The Amateur Championship – 2021 Preview & Results

Saturday 19th June 2021

Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) won the 2021 Amateur Championship at Nairn Golf Club.

The 23 year old from Rye G.C. beat Monty SCOWSILL (ENG) on the 38th Hole of an engrossing Final.

Shepherd, a graduate of Stirling University and a resident of St. Andrews, can now look forward to competing in the 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s G.C. next month, the 2022 Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C. and also the 2022 U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, near Boston.

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Laird Shepherd (Photo: The Nairn G.C.)

Play started at 8.30am and Scowsill came shooting out of the blocks building a 4Up lead after nine holes helped by four birdies in five holes from the 5th.

After further birdies at the 10th and 15th the Woodbridge G.C. man from Suffolk found himself 8Up on the 18th tee.

Shepherd then won the 18th with a par to go into lunch 7Down but perhaps having now won his first hole of the match felt that all was not yet lost.

Shepherd who started the Final as the favourite, based on rankings of SPWAR #2,850 / WAGR #846 v. Scowsill’s SPWAR #4,180 / WAGR #1,181, was certainly not going to rollover without a fight.

However, there was no sign of a Shepherd comeback or a Scowsill faltering in the opening holes of the afternoon round with the first four holes all halved.

It was on the next hole where Shepherd got his comeback underway. A birdie on the 383 yard par 4 5th reduced Scowsill’s lead to 6Up with 13 holes to play.

Two consecutive birdies on 8 and 9 reduced the lead to 4up with 9 holes to play and all of a sudden it was ‘game on’.

Despite losing the par 3 11th to a bogey Shepherd was handed the hole straight back on the next when Scowsill bogeyed.

After pars were shared on the 13th and 14th holes Scowsill finally looked as if he must have done enough – 4Up with four holes to play. Under the pressure of knowing any mistakes would probably be terminal such an advantage would surely prove too big a mountain for Shepherd to climb.

The unbelievable then happened. A combination of good play from Shepherd and badly timed mistakes from Scowsill saw the match amazingly end All Square in regulation.

At this point there was only going to be one winner and indeed that proved to be the case. A shell-shocked Scowsill three putted the 2nd extra hole to hand Shepherd the victory after he had already pared the hole.

After the match Shepherd said “Honestly, at lunch I thought this was over. I was just trying to avoid an embarrassing score line. I can’t believe this really. Monty played so well this morning. My caddie did a great job getting in my ear. So did my girlfriend (Chloe Goadby, who won the Scottish Women’s Amateur a few weeks ago) and my Dad. They were telling me not to give up. But I still couldn’t really see it happening. To win is amazing enough, but to come back like this is completely surreal.”

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Monty Scowsill v. Laird Shepherd – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Click here to view the – 2021 Amateur Championship Match Play Scores

ME.

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Friday 18th June 2021

Afternoon – Semi-Finals

Monty SCOWSILL (ENG) and Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) were the two Semi-Final winners this afternoon.

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Match Play Semi-Finals Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Scowsill, who graduated from the University of Exeter in 2019, got off to a great start in his match against James ASHFIELD (WAL) moving into a 2Up lead after a birdie on the 3rd. However some poor play on the 8th and 9th saw the Englishman lose his advantage. The back nine turned into a scrappy affair as the magnitude of the occasion possibly started to influence proceedings. However, Scowsill helped by birdies on the 10th and 15th moved back in front and despite a stumble on the 16th saw out a 2 Holes victory as Ashfield was forced to press down the last.

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Monty Scowsill v. James Ashfield – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) added Jack DYER (ENG) to his growing list of impressive wins this week which already included highly regarded England Internationals Arron Edwards-Hill and Sam Bairstow.

Shepherd took the early lead but when he went 1Down after Dyer birdied the 10th I am sure most people’s expectations were that the recent GB&I Walker Cup player would then move forward serenely to the Final. However, Shepherd proved not to be in an accommodating mood and at his competitive best birdied both the 15th and 18th, where he played two high quality shots into the home green to secure a memorable 1Hole win.

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Laird Shepherd v. Jack Dyer – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Morning – Quarter Finals

Here are the Quarter Final results: –

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Match Play Quarter Final Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

Looking at each of the four games in more detail: –

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Monty Scowsill v. John Paterson – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Monty SCOWSILL (ENG), the lowest ranked player left in the field at SPWAR #4,180 / WAGR #1,181, was given some early encouragement by a poor start from John PATERSON (SCO), ranked SPWAR #857 / WAGR #567, and saw out the match nicely.

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James Ashfield v. Calum Scott – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

James ASHFIELD (WAL), SPWAR #2,322 / WAGR #1,431, was clearly not in the mood to make friends this morning disposing of the home favourite 17 year old Calum SCOTT (SCO), SPWAR #319 / WAGR #655, by 2&1. If the hole-by-hole scoring is to be believed Ashfield’s double bogey on the 12th are the first shots he has dropped in his last two games. That level of consistency is going to work around a tough course like Nairn where a par will often win you a hole.

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Laird Shepherd v. Sam Bairstow – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

St. Andrews-based Laird SHEPHERD (ENG), currently ranked SPWAR #2,850 / WAGR #846, showed great determination in overcoming Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG), SPWAR #90 / WAGR #141, having been 3Down after six holes and 1Down after 14.

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Jack DYER (ENG), ranked SPWAR #42 / WAGR #168, was the last player Olly HUGGINS (ENG), SPWAR #96 / WAGR #137, needed to give a head start to. Having been ‘handed’ a 4UP lead after four holes it would have been a major surprise if the confident and in form Dyer had done anything other than see out this match easily.

ME.

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Thursday 17th June 2021

Afternoon – Round 3

Here are the Round 3 results: –

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Match Play Round 3 Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

Looking at the hole-by-hole scores for each Last 16 match: –

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Ben Quinney v. Monty Scowsill – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Ben QUINNEY (ENG) was left to rue a couple of bogeys on 13 and 14 as Monty SCOWSILL‘s consistency on the back nine eventually wore him down.

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John Paterson v. Josef Hacker – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

This was an all US college match up with both players returning Juniors in September. 21 year old John PATERSON (SCO), who is at Colorado University, produced plenty of birdies in overcoming Jersey-based Josef HACKER (ENG), who is studying at Jacksonville University.

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Jack Bigham v. James Ashfield – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

James ASHFIELD (WAL) enjoyed his second 4&3 victory of the day, this time over Jack BIGHAM (ENG) who appears to have played reasonably well himself. I am sure Ashfield would have beaten most of the remaining players this afternoon with his impressive 5-under for 15 holes performance.

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Calum Scott v. Harley Smith – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Nairn’s very own Calum SCOTT (SCO) was again taken to the 19th hole today but was once more up to the task. 15 year old Harley SMITH (ENG) perhaps lacked the experience to close out the match having taken the lead on the 17th.

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Laird Shepherd v. Arron Edwards-Hill – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Stirling graduate Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) who has had to overcome some serious back and knee injuries in recent years used all of his links golf experience to get passed Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG). With Shepherd having played only a few events in recent years I am sure Edwards-Hill would not have been expecting a near flawless performance to be coming his way this afternoon.

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Ryan Tattan v. Sam Bairstow – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) appeared to have his match won against Ryan TATTAN (ENG) when he birdied the 8th and 9th to go 3Up. He then lost three holes in a row before recovering with a pitch-in eagle on the 15th to regain the advantage. It looks like a great finish with both players battling all the way to the clubhouse.

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Callan Barrow v. Olly Huggins – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

Olly HUGGINS (ENG), who holed an 8 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole on Tuesday evening to qualify for the Match Play Stage and had already endured two close games, will be relieved to have conserved some energy by pulling away from Scottish Open Amateur champion Callan BARROW (ENG) down the back nine.

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Robert Moran v. Jack Dyer – Hole-By-Hole Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Jack DYER (ENG) continues to look like the class act in the field and wasn’t overly troubled by Irishman Rob MORAN. Moran backed up his recent win in the ISPS Handa Ulster Men’s Stroke Play Championship with a good run at Nairn but Dyer was just too good for him today.

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Morning – Round 2

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Match Play Round 2 Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

Josef HACKER (ENG), Jack BIGHAM (ENG) and Callan BARROW (ENG) enjoyed the biggest wins in Round 2 this morning.

Harley SMITH (ENG) beating Haider HUSSAIN (ENG) by 2&1 was perhaps the biggest surprise of the series.

ME.

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Wednesday 16th June 2021

After a course record 62 yesterday and medalist honours there was an inevitability about Matthew CLARK‘s (SCO) 5&4 defeat to Mason ESSAM (ENG) in Round 1 of the Match Play Stage of The Amateur Championship. The fact Essam played beautifully and putted the lights out was probably irrelevant. That ladies and gentleman is golf.

Jack BIGHAM (ENG) and Connor WILSON (SCO) arguably produced the best two wins of the day. Bigham beat Archie DAVIES (WAL) who had finished the US college season strongly for East Tennessee State whilst Wilson took the even bigger scalp of Mark POWER (IRL), hot off the back of his Walker Cup heroics for GB&I.

Calum SCOTT (SCO) demonstrated that he is likely to be a force to be reckoned for a little while longer by beating the former Boys’ Amateur champion and 2019 Walker Cup player Conor GOUGH (ENG) 3&2. Conor is not the player he was a few years ago but nevertheless this was another impressive step forward for the Nairn man.

Ominously for the remaining players the highly rated English group of Haider HUSSAIN (ENG), Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG), Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG), Callan BARROW (ENG), Olly HUGGINS (ENG) and Jack DYER (ENG) are all safely through to the last 32.

Here are the full Round 1 results: –

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Match Play Round 1 Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

ME.

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Tuesday 15th June 2021

Experienced Scottish International Matthew CLARK, a 39 year old TSB bank manager, has played many great rounds in his illustrious amateur career. Today’s bogey free course record 62 (-9) at Nairn to secure medalist honours in the Amateur Championship may very well be the best of the lot.

A delighted Clark, who has never qualified before, said “I hit a lot of good golf shots, played conservatively and avoided the bunkers, which you need to do around this golf course. It’s a nice place to get a course record, but I think you’d give the 62 up to hold the trophy on Saturday. That’s what we’ve all come here for and they’ll be gunning for the guy who did something good today, so let’s see how it goes.”

img_5329 Matthew Clark’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

Aron Snær JÚLÍUSSON (ICL) 65 and Jack DYER (ENG), Gregor TAIT (SCO), Luke HARRIES (WAL), Joe SULLIVAN (ENG) and Rory BROWNE (ENG) all 67 clearly enjoyed the calmer conditions in Round 2.

Round 1 leader Calum SCOTT (SCO) did what he needed to posting a 72 to finish on -3 and 5th.

57 year old Derek PATON (SCO) was by some distance the oldest qualifier finishing on 147 (+5) to secure the 57th seed.

With a Round 2 card countback being used for the first time to ensure a clean 64 player match play draw could be made there was always the potential for some late drama and so it proved. Four of the last six players on the course, John CLEARY (IRL), Olly HUGGINS (ENG), Ryan TATTAN (ENG) and Tom STAGG (ENG), all finished strongly – Cleary and Tattan both eagled the 18th – to jump the right side of the 148 (+6) qualifying line. Huggins produced the best comeback in the field following up is opening 80 with a 68 to scrape through.

Nine players on +6 missed out due to the countback rule; the most unfortunate being Jack BROOKS (ENG), Jacob DAVIES (WAL), Jamie MANN (SCO) and Stuart EASTON (SCO) who all lost their places as the final two groups came in.

The average score in Round 2 was 72.65, four shots better than in Round 1. With the westerly wind less of a factor it was no surprise to see all of those four shots being saved on the front nine.

Here is a list of all the Stroke Play qualifiers with their final scores: –

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Final Stroke Play Qualifying Leaderboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Click here to view the – 2021 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

ME.

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Monday 14th June 2021

17 year old home favourite Calum SCOTT (SCO) played the opening shot of the 126th Amateur Championship. Little did he know at 7.00am that 14 hours later he would be leading the Stroke Play Qualifying having only played another 66 shots on his way to a bogey free round of 67 (-4).

img_5316Calum Scott’s Round 1 Scorecard (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)  

By the close of play just four competitors from the other 143 had managed to record an under par round. Jack DYER (ENG) finished the day on -3 with 15 year old Florida-based Frank KENNEDY (ENG), Liam O’NEILL (IRL) and Max KENNEDY (IRL) two shots further back after 70’s.

The prevailing westerly wind blew hard today which meant the opening seven holes became a battle with the players having to limit the damage whilst hoping for better things when they turned for home with the wind in their sails.

Josh GREER epitomised these struggles but also demonstrated his strong mental approach. He started and finished with triple bogey 7’s in a front nine of 43. Lesser players would have perhaps given up but not the Australian; he played the back nine in 31 with five birdies and left Nairn with a respectable 74 in 25th place.

The average score in Round 1 was 76.66, 5.66 over par. On the front nine it was 39.93, 4.93 shots over par. Coming home it was 36.73, even with the more favourable conditions still 0.73 over par.

The leading 25 players after 18 holes are shown below: –

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Round 1 Stroke Play Qualifying Leaderboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

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Sunday 13th June 2021

The 126th Amateur Championship will be played at The Nairn G.C. near Inverness in Scotland on 14th – 19th June 2021.

The Amateur 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.

The 2021 Championship was originally due to be co-hosted by The Nairn G.C. and Nairn Dunbar G.C. but due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 and the likelihood of international travel restrictions remaining in place The R&A took the decision, as they did last year, to play the Championship solely at Nairn with a reduced field.

Format

The normal field of 288 players has been reduced to 144 players this year. It was 120 last year at Royal Birkdale G.C. when the Championship was played in late August and there was less light available.

Two stroke play qualifying rounds will be completed on Monday 14th June and Wednesday 15th June.

Nairn member Calum SCOTT (SCO), will hit the first shot of the Championship at 7.00am. With an 11 minute gap between tee times the final group will go out at 3.52pm on each of the opening days.

Click here to view the – 2021 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Tee Times

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores will advance to the match play stage.

A Round 2 card countback will be used for the first time to ensure a clean 64 players advance. Ties for 64th place will not advance as they have done previously and as a result there will be no preliminary round and a standard match play draw will be made. The card count back approach was due to be used in 2020 but the decision was rescinded when the Stroke Play Qualifying competition had to be reduced to 18 holes due to bad weather.

The Match Play stage will then be played between Wednesday 16th and Saturday 19th June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for Sunday’s Final which will be contested over 36 holes. Extra sudden death holes will be used in all games if necessary.

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The Nairn G.C. 2nd Hole and Clubhouse (Photo: The Nairn G.C.) 

Players

The 144 competitiors were firstly drawn from a number of exempt categories covering various historic Championship performances and representative team selections.

Thereafter places were allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at Week 19 2021, i.e. the Wednesday 19th May release, and then via WHS Handicap index at the date of entry.

I take no pleasure in saying this but the COVID-19 international travel restrictions and the early playing of the Walker Cup mean this is undoubtedly the weakest field that has ever assembled for an Amateur Championship.

92% of the field are from the home nations; England have 70 players in the field (49%), Scotland 36, Ireland 16 and Wales 9.

There are just 12 overseas players from a total of six countries with Iceland providing six of these. 34 countries were represented in 2019 highlighting the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reduction in field size.

At the start of play just three of the field were in the WAGR top 100 and just 14 in the top 250. 26 of the players competing do not even have a WAGR ranking. With Sandy SCOTT (SCO) #7 withdrawing on the eve of the competition the highest ranked player in the field is now Jack COPE #29.

Jack DYER (ENG) and Mark POWER (IRL), who reached the semi-finals in 2020, are the only two from the sixteen players selected for the 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Team and earlier Squad that will be teeing off.

The defending champion Joe LONG (ENG) will be using his exemption to appear in the 2021 U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines G.C. which starts on 17th June. Last year’s runner up Joe HARVEY (ENG) does return.

Based on the SPWAR, in my opinion the most accurate ranking of amateur golfers, the favourites this year should be Jack DYER (ENG) #54, Mark POWER (IRL) #60, Callan BARROW (ENG) #82, who reached the quarter finals at Birkdale and recently won the Scottish Open Amateur at Southerness, Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) #90, Olly HUGGINS (ENG) #97, Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) #98, Archie DAVIES (WAL) #99, Jack COPE (ENG) #101, who won the St Andrews Links Trophy last weekend, Haider HUSSAIN (ENG) #105 and Dan BRADBURY (ENG) #113.

Fraser FOTHERINGHAM and Calum SCOTT (SCO) are both members of The Nairn G.C. Only time will tell if home advantage proves to be a benefit for the two of them or a distraction as higher expectations locally can often weigh heavily on the shoulders.

Sadly Calum’s brother Sandy, who played in the 2019 Walker Cup match and was selected for the recent one at Seminole before having to withdraw, was due to play but ultimately missed out again due to his longstanding wrist injury which has now prevented him from playing competitively since last October.

One of the last player to make the field was Louis SANDERS (ENG) who got the nod at 12.30pm on Sunday afternoon. Louis plays out of Copt Heath G.C. in Warwickshire, the home club of amateur legend Peter McEvoy and less importantly my good self.

Another Warwickshire player who is competing is Kenilworth’s Warren Bladon; the 1996 winner is the only former champion in the field.

As we all know Championships are not won on paper or via rankings. The 126th Amateur Championship looks a particularly open one to me and, even more so than normal, virtually any of the players could win it if they have a good week, hole a few putts and benefit from some kind bounces at the right time.

Host Course

The Nairn G.C. is located in The Highlands, around 160 miles north of Scotland’s capital Edinburgh.

The most notable features are the gorse and the Moray Firth which is visible from every hole and in play, for a particularly wild shot, on the opening seven. As these holes play into the prevailing westerly wind such a shot occurs more often than one may think possible at first sight.

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The Nairn G.C. Course Map (Photo: The Nairn G.C. / Strokesport Ltd)

Nairn was established by an Edinburgh born lawyer Robert Findlay in 1887 with Old Tom Morris, James Braid, Ben Sayers, Braid again and finally architect C.K. Cotton in the 1970’s all having a hand in the development of the course over the years.

The course was lengthened ahead of the 1999 Walker Cup match which GB&I memorably won 15-9.

The Championship course measures 6,832 yards and has a par of 71.

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The Nairn G.C. Scorecard (Photo: The Nairn G.C.)

Weather Forecast (as at Sunday 13th June)

The weather forecast for the week ahead is positively tropical for this part of the world with the only exception being the strong winds which are forecast for Monday, particularly around lunchtime: –

Mon 13th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 20-40 mph W. Temp. Min. 8°C / Max. 16°C.
Tues 14th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 12 mph S. Temp. Min. 12°C / Max. 16°C.
Wed 15th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 16 mph SW. Temp. Min. 10°C / Max. 18°C.
Thu 16th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 12 mph W. Temp. Min. 7°C / Max. 16°C.
Fri 17th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 11 mph W. Temp. Min. 8°C / Max. 15°C.
Sat 18th – Light Cloud. Wind 14 mph S. Temp. Min. 9°C / Max. 15°C.

Click here to view the – Latest BBC Weather Forecast For Nairn

Tee times between 7.00am and 3.52pm mean changes in the weather can have a material impact on the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the leading player in the stroke play qualifying competition, with any ties decided on the lowest second round score (or final nine, six or three or one if necessary).

The winner of the match play stage will become the The Amateur Champion receiving the Championship Trophy and a Gold Medal.

The runner-up receives a Silver Medal and each losing semi-finalist a Bronze Medal.

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into the 149th Open Championship being staged at Royal St. George’s G.C. in Kent, England in July 2021. As The Open was cancelled last year there will be two Amateur champions in the field, Joe LONG joining this year’s winner.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C. and also exempted into the 2022 U.S. Open Championship which will be held at The Country Club in Brookline, near Boston.

2020 Amateur Championship

23 year old Joe LONG (ENG) won the 2020 Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale G.C. to become the 51st Englishman to lift the famous silver trophy.

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Joe Long (Photo: Richard Heathcote / The R&A / R&A via Getty Images)

Joe beat his namesake and Gloucestershire teammate Joe HARVEY (ENG) 4&3 in the 36 hole Final.

It was the first all-England final since Graeme Storm defeated Aran Wainwright 7&6 at Royal County Down in 1999. The last English champion was Harry Ellis who won at Royal St George’s in 2017.

Long shot a 74 (-3) in the stroke play qualifying, which was reduced to 18 holes due to bad weather, to finish tied 30th. In reaching the Final he had to overcome three of England’s leading players Olly HUGGINS, Barclay BROWN and Jake BOLTON.

Click here to view the – 2020 Amateur Championship Match Play Scores

A then 16 year old Ruben LINDSAY (SCO), who was the reigning Scottish Boys’ Amateur champion, shot a 67 (-4) to win the 18 hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition.

2020 was the first time that The R&A had been unable to complete the 36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying since introducing it in 1983. Round 1 was abandoned late in the afternoon on Day 1 after heavy rain and strong winds made the course unplayable.

As a result 68 players progressed to the Match Play Stage with the cut coming at scores of 76 (+5) or better.

Click here to view the – 2020 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

A Short History of The Amateur

The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool G.C. 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 many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open Championship. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and as good if not better than most of the professionals of the day.

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 Stranahan (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.

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: The Nairn G.C.) 

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.

Prior to Joe Long’s win in 2020 the previous 10 winners of The Amateur Championship were: –

2019  James Sugrue (IRL) – Portmarnock G.C.
2018  Jovan Rebula (RSA) – Royal Aberdeen G.C.
2017  Harry Ellis (ENG) – Royal St. George’s G.C.
2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl G.C.
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie G.L.
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush G.C.
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports G.C.
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRL) – Royal Troon G.C.
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside G.C.
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield

A great achievement and honour for all of the players listed above. However, it’s also another reminder of how incredibly tough golf is and that wins in the biggest events are no guarantee of success in the professional game.

Click here to view a complete list of – Past Amateur Championship Winners

ME.

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

Scottish Men’s Open Championship – 2021 Preview & Results

30th May 2021

Callan BARROW (ENG) shot rounds of 63, 67, 64 and 67 for a 261 (-15) total to win the Scottish Men’s Open Amateur Championship at Southerness G.C.

Barrow took control of the Championship with a 64 on Sunday morning; a round which included one eagle and seven birdies.

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Callan Barrow (Photo: Scottish Golf)

Barrow, a member of Royal Lytham & St Annes G.C., said in an interview with Scottish Golf “It’s been a good few years so to finally get a big win is amazing. The last three days have been incredible. My game’s been pretty solid. The putter has probably been the hottest thing in the bag which was needed round here.”

James WILSON (ENG) finished 2nd on -12, Stuart EASTON (SCO), who had taken a 1-shot lead into the final day, came in 3rd on -7 and Lewis IRVINE (SCO) and Haider HUSSAIN (ENG) tied 4th on -6.

Wilson’s 62 (-7) in Round 1 which included eight birdies proved to be the low round of the Championship.

Irvine, from Kirkhill G.C. had a final day to remember. Rounds of 64 (-5) and 66 (-3) saw him come from a long way back for a career best top 5 finish.

44 players made the 36 hole cut on Saturday evening which fell at 140 (+2). In form Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) was the most notable player to miss out.

There were two holes in one recorded. Patrick KEELING (IRL) on the 15th in Round 1 and Joe HARVEY (ENG) on the 17th in Round 3 took the happy memories away from Dumfrieshire.

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Final Results (Graphic: Scottish Golf)

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24th May 2021

The 54th Scottish Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship starts on Friday 28th May at Southerness Golf Club in Dumfries.

This is the first major British or Irish amateur championship in 2021.

Due to COVID-19 protocols no caddies or spectators will be allowed on site.

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Southerness Golf Club (Photo: Southerness Golf Club)

Format

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

18 holes will be played on both Friday 28th and Saturday 29th May.

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 30th May.

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

144 competitors will start the 2021 Championship.

The Championship is returning to its traditional late May / early June time slot following a misguided move in 2018 and 2019 to late August which led to a noticeable drop off in field quality.

However, the impact of ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions and the early Walker Cup means that Scottish Golf are not going to see a material uplift in the standard of the field this year. The former means few foreign players have entered. The latter has pushed back the US College schedule and changed the priorities of many leading GB&I players. The NCAA National Championships are now being played in Arizona directly opposite this event. The fact the Walker Cup has already been played also means that many GB&I players have already turned pro or are planning to do so shortly so have no motivation to play.

Additionally, the Irish Challenge event on the European Challenge Tour is being played at Portmarnock Links between 27-30 May which has drawn a number of the leading Irish amateurs.

Jake DYER ENG (SPWAR #73) is the highest ranked player and only GB&I Walker Cupper competing at Southerness.

The standout names in this year’s field are all English – Sam BAIRSTOW (#165), Callan BARROW (#206), Jack BROOKS (#252), Jack COPE (#230), Arron EDWARDS-HILL (#111), Joe HARVEY (#232), Olly HUGGINS (#128) and Haider HUSSAIN (#140).

Jack Brooks, the world’s most active amateur golfer, is preparing for the Championship as only he knows how – by playing in the 72-hole Lagonda Trophy at Gog Magog GC in Cambridgeshire on Wednesday and Thursday. He will finish up around 6.30pm before travelling the 312 miles up to Dumfrieshire. He tees off at 1.10pm on Friday afternoon.

The highest ranked Irish, Scottish and Welsh players competing are Hugh FOLEY (#717), Calum SCOTT (#397) and Luke HARRIES (#2,028).

Tee Times and Scores

Click here to view the – 2021 Scottish Men’s Open Championship Tee Times / Scores

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12th Hole, Southerness Golf Club (Photo: Southerness Golf Club)

Southerness Golf Club

Southerness is a flat links course set on the Solway Coast near Dumfries in the south west corner of Scotland.

It was designed by Philip Mackenzie Ross and laid out by Messrs. Sutton and Sons of Reading in 1946. The Club is therefore celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

The championship tees enable the par 69 course to be stretched to a demanding 6,728 yards.

A number of prestigious amateur Championships have been staged on the course over the years. It has previously hosted the Scottish Amateur Open Stroke Play in 2002 and 2013 with Barry Hume and Garrick Porteous coming out on top in those years.

The Club have posted a nice aerial video on their website ahead of the Championship which gives a good feel for the examination that awaits the players this week.

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).

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast is reasonably good. Whilst there is likely to be little sun the players will be pleased to see the winds are forecast to be weak throughout the weekend.

Fri 28th May – Light Rain / Wind 8 mph S / Temp. Min. 9°C / Max. 13°C,
Sat 29th May – Light Cloud /  Wind 7 mph S / Temp. Min. 9°C /Max. 17°C
Sun 30th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 9 mph SE / Temp. Min. 11°C / Max. 19°C

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

2020 Results

The 2020 Scottish Men’s Open Championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2019 Results

Jake BOLTON (ENG) won the 2019 Championship at The Duke’s Course in St. Andrews with a 272 (-12) total.

Jake shot rounds of 64, 68, 76 and 64 to secure the title by 1-shot. His final round included birdies on 16 and 18.

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

img_1793.jpg Jake Bolton (Photo: Mark Bolton)

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

Past Winners

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

2011 – Andy Sullivan (ENG)
2009 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG)
2004 – Richie Ramsay (SCO)
2003 – Gary Wolstenholme (ENG)
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)

A full list of the past winners can be viewed here – Scottish Open Amateur Winners

ME.

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