The Lytham Trophy – 2019 Preview

7th April 2019

The 2019 Lytham Trophy will be played on 3rd – 5th May at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

It is always the first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season.

img_7520

Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Brian Young)

In 2018 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed it 18th in it’s list of worldwide amateur competitions based on field strength. It normally ranks 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Coming early in the season it is held back by missing out on European players studying at U.S. colleges.

Format and Tee Times

144 scratch golfers from 15 diffrent countries will tee off in what will be the 55th playing of this prestigious competition.

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

View the Draw for Rounds 1 and 2 here – 2019 Lytham Trophy Tee Times

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

Course

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

Like The Open Championship players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.40pm on the Friday and Saturday so changes in the weather and wind speeds throughout the first two days often play a big part in scoring.

Prizes

The Winner receives a silver replica of the Lytham Trophy, both of which are shown below.

Lytham Trophies

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

Players

Many of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing.

Here are eight players to watch out for (SPWAR rankings as at 7th April): –

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) – SPWAR 11th
A prolific winner in recent years the 2019 South African Amateur champion must start as one of the favourites.

Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) – SPWAR 12th
Not quite in the same league as Nienaber but Schaper will arrive in confident mood after winning the 2019 South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

Conor PURCELL (IRE) – SPWAR 22nd
The 2019 Australian Amateur champion is playing consistently well and with plenty of links experience can be expected to feature highly again.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) – SPWAR 36th
Caolan has finished tied 21st, tied 7th and tied 14th in the last three Lytham Trophies. It will therefore be no surprise to see the Dundalk man go well again in 2019, particularly after his recent win in the West of Ireland Open Championship.

Joey SAVOIE (CAN) – SPWAR 37th
Canadian Savoie played well in Australia earlier this year and will be looking to secure a high finish at Lytham.

Euan WALKER (SCO) – SPWAR 39th
The 2019 African Amateur champion knows a top 10 finish at Lytham will go a long way to securing his place in the 2019 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) – SPWAR 84th
Saunton’s Burnage finished 3rd at Lytham in 2017 and whilst he has been a bit inconsistent since he is certainly capable of another high finish.

Tom PLUMB (ENG) – SPWAR 85th
Plumb, recent winner of the Cape Province Open in South Africa, is the highest 2018 finisher returning this year. Another 5th place or better in 2019 would be very welcome for the Dorset man whose Walker Cup ambitions are increasing by the month.

The 2018 Lytham Trophy

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) won the 2018 Lytham Trophy by an impressive 9-shots after recording rounds of 67, 69, 70 and 66 – not one of over par – for a 272 total (-8).

img_9148

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Angie McGlue)

Mitch WAITE (ENG) finished 2nd with a 281 (+1) total whilst Sam LOCKE (SCO) and David NYFJALL (SWE) finished tied 3rd with a 284 (+4) score. Tom PLUMB (ENG) was 5th, one shot further back, on 285 (+5).

49 players on +7 or better made the top 40 and ties cut in a competition unusually played in dry and sunny weather.

Click here to view the full 2018 Lytham Trophy results – Final Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

Member’s subscribed to purchase the unique sputnik trophy. This remains at Royal Lytham with a smaller replica handed out annually to the winner.

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

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael BONALLACK – 1965 (s), 1972
Rodney FOSTER – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey MARKS – 1970 (s)
Charles GREEN – 1970 (s), 1974
Michael KING – 1973
George MACGREGOR – 1975
Peter MCEVOY – 1978
Ian HUTCHEON – 1980
Roger CHAPMAN – 1981
John HAWKSWORTH – 1984
Paul BROADHURST – 1988
Gary EVANS – 1990, 1991
Stephen GALLAGHER – 1995
Graham RANKIN – 1997
Stuart WILSON – 2003
(s) = shared

In 2004 21 year old James HEATH won with a record score of 266 (-18), recording rounds of 67, 68, 66, and 65. Garth McGimpsey, the then Walker Cup captain, described Heath’s performance as ‘the best amateur golf I’ve ever seen’.

No one else has ever come close to this mark before or after. The next best scores being Daan HUIZING’s 273 in 2013 and Richard MCEVOY’s 276 in 2001.

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

The eight winners prior to Matthew JORDAN show just how international the amateur game has become. However, after a spell of overseas winners the last three have all come from England: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Ireland)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (England)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (The Netherlands)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finland)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)
Alfie PLANT – 2016 (England)
Jack SINGH BRAR – 2017 (England)

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

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

6th May 2018

Round 4

Matthew Jordan (ENG) today added the 2018 Lytham Trophy to his impressive amateur golfing c.v. after a superb day’s play from him on the challenging Lancashire links.

He started the day with a two shot lead and went on to finish the event with a 9-shot victory. Recording rounds of 67, 69, 70 and 66 – not one of over par – for a 272 total (-8) over three days takes some doing. His nerveless final round of 66 was also the best of the day.

img_9149-1

Matthew Jordan’s Rd 4 Scorecard (Photo: Royal Lytham GC)

The win initially moved Matthew to 12th in the SPWAR but this quickly became 11th when Dawson Armstrong (USA) announced he was turning pro. He and Todd Clements (18th) are now GB&I’s, and for that matter Europe’s, leading amateur golfers.

img_9148-e1525641727815.jpg

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Angie McGlue)

Backing up his recent Hampshire Salver win Mitch Waite (ENG) finished 2nd with a 281 (+1) total.

Sam Locke (SCO) and David Nyfjall (SWE) finished tied 3rd with a 284 (+4) score. Sam delivered a great 67 in the final round to record the best result of his career to date.

Tom Plumb (ENG) matched Sam’s 67 to finish 5th on 285 (+5). Todd Clements (ENG) shot a 68 and Ben Chamberlain (WAL) a 69 on the final afternoon to finish 6th (286 +6) and 7th (287 +7) respectively.

Click here to view the full 2018 Lytham Trophy results – Results

Round 3

Whilst achieved in completely different manners the three leading players Matthew Jordan (ENG), Mitch Waite (ENG) and David Nyfjall (SWE) all shot even par 70’s in the third round to keep the competition very much alive.

The best scores in round 3 came from Andrew Wilson (ENG) and Tiarnan McLarnon (IRE) who both recorded 69’s.

______________________________________________

5th May 2018

Matthew Jordan (ENG) shot a 69 in round 2 of the Lytham Trophy. His 136 total (67 69 / -4) leaves him two shots ahead of the field with 36 holes to be played tomorrow.

Mitch Waite (ENG), winner of the Hampshire Salver a few weeks ago, shot the round of the day matching Billy McKenzie’s 66 from yesterday. This lifted him into 2nd place which he shares with Sweden’s David Nyfjall, who recorded a second 69.

img_9138

Mitch Waite’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: Royal Lytham GC)

49 players on +7 or better made the top 40 and ties cut. The Round 2 CSS of 76 was the same as on Day 1.

Play will start at 7.00am tomorrow with the leading group teeing off in their 3rd and 4th rounds at 10.12am and 3.15pm respectively.

______________________________________________

4th May 2018

Billy McKenzie (ENG), winner of the Spanish International Amateur in early March, leads the Lytham Trophy after Round 1.

With playing conditions forecast to be good all weekend lower scoring than normal was expected around the tough Royal Lytham course. Billy didn’t disappoint. He teed off at 8.30am and his 66 (-4) set an impressive early target which from the outset looked like it may hold up all day.

To put it in context the CSS for the round was 76 and the lowest round in the whole 2017 competition was a 68 (-2), which Jack Singh Bear also recorded in Round 1.

img_5751

Billy McKenzie’s Rd 1 Scorecard (Photo: Royal Lytham GC)

Matthew Jordan (ENG) is one shot back after a 67 (-3). In a very steady round birdies on 6, 8, 11 and 13 were offset by a single bogey on the difficult 15th, a par 4 playing 464 yards.

Tied for third are Robin Williams (ENG), Sam Locke (SCO) and John Brady (IRE) all of whom posted 68’s (-2).

After 18 holes tied 40th place is occupied by 11 players on +3. With warmer weather forecast for today scores should be similar to Day 1 and therefore the cut will probably be in the region of +6.

______________________________________________

29th April 2018

The 2018 Lytham Trophy will be played on 4th, 5th and 6th May at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.

It is the first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season.

img_7520

Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Brian Young)

In 2017 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed it 18th in it’s list of worldwide amateur competitions based on field strength. It normally ranks 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Coming early in the season it misses out on European players competing for U.S. colleges.

Course

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

Like The Open Championship players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.40pm on the Friday and Saturday so changes in the weather and wind speeds throughout the first two days often play a big part in scoring.

Format and Tee Times

144 scratch golfers from 15 diffrent countries will tee off in what will be the 54th playing of this prestigious competition.

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

View the Draw for Rounds 1 and 2 here – 2018 Lytham Trophy Tee Times

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

The Winner receives a silver replica of the Lytham Trophy, both of which are shown below.

Lytham Trophies

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

Players

Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing.

Here is a list of the highest ranked players in the field and those showing some early season form (SPWAR rankings as at 29th April): –

Matt SAULEZ (RSA) – SPWAR 23rd
Matt has been building an impressive resume over the last 3 years without delivering a big win. He is currently the highest ranked player in the field.

Malcolm MITCHELL (RSA) – SPWAR 27th
Arrives in the UK on the back of two very solid season’s back home.

Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) – SPWAR 28th
The 2017 English Amateur champion has recently finished 2nd in the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School and 1st in the European Nations Cup Individual. He is now GB&I’s No. 1 amateur golfer.

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) – SPWAR 32nd
A prolific winner of junior events in South Africa in recent years as well as winner of the Western Province Open Amateur last week. He could very easily be the next Thriston Lawrence (Lytham Trophy 2015) or Kyle McClatchie (Brabazon Trophy 2017).

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) – SPWAR 39th
Finished tied 7th last year before embarking on a great run of form that led to his selection for the 2017 Walker Cup team.

Deon GERMISHUYS (RSA) – SPWAR 51st
A superb win at the 2018 South African Amateur followed up with another at the All Africa Junior Challenge will see Deon arrive in the UK full of confidence.

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) – SPWAR 78th
Now established as one of GB&I’s leading players Gian-Marco won the Welsh Open Amateur in 2017 and the New South Wales Amateur in Australia earlier this year. He was tied 2nd in the European Nations Cup Individual at Sotogrande last weekend.

David HAGUE (ENG) – SPWAR 87th
Won the Lagonda Trophy and North of England Open Amateur in 2017 and has become an important member of the England Men’s Squad in 2018.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) – SPWAR 103rd
The medalist at last year’s Amateur Championship has finished tied 21st and tied 7th at the last two Lytham Trophies. I am sure he has a big win coming.

Alex GLEESON (IRE) – SPWAR 103rd
After a good playing trip to South Africa Alex is finding form at the right time. He arrives having recently reached the final of the West of Ireland and having finished tied 2nd in the European Nations Cup Individual.

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – SPWAR 106th
Like Alex Robin played well in South Africa and will now be looking for some big performances back home to secure a place in GB&I’s St. Andrews Trophy Team.

Clayton MANSFIELD (RSA) – SPWAR 123rd
Won the Cape Province Open earlier this year.

Ben JONES (ENG) – SPWAR 146th
Winner of the U18 Duke of York at nearby Royal Liverpool GC last year and tied 2nd at the Portuguese International Amateur a few weeks ago.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) – SPWAR 154th
Saunton’s Jake finished 3rd at Lytham last year and was recently medalist in the Spanish International Amateur.

Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) – SPWAR 198th
Laird has dominated British University golf this season and has a number of good results on links courses under his belt in recent years.

Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) – SPWAR 203rd
Winner of the 2018 Spanish International Amateur at La Manga.

Callum FARR (ENG) – SPWAR 425th
Recent winner of the Selborne Salver and shared winner of the West of England Amateur at Royal North Devon this weekend.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) – SPWAR 559th
Mitch recently won the Hampshire Hog and Hampshire Salver competitions. His tied 4th place at the 2017 Irish Amateur Open, played at Royal County Down G.C., suggests he has the skills and strategy to cope with the toughest of layouts.

Weather Forecast

The latest weather forecast (as at Thursday 3rd May) looks great for all three competition days – sunny with no more than a gentle breeze blowing.

Fri  4th May – Cloudy / Wind 9 mph W / Temp. Min. 8°C / Max. 14°C.
Sat  5th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 8 mph SW / Temp. Min. 7°C / Min 16°C.
Sun 6th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 8 mph SSW / Temp. Min. 9°C / Max. 19°C.

The 2017 Lytham Trophy

Jack SINGH BRAR won the 2017 Lytham Trophy on an exciting final day at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club.

img_9133

Hamey and Jack Singh Brar (Photo: Angie McGlue)

Two in form players at the time ran the Hampshire man close; Charlie STRICKLAND finishing second and Jake BURNAGE third.

Click this link to view the 2017 Lytham Trophy – Final Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

Member’s subscribed to purchase the unique sputnik trophy. This remains at Royal Lytham with a smaller replica handed out annually to the winner.

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

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael BONALLACK – 1965 (s), 1972
Rodney FOSTER – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey MARKS – 1970 (s)
Charles GREEN – 1970 (s), 1974
Michael KING – 1973
George MACGREGOR – 1975
Peter MCEVOY – 1978
Ian HUTCHEON – 1980
Roger CHAPMAN – 1981
John HAWKSWORTH – 1984
Paul BROADHURST – 1988
Gary EVANS – 1990, 1991
Stephen GALLAGHER – 1995
Graham RANKIN – 1997
Stuart WILSON – 2003
(s) = shared

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

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

The seven winners prior to Jack SINGH BRAR show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Ireland)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (England)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (The Netherlands)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finland)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)
Alfie PLANT – 2016 (England)

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

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2017 Preview & Results

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR won the 2017 Lytham Trophy on an exciting final day at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club.

Whilst a two shot wire-to wire win looks reasonably comfortable on paper the afternoon final round was far from straight forward for the Remedy Oak based Englishman.

With the wind picking up Singh Brar quickly saw his four shot 54-hole lead evaporate. Two doubles and a bogey led to an outward 39 and when he bogeyed the short 10th it appeared he maybe opening the door for the chasing pack. It was to his credit that he pulled himself together and parred the remaining holes, save for the 17th where a birdie – he holed out from a bunker – gave him some breathing space to play the finishing hole.

Jack Singh Brar (Photo: @Golfing4Life_)

Charlie STRICKLAND, 18 later this month, continued his rich vein of form with an impressive 2nd place finish. A final round 73, with a bogey on the last, represented another excellent result for the Ham Manor player.

Making it an England 1-2-3 was Saunton’s Jake BURNAGE. Burnage won the Hampshire Hog a couple of weeks ago and showed with a consistent final day pair of 72’s at Lytham that he is increasingly a player to be reckoned with in 2017.     

Earlier in the afternoon, with Singh Brar hitting reverse, it looked like William WHITEOAK may set an unbeatable clubhouse target. Standing on the 17th tee on +9 he unfortunately finished 5-7 to drift out to +13 and a 6th place finish that could clearly have been much better.

Other players to finish strongly with good final rounds included Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 70 / +15 (7th),  Sam DONE (ENG) 71 / +15 (8th) and Owen EDWARDS (WAL) 71 / +15 (9th).

The best final round scores came from England’s George BLOOR (+17) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (+17) both shot 69’s (-1) to secure Top 20 finishes.

In what was generally a disappointing event for our leading players Welsh pair Owen EDWARDS (+15 / 9th) and Jack DAVIDSON (+16 / 14th) were the two highest finishers of the 18 GB&I Walker Cup squad players competing.

The average score fell to it’s lowest level in Round 4 – 73.8. The CSS was 75.

Round 4 Start Sheet / Round 4 Results / Final Results

___________________________________________________________

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR (72 / +3) took a 4-shot lead over Charlie STRICKLAND (71 / +7) and Simon RICHARDSON (73 / +7) into the afternoon final round.

Today’s ‘star pairing’ of Robert MACINTYRE (70 / +9) and Jack DAVIDSON (72 / +11) both did well in Round 3 moving up the standings.

Jamie STEWART (+12) recovered some of the ground he lost yesterday with a 71, finishing with 13 straight pars.

Early starters William WHITEOAK (+10) and Todd CLEMENTS (+12) showed that good scores were going to be possible. The English pair recorded rounds of 69 and 70 respectively in Round 3.

The average score from the 42 qualifiers in Rd 3 was 75.2 with the CSS being 76.

Round 3 Start Sheet / Round 3 Results

______________________________________________________________

Saturday 6th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

Jeff WRIGHT produced a 67, ultimately the best round of the week, to move into a share of the lead on +1 with first round leader Jack SINGH BRAR (73).

On a slightly easier day the average score in Round 2 was 75.8 and the CSS 76.

Simon RICHARDSON (ENG) shot only the third under par round of the competition. His 69 lifting him in to third place on +4.

Charlie STRICKLAND, recent winner of both the Duncan Putter and U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy, recorded a second 73 to remain firmly in the mix on 146 (+6).

Tom SLOMAN (78, 70), Jack DAVIDSON (79, 70), Dan BROWN (78, 71) and Llew MATTHEWS (78, 71) showed admirable toughness in bouncing back from high first round scores to move into the Top 15.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) is also tied 12th on +9 after he followed an opening 76 with a 73.

The cut fell at +12 with 42 players qualifying for the final day’s 36 holes. 13 of the 18 Walker Cup squad players competing missed the cut.

Round 2 Start Sheet / Round 2 Results

______________________________________________________________

Friday 5th May 2017 – Round 1 Report

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) produced a superb round of 68 (-2) to take the early lead at Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC.

To put this round in context the average score from the 144 players who teed off was 79.9 and the CSS was 79. Whilst it was dry the offshore easterly wind proved challenging particularly on the outward nine holes.

Matthew CLARK (SCO) was second after an even par 70 and in form Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) third after his 73. A group of seven players, including Scottish trio Jeff WRIGHT, Liam JOHNSTON and Jamie STEWART, were tied for fourth after shooting 74 (+4).

Round 1 Start Sheet / Round 1 Results

________________________________________________________________

26th April 2017

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

Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Brian Young)

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) ranked it the 13th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field. It normally ranks 3rd in GB&I behind the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. I anticipate the 2017 field will be slightly weaker than recent years but will remain in the top 20 in the world in quality terms.

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

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

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

Lytham Trophies

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

The 2017 Lytham Trophy

This year’s Lytham Trophy will be played between Friday 5th May and Sunday 7th May.

144 scratch golfers from 16 different countries have paid the £90 entry fee and will tee off in what will be the 53rd playing of this prestigious competition.

The 2017 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 can be viewed here – Lytham Trophy Start Sheet.

Most of GB&I’s leading amateur golfers will be competing. Here is a list of some players showing some early season form as well as those who I expect to do well (SPWAR rankings as at 26th April): –

David BOOTE (WAL) – SPWAR 31st
David has finished tied 4th in the Portuguese Int. Amateur and tied 10th in the European Nations Cup this year.

Daniel BROWN (ENG) – SPWAR 148th
After some encouraging results in South Africa Dan will be looking to make a strong push for a Walker Cup spot.

Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) – SPWAR 75th
GB&I’s star player this season with wins in both the Spanish Int. Amateur and European Nations Cup.

Robin DAWSON (IRE) – SPWAR 45th
Runner up three times this season already at the South African SP, Cape Province Open and European Nations Cup.

Owen EDWARDS (WAL) – SPWAR 282nd
Owen followed up his tied 10th finish at the European Nations cup by recently winning the West of England SP at Saunton GC.

Alex GLEESON (IRE) – SPWAR 127th
The reigning Irish Amateur Close champion has performed well in Argentina and South Africa in 2017.

Stuart GREHAN (IRE) – SPWAR 59th
Stuart won the R&A Foundation Scholars event at St. Andrews a few weeks ago following up solid early season performances in both South Africa and Europe.

Scott GREGORY (ENG) – SPWAR 46th
The 2016 Amateur champion has continued his good form into 2017 already winning both the New Sales Wales Amateur and Georgia Cup.

Craig HOWIE (SCO) – SPWAR 52nd
Winner of the 2017 Criagmillar Park Open in Scotland last weekend, Craig is due a big win soon.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) – SPWAR 55th
The 2017 African Amateur champion will be keen to get his European season up and running with a big Lytham performance.

Bradley MOORE (ENG) – SPWAR 226th
Bradley will be looking for a big result in this Walker Cup year. What better place than Lytham where he has form; 8th here in 2015 and tied 2nd in 2016.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) – SPWAR 32nd
Robert has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Amateur and finished tied 7th in the European Nations Cup this year.

Marco PENGE (ENG) – SPWAR 88th
Finalist at both the New South Wales Amateur and Spanish International Amateur this year. On his day capable of beating anyone.

Alfie PLANT (ENG) – SPWAR 79th
After an impressive 2016 the defending champion (see below) has made a slowish start to 2017. He will be looking to get back on track at a course he will have happy memories of.

Craig ROSS (SCO) – SPWAR 124th
The 2016 South African Amateur Champion again wintered well and looks to be coming into form nicely after a tied 4th place at the recent Battle Trophy at Crail GS.

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) – SPWAR 102nd
Jack is making a big move in 2017. After a string of fine results in Australia his continued good form culminated in a win at the Hampshire Salver earlier in April.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) – SPWAR 295th
Charlie delivered two wins in a week in April; he quickly followed the Duncan Putter with the Peter McEvoy Trophy (U18).

Connor SYME (SCO) – SPWAR 16th
After top 10s in the African Amateur and European Nations Cup Connor recently won the Battle Trophy back home.

Barry HUMEPaul MCBRIDE and Sandy SCOTT are the only two members of the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup squad who are not competing. MCBRIDE and SCOTT are obviously still committed to Wake Forest and Texas Tech as the US College season comes to a close.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Thursday 3rd May) is positive for all three days.

Fri  5th May – Sunny / Wind 17 mph E / Temp. Min. 7°C, Max. 15°C.
Sat  6th May – Cloudy / Wind 13 mph E / Temp. Min. 7°C / Min 13°C.
Sun 7th May – Sunny / Wind 7 mph NW / Temp. Min. 5°C / Max. 15°C.

Like The Open Championship players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.40pm on Friday and Saturday so changes in the weather and wind speeds throughout the first two days may very well play a big part in the scoring.

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

Alfie PLANT won the Lytham Trophy by 7-shots with a +4 total score. He led from the front after following up an opening round 67 with a 73, 74 and 70.

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

Click this link to view the 2016 Lytham Trophy results – Results

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

Member’s subscribed to purchase the unique sputnik trophy. This remains at Royal Lytham with a smaller replica handed out annually to the winner.

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

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
Michael BONALLACK – 1965(s), 1972
Rodney FOSTER – 1967, 1968
Geoffrey MARKS – 1970 (s)
Charles GREEN – 1970 (s), 1974
Michael KING – 1973
Peter MCEVOY – 1978
Ian HUTCHEON – 1980
Roger CHAPMAN – 1981
John HAWKSWORTH – 1984
Paul BROADHURST – 1988
Gary EVANS – 1990, 1991
Graham RANKIN – 1997

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

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

The six winners prior to Alfie PLANT show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Irish)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (English)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (Dutch)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finnish)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African)
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)

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

img_5938

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

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2016 Preview & Results

1st May 2016

UPDATE 

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

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

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

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

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

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

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

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

24th April 2016

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

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

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

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

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

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

Lytham Trophies

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

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

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

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

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

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

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

Weather Forecast (updated daily ahead of play commencing)

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

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

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

Betting Odds

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

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

Sky Bet – Outright Winner Odds

Paddy PowerOutright Winner Odds

img_5953
Sky Bet Leading Ante Post Betting Odds 

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

The 2015 Lytham Trophy

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

Marcus Kinhult Lytham Trophy

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

Highlights of the 2015 Lytham Trophy (© Golfing World)

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_5938

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

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Reflections On The 2015 Walker Cup

UPDATE – Eric O’Brien has rightly pulled me up in the Comments section below on my failure to mention Slow Play.  He is absolutely right.  There were some players who were very slow and the R&A / USGA referees failed to punish them.  I know this was the Walker Cup and it was important but unless the matter is addressed in high profile events like this how will this problem in our game ever start to be eradicated.

15th September 2015

Who would have predicted a 16.5 – 9.5 victory for Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I).  Perhaps just Captain Nigel Edwards in his wildest dreams ?  The record breaking win was a magnificent achievement for Nigel and all of his players.

WC 2015 GB&I Podium

The GB&I Team Celebrate Their Walker Cup Win (Photo: GolfBible)

The GB&I performance was particularly pleasing as they were up against a strong USA team – at least on paper and we now know preferably playing on parkland courses back home.  The GB&I players performed superbly to a man and the final results made something of a mockery of the world rankings.

The detailed 2015 Walker Cup results can be reviewed here – Walker Cup Results.

Having reflected on the weekend’s events here’s my 16.5 observations on the 2015 Walker Cup: –

GB&I Simply Played Better Than The USA
The overall standard of golf that I saw was very high – these guys can really play.  As we all know the team that chips and putts best normally wins these competitions. This weekend GB&I outplayed USA but particularly with these scoring shots.  As such few holes were conceded softly and victories were therefore frequent on a tough course where the green surrounds are undulating and scattered with deep bunkers.  It was great to see all ten members of the GB&I team contributing at least a point to the total.

Nigel Edwards
Experienced, focussed, motivated and respected by his players Nigel (47) was in supreme control of events at Lytham. He simply put on a captaincy masterclass at this Walker Cup.  Save for the Horsfield debacle, which I guess he has to take some responsibility for, he seemed to get every decision right.  His team selection, pairings and playing orders were spot on.  Nigel has undoubtedly earned the right to captain the team in the USA in 2017 should he wish to take on the responsibility again.  His age, background and role with England Golf means he is close to the players and knows what is required better than almost anyone else.  #WeWantFour

WC 4th Tee

Why Change A Winning Formula – We Want Four ! (© Golf Bible)

The English Contribution Was Key 
Ahead of the match all the talk was of Ireland’s ‘famous five’ but it was England’s Ashley Chesters and Jimmy Mullen that shone brightest.  A rock solid foursomes partnership delivered under pressure and set the foundation for a comprehensive team win.  Perhaps helped by being under the radar a little, albeit exposed by being sent out towards the top of the order in each series, Jimmy secured 4 points out of 4 whilst Ashley achieved 3.5 out of 4.  Having said that Ashley’s dropped half came against Bryson DeChambeau – who denied him with a golfing near miracle on the 18th on Saturday afternoon – and any points taken from him during the match were always going to be a bonus.

WC 2015 AC and JM

England’s Ashley Chesters and Jimmy Mullen (© @WalkerCup)

Cormac Sharvin and Jack McDonald
The two Sterling University players really impressed me at Lytham and perhaps demonstrated better than anyone else on the team what made GB&I so strong this year.  It was clear they got on well and had played golf together many times before this match started.  Their personalities dovetailed as well as their foursomes play.  The calmer McDonald who played with a smile on his face counter-balancing the outwardly more hyper and focussed Sharvin.  To say Sharvin was ‘up for it’ would be an understatement from what I saw.

WC NE JM and CS

Captain Edwards, Jack McDonald and Cormac Sharvin (© @WalkerCup)

Ewen Ferguson
Ewen’s non-selection then selection must have been difficult for him but he got on with it and contributed fully to the team both on and off the course.  He played three of the most memorable shots of the competition too – his drive on the par 4th 16th on Saturday, his final putt on 18 on Saturday (video 1) and then his superb chip-in on 17 on Sunday (video 2).  I was stood right in front of him when he played the chip and it’s fair to say that some of his mates from Glasgow and myself briefly lowered the tone of the event.

Both Videos Courtesy of @WalkerCup and the BBC

Some Of The USA Team Didn’t Show Up
Without wishing to take anything away from the GB&I Team’s superb performance, Jordan Niebrugge (0/3), Denny McCarthy (1/4), Maverick McNealy (0.5/3), Lee McCoy (0.5/3) and Hunter Stewart (1/4) all under-performed.  All of them came with big reputations but left with them tarnished.  The biggest surprise was perhaps Niebrugge, who starred in the recent Open Championship, but struggled badly at Lytham.

US Mid-Amateurs
I watched quite a bit of Mike McCoy (52) and Scott Harvey (37) and unsurprisingly they were both very good golfers.  Their problem is golf is increasingly a young person’s sport at the highest level.  They were expected to be a weak link in the USA Team and they didn’t disappoint – McCoy securing no points (0/3) and Harvey one (1/3), the latter a singles win over Grant Forrest.  To be fair Sunday’s entrance fee was worth paying to see McCoy’s fist pump on the 16th green after he matched Hurley’s well celebrated birdie in their foursomes match.  However, Harvey’s drive on the very next hole, way right onto the range, was critical to ending any hopes the USA had of turning the match around.  I admire the USGA’s policy to some degree but perhaps just one mid-amateur would be sufficient to convey the message they wish to send out.

WC 2015 Team USA

Team USA Were Soundly Beaten at Royal Lytham & St. Annes (© @WalkerCup) 

John ‘Spider’ Miller
It is easy to be critical of a losing captain after the event.  I am also conscious that Mr. Miller (65), who was clearly a nice man, didn’t play any shots during the match and is said to have had no say on the team selected.  However, there is no question in my mind that he contributed to the manner and extent of the USA’s defeat.  His more relaxed approach to the match simply didn’t work – he wasn’t as visible as Edwards and appeared to lack the leadership and motivational skills required for the job.  Sometimes the players don’t know what’s right and on those occasions firm guidance needs to be forthcoming from above.  How could you not play Bryson DeChambeau in the Day 1 foursomes (even if he did tell you he had a sore neck) ?  Was it not complacent to tell all the players in advance that they would play no less than three times ? Were the two mid-amateurs overplayed ?  Who came up with the Day 2 Singles line up which even on Saturday evening clearly needed to be front-loaded ?  Unfortunately for the USA they had a spider and we had a dragon at the heart of affairs.  It will be interesting to see if he is retained by the USGA for 2017.

Bryson Dechambeau
There were many very good players on show at Lytham but one exceptional one in my opinion.  It was not a surprise to see Bryson DeChambeau (2.5/3) impress at the Walker Cup after all he is the World Amateur No. 1 (SPWAR) after a stellar summer where he won both the NCAA and US Amateur Championships.  He looked the part both physically (accepting the neck injury which must have quickly settled down) and mentally, had a real aura and clearly a lot of game.  Like Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth he will probably turn Pro next summer without a Walker Cup win on his resume but what a prospect.

WC 2015 BDeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau (© USGA)

Beau Hossler
Beau Hossler, top points scorer for the USA, with three out of four, also impressed me.  He helped shock star pairing Dunne and Hurley on the opening morning before going on to win both of his singles (Jimmy Mullen being the only other player to achieve that feat).  Whilst not the blue eyed boy like Dechambeau there is a steely determination about Hossler which suggests his journey has equally only just begun.  Hossler’s recovery from Ferguson’s ‘shot heard around the world’ (well most of Lancashire anyway) on 17 on Sunday was particularly notable.  An approach over the bunkers on 18 to a tight back right pin that finished stone dead – not that Ferguson was rightly in any mood to concede it – to win the match was one of USA’s most memorable moments.  He clearly didn’t enjoy the loss.

Lytham Trophy
I think the role of the Lytham Trophy and course knowledge may have been overstated as contributing factors to the victory.  It clearly won’t have done any harm that some of the GB&I players had competed in the Lytham Trophy previously and attended a squad session at the course back in July.  Additionally, their wider links experience will of course have been beneficial.  However, with the exception of Gary Hurley and Jack McDonald most of the team either hadn’t played competitively or had poor form at Lytham.  I guess the strength and direction of the wind changes the course’s playing characteristics from one day to the next anyway.

Foursomes
The opposite is true of foursomes though.  The US Walker Cup players always turn up with next to know experience of foursomes.  It shouldn’t really matter but somehow it does.  This means partnerships are unproven and the players are lacking in confidence in this format.  GB&I’s team are used to the vagaries of foursomes having played it in both the Home Internationals and the European Amateur Team Championships.  The players and selectors also have the benefit of seeing which partnerships work and which don’t well in advance of the Walker Cup.  Foursomes is clearly a nice advantage for us.

Royal Lytham Golf Club
The course and members were a credit to this great Club. The bunkers, greens and run off areas in particular looked superb on the ground.  I did overhear a member talk of a major course overhaul starting shortly with the removal of over 40 bunkers which will be interesting.  A story to follow, if and when it happens, given the status of this much respected links.

WC 2015 Bobby Jones Plaque

I Found The Famous Bobby Jones Plaque – Some Shot Over The Corner Of The Dog-Leg ! (© Golf Bible)

Watching The Walker Cup Live
Watching golf live can be something of an expensive walk, albeit often a pleasant one.  I had read many times before that the Walker Cup was golf’s best spectator event and I wasn’t disappointed when I attended on Sunday.  It was great having access to the fairways and green frontages.  Stewarding, undertaken mostly by Lytham members, was effective but relaxed ensuring all of the spectators enjoyed the match.  Getting up close and personal with the players, both before and after play, certainly made up for only being able to be in one place at one time and therefore missing most of the action.  The numbers were good but not overbearing so an atmosphere was created without one ever feeling hemmed in.

Peter Dawson
As you may have seen Peter Dawson undertook the starter duties at this year’s Walker Cup.  Presumably one of his final duties for the R&A as he hands over the Chief Executive reins later this month to new CEO Martin Slumbers.  As one would expect he performed the duties perfectly.  I don’t know him at all but he strikes me as someone who is going to be missed a great deal and will be a hard act to follow.

Walker Cup Awareness
As I was walking around the sun drenched Lytham fairways on Sunday my mind drifted off to the golfing public’s awareness of the match.  I asked myself what percentage of the UK golfing population even know this match is taking place now ?  Low single digits I guessed to myself.  What a shame and surely something we all must try to address.

I certainly felt part of a special occasion and was pleased I’d made the effort to witness the final day of a memorable match at Royal Lytham in person.

2017
Having got the bug I am sure Lytham won’t be the last Walker Cup match I attend.  I will certainly have few excuses for Royal Liverpool in 2019 which is even closer to home.

Los Angeles CC 1

Los Angeles Country Club (© Geoff Shackleford)

However, as I was driving away from the Fylde Coast my mind turned to how I could persuade Mrs. GB that a trip to the West Coast of America in September 2017 would be nice for us.  The ultra-exclusive Los Angeles Country Club in Beverley Hills – said to be amongst the most expensive golf real estate in the world – sounds right up my street.

Rarely photographed or seen on television it’s North Course is meant to be something really special.  Even more so following a sympathetic restoration by Gil Hanse and golf historian / blogger Geoff Shackleford in 2009-11.  This has returned the course more closely to how George C. Thomas originally designed it in the 1920s.  This August 2015 LA Times article on the project makes interesting reading too if you have the time.  After a long courtship the USGA persuaded the Club to initially host the 2017 Walker Cup and more recently the 2023 US Open which whets the appetite even more for a long away trip.  Even if I don’t get there the TV coverage should be good – Fox have the rights and I believe their HQ is only 1 mile down the road.

ME

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2015 Preview & Results

UPDATE – Marcus Kinhult (Sweden) won the 2015 Lytham Trophy on 3rd May by 8-shots after rounds of 68, 69, 71 and 72 (E).

Marcus Kinhult LT

Marcus Kinhult – winner of the 2015 Lytham Trophy

Highlights of the 2015 Lytham Trophy (© Golfing World)

———————————————————————————-

30th April 2015

144 elite amateur golfers from 17 different countries will tee off tomorrow in the 51st Lytham Trophy, one of the most prestigious competitions in the men’s amateur golfing calendar.

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC 

Nowadays players compete in events across the globe, often starting their seasons in December and January.  Despite this there still remains the feeling that the Lytham Trophy – at least in Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) – is the real curtain raiser to the Men’s season.  The event where things start to get serious.

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

This year the event takes on added importance – not only is it a Walker Cup year but September’s match against the USA is also being contested at the home of the Lytham Trophy, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, the famous Lancashire links in England.  The Lytham Trophy has always been an important factor in determining the GB&I team but this year the results will surely carry even more weight with Captain Nigel Edwards and the Selection Committee.

Lytham Trophies

The Lytham Trophy

Some information on this famous competition and it’s past winners is provided in an Appendix below.

The Lytham Trophy – 1st to 3rd May 2015

Entry, which costs £80, was open to golfers whose handicap does not exceed scratch (0.4) albeit the ballot again fell in negative territory.  144 players will contest the Trophy.

To see who they all are check out the 2015 start sheet for Rounds 1 and 2 by clicking – Lytham Trophy Start Sheet.

The first two rounds will be played on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd May.  A Top 40 and Ties cut will then see a reduced field playing the final 36 on Sunday 3rd May.

In the event of a tie after 72 holes a 3-hole play-off, contested on holes 1, 2 and 18, will be played. Should the remaining players still be tied a sudden death play-off will take place over the same holes.

The Leading Players in 2015 (Nationality / Current SPWAR)

As always the field is packed with great players.  Here’s a summary of the leading ones: –

Gary Hurley (IRE / 13) – finalist at the Spanish Amateur and 2015 Palmer Cup team member.
Bradley Neil (SCO / 16) – 2014 Amateur Champion.
Romain Langasque (FRA / 23) – recent winner of the Mouchy Cup and Southern Cross Invitational.
Ashley Chesters (ENG / 29) – 2013 and 2014 European Amateur champion.
Nick Marsh (ENG / 31) – strong 2014 and 2015 record with a 2nd in the West of England last week.
Marcus Kinhult  (SWE / 36) – winner of the Sage Valley Junior Invitational last week.
Jack Hume (IRE / 42) – strong 2014 and 2015 record; 2nd place at Lytham in 2013.
Daniel Young (SCO / 53) – has already won the South African Amateur and Battle Trophy in 2015.
Gavin Moynihan (IRE / 54) – 2013 Walker Cup player but perhaps lacking form in 2015.
Craig Ross (SCO / 59) – winner on the 2014 EuroPro Tour and has performed well for some time.
Ewen Ferguson (SCO / 72) – outstanding start to 2015 with two wins in Scotland already.
Dermot McElroy (IRE / 102) – recent West of Ireland win and strong Lytham record bodes well.
Mattias Eggenberger (SUI / 104) – Good form and experience in GB&I with Stirling University.

It will also be interesting to see how some of the Juniors get on.  Marco Penge (256), recent winner of the McEvoy Trophy, and Bradley Moore (370), perhaps the two best GB&I youngsters, have both chosen to compete at Lytham rather than play in the nearby Fairhaven Trophies.  Penge of course won the Fairhaven Boys Trophy in both 2013 and 2014.

You may also find it interesting to look through the betting odds for the Lytham Trophy which can be found on Paddy Power’s website.

Weather Forecast (@Thurs 30th, 7.00pm)

Fri 1st May – Partly Cloudy. Wind 9 mph. Max. 12°C / Min 2°C.
Sat 2nd May – Cloudy / Light Rain. Wind 18 mph. Max. 12°C / Min 7°C.
Sun 3rd May – Partly Cloudy. Wind 13 mph. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 7°C.

Appendix – History and Past Winners

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

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

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

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

Thriston Lawrence LT

Thriston Lawrence (RSA) – Winner of the 2014 Lytham Trophy

Of the older winners the most notable are: –
M.F. Bonallack  – 1965(s), 1972
R. Foster           – 1967, 1968
G.C. Marks       – 1970(s)
C.W. Green       – 1970(s), 1974
M.G. King         – 1973
P. McEvoy         – 1978
I.C. Hutcheon   – 1980
R.M. Chapman – 1981
J. Hawksworth  – 1984
P. Broadhurst    – 1988
G. Evans           – 1990, 1991
G. Rankin          – 1997

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

In 1999 the Lytham Trophy was won by Tino Schuster, the first time a non-GB&I player had been successful.  The last five winners show just how international the amateur game has become as well as the increasing attraction of the Lytham Trophy beyond these shores: –
P. Cutler             – 2010 (Irish)
J. Senior            – 2011 (English)
D. Huizing         – 2012 (Dutch)
A. Eckhardt       – 2013 (Finnish)
T. Lawrence       – 2014 (South African)

All of the Past winners and their scores can be found here on the Royal Lytham website.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.