USA) -4 / Cut +1
2015 – Jorge GARCIA (VEN) -5 / Cut +6
2014 – Gabriel LENCH (USA) -4 / Cut +3
2013 – Greg EASON (ENG) -5 / Cut +6
2012 – JuanPablo HERNANDEZ (MEX) -10 / Cut +3
2011 – Kelly KRAFT (USA) -4 / Cut +11

Following in the footsteps of Greg EASON it would be great to see a second GB&I winner in 2018.

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.