European Tour Q-School – 2018 Second Stage Preview & Results

October / November 2018

I continue to follow the progress of all of the amateurs and some selected Great British and Irish (GB&I) professionals in the 2018 European Tour Q-School series.

This article focuses on SECOND STAGE QUALIFYING which ended on Monday 5th November at Desert Springs GC, Las Colinas G&CC, El Encin GH and Alenda Golf, all in Spain.

Each competition was played concurrently over 72 holes over four days with no cut.

291 players started these events with 98 (34%) of these hailing from Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I).

804 players contested First Stage Qualifying this year with 171 (21.3%) progressing to Second Stage. These numbers included 62 amateurs, 13 of which were successful. Of these Spain’s Angel Hidalgo and Switzerland’s Perry Cohen chose to turn pro ahead of Second Stage.

These 171 qualifiers were joined by those players who were exempt from First Stage due to their performances on the 2018 European Tour, Challenge Tour and other feeder / satellite tours.

Exemptions were also given to the leading five Q-School entrants as at 29th August 2018, up to a limit of 15th place, in the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. As a result of this Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Robin DAWSON (IRE) and Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) – all of whom have recently turned Pro – started their Q-School journeys at Second Stage this year.

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95 qualifying places were made available for Second Stage with sudden death play-offs required at three of the four sites to separate tied players for the final space(s) and to determine the alternates.

Well done to Kristoffer REITAN (NOR), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG), Andrew WILSON (ENG) and Allen JOHN (GER), the four amateurs who progressed from Second Stage.

These 95 qualifiers will be joined by 61 exempt players at Lumine GC for next week’s Final Stage event. The total field of 156 will play 108 holes with the target for all of the players being a Top 25 finish and a European Tour card.

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Here are the links to the European Tour’s Q-School results webpages as well my own selected player summaries (name / country / scores / result / 1st stage qualification where applicable) : –

1. DESERT SPRINGS GOLF CLUB, ALMERÍA – 6,745 yards, Par 72

Click here for the full Desert Springs – Results

Entries – 73 players with 28 from GB&I (38%) started with 24 qualifying.

QUALIFIED
Deyen LAWSON (AUS) -21 WINNER
Gavin MOYNIHAN (IRE) -15 4th
Jamie ABBOTT (ENG) -9 T14 (Stoke By Nayland 1st – Winner)
Daniel YOUNG (SCO) -9 T14 (Bom Sucesso 1st)

DID NOT QUALIFY
Matthew JORDAN (ENG) TURNED PRO 9/18 -8 T19 / Lost in a 6 from 8 play-off
Jonathan CALDWELL (N.I.) -8 T19 / Lost in a 6 from 8 play-off
Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) TURNED PRO 8/18 -4 T37
Victor VEYRET (FRA) AM -2 T42 (Hardelot 1st)
Leandro MARELLI (ARG) -2 T42 (Bogogno 1st – Winner)
Jack FLOYDD (ENG) AM Ev T51 (Frilford 1st)
Gary HURLEY (IRE) Ev T51 (Frilford 1st – Winner)
Craig HOWIE (SCO) +7 63rd
[Luke DONNELLY (IRE) – WD before play started on Day 1 (The Players 1st)]

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2. LAS COLINAS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, ALICANTE – 6,974 yards, Par 71

Click here for the full Las Colinas – Results

Entries – 71 players with 18 from GB&I (25%) started with 23 + 1 qualifying.

QUALIFIED
Christian BRAEUNIG (GER) -15 WINNER (on countback)
Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) AM -12 T8 (Stoke By Nayland 1st)
Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) -9 T13 (Hardelot 1st – Winner)
Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) AM -7 T19 (Frilford 1st)

Will ENEFER (ENG) -6 T24 (Fleesensee 1st) 1st Alternate

DID NOT QUALIFY
Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) TURNED PRO 9/18 -4 T32 (The Players 1st)
Angel HIDALGO (ESP) TURNED PRO 10/18 -3 T35 (Bogogno 1st)
Cameron RAYMOND (IRE) +1 T47 (Bogogno 1st)
Vince VAN VEEN (NED) TURNED PRO 9/18 +2 T50 (Bogogno 1st)
Dan HEBENSTREIT (AUT) AM +3 T53 (Ebreichsdorf 1st)
Joshua WHITE (ENG) +4 T57 (Frilford 1st)
Maximilian LECHNER (AUT) AM +10 66th (Ebreichsdorf 1st)
Bradley MOORE (ENG) +15 67th (Stoke By Nayland 1st)
Bryden MACPHERSON (AUS) WD After Rd 3 on +11 (Ebreichsdorf 1st)

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3. EL ENCIN GOLF HOTEL, Madrid – 7,539 yards, Par 72

Click here for the full El Encin – Results

Entries – 74 players with 24 from GB&I (32%) started with 24 qualifying.

QUALIFIED
Josh GEARY (AUS) -17 WINNER
Toby TREE (ENG) -13 T6
Cormac SHARVIN (NI) -13 T6
Robin DAWSON (IRE) TURNED PRO 9/18 -13 T6
David BOOTE (WAL) -12 T14 (Frilford 1st)
Andrew WILSON (ENG) AM -11 T18 (Frilford 1st)

DID NOT QUALIFY
Joshua MCMAHON (ENG) AM -7 T31 (Stoke By Nayland 1st)
Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) TURNED PRO 9/18 -5 T43 (Bogogno 1st)
Haydn MCCULLEN (ENG) -6 T35 (The Players 1st – Winner)
Casey WITTENBERG (USA) WD After Rd 3 on +5 (Ebreichsdorf 1st – Winner)

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4. ALENDA GOLF, ALICANTE – 6,843 yards, Par 72 

Click here for the full Alenda – Results

Entries – 73 players with 28 from GB&I (38%) started with 24 qualifying.

QUALIFIED
Joe DEAN (ENG) -15 WINNER
Jack MCDONALD (SCO) -12 T3 (Hardelot 1st)
Allen JOHN (GER) AM -12 T3 (Hardelot 1st)
Sebastian GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP) -10 T8 (Bom Sucesso 1st – Winner)
Scott GREGORY (ENG) -10 T8 (The Players 1st)
Craig ROSS (SCO) -9 T12 (Fleesensee 1st)
Frederik DREIER (DEN) -6 T21 / Won in a 4 from 6 play-off (Fleesensee 1st – Winner)

DID NOT QUALIFY
Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) -6 T21 / Lost in a 4 from 6 play-off (Stoke By Nayland 1st)
Bradley NEIL (SCO) -5 T27
Ross CAMERON (SCO) -3 T33 (Ebreichsdorf 1st)
Marco PENGE (ENG) -3 T33 (The Players 1st)
Alfie PLANT (ENG) -3 T33 (Bogogno 1st)
Hunter STEWART (USA) -2 T39 (Bogogno 1st)
Ashton TURNER (ENG) -1 T46 (Frilford 1st)
Mike TOOROP (NED) AM Ev T50 (Hardelot 1st)
Richard MANSELL (ENG) +1 T54 (The Players 1st)
Nick POPPLETON (ENG) AM +2 T58 (Frilford 1st)
Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) +4 65th (Bom Sucesso 1st)
Perry COHEN (SUI) TURNED PRO 11/18 +11 70th (Ebreichsdorf 1st)

European Tour QS

THE 2018 EUROPEAN TOUR QUALIFYING SCHOOL SERIES

The European Tour Qualifying School was first played in 1976, four years after the European Tour was founded. What started out as a 72 hole test has grown into potentially a 252 hole marathon.

Nowadays there are three stages of stroke play qualifying, First, Second and Final.

This year the European Tour Q-School entrance fee has been increased to €2,000 (2017: €1,800).

First Stage

First Stage consists of eight 72 hole stroke play qualifying events split into four Sections, A, B, C and D.

Around 20% of each field, normally 15-30 players, progress from each event.

A 54-hole cut, where players need to be within 7 shots of the final allocated qualifying place, reduces the field for the final round. Ties for the final qualifying place at the end of play proceed too.

For a recap on the eight First Stage competitions played between 11th September and 12th October please read my earlier article – European Tour Q-School – 2018 First Stage Preview & Results

Second Stage

The Second Qualifying Stage consists of four separate 72-hole events that will be played at Desert Springs R&GC, Las Colinas G&CC, El Encin GH and Alenda Golf, all in Spain, concurrently on 2nd-5th November 2018.

El Encin GH on the outskirts of Madrid was announced as a replacement venue for Panoramica G&SR on 9th October. El Encin is a former host of the Madrid Masters and the Challenge Tour’s Challenge de Madrid. I assume Panoramica failed the final European Tour inspection given the late change.

Final Stage

The Final Qualifying Stage consists of 108 holes on the Lakes and Hills Courses at Lumine GC in Tarragona, Spain. Lumine replaced PGA Catalunya Resort in 2017 and will host Final Stage both the this year and in 2019. This competition will be played on 10th-15th November 2018.

The leading 25 players (and ties) from the 156 that will contest Final Stage will be eligible for membership of the European Tour and membership of the Challenge Tour for the 2018/19 season. The leading 70 players (and ties) who make the 72-hole cut will obtain a lower category memberships of the European Tour and the Challenge Tour. Those who miss the cut receive an even lower category membership of the Challenge Tour.

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

14th September 2018

ENGLAND won the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals beating IRELAND 9 – 6 in today’s championship match.

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England celebrate with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Wales Golf)

Here is a summary of the final results from this year’s tournament: –

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Final Results – 2018 Men’s Home Internationals (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox)

In the ENGLAND v. IRELAND match today the foursomes were shared 2.5 – 2.5 but in the afternoon England pulled away with some impressive singles victories.

The highlights were Andrew WILSON’s 7&6 win over the previously unbeaten Conor PURCELL and Mitch WAITE’s 2 Holes win over Robin DAWSON, both of which set the foundation for their team to build on.

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Ireland v. England Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

David HAGUE (ENG) and Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) both finished the tournament with 100% records, winning all 6 of their games. Tom PLUMB (ENG) was also unbeaten, winning four of his games and halving two of his foursomes.

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Host nation WALES once again fell the wrong side of the thin line that sometimes separates winning and losing. Today Scotland edged them out 8 – 7.

Scotland won the foursomes 4 -1 in the morning but were made to work hard for the additional four single wins they needed in the afternoon.

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Scotland v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

Whilst it was tough going for SCOTLAND and WALES for most of the week it was possible for some of their individuals to shine.

Euan WALKER was outstanding for Scotland winning five of his six games.

Likewise Paddy MULLINS did well for Wales and can be particularly pleased with his two singles wins.

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Click here to view the full – 2018 Men’s Home Internationals Results
– click the match score to see the individual games and the game score to view the hole by hole scores.

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13th September 2018

IRELAND beat WALES 11.5 – 5.5 on Day 2 of the Men’s Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club.

The morning foursomes went the way of the Irish 3.5 – 1.5 albeit the Robbie CANNON / JAMES SUGRUE pairing needed a birdie on the 18th to secure a half in their match so the overall series scoreline could have been closer.

Ireland won the singles 6 – 4 with Conor PURCELL, Caolan RAFFERTY and Peter O’KEEFFE (all 4&3) enjoying their biggest wins.

However, the best performance of this match arguably fell to Welshman Jake HAPGOOD. He beat in form Robin DAWSON 4&3 with both players blitzing Conwy’s back nine. Jake recorded four birdies and two eagles between the 7th and 15th holes to unsurprisingly take the game.

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Ireland v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

In the second match of Day 2 ENGLAND narrowly beat SCOTLAND 8 – 7.

After the morning foursomes, which England won 4 – 1, it appeared the Scots could be in for another heavy defeat.

However, Scotland showed great heart to run out 6 – 4 winners of the singles series. Ryan LUMSDEN, Euan WALKER, Kieran CANTLEY, Stephen RODGER, Jeff WRIGHT and James WILSON were all victorious in the afternoon.

At the end of the day England won the match and that’s all that matters – unless like last year the two leading nations draw again ! The four single wins they enjoyed were all comprehensive and as such after their dominant foursomes performance there was never really a feeing that an upset might be in the air.

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Scotland v. England Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

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12th September 2018

IRELAND beat SCOTLAND 11.5 – 3.5 in the opening game of the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club.

Ireland won the morning foursomes 4 – 1. Most of the matches tipping their way due to some exceptional play on the back nine by their four final pairings. Scotland’s Euan MCINTOSH and Ryan LUMSDEN provided the only resistance in game 1.

The Irish carried their momentum into the afternoon series too winning the singles 7.5 – 2.5. Robin DAWSON (5&3), Jonathan YATES (5&4) and Tiarnon MCLARNON (4&3) enjoyed the biggest wins.

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Ireland v. Scotland Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ENGLAND overcame a stubborn WALES 11.5 – 3.5 in the second match on Day 1. As you can see below the games were generally closer than in match 1 and the margin of victory somewhat flatters England who were made to work hard for many of their points.

The morning foursomes were halved 2.5 – 2.5 with Welsh pairing Matt ROBERTS and Paddy MULLINS enjoying the biggest victory of the series, 5&3.

ENGLAND composed themselves in the afternoon and in the end won nine of the ten singles. Ben JONES won his match 4&3 but otherwise the games were tight affairs. Paddy MULLINS maintained his unbeaten personal record by recording the sole singles win for the hosts.

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England v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

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9th September 2018

The 2018 Men’s Home Internationals will be contested at Conwy Golf Club in Wales between 12th and 14th September.

IRELAND will travel to North Wales hoping to win the Raymond Trophy for a fifth consecutive year.

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Conwy Golf Club (Photo: Golfing Wales)

The Competition

11-man teams from ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND and WALES play against each other annually, taking it in turns to the host the event.

Over three days all of the countries play each other once. There are five foursomes and ten singles match play games in each series.

The winner is the country with the highest number of match points. 1 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a half and 0 for a loss. Ties are resolved by considering the number of individual game points secured in the three matches played.

2018 Players

The four national golf unions have selected the following players to represent their countries this year.

I have also included the current Team (total) and Individual Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) below.

ENGLAND – Team SPWAR 1,432
Jack BURNAGE (93)
Bailey GILL (176)
David HAGUE (99)
Ben JONES (105)
David LANGLEY (169)
Joe LONG (201)
Tom PLUMB (147)
Nick POPPLETON (190)
Tom SLOMAN (64)
Mitch WAITE (40)
Andrew WILSON (148)

IRELAND – Team SPWAR = 3,300
Robbie CANNON (908)
Robin DAWSON (14)
Alex GLEESON (122)
Tiarnan MCLARNON (406)
Ronan MULLARNEY (265)
Peter O’KEEFFE (354)
Mark POWER (240)
Conor PURCELL (37)
Colin RAFFERTY (82)
James SUGRUE (374)
Jonathan YATES (498)

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The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

SCOTLAND – Team SPWAR = 3,620
Kieran CANTLEY (448)
Matthew CLARK (483)
Stuart EASTON (187)
Calum FYFE (259)
Jim JOHNSTON (562)
Ryan LUMSDEN (80)
Euan MCKINTOSH (156)
Stephen ROGER (406)
Euan WALKER (113)
James WILSON (227)
Jeff WRIGHT (699)

WALES – Team SPWAR = 13,944
Oliver BROWN (2,041)
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (976)
Archie DAVIES (981)
Jacob DAVIES (1,438)
Jake HAPGOOD (395)
Kieron HARMAN (1,698)
Paddy MULLINS (1,572)
Matt ROBERTS (797)
Lewys SANGES (1,095)
Gaelan TREW (2,217)
Tom WILLIAMS (734)

Just 14 of the 44 players competed last year at Moortown. England have 8 new players in their 2018 line up, Ireland 6, Scotland 9 and Wales 7.

I think ENGLAND have got to start as slight favourites this year but I certainly wouldn’t bet against IRELAND making it five in a row.

Venue – Conwy Golf Club

Founded in 1890 the Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club is the third oldest club in Wales.

The course was originally laid out by Jack Harris with more recent alterations completed by Frank Pennink.

One of the best links courses in Great Britain it has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments in the past. It’s next big appointment is the Curtis Cup match which it will stage in 2020.

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Conwy Golf Club Scorecard (Photos: Conwy Golf Club)

The courses measures 6,936 yards from the Blue Championship tees, playing to a par of 72. It is relatively flat with it’s exposed coastal position meaning the prevailing westerly wind is always a major factor particularly as the design has holes going in all directions.

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Conwy Golf Club Course Map (Photos: Conwy Golf Club)

2018 Weather Forecast (as at 9.00am Sunday 9th September)
Wed. 12th Sept. – Light Rain / Temp. Min 9º / Max 15º / Wind 11mph NW
Thurs. 13th Sept. – Sunny / Temp. Min 10º / Max 16º / Wind 11mph W
Fri 14th Sept. – Cloudy / Temp. Min 11º / Max 16º / Wind 15mph SW

2017 Men’s Home Internationals

IRELAND won the 2017 Men’s Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds.

They secured the Raymond Trophy after halving the deciding match with ENGLAND 7.5 – 7.5. This was good enough for the Irish to pip the home nation by a half point in total match points earned, 26.5 against 26.0.

The win was a record breaking fourth consecutive victory in the event for the men in green.

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The 2017 Ireland Team (Photo: Leaderboard Photography) 

WALES beat SCOTLAND 9.5 – 5.5 on the final day to consign the Scots to the wooden spoon.

Click here to view the detailed – Men’s Home Internationals Results

Here is the final Points Table with the ‘Countback’ information at the bottom: –

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2017 Men’s Home Internationals Points Table (Photo: England Golf Event Microsite)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Josh HILLEARD (ENG) delivered the best individual records during the week, both winning five of their six games.

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The St. Andrews Trophy – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Friday 27th July 2018

The Continent of Europe beat Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) 15.5 – 9.5 in the 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match played this year at Linna Golf in Finland.

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The Continent of Europe Team (Photo: European Golf Association)

This was just the sixth time Europe had won the match and the 6 point margin represented their biggest ever victory. Prior to this year their best win had come in 1982 when they won 14.5 – 9.5 at Rosendaelsche G.C. in Netherlands.

GB&I entered the final day leading 7 – 5 but were comprehensively outplayed by an inspired European team who won the Day 2 games 10.5 – 2.5.

Europe won the morning Foursomes 3 – 1 to leave the match tied at 8 points each and in theory to perfectly set up the afternoon series of Singles where all eighteen players would be in action.

Unfortunately GB&I were thrashed 7.5 – 1.5 in the Singles. Matthew JORDAN (ENG) won his match and Mitch WAITE (ENG) secured a late half.

It is difficult to put a positive spin on this result for GB&I given that Europe were ‘missing’ at least five of what I would consider to be their potential first team. A number of Europe’s leading players chose to play in this week’s Porsche European Open on the European Tour or to return early to the Unites States in the run up to the U.S. Amateur.

I can’t criticise the GB&I selection as I picked exactly the same team independently before the match started. They were simply outplayed on the final day.

In The R&A’s match report GB&I Captain Craig Watson said: “The team is obviously very disappointed but if you look at the scoring by the Continent of Europe you can see we were up against a very high standard of golf. This is the level that the players need to aspire to and achieve and when they look back on the performance there will be many learning points to take away. If you are to win a match like this you obviously need to make your fair share of putts when it matters. We just couldn’t match the Continent of Europe today. I don’t think we were complacent.”

Coming a year after the 19 – 7 record breaking thrashing at the hands of the United States in the Walker Cup GB&I have just over 400 days to find a team ready to face them again at Royal Liverpool in September 2019.

Looking at the individual performances Matias HONKALA (FIN) was the star man for Europe winning all four of his matches. Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) didn’t play in the Day 1 Singles but won all three of the other matches he was selected for.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) was comfortably GB&I’s star man winning three of his four games.

Click here to view the St. Andrews Trophy – Match Results

Individual Performances Analysis

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Day 2 Afternoon Singles

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Day 2 Afternoon Singles Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

The Continent of Europe’s captain Yves HOFSTETTER will be pleased with the changes he made to his pairings on Day 2 as the home side ran out 3 – 1 winners in the morning Foursomes.

Thankfuly for Great Britain & Ireland, who looked like they were heading for a clean sweep of losses after 9 holes, the Irish pairing of Robin DAWSON and John MURPHY battled back well to secure a 2 hole win in Game 2. Unfortunately our other pairings were all well beaten in the series (see below).

Day 2 Morning Foursomes

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Day 2 Morning Foursomes Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

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Thursday 26th July 2018

Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) lead the Continent of Europe 7 – 5 after Day 1 of the 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match in Finland.

English pair Matthew JORDAN and Gian-Marco PETROZZI are unbeaten for GB&I having won their foursomes match this morning before winning their individual Singles this afternoon.

Home favourite Matias HONKALA is the only European player to have a 100% unblemished record so far.

Nick POPPLETON (ENG) and Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) were both part of winning partnerships in the morning but were stood down for the afternoon Singles.

Day 1 Afternoon Singles

Day 1 Afternoon Singles Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Day 1 Morning Foursomes

Day 1 Morning Foursomes Results (Photo: EGA / Golfbox)

Robin Dawson In Action During The Day 1 Foursomes (Photo: @LinnaGolf)

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25th July 2018

Earlier today The R&A confirmed that the 2020 St. Andrews Trophy match will be played at Royal Porthcawl G.C. in South Wales.

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15th July 2018

The 32nd St. Andrews Trophy match will be contested on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th July at Linna Golf in Finland.

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9th Green and Clubhouse, Linna Golf (Photo: golfboo.com)

This amateur men’s team match has been played biennially between Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) and the Continent of Europe since 1956.

It was originally established by The R&A to give more European players the chance to play at the highest level and GB&I players more team match play experience for the Walker Cup which is held in alternate years with this competition.

The St. Andrews Trophy was put forward for the match by the Royal and Ancient G.C. of St. Andrews in 1963.

2018 Teams

Each team has nine players.

The golfing calendar is extremely busy at this time of year and therefore player availability may be impacted by other opportunities.

The 2018 St. Andrews Trophy clashes with the Porsche European Open (European Tour, 26-29 July), Euram Bank Open in Austria (Challenge Tour, 26-29 July), German International Amateur (Europe, 26-29 July), Pacific Coast Amateur (U.S., 24-27 July) and to a lesser degree the Western Amateur Championship (U.S., 30 July-4 August).

Continent of Europe

Yves HOFSTETTER (Switzerland) will once again be the Non-Playing Captain of the European team.

His team was announced by the European Golf Association (E.G.A.) on 11th July and is listed below. Each player’s nationality, their SPWAR’s and their SPWAR Regional Ranking on the date of selection is also provided.

Edgar CATHERINE – France  #153 (15th)

Marc HAMMER * – Germany  #537 (102nd)

Angel HIDALGO PORTILLO – Spain  #113 (11th)

Matias HONKALA – Finland  #325 (53rd)

Frédéric LACROIX – France  #126 (13th)

Stefano MAZZOLI – Italy  #62 (7th)

Frederik NILEHN – Sweden  #23 (2nd)

Lorenzo SCALISE – Italy  #29 (4th)

Sami VALIMAKI – Finland  #172 (22nd)

* replaced Falko HANISCH – Germany  #586 (106th) who withdrew on 24th July 2018.

Home players Matias HONKALA and Sami VALIMAKI were both in the Finnish team who yesterday won the 2018 European Men’s Amateur Team Championship.

It is disappointing that just 3 of the team were in the SPWAR’s Continent of Europe Top 9 on the date of selection.

The most obvious ‘missing persons’ include John AXELSEN (Denmark), Oliver GILLBERG (Sweden), 2018 European Amateur Championship Nicolai HOJGAARD (Denmark), Rasmus HOJGAARD (Denmark), Viktor HOVLAND (Norway), Hurly LONG (Germany), Victor PASTOR (Spain) and Kristoffer REITAN (Norway).

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The St. Andrews Trophy (Photo: Suomen Golfliitto / Finnish Golf Union)

Great Britain & Ireland Team

The R&A Selection Committee, including Non-Playing Captain Craig WATSON (Scotland), announced their nine man team on 16th July. Each player’s nationality, their SPWAR’s and their SPWAR Regional Ranking on the date of selection is also provided.

Todd CLEMENTS (21) – England  #36 (4th)

Robin DAWSON (22) – Ireland  #8 (1st)

David HAGUE (21) – England  #T75 (T10th)

Matthew JORDAN (22) – England  #11 (2nd)

John MURPHY (20) – Ireland  #61 (7th)

Gian-Marco PETROZZI (21) – England  #76 (9th)

Nick POPPLETON (24) – England  #223 (26th)

Conor PURCELL (21) – Ireland  #47 (5th)

Mitch WAITE (23) – England  #17 (3rd)

Unlike the European Team above it is hard to argue with The R&A’s GB&I team or feel disappointed with the players that have not made themselves available. Indeed I selected the same team on 15th July (when this article was first published), explaining how I came to it in the Appendix below.

Match Format 

The St. Andrews Trophy is played over two days and consists of match play foursomes and singles matches.

Thursday 26th July AM – Foursomes x 4
Thursday 26th July PM – Singles x 8
Friday 27th June AM – Foursomes x 4
Friday 27th June PM – Singles x 9

The additional Singles on Day 2 was first played in 2016.

With a maximum total of 25 points available and one point awarded for each match a team will be required to accumulate 13 points to secure victory. GB&I can of course retain the Trophy by reaching 12.5 points as they did in 2016.

Venue – Linna Golf, Finland

Linna Golf is a luxury golf resort located in the Vanajanlinna area of Hämeenlinna in Southern Finland. Linna is around 60 miles north of the capital city Helsinki.

The course was designed by European Golf Design and Tim Lobb and opened for play in 2005. It is a hilly parkland course routed through a pine and birch forest. Three lakes and elevated, well protected and quick undulating greens make Linna a challenge from the back tees.

From these Championship Tees the course can be stretched to 7,244 yards. The front 9 is 3,541 yards long with a par of 35 (one par 5) and the back 9 3,703 yards with a par of 37 (three par 5’s). However, previous major events have seen the nines switched and I expect this to be the case again at the forthcoming St. Andrews Trophy match.

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Linna Golf, Finland (Photo: European Golf Design)

Linna is consistently ranked as one of the best courses in Finland, normally alongside the two courses at Kytäjä.

It has previously hosted European Challenge Tour (2009) and Staysure Senior (2017) events as well as the 2010 European Amateur Championship. A part of the European Tour Properties chain it is expected to host a European Tour event in due course.

Weather Forecast

The long range weather forecast for Finland looks very good for both the practice and competition days: –

Thur 26th July – Sunny. Wind 8mph E. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
Fri 27th July – Sunny. Wind 8mph E. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.

2016 Match – Prince’s Golf Club

GB&I fought back bravely to draw the 2016 match at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England 12.5-12.5 and thus retain the St. Andrews Trophy they had won in Sweden in 2014.

GB&I lost the opening morning’s Foursomes series 0-4 and entered Day 2 4-8 down after halving the eight Day 1 Singles.

GB&I won the Day 2 Foursomes 3.5-1.5 before securing sufficient points in the final Singles series to clawback the deficit. Wales’ David BOOTE secured the all important point in the last game still out on the links.

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Great Britain & Ireland Retained The St. Andrews Trophy In 2016 (Photo: Darren Plant) 

Click here to view the complete – 2016 St. Andrews Trophy Match Results

Here are the Individual Player Contributions for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match: –

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Past Results

To date GB&I have won the St. Andrews Trophy 25 times with Europe having just five wins to their name, albeit two of them came recently in 2010 and 2012. GB&I got back on track in 2014, winning 14-10 at Barsebäck, Sweden.

2016 was the first time the match had been halved. This arguably represents another win for GB&I but I have excluded it from the above numbers.

Europe have won only once on GB&I soil in the history of the match, at Portmarnock GC in 2012.

Here are the historic match results in full: –

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Appendix – My 2018 St. Andrews Trophy Team With Analysis

Nobody who follows GolfBible will be surprised to learn that my primary reference point for selection is the latest Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR).

1. SPWAR (as at 15th July 2018)

The top 20 players in the SPWAR’s GB&I Region Ranking, updated for the European Men’s and Boys’ Team Championships which finished yesterday, are: –

1. Robin DAWSON, Ireland  #8
2. Matthew JORDAN, England  #11
3. Mitch WAITE, England  #17
4. Todd CLEMENTS, England  #36
5. Conor PURCELL, Ireland  #47
6. Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland  #57
7. John MURPHY, Ireland  #61
8. Harry HALL, England  #66
9. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England  #74

T10. David HAGUE, England  #T75
T10. Jake BURNAGE, England  #T75
12. Tom SLOMAN, England  #88
13. Ben JONES, England  #99
14. Alex GLEESON, Ireland  #101
15. Laird SHEPHERD, England  #105
16. Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland  #122
17. Sandy SCOTT, Scotland  #126
18. Rowan LESTER, Ireland  #137
19. Sam LOCKE, Scotland  #142
20. Andrew WILSON, England  #153

I personally wouldn’t bother but for completeness others may want to cast an eye over the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

2. WAGR (as at 8th July 2018 / published 11th July 2018)

Here are the current top 20 players from GB&I in the WAGR: –

1. Matthew JORDAN, England  #5
2. Robin DAWSON, Ireand  #10
3. Todd CLEMENTS, England  #14
4. Alex FITZPATRICK, England  #42
5. Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England  #43
6. Billy MCKENZIE, England  #71
7. Harry HALL, England  #84
8. Ben JONES, England  #95
9. David HAGUE, England  #97

10. Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland  #102
11. David WICKS, England  #113
12. Alex GLEESON, Ireland  #124
13. Tom SLOMAN, England  #178
14. Peter O’KEEFFE, Ireland  #182
15. Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland  #189
16. Euan WALKER, Scotland  #193
17. Joe PAGDIN, England  #196
18. Charlie STRICKLAND, England  #199
19. Mitch WAITE, England  #201
20. Rowan LESTER, Ireland  #213

Next I would want to look at current form. Obviously this is fully reflected in the SPWAR (but not so well in the WAGR) but specifically we have a perfect last (team match play) event to also consider.

3. European Men’s Amateur Team Championship (10-15 July 2018)

Accepting England’s strength in depth the first thing to say here is if a player isn’t being picked for their 6-man National Team last week why should I pick them for a GB&I Team this week.

That’s obviously not good news for original St. Andrews Trophy Squad members Alex FITZPATRICK, Calum FYFE, Harry HALL, Ben JONES, Sam LOCKE, Billy MCKENZIE, Robin WILLIAMS and Andrew WILSON. All have had their moments in the critical recent months but perhaps haven’t shone to the same degree as some of their peers.

The above rule is of course only true if the teams for the European Men’s were picked well ! In the case of Ireland I feel Conor PURCELL was an unlucky omission. Conor’s strong end of season form in the U.S. was initially ignored by the Irish selectors before he then emphasised the point by having a great Amateur. Immediately after the team announcements in July Conor backed his form up with an excellent European Amateur Championships.

In the European Men’s Team Championship in Germany England finished 2nd, Scotland 8th and Ireland 10th in Germany. Wales played in Division 2. Therefore I see no reason for England not to dominate my selection. This benefits Nick POPPLETON who was selected for England on the back of his Brabazon Trophy win and who played his part for England last week.

Looking at the individual performances: –

ENGLAND (SP 2nd  – 693 / -27)
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – SP 1st 62 70 (-12), MP W3/L2/H1
Matthew JORDAN – SP 5th 69 66 (-9), MP W4/L1/H1
Nick POPPLETON  – SP 28th 77 66 (-1), MP W2/L2/H0
David HAGUE – SP 30th 72 71 (-1), MP W2/L1/H2
Todd CLEMENTS – SP 45th 74 71 (+1), MP W1/L2/H0
Mitch WAITE – SP 77th 72 77 (+5), MP W2/L1/H0

SCOTLAND (SP 6th – 709 / -11)
Euan MCINTOSH – SP 14th 72 68 (-4), MP W0/L3/H0
Sandy SCOTT – SP 20th 69 72 (-3), MP W0/L1/H2
Stuart EASTON – SP 35th 72 72 (Ev), MP W0/L3/H0
Jamie STEWART – SP 39th 71 73  (Ev), MP W2//L2/H0
Ryan LUMSDEN  – SP 41st 77 68 (+1), MP W2/L2/H0
Euan WALKER – SP 46th 73 72 (+1), MP W1/L3/H0

IRELAND (SP 9th– 719 /  -1)
John MURPHY – SP 6th 68 67 (-9), MP W2/L1/H0 
Robin DAWSON – SP 27th 67 75 (-2), MP W3/L0/H0
Caolan RAFFERTY – SP 49th 72 73 (+1), MP W2/L1/H0
Rowan LESTER – SP 68th 77 71 (+4), MP W2/L0/H1
Jonathan YATES – SP 88th 75 76  (+7), MP W1/L2/H0
Alex GLEESON  – SP 92nd 81 74 (+11), MP W2/L1/H0

Finally, I have looked back at the 20 man St Andrews Trophy Match Squad announced by The R&A on 14thMay 2018 to ensure no one has slipped through the net.

4. St. Andrews Trophy Squad

Todd CLEMENTS, England
Robin DAWSON, Ireland
Alex FITZPATRICK, England
Calum FYFE, Scotland
Alex GLEESON, Ireland
David HAGUE, England
Harry HALL, England
Ben JONES, England
Matthew JORDAN, England
Rowan LESTER, Ireland
Sam LOCKE, Scotland
Ryan LUMSDEN, Scotland
Billy MCKENZIE, England
Gian-Marco PETROZZI, England
Caolan RAFFERTY, Ireland
Sandy SCOTT, Scotland
Jamie STEWART, Scotland
Euan WALKER, Scotland
Robin WILLIAMS, England
Andrew WILSON, England

In early June Nick POPPLETON (England), who had just won the Brabazon Trophy, was added to the Squad ahead of a planned gathering at St. Andrews prior to the St. Andrews Links Trophy event.

There were 11 English players, 6 Scottish, 4 Irish and 0 Welsh players selected by the R&A.

Based on the above information the following players are definite’s for me: –

Matthew JORDAN – England
Robin DAWSON – Ireland
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – England
Mitch WAITE – England
John MURPHY – Ireland
David HAGUE – England

To make up my nine man team I’ve gone for: –

Todd CLEMENTS – England
Nick POPPLETON – England
Conor PURCELL – Ireland

but could as easily have included one of the following: –

Tom SLOMAN – England
Ryan LUMSDEN – Scotland
Harry HALL – England
Jake BURNAGE – England

Unfortunately I could find no justification for any Scottish or Welsh players in this team other than a desire to see representation from as many home nations as possible.

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Jovan REBULA (RSA) is the 2018 Amateur champion.

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Jovan Rebula (Photo: The R&A / Mark Runnacles / Getty Images)

He is the first South African winner since Bobby Cole in 1966 and can now look forward to playing in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Links, the 2019 Masters at Augusta National and the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

He beat Robin DAWSON, 22, (IRE) 3&2 in today’s 36 hole Final at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

Following his win 20 year old Jovan spoke to The R&A: “It’s unreal. It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but its an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different.

“I’m shattered. It’s been a long week and especially today. I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me.

“I had my friend Matt (Saulez) on the bag and he has been unbelievable for me this week. He’s been the foundation to me, keeping me calm, and we just have an awesome time out there. It’s just so much fun.”

It was cloudy with a modest north westerly breeze blowing when the morning round started at 8.30am; conditions which remained throughout the day, save for a slight increase in the wind speed later in the day.

Here’s The R&A film of the opening tee shots.

Both players made a steady start halving the first five holes. The South African then birdied 6 before being gifted 7 and 8 when Dawson bogeyed. The remainder of the morning round was up and down with Rebula eventually taking a 1-Up lead into lunch.

A poor front nine in the afternoon round by Dawson allowed Rebula to extend his lead to 5-Up by the turn. Both players settled and halved the opening three holes of the back nine in par. Then the nerves seemed to kick in particularly for the South African whose mind may have started to wander given his strong position. Double bogeys on the 13th and 15th gave Dawson some encouragement.

However, hopes of a big turnaround over the last few holes like last year were quickly extinguished on 16 when Rebula got up and down from a green side bunker to close out the match 3&2.

Here are the full hole by hole scores from today’s Final.

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Jovan Rebula v. Robin Dawson Final Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Final Scores

With Wilco NIENABER also winning the Stroke Play Qualifying the Championship proved to be a very successful one for the South African’s.

It was the fifth time a South African had made the Final but just the second time they had claimed the Gold Medal: –
2014 – Zander Lombard Lost 2&1
1997 – Trevor Immelman Lost 3&2
1988 – Ben Fouchee Lost 1 Hole
1980 – David Suddards Lost 4&3
1966 – Bobby Cole Won 3&2

It wasn’t long before his Uncle Ernie passed on his congratulations to Jovan too.

ME.

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Friday 22nd June 2018

Playing conditions proved to be far more amenable today. Whilst cloudy, with temperatures struggling to rise above 13°C, the north westerly wind was much more manageable at 15mph.

Semi Finals

Jovan REBULA (RSA) beat Mitch WAITE (ENG) 6&4. Waite has enjoyed a very good year and Championship but like compatriot Tom Sloman this morning was unable to find his game in this afternoon’s semi final. Rebula was again not made to work very hard for his victory.

Rebula, the 20 year old nephew of Ernie Els, plays for Auburn University in Alabama and finished tied 21st in the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship in late May. He joined up with the South African touring party for the recent St. Andrews Links Trophy but missed the cut by 1-shot.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Jovan said: “My game was really solid and I kept the ball in play all day. I took advantage on the holes you need to attack, played it clever out there and I’ve got a good feel of the golf course at this stage. I’m honestly having so much fun. I’m not even looking at my opponents beforehand. I just take it easy and spend time with my mates. They’ve been a great support structure. Also, they keep me motivated and it’s awesome having one of my good friends (Matt Saulez) on the bag too. I’ve been working hard towards this so being able to reach the final is such a big thing and hopefully I can take it a step further tomorrow.”

Tomorrow he will play Robin DAWSON in the 36 hole Final over the Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen G.C., their match starting at 8.30am.

Dawson was too good for Conor PURCELL this afternoon winning 3&2. Purcell handed Dawson the initiative with bogeys on the 1st and 3rd and despite fighting all the way to the end couldn’t get close to his fellow Irishman.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Robin said:“It feels good. I’m somewhat relieved to make it this far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m a bit tired now so it’ll be good to get a good sleep tonight and get set for tomorrow. Today was great but it wasn’t easy (playing against fellow countrymen). They are both good friends of mine from being in Ireland teams in the past but we had a couple of good friendly matches out there today. It was nice. I had a good strategy in place and was just hitting decent shots. My swing was good and I was in my own little world at times out there, which was great. To get the chance to play in one major, never mind three, is great. I would love that opportunity but there is still a lot of golf to play tomorrow.”

Dropping very few shots in his two matches today Robin should go in to the Final with great confidence. The winner of the Irish Amateur in May is seemingly in complete control of his game.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Semi Final Results

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Quarter Finals

The Quarter Finals started at 8.15am with Tom SLOMAN (ENG) taking on Jovan REBULA (RSA) in Match 1. Unfortunately it proved to be a game too far for Sloman who will be disappointed that he didn’t make the South African work harder for his 2&1 victory. Neither player was at their best this morning in a poor quality affair.

England’s other quarter finalist Mitch WAITE faired better beating Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) 3&2. As is becoming the norm for Waite it was far from straight forward. He was 3-Up after 7, before slipping to AS after 12 and then recovering to win comfortably on the 16th.

Conor PURCELL recorded an eagle and 4 birdies in a great 3&2 win over David MICHELUZZI (AUS). Micheluzzi, the highest ranked player left in the field, was simply unable to live with the Irishman’s superb play in the middle of their match.

In perhaps the highest quality Quarter Final Robin DAWSON overcame fellow Irishman John MURPHY 2&1. The Waterford man had the upper hand throughout but was certainly made to work hard for the win.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Quarter Final Results

ME.

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Thursday 21st June 2018

It was a dry but cool day in Aberdeen, temperatures not rising much above 13°C. The wind was the big story. Like yesterday it was primarily from the north west but today it consistently blew at 25mph with occasional gusts reported of up to 45mph.

This made playing conditions particularly challenging. With hole-by-hole scoring now available (click the score or result in the middle of each game to reveal) it was clear to see how tough the links played today.

Round 4

Round 4 proved to be the end of the line for Wilco NIENABER (RSA). In a tight match where neither player led by more than 1 hole Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was handed a 1-Up win when the 18 year old South African missed a relatively short par putt on the last hole.

Fellow South African Jovan REBULA was behind for virtually all of his match before two bogeys on the last two holes by Ben HUTCHINSON ensured there would be Boks representation in the Quarter Finals. Rebula won by 1 hole.

Match 3 arguably proved to be the most exciting in the last 16 with Bristol’s Mitch WAITE attempting to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory before thankfully saving the day against Timo VAHLENKAMP. As you can see from the scorecard below the German made a strong comeback over the last 8 holes but a three putt on the 19th meant it was all in vein.

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Mitch Waite v. Timo Vahlenkamp Rd 4 Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) again didn’t have to work very hard to progress. Luca FILIPPI (RSA) struggled this afternoon and easily fell to a 4&3 defeat.

Conor PURCELL (IRE) was the first of three Irish to make the last 8 at The Amateur Championship. The Charlotte 49ers via Dublin golfer reeled off five birdies in 6 holes from the 11th to blow away Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE).

Robin DAWSON was next up. He beat Elis SVÄRD 6&5 as the relatively inexperienced Swede finally bowed out having enjoyed a very good Championship.

John MURPHY, who seems to have transformed himself into a world beater in the last two weeks, was the third Irishman to make it through to the Quarter Finals. He beat a clearly out of sorts Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) 6&5.

Murphy talking to The R&A afterwards said: “I feel a lot more confident coming off the back of winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy. I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking. I was the 14th Reserve so when I got the call to say I was playing here at Balgownie I was delighted.”

There were a number of one sided matches this afternoon as perhaps the physical and mental exertions of the last four days started to affect some of the remaining competitors.

In the other last 16 game David MICHELUZZI played well to beat Paul PEREDA (MEX) 5&4. The experienced Australian seems to be making very comfortable progress, largely under the radar, and must now be one of the favourites for the title.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 4 Results

Round 3

The highlight of this morning’s golf was the final match, played between relatively unknown Tom FORSTER (ENG) and WAGR Number 5 Viktor HOVLAND (NOR).

Forster, who is studying in the USA at NCAA Division II college Carson-Newman, is clearly not a respecter of reputations as he gave Hovland, one of the star players at Oklahoma State, the 2018 NCAA Division I champions, a game to remember.

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Tom Forster v. Viktor Hovland Rd 3 Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

As you can see from the above scoreboard Forster led 4-Up after 13 holes, Hovland in all kinds of trouble in the wind. Thankfully the Norwegian recovered his senses just in time and with a little help from an increasingly nervous Forster escaped with a 1 hole victory.

Round 3 started at 7.30am with Wilco NIENABER (RSA) playing US-based Perry COHEN (SUI) in Match 1. The stroke play medalist started well and quickly built a 3-Up lead after 8 holes. However, some loose play around the turn and improvement by Cohen saw the match All Square with just the 18th to play. In the end a par down the last was good enough to secure the win for the South African protégé.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) enjoyed a tight match with Jeff WRIGHT (SCO). A bogey on the 17th by the battling Scotsman finally letting in the big man from Somerset, who would hold on down the last for a 1 hole win.

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) overcame Rowan LESTER 2&1 in Match 3. The Irishman was leading 1-Up after 15 but sadly stumbled down the last 3 holes.

Ben JONES (ENG) had an horrific start in his match and was quickly 5-Down to Timo VAHLENKAMP after just 7 holes. The German youngster ran out a surprisingly easy winner 7&5 in the end.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) beat Stuart EASTON (SCO) by 1 hole in a rollercoaster match.  Waite was 2-Up after 4 before then falling 3-Down after 11. Easton then lost his way, recording four bogeys in a row, allowing the man from Bristol to pull 1-Up after 15. Both players then steadied themselves before halving the last in double-bogey 6, Waite moving on.

James SUGRUE (IRE) lost 3&2 to Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) in what appears to have been a poor quality Match 7. The Irishman bogeyed or failed to finish 11 of the 16 holes contested.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) looked comfortable early on against Conor PURCELL (IRE) but let things slip. Purcell, who plays out of Portmarnock, the 2019 host course, drew level after Jordan bogeyed the 18th and then completed the coup de grâce with a 40 foot chip in on their first extra hole.

Scotland bowed out of the Championship later in the morning when their remaining player Sandy SCOTT lost 3&1 to Mexico’s Paul PEREDA.

Match 13 saw Robin DAWSON (IRE) take on Spain’s Victor PASTOR. Dawson struggled on the front nine but played the back nine superbly in 3-under to run out the winner by 2 holes.

In a very similar match Dawson’s compatriot John MURPHY played the back nine very well to overcome Lee WALKER (USA) 4&2 having earlier been 2-Down after 8 holes.

Jovan REBULA (1 Hole) and Luca FILIPPI (4&3) were the winners in the two all-South African matches beating  Malcolm MITCHELL and Therion NEL respectively.

There were also wins for Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE), the ever impressive Australian David MICHELUZZI and giant killer Elis SVÄRD (SWE).

At the end of the morning our 14 GB&I players had been reduced to just 6.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 3 Results

ME.

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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Round 2

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) started his Round 2 match against Niclas WEILAND at 9.15am. Showing no signs of faltering, as often happens with the medalist, he quickly despatched the Swede 5&4.

Malcolm MITCHELL (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Paul PEREDA (MEX) and Victor HOVLAND (NOR) are amongst the other highly ranked overseas players who are through to Round 3. However, it was a surprise to see Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) lose, albeit he took Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE) to the 21st in the longest match of the Championship so far.

GB&I contributed 26 players to the 64 that started Round 2. We finished the day down to 14.

The Irish party are doing well. Rowan LESTER will be pleased with his performance; he beat fellow St. Andrews Trophy squad member David HAGUE (ENG) 6&5. James SUGRUE beat Australian Kyle MICHEL on the 19th hole whilst Conor PURCELL overcame Pablo RODRIGUEZ-TABERNERO TORRES (ESP) 2&1 to progress. Robin DAWSON took control of his match against David RAVETTO (FRA) from the start and ran out a comfortable 4&2 winner. Finally, John MURPHY made it 5 for the ‘Green Army’ coming from being behind early on to beat Oliver FARRELL (ENG) 4&2.

Scotland have three representatives in Round 3. Jeff WRIGHT showed great determination to take out compatriot Euan MCINTOSH on their first extra hole; Euan having qualified strongly and played well for most of this match too. Stuart EASTON beat Australian Will HEFFERNAN by 1 hole before Sandy SCOTT took care of Claudio CONSOL (GER) 3&2.

Of the 13 Round 1 winners just four could do the business again. One of these was Thomas FORSTER who surprised Daniel HILLIER (NZE) 2&1. The Englishman was joined by Tom SLOMAN, who beat Jediah MORGAN (AUS) by 1 hole, and Mitch WAITE, who enjoyed the biggest win of the afternoon, 6&4 against German Alexander HERRMANN. Wins for Ben HUTCHINSON, Ben JONES and Matthew JORDAN took the English qualifiers up to 6. Hutchinson beat Jamie LI (ENG) 5&3, Jones recorded a good 2 holes win against Matt SAULEZ (RSA) whilst Jordan ended up having to go to the 20th to finally despatch Finland’s battling Matias HONKALA.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 2 Results

 

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Round 1

Game 1 of the Match Play Stage between Eetu ISOMETSÄ (FIN) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) teed off at Royal Aberdeen G.C. at 7.00am. It was raining, with a north westerly wind appearing for the first time.

It was a game that Williams would disappointingly go on to lose 3&2.

Of the 30 qualifying GB&I players 8 were required to play in this preliminary Round 1 which consisted of 13 matches.

John PATERSON (SCO), Jack COPE (ENG), Oliver FARRELL (ENG) and Thomas FORSTER (ENG) were successful with the last three all requiring extra holes to overcome stubborn opponents. Cope ended up beating compatriot Max O’HAGAN, who had led for much of their match, on the 20th hole.

Callan BARROW (ENG) lost 4&3 to Top 100 SPWAR ranked Mexican Paul PEREDA.

Australia-based Scot Robbie MORRISON lost by 1 hole to experienced German Claudio CONSUL.

The 13 winners of these Round 1 matches fed into the bottom of the Round 2 draw and would therefore be required to play again in the afternoon.

The rest of the field will certainly have been pleased to see Takumi KANAYA (JAP), Alvaro ORTIZ (MEX) and Matias SANCHEZ (AUS) all surprisingly fall at this first step.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 1 Results

ME.

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Tuesday 19th June 2018

18 year old Wilco NIENABER (RSA) shot a 67 (-4) at Royal Aberdeen G.C. today to secure medalist honours at the 2018 Amateur Championship. His impressive 133 (-8) total included 11 birdies and just three bogeys.

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Wilco Nienaber’s Stroke Play Scores (Photo: R&A / Golfbox)

In an interview quoted on The R&A website Wilco said: “When I heard I was going to play The Amateur Championship this year I was really excited. To finish at the top after the qualifying is great. I made good decisions from the tee, stuck to my game plan and hit the greens. When I missed a green I got up and down – I kept the momentum going and didn’t really make a lot of bogeys. The match play stage is a different game but winning this or finishing at the top makes me feel like I can beat the other guys, which is really nice. So we will see what happens this week.”

Watch Wilco’s interview with GolfWeek’s Alistair Tait after the stroke play qualifying prize presentation: –

Two shots further back was Victor HOVLAND (NOR) who finished second in the stroke play qualifying on 135 (-6). Hovland shot a 65 (-5) at Murcar Links today, the best score on this course over the two days.

Sam MEEK (CAN), who recorded rounds of 69 and 69 for a 138 (-3) total, finished third to claim the final stroke play qualifying prize.

MATT SAULEZ (RSA) and Blake WINDRED (AUS) joined Wilco in shooting 67 at Royal Aberdeen today. This was the best score at the lead host course during the stroke play stage.

Harry HALL (ENG) recorded a second successive 70 today to finish on 140 (-1). His tied 5th result was the best of all of the GB&I players in the field.

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) Ev and Mitch WAITE (ENG) +1 finished 8th and tied 9th respectively.

At the end of play the top 64 and ties match play cut fell at +6 with 77 players progressing.

There were 30 GB&I qualifiers in total including 2018 winners John MURPHY (IRE) +2, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) +3, Robin DAWSON (IRE) +3 and Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) +4.

With the wind dropping on Day 2 and the sun shining for the most part the scores were much improved. Murcar Links (par 70) saw it’s average score drop to 73.94 from yesterday’s 77.30 (-3.36) whilst Royal Aberdeen’s (par 71) fell from 76.86 to 73.98 (-2.88). Clearly those that played at the tougher Murcar Links yesterday had a slight disadvantage over the two days of qualifying.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

Amongst the leading players to miss out were Joe PAGDIN (ENG) +7, Dylan PERRY (AUS) +7, Andrew WILSON (ENG) +7, Calum FYFE (SCO) +8, Euan WALKER (SCO) +8, John AXELSON (DEN) +8, Angel HIDALGO (ESP) +8, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) +8, Clayton MANSFIELD (RSA) +9, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) +9, Sam LOCKE (SCO) +9, Nick POPPLETON (ENG) +9, Alex GLEESON (IRE) +10, Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) +10, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +11, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) +13, Bailey GILL (ENG) +14, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +16, Garrick HIGGO (RSA) +17, Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) +17 and John PAK (USA) +18. 

ME.

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Monday 18th June 2018

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) shot a 66 (-4) at Murcar Links to lead the 36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying after Round 1 of the 123rd Amateur Championship.

David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Sam MEEK (CAN) are second having both posted 69’s (-2), the best round of the day, at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) was the only GB&I player to post an under par score; his 69 (-1) at Murcar Links leaving him in tied 4th place.

Euan MCINTOSH (SCO), who hit the first tee shot at Royal Aberdeen at 7.00am this morning, shot 71 (Ev) and finished the day tied 7th alongside Harry HALL (ENG) whose 70 (Ev) at Murcar Links looked like being much better for most of his round.

On a windy but sunny day in Scotland the average score was higher at Murcar Links (77.30 / +7.30 in relation to par) than at Royal Aberdeen (76.86 / +5.86).

After 18 holes there are 60 players on +3 or better, with a further 31 on +4, implying that the top 64 and ties cut will be around +7.

The final stroke play round will start at 7.00am tomorrow morning with each competitor playing on the other host course.

ME.

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17th June 2018

Unsurprisingly Chun An YU (CTP), who played the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, has withdrawn from this year’s Amateur Championship.

Other late withdrawals include William BUHL (USA), Falko HANISCH (GER) – winner of the 2016 Boys’ Amateur Championship at Muirfield -, Noah COMBS (USA), Yuxin LIN (CHN), Zach MURRAY (AUS) and Raphael GEISSLER (GER).

Click here to view the final – 2018 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Draw

ME.

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15th June 2018

The 123rd Amateur Championship starts on Monday 18th June at Royal Aberdeen G.C. and Murcar Links G.C. in north east Scotland.

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.

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Royal Aberdeen Golf Club (Photo: Royal Aberdeen G.C.)

Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th June.

As in previous years tee times will commence at 7.00am and end at 3.52pm on both days.

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores, and ties for 64th place, will advance to the match play stage and be seeded in line with their qualifying finishes.

The match play games will be played solely at Royal Aberdeen between Wednesday 20th and Saturday 23rd June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for Saturday’s Final which will be over 36 holes.

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5th hole, Murcar Links Golf Club (Photo: Albrecht Golf Guide)

Players

The 288 players are drawn firstly from a number of exempt categories covering R&A and U.S.G.A. Championship performances and representative teams. Thereafter places are allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at 16th May 2018 and, if required, by reference to exact handicaps.

Players from 38 different countries will contest the 2018 Amateur Championship.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are France (31 players), U.S.A. (23), Australia (20), Germany (14), Spain (13), Sweden (13), South Africa (10), The Netherlands (9) and Italy (8).

Whilst there are a large number of Americans playing it sadly remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. It is a sad state of affairs that most of them prefer to play in the Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett C.C. in Providence, Rhode island – an event that starts on Wednesday 20th June. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the Major exemptions on offer. The best American this year is John PAK (SPWAR 52).

Harry ELLIS, the defending champion, has not entered the Championship. He has been playing in the U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills this week and is expected to turn pro immediately afterwards. Last year’s runner up Dylan PERRY (AUS) is back for another go at claiming the title that eluded him last year.

KristofferREITAN (NOR) 40 and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) 51 had both entered the Championship but both withdrew when they qualified for the U.S. Open. Chun An YU (CTP) 28 is also currently playing in New York but remains entered. It will be interesting to see if he is at Murcar Links on Monday for his 1.02pm tee time. Good on him if he is.

Looking at the the current SPWAR top 50 the leading players, in addition to Yu, competing are Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) 9, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 12, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) 17, Garrick HIGGO (RSA) 24, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) 26, Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) 27, Matt SAULEZ (RSA) 29, Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) 31, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 33, Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 37, Malcom MITCHELL (RSA) 42 and Alvaro ORTIZ (MEX) 45.

From a GB&I perspective Robin DAWSON (IRE) 57, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) 67, Harry HALL (ENG) 68, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 73, David HAGUE (ENG) T74, Alex GLEESON (IRE) T74, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) 91, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) 95, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 115, Ben JONES (ENG) 124, Andrew WILSON (ENG) 128, John MURPHY (IRE) 145, Bailey GILL (ENG) 177, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 189 and Nick POPPLETON (ENG) 194 will all arrive with high hopes given their current good form.

With the nine-man GB&I St. Andrews Trophy team due to be announced in mid-July a good Amateur Championship by any of the home players will undoubtedly resonate with the selectors.

Finally, Spain’s Alejandro LARRAZABEL is an interesting entry. Alejandro won The Amateur in 2002 at Royal Porthcawl G.C. and has recently been reinstated to the amateur game. He will be the only past winner in the field.

Host Courses

For the first time in it’s history the Amateur Championship is being staged at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links in Scotland.

Royal Aberdeen was founded in 1780 and is the 6th oldest golf club in the world. Originally known as The Society of Golfers at Aberdeen the club’s name was changed in 1815 to Aberdeen Golf Club. In 1903 the ‘Royal’ title was conferred on the club by His Majesty King Edward VII.

The club has hosted many prestigious championships, including seven Scottish Amateurs, two Boys’ Amateur Championships, the Boys’ Jacques Léglise Trophy and perhaps most memorably the 2011 Walker Cup, when GB&I defeated the United States by a single point.

In 2005, it hosted the Senior Open which was won by five-time Open champion Tom Watson. In 2014, the Scottish Open was held there for the first time with Justin Rose coming out on top.

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Royal Aberdeen – Balgownie Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

The Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen is a classic links with the outgoing holes played through the undulating dunes on the coast before the return on an inland plateau with numerous blind shots and hidden ditches coming into play.

Neighbouring Murcar Link’s was established in 1909 and lies to the north of the Royal Aberdeen course.

Murcar hosted the inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play competition on the European Tour in 2016. Previously it had staged the European Girls Team Championship (2009), the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play (2009) and the European Boys Team Championship (2013).

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Murcar Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

Weather Forecast (last updated Sunday 17th June)

The weather forecast looks good, with very little rain and a consistent and south westerly wind expected: –

Mon 18th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 7°C.
Tue 19th June – Sunny. Wind 15mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 10°C.
Wed 20th June – Showers. Wind 11mph W. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 8°C.
Thu 21st June – Light Cloud. Wind 15mph NW. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 9°C.
Fri 22nd June – Light Cloud. Wind 10mph SW. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 10°C.
Sat 23rd June – Light Cloud. Wind 11mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 11°C.

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

Players will tee off throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday so changes in the weather and wind speed early in the week may impact the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the players finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the stroke play qualifying competition, with any ties determined by a second round count back.

The winner of the match play stage will become the Champion Amateur Golfer for the year and is awarded 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 next month’s 147th Open Championship down the coast at Carnoustie Golf Links.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C.

Finally, they will also be exempt into the 2019 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

2017 Amateur Championship

England’s Harry ELLIS won the 2017 Amateur Championship on the 38th hole at Royal St. George’s G.C.

4 Down with five holes to play the odds were well and truly against the then 21 year old Hampshire player. However, his opponent Dylan PERRY (AUS) bogeyed four of the last five holes to let Ellis back in.

On the second extra hole Perry got into trouble and Ellis was able to secure the famous trophy with another par, his seventh in a row.

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Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA / Getty Images)

This was Ellis’ second major amateur victory. In 2012, aged just 16, he became the youngest player to win the English Amateur Championship.

Following in the footsteps of fellow Hampshire player Scott Gregory, Ellis said in his post round press conference: “I can’t believe what I have just done but you should never give up and never give in. I just kept giving myself chances down the stretch and luckily played much better than I had all day. It has always been a dream to play in Majors and I get to play in three now. My game is in a good place so hopefully I can do something .”

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

Here is the Golfing World / R&A highlights film of the 2017 Amateur Championship: –

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. 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.

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 Ellis’ win in 2017 the last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl GC
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie GL
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush GC
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports GC
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon GC
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside GC
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby GC
2008  Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry
2007  Drew Weaver (USA) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC

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.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

My Review Of GB&I Men’s Amateur Golf In 2017

24th December 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 I thought I would record the more memorable performances that we have seen from Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golfers throughout the year.

When one reads through the months below it’s hard not to conclude that the year has generally been another successful one, with many highs and just a few lows.

An unusually large number of players have turned professional in the last 3 months (‘Amexit’) but I think we can take comfort from the positive signs already emanating from the next generation of players coming through.

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JANUARY

The year started with various touring parties heading off to events in the Southern Hemisphere.

Evan GRIFFITH (quarter finals) and Robert MACINTYRE (semi-finals) enjoyed good runs in the Australian Men’s Amateur.

Jack DAVIDSON and Conor O’ROURKE finished 4th and tied 7th at the South American Amateur in Argentina.

Jack SINGH BRAR and Bradley MOORE finished 2nd and 3rd in the Avondale Amateur in Australia.

FEBRUARY

Scott GREGORY delivered GB&I’s first major win of 2017, beating compatriot Marco PENGE by 1 hole in the Final of the New South Wales Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd), Dan BROWN (3rd), Liam JOHNSTON (5th) and Craig HOWIE (7th) made good starts to their seasons with high finishes in the South African Stroke Play Championship.

Back in Europe Josh MCMAHON (2nd), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (T4), David BOOTE (T4) and Bailey GILLGeorge BLOOR and Tiarnan MCLARNON (T7) all showed early season form at the Portuguese International Amateur.

Robin DAWSON (2nd) lost a play-off to South African star Garrick Higgo in the Cape Province Open.  Stuart GREHAN and Alex GLEESON finished T4 in the same event whilst Craig HOWIE was T9.

Dan BROWN (-15) was co-medalist in the South African Amateur. Dan sadly lost the play-off for the Proudfoot Trophy on the 4th extra hole albeit his second round 63 at Humewood GC will no doubt live long in his memory. He was 6-under after his first 5 holes having eagled two par 4’s. Liam JOHNSTON and Joe LONG made the Quarter-Final when the Championship match play got going.

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Liam Johnston (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

Liam JOHNSTON didn’t have to wait much longer to get his name up in lights. The following week he went on to win the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek CC. In a good week for Scottish Golf Connor SYME (2nd), Jamie STEWART (3rd) and Craig HOWIE (5th) also finished high up.

Ben AMOR (ENG) turned Pro in February.

MARCH

Jack DAVIDSON got the European season underway by winning the Spanish International Amateur. Interestingly Jack was the final stroke play qualifier after Chris MACLEAN had pipped Stuart GREHAN to medalist honours. Nevertheless he soon got to grips with EL Saler ultimately beating Marco PENGE 4&3 in the 36 hole final.

In an event with little GB&I support David HAGUE popped up with a T7 result at the Italian International Amateur. Even more surprisingly Sean CROCKER the highly rated US College golfer turned up and ended up winning the Championship comfortably by 5 shots.

A superb opening day’s play from Bailey GILL, where he shot two 65’s, helped the Yorkshireman literally blow the field away at the subsequently weather shortened Darwin Salver.

Scott GREGORY re-affirmed his match play credentials with an impressive 1st Extra Hole win over Australia’s 2016 US Amateur champion Curtis LUCK in the pre-Masters Georgia Cup match.

APRIL

WALES, represented by David BOOTEJack DAVIDSONJoshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, won the European Nations Cup Team competition at RCG Sotogrande in Spain. WALES’ total of +13 was 11 shots better than second placed IRELAND (+24) and 21 shots better than fourth placed SCOTLAND (+34). An out of sorts ENGLAND (+61) finished a disappointing 12th.

Jack DAVIDSON won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots. Rounds of 70, 70, 70 and 73 (-5), which included 20 birdies and 2 eagles, gave him his second major title in less than a month.

Charlie STRICKLAND, who was runner-up to Bailey GILL at the Darwin Salver, then came to the fore, winning two 72 hole events in consecutive weeks. First came the Duncan Putter – which will be moving to three days at Southerndown in 2018 – and quickly following it up with the U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy at my home club, Copt Heath.

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Charlie Strickland with Peter McEvoy (Photo: @GolfBible)

The 2016 US Mid-Amateur champion, Stewart HAGESTAD, won the Silver Cup at The Masters following rounds of 74, 73, 74 and 73 (+6). His tied 36th finish saw him comfortably win low amateur honours. Our Amateur champion, Scott GREGORY, missed the cut after rounds of 82 and 75 (+13).

The Scottish Boys Open Championship, disappointingly scheduled directly against the Peter McEvoy Trophy, was won in style by John PATERSON who came past runner-up Jamie STEWART at Monifieth with an exceptional final round of 67.

The Hampshire Salver again proved a popular weekend for competitors. Jack SINGH BRAR won Saturday’s Selborne Salver and Jake BURNAGE Sunday’s Hampshire Hog at North Hants. Singh Brar beat Burnage by 1shot for the combined 72 hole Hampshire Salver.

Up in Scotland Craig HOWIE, the clear favourite at the start of play, dominated the Craigmillar Park Open shooting rounds of 66, 66, 66 and 67 (-15) and winning by 8 shots.

Barry ANDERSON won the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo beating Jack PIERSE 3&2 in the Final. Earlier Conor O’ROURKE had edged out fellow Naas member Jonathan YATES to secure medallist honours in the 36 hole stroke play qualifier.

Chile’s Joaquin NIEMANN started his rise to the top of the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking by winning the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the United Sates.

Owen EDWARDS (-3) won the West of England Stroke Play after a strong final day’s play at Saunton left him as the only player under par. David HAGUE (+1) was 2nd and Will POOLE (+3) tied 3rd.

On the same weekend Connor SYME won the Battle Trophy at Crail. Despite giving the field a chance with a final round 79 the Drumoig man still won by 5 shots.

Meanwhile in South Wales Matthew HARRIS won the Carmarthenshire Open at Ashburnham and Callum MORRIS the Golden Eagle at Tenby. However, it was Luke HARRIES who won the Trubshaw Cup for the best 72 hole score over the weekend.

MAY

May saw the focus return to Great Britain and Ireland with our leading amateur events now starting to be played.

Jack SINGH BRAR won the Lytham Trophy helped in no small part by a superb first round of 68 achieved in strong winds when the rest of the elite field struggled (CSS 79). Charlie STRICKLAND and Jake BURNAGE finished 2nd and 3rd in what proved to be a very good week for England Golf with 7 of the top 10 coming from the home nation.   

Just down the road George RAITT and Conor GOUGH finished 2nd and tied 3rd respectively in the Boys’ Fairhaven Trophy. However, Sweden’s Ludvig ABERG was in a class of his own that week winning by 9 shots.

Having come close in the West of England a few weeks’ earlier Will POOLE found Kent’s links courses even more to his liking winning the South East of England Links Championship.

Peter O’KEEFFE won the Irish Open Amateur Championship holding off a strong field at Royal County Down GC. A posse of English and Scottish players made Peter work for it with Chris MACLEAN and Tom SLOMAN ultimately finishing 3 shots back in tied 5th.

David HAGUE won the Lagonda Trophy by 12 shots. An astonishing 62 63 final day finish on the 6,367 yards par 70 Old Course blitzing the field.

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David Hague (Photo: Kevin Diss)

Josh HILLEARD won the Murat Cup at the French International Amateur beating the home junior Pierre PINEAU on the second play-off hole. Both players came through the field in the final round of the 72 hole contest at Chantilly; Hilleard shooting 64 and Pineau 66.

In what proved to be a successful weekend for England Golf Gian-Marco PETROZZI secured the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play title at The Vale Resort. Gian-Marco (-13) won by 9 shots from fellow Staffordshire player Jack GAUNT (-4) and local favourites Jack DAVIDSON (-3) and Owen EDWARDS (-1).

Woodhall Spa staged the 2017 Brabazon Trophy with South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE beating Jamie STEWARTJake BURNAGE and Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 shot to secure the prestigious English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play title and beautiful gold plated trophy.

In what proved to be a generally disappointing US Collegiate season for GB&I players Braden THORNBERRY won the NCAA Division 1 Individual Stroke Play before OKLAHOMA secured the Team title in the subsequent Match Play stage.

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) turned Pro in May 2017.

JUNE

June started with England’s Max MARTIN picking up the Welsh Open Youths Championship at Prestatyn.

Liam JOHNSTON won the Scottish Men’s Open Championship at Western Gailes, holding off an in form Matthew JORDAN (2nd) by 2 shots and fellow Scottish Internationals Craig HOWIE (T3) and Connor SYME (5th).

The East of Ireland Amateur went to Reece BLACK whose final round 66 at County Louth was needed to hold off a fast finishing Robbie PIERSE (69).

Matthew JORDAN finally got the win his outstanding play in May and June deserved when he picked up the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Two late bogeys on the Old Course from Matthew enabled Ireland’s John Ross GALBRAITH, who birdied two of his last four, to finish 1 shot back, making the result tighter than it really should have been.

Somewhat ominously, given September’s Walker Cup match, USA ran out easy winners against Europe in the Arnold Palmer Cup played at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Driven on by unbeaten Doug GHIM, with Maverick MCNEALYCollin MORIKAWA and Norman XIONG all featuring, USA won easily 19.5 – 10.5. The Arnold Palmer Cup match moves to a new mixed format in France next July.

One of the highlights of the year was Harry ELLIS’ magnificent win in The Amateur Championship staged at Royal St. George’s and Princes in Kent. 4 Down with five holes to play Ellis somehow fought back, helped in no small part by Dylan PERRY bogeying four of these remaining holes. The Hampshire man ultimately won on the second extra hole when the Australian could do no better than a 6 on the par 4 2nd hole. The win secured Harry his place in history but also this year’s Open Championship and the GB&I Walker Cup team. With a trip to Augusta National in April 2018 still to come it really is the Championship that keeps on giving. A quick word also for medallist Caolan RAFFERTY whose 62 on Day 2 at Prince’s, even with a bogey on the last, was one of the amateur stroke play rounds of the year.

Ben JONES won the U18 Boys Sir Henry Cooper Masters by 10 shots at Nizels G&CC, separating himself from his peers after a 9-under, bogey free, 63 in round 3. In a stellar year for the competition the outstanding Lily May HUMPHRIES won the Girls event by 12 shots.

The 2017 Berkshire Trophy was won by Adam LUMLEY who finished on -18, 7 shots ahead of JACK CLARKSONDavid HAGUE and Billy MACKENZIE finished tied 3rd.

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Mark Power (Photo: Castleroy GC)

Mark POWER retained his Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship title at Castleroy GC, the first person to do so since Paul Dunne a few years ago. He and England’s Jack COPE finished on -5 before Mark ended a topsy-turvy three hole play off in style by holing a 129 yard wedge on the 18th.

Kevin LE BLANC (IRE) turned Pro in June.

JULY

July 1st saw Alfie PLANT memorably win the European Men’s Amateur at Walton Heath GC. A near tap-in birdie on the 72nd hole helped the man from Kent draw level on -15 with Lorenzo SCALISE and defending Luca CIANCHETTI, helped in no small part by both Italians bogeying the same hole. With a place in The Open Championship on the line Plant went on to birdie the Old Course’s 2nd hole, winning the sudden death play off on the fifth extra hole.

 

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 Alfie Plant (Photo: GolfBible)

Greg DALZIEL won the Scottish Boys Amateur Championship at Scotscraig, beating Australian-based Josh GREER by 1 hole in the Final.

A week later The Scottish Boys U16 Open Championship at Fairmont Kittocks went to 13 year old Calum SCOTT, younger brother of Scottish Men’s International Sandy.  Josh GREER finished tied 2nd four shots back. Equally of note were the 7th and tied 12th place finishes of Max HOPKINS and Aidan O’HAGAN, new names that would come to mean more as the year unfolded.

The North of Ireland Championship was played at Royal Portrush GC with Caolan RAFFERTY winning the stroke play qualifier on -10. Caolan fell to Colin FAIRWEATHER in the semi-finals before Rowan LESTER beat Colin by 2 holes in the final.

DENMARK won the European Boys Team Championship at La Manga beating SPAIN 4-3 in the Final. ENGLAND (T4) and IRELAND (8th) both qualified for Flight A but found little success in their three matches.

ENGLAND (1st)SCOTLAND (5th) and IRELAND (6th) all made Flight A in the Men’s European Amateur Team Championship which was played concurrently with the Boys’ at Diamond CC in Austria. In a closely fought match SPAIN beat ENGLAND 4-3 in the final.

Estonia’s Joonas TURBA was something of a surprise winner at the MacGregor Trophy (Boys’ U16 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English propsects Max HOPKINS and Robin WILLIAMS were second and third respectively.

Noah GOODWIN (USA) beat Matthew WOLFF (USA) 1Up in the final of the US Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National GC in Kansas.

Alfie PLANT collected the Silver Medal for the low amateur at The Open Championship after rounds of 71, 73, 69 and 73 (+6) secured a T62 at Royal Birkdale GC. Connor SYME (73 76, +9) and Harry ELLIS (77 75, +12) both missed the cut.

Jake BURNAGE beat a fast finishing Jack YULE to win the South East of England Amateur Championship played on the New and Old Courses at Walton Heath GC. The Club have recently announced that the event will be renamed as The Walton Heath Trophy from 2018.

img_4962Jake Burnage (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrea ROMANO from Italy beat France’s Jean BEKIRIAN in a play-off to secure the Carris Trophy (Boys’ U18 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship). English trio Jack COPETaylor STOTE and Robin WILLIAMS all finished in the Top 5 at West Sussex GC.

Conor GOUGH (-5, 7th), Barclay BROWN (+1 T14), Lily May HUMPHRIES (-2, 1st) and Annabell FULLER (Ev, T3) collectively won the Team title at the European Young Masters with a -12 total score in Oslo.

The 2017 South of Ireland Open Championship was won by James SUGRUE at Lahinch. After the North champion Rowan LESTER had won the 36 hole stroke play qualifier James worked his way through a strong field before beating Conor O’ROURKE 3&2 in the final.

AUGUST

Evan GRIFFITH dominated stroke play qualifying in the Wales Amateur Championship at Aberdovey GC with two rounds of 68 and 64 (-10) seeing him achieve medalist honours by an impressive 6 shots. However, Wales’ player of the year Jack DAVIDSON got the better of him in a tight semi-final before going on to beat Tim HARRY in the 36 hole final by 8&7.

The Scottish Amateur was played at Prestwick and was won by Sam LOCKE. Sandy SCOTT and Calum FYFE were the leading qualifiers. LOCKE played superbly in the match play stage ultimately beating Ryan LUMSDEN 9&8 in the 36 hole final.

The English Men’s Amateur was contested at The Berkshire. The story from the stroke play stage was medalist’s David LANGLEY’s superb 61 on the Blue Course on Day 1. However, it was Todd CLEMENTS who prevailed in the match play eventually beating Jack GAUNT 2&1 in the final.

Like the Brabazon Trophy earlier in the year it was a South African who won the Reid Trophy, awarded to the winner of the English Boy’s U14 Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Casey JARVIS (-4) held off fast finishing Spaniard Jose BALLESTER at the Manchester GC. For those looking for potential GB&I stars of the future Rory MCDONALD-O’BRIEN (ENG), George DURKAN (ENG), Joshua HILL (IRE), Joseph BYRNE (IRE) and Jack BIGHAM (ENG) all finished in the top 10.

ENGLAND won The Boys’ Home Internationals at St. Anne’s Old Links. Toby BRIGGS, Conor GOUGH, Joe PAGDIN and Robin WILLIAMS all compiled W5 L1 H0 records during the week. Whilst SCOTLAND came last they did provide the highlight of the week; the unbeaten foursomes pairing of 13 year olds Calum SCOTT and Aiden O’HAGEN.

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 Calum Scott and Aiden O’Hagen (Photo: GolfBible)

Andrew WILSON (-4), the only player to finish under par for the 72 holes and helped on his way by a 62 in round 1, won the Lee Westwood Trophy at Rotherham GC. Charlie THORNTON and Olly HUGGINS (Ev) were tied 2nd.

IRELAND continued their superb run at the Men’s Home Internationals winning the Raymond Trophy for a fourth consecutive year at Moortown GC in England. Caolan RAFFERTY (W5 L1 H0), Paul MCBRIDE (W4 L0 H1) and Colin FAIRWEATHER (W4 L1 H0) starred in a strong team performance.

The 2017 Boys’ Amateur Championship was played at Nairn GC and Nairn Dunbar GC. Home player Darren HOWIE (-8) was medallist with Alex FITZPATRICK (-7) tied 2nd and Danny DANIELS (-6) tied 4th. However, it was Portugal’s Pedro LENCART SILVA, who had qualified in tied 6th on -4, who came through the match play stage to win. He beat defending champion Falko HANISCH (GER) 5&4 in the 36 hole final.

Played at the magnificent Riviera CC and Bel-Air CC’s in Los Angeles Doc REDMAN won the U.S. Amateur Championship in stunning fashion. Hayden WOOD (-9) achieved medallist honours in the stroke play qualifying. Jack SINGH BRAR (-2) T8 led the way for GB&I, with Connor SYME and Robert MACINTYRE (both +2) T35 following him into the match play stage. Syme went furthest at Riviera ending up losing 2&1 in the quarter finals to Doug GHIM. Ghim went on to reach the final where he found himself 2Up with two to play and just over the back of the green in two on the par 5 17th. With Redman just on the green in front of him easily 50 yards away from the hole he could be forgiven for thinking the Havemeyer Trophy was his and for allowing his mind to wander to the first tee of Augusta National in April 2018. Unfortunately the golfing gods stepped in. After Ghim had left his chip 6 feet short Redman stepped up and at pace holed the most amazing right to left downhill putt of the year, or for that matter almost any year, for eagle. Redman then followed it up with a superb birdie on the uphill 18th from 6 foot with Ghim only managing a scrambled par. With the match now All Square, Redman hit a perfect drive to the front of Riviera’s short 315 yard par 4 10th, the first extra hole. Visibly shocked at what was happening in front of him Ghim then hooked his drive and having hacked around for a while before securing a 6 conceded Redman the Championship. An unbelievable finish to amateur golf’s premier event.

The North of England U16 Boy’s Championship was won by Callum MACFIE at Pannal GC. Matthew JACKMAN was one back with Max HOPKINS a little further back in 3rd place.

The Irish U16 Boys Amateur Open Championship was played at Rockmount and was won by Mullingar’s Adam SMITH. Odhran MAGUIRE, the younger brother of Leona and Lisa, was 2nd.

Down at Sundridge Park GC Liam BURNS (-5) defenced the Waterford Trophy. A 67 66 final day finish was required by the man from Chiselhurst to hold off Nick PANTING by 1 shot.

The U16 Welsh Boys was won by Bryn THOMAS at Cradoc GC. Thomas’ final round of 67 helped him to a 9 shot victory over Tom PEET.

The Irish Amateur Close Championship was won by Jamie FLETCHER at Galway GC. Peter KERR and David BRADY were seeded 1st and 2nd after both recorded 138 (-2) in the stroke play stage. In a tight 18 hole final Fletcher beat David KITT by 1 hole.

Richard MANSELL (ENG), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Marco PENGE (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG) all turned Pro in August.

SEPTEMBER

The CONTINENT OF EUROPE won the annual Jacques Léglise Trophy U18 Boys’ match against GB&I at Ballybunion GC by 15.5 – 9.5. Unbeaten pair Pedro LENCART SILVA (W3-L0-H1) and Eduard ROUSARD SABATE (SWE) helped the away side to a second successive win. Ben JONES (W2-L1-H1) and Robin WILLIAMS (W2-L1-H0) put up the best defence for GB&I.

The Walker Cup result was an even more sobering experience for GB&I the following week. Craig WATSON had to step down as GB&I captain on the eve of the match but with Andy INGRAM a very capable deputy I am sure this in no way contributed to what followed at Los Angeles Country Club. Whilst the final result was not unexpected the manner of the 17-9 defeat was. Only Jack SINGH BRAR (W3-L1-H0), Robert MACINTYRE (W1-L1-H1) and Scott GREGORY (W2-L1-H1) really came away with any credit from the match. From the USA side Captain Spider Miller had clearly learned a few lessons from Royal Lytham in 2015 and backed up by superb performances from Doug GHIM, Maverick MCNEALY, Colin MORIKAWA, (all W4-L0-H0) and Norman XIONG (W3-L0-H1) the one sided result felt inevitable as soon as the Day 1 singles were concluded.

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The USA Walker Cup Team (Photo: GolfBible)

Ben JONES won The Duke of York Champions Trophy at Royal Liverpool GC by 8 shots from Sweden’s Oscar TEIFFEL. John PATERSON, who shot a 69 in round 2, the best of the week, finished 7th.

David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG) Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Tom GANDY (ENG), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Cameron LONG (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), Connor SYME (SCO), Will WHITEOAK (ENG) and Jack YULE (ENG) all turned Pro in September.

OCTOBER

David HAGUE (+1) won the North of England Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship at Alwoodley GC. Andrew Wilson (+3) was 2nd with Harry GODDARD and Nick POPPLETON (+4) tied 3rd.

Joshua DAVIES (WAL), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Colin FAIRWEATHER (IRE), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) all turned Pro in October.

NOVEMBER

A birdie, eagle finish helped China’s LIN YUXIN to the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship title at Royal Wellington GC in New Zealand. We can therefore look forward to seeing him in action at The Masters in 2018.

14 year old Max HOPKINS (-2) became the youngest ever winner of the Boys’ Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship at Quinta do Lago in Portugal. Ben JONES (+1) was 2nd and Alfie FOX (+3) 3rd.

Jamie CLARE (ENG), John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) and Chris MACLEAN (SCO) all turned Pro in November.

Sam HORSFIELD won the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Spain. His final -27 score, with all six rounds in the 60’s and a best of the day final round of 63 (-8), saw him win the 108 hole event by an impressive 8 shots. Amongst the other players to pick up a 2018 Tour card were Connor SYME, who finished tied 9th on -17 and Jonathan THOMSON, who finished tied 18th on -14.

DECEMBER

Ben JONES (-12) finished tied 2nd at the South Beach International Amateur in Miami. In an event which enjoyed the 5th strongest field of the year it was also pleasing to see Harry HALL (-7) and Joe PAGDIN (-4) record impressive results; tied 10th and tied 19th respectively.

Ben JONES finished tied 28th at the Boy’s Junior Orange Bowl Championship in Miami, 22 shots behind runaway winner Jerry JI from The Netherlands. Lily May HUMPHRIES enhanced her growing reputation by winning the Girls event by 9 shots.

Mason OVERSTREET (USA) won The Patriot All-America in Arizona. The six GB&I players struggled to make an impression with George BURNS (T38) recording the best finish.

Josh HILLEARD (ENG) turned Pro earlier in the month.

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If you want to review the detailed results of any of the above competitions then please take a look at the GolfBible Results Page where you will be able to find links to nearly all of those mentioned above.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.