The Amateur Championship – 2022 Preview & Results

Saturday 18th June 2022

Aldrich POTGIETER (RSA) won the 127th Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C., beating Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) 3&2 in the 36 hole Final.

Potgieter is the third South African winner after Bobby Cole at Carnoustie in 1966 and Jovan Rebula at Royal Aberdeen in 2018. He is also the second youngest winner in history after Matteo Manassero’s win at Formby in 2009 when he was just 16.

Talking to The R&A afterwards the new champion said “It’s really amazing. I can’t really find the words, there’s no feeling like it and I haven’t felt this good before. The words can’t even come out of my mind. On this golf course, going bogey-free on the first 18 holes was incredible for me. I played really well and everything worked out well. I knew Sam was going to do better than he did this morning. He didn’t play too well, but I knew he was going to come out strong. He wasn’t going to give up. I just had to play steady and keep my lead.”

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Aldrich Potgieter (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

The 17 year old South African built a 7Up lead in the morning round with a near flawless display of golf and despite not playing as well in the afternoon was sufficiently composed to see out the match. On the few occasions he got out of position his short game and putting quickly got him back on track.

Bairstow was far from his best in the morning but with nothing to lose in the afternoon mounted a comeback. Having got himself to 2 Down with four holes to play it looked like he had a chance but problems off the tee on the 15th soon put an end to the feint hopes of the home supporters.

Potgieter was the deserved winner on the day and can now look forward to playing in The Open Championship next month and The Masters and the US Open Championship in 2023.

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Bairstow v. Potgieter Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Please click here to watch the – R&A Live YouTube Coverage – Final

Please click here to view the – R&A Amateur Championship Website

Please click here to view the – Golfbox Match Play Results

The 2023 Amateur Championship will be played just down England’s west coast at Hillside G.C. and Southport & Ainsdale G.C.

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Friday 17th June 2022

Semi-Finals

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) completed a memorable day’s work backing up his morning victory against Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE) with a dominant performance against England teammate and in-form player John GOUGH (ENG). Gough surprisingly struggled down wind on the way out and being 6 Down turning for home meant it was just a matter of time before the two players would be shaking hands.

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Bairstow v. Gough Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Aldrich POTGIETER (RSA) beat Alex MAGUIRE (IRL) in the second Semi-Final. Maguire started with a string of bogeys which gave the young South African a buffer to work with for the rest of the match. With the recent Brabazon Trophy winner Christiaan Maas on his bag Potgieter played cautiously to eventually see out the match on the 17th green.

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Maguire v. Potgieter Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Quarter Finals

Neither Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) or Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE) were at their very best this morning but served up what proved to be an exciting match play contest. Having lost a 3Up lead after 12 holes Bairstow showed his class by holing two lengthy putts on 17 and 18 to firmly close the door on his opponent.

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Bairstow v. Ludvig Hole-by-Hole Scores  (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) got off to a good start against England’s John GOUGH but handed the initiative back to his opponent around the turn where he lost four holes in a row. It appeared for a while as if Gough would run away with the match but O’Keeffe refused to be beaten and through superb putting kept the deficit down to manageable levels. Gough eventually birdied 16 after a good drive and then holed from off the green on 17, following in O’Keeffe who had birdied from 25 feet just moments earlier, to close out the game.

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O’Keeffe v. Gough Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Ireland’s Alex MAGUIRE made the semi-finals after edging a tight match with Max CHARLES (AUS) by 2&1. The Irishman’s greater composure coming down Royal Lytham’s strong finish ultimately proved to be the difference in what was largely a scrappy affair.

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Charles v. Maguire Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

One could argue from looking at the scores that Aldrich POTGIETER (RSA) played the steadiest golf of all this morning’s Quarter Finalists. At a course of Royal Lytham’s difficulty par will more often than not get the job done and that proved to be the case as Potgieter dealt with the breezy conditions much better than the more experienced Laurenz SCHIERGEN (GER). Whilst the German fought to the end he had simply given himself too much work to do having drifted to 5 Down after 12 holes.

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Aldrich v. Schiergen Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Please click here to watch the – R&A Live YouTube Coverage – Quarter Finals & Semi-Finals

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Thursday 16th June 2022

Round 4

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) played a very solid round of golf to secure the first place in tomorrow’s Quarter Finals. Unfortunately for Ireland’s Jack HEARN Round 4 proved to be a game too far with a few unforced errors making life relatively easy for the Sheffield man.

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Bairstow v. Hearn Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE) got off to a dream start with two opening birdies and whilst he stumbled a little down the home straight Matt MCCLEAN (IRL) had given him too much of a head start to seriously threaten a comeback.

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Åberg v. McClean Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

All that fitness work is clearly paying off for Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) who held his nerve and produced some great golf down the stretch to reel in Frenchman Nathan LEGRANDE.

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Lengendre v. O’Keeffe Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

John GOUGH (ENG) prevailed against James ASHFIELD (WAL) in what was clearly the outstanding match of the afternoon session. Despite Gough throwing everything he had at him Ashfield showed real grit and refused to lie down. A 15 foot birdie putt on the 18th seems an appropriate way for such a competitive match to end.

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Ashfield v. Gough Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Perhaps it’s time to give the unheralded Australian Max CHARLES some respect and praise. What a week he is having on the Fylde Coast. Whilst Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) clearly struggled this afternoon Charles played well to secure a notable win against the 2019 Walker Cup man.

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Charles v. Rafferty Hole-bHole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Alex MAGUIRE (IRL) built up a strong lead over the opening nine holes against Jamie ROBERTS (SCO) and whilst the Scotsman fought back well he was able to see the match out with a par down the difficult 18th.

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Roberts v. Maguire Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Kyle DE BEER (RSA) holed a 20 foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to take his match against compatriot Aldrich POTGIETER (RSA) to extra holes but his celebration was short-lived, as Potgieter, who had enjoyed a 3Up lead after 5 holes, took the match on the 19th with a par 3. There were ten South African’s in the starting line up and if you had asked me to list them in order of likely performance at the outset Aldrich, despite some noteworthy performances in 2022, would have been 9th. Golf never ceases to surprise.

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Potgieter v. De Beer Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

A rising Sophomore at Kansas State, where he plays alongside Will Hopkins and Luke O’Neill who both also made match play, and winner of the 2018 Sir Henry Cooper Masters by 10-shots Laurenz SCHIERGEN (GER) is moving through the match play stage nicely. His win against Nevill RUITER (NED) this afternoon and the 2021 British Boy’s Amateur champion Jack Bigham this morning suggests he shouldn’t be under-estimated.

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Ruiter v. Schiergen Hole-by-Hole Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Round 3

English pair Sam BAIRSTOW and John GOUGH delivered the two biggest wins in Round 3. Bairstow took out medalist Jonathan BROOMHEAD (RSA) 6&4 whilst Gough carried on where he left off yesterday by thrashing former GB&I Walker Cupper Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 7&6.

Favourite Ludvig ÅBERG was made to work hard by his Swedish teammate Henrik LILJA only seeing him off with a 20 foot birdie on the 19th hole.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL), who has two time Irish Amateur open champion Colm Campbell on his bag, beat Archie DAVIES (WAL) by 3&2.

In the all Irish match Alex MAGUIRE beat Mark POWER by 2&1.

Nine of the Last 16 players will come from Great Britain and Ireland – and five from Ireland alone – after Jack HEARN (IRL), Matt MCCLEAN (IRL), Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL), James ASHFIELD (WAL), a semi-finalist last year, and Jamie ROBERTS (IRL) all beat overseas opponents in the morning series.

O’Keeffe is the only player remaining in the field who played in the Preliminary Round 1, i.e. he has played an additional 18 holes to everyone else he will now come up against.

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

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Wednesday 15th June 2022

Day 3 of the Amateur Championship saw near perfect weather conditions again and as a result there was some excellent play on show across the Royal Lytham links throughout the day.

Round 2

Medalist Jonathan BROOMHEAD (RSA) overcame home favourite Callan BARROW (ENG) with a narrow 1 Hole victory. Broomhead said afterwards “I’m very happy with the win. There is a bit of past history with the number one seed getting knocked out in this round. I played very nicely today but I did let a few things go towards the end and Callan made some good putts coming down the stretch. There were a lot of people walking with us and I know most of them were supporting Callan.”

Barclay BROWN (ENG), who had qualified in second place, didn’t fare so well. He was surprisingly brushed aside by Gustav FRIMODT (DEN) 4&3.

It was a good afternoon for the Irish with six of their representatives progressing to the Round of 32. Jack HEARN and Mark POWER perhaps had the pick of the wins given their opponents but Matt MCCLEAN, Peter O’KEEFFE, Caolan RAFFERTY and Alex MAGUIRE certainly made sure they did what was required to progress.

The Welsh contingent of James ASHFIELD, Luke HARRIES and Archie DAVIES all won their games. The highlight was Davies’ battling win against Denmark’s Kristian HJORT BRESSUM. Davies won the 18th to tie the match before scrambling his way to victory on the fourth extra hole after ‘dodging a number of bullets’ from his opponent who had already played 20 holes in his morning Preliminary Round 1 and was perhaps becoming fatigued.

John GOUGH (ENG) enjoyed the biggest win of the Round, destroying the highly ranked Frederik BIRKELUND (DEN) by 8&7.

However, it was generally not a good afternoon for the English who saw seven of their players lose. In addition to Gough their only other wins came from Sam BAIRSTOW, who secured a 1 Hole win when his opponent missed a short put on the 18th green, Joe HARVEY who overcame experienced Dutchman Jerry JI and Will HOPKINS who outstayed the largely unknown American Jack GNAM.

Scotland will have Sandy SCOTT and Jamie ROBERTS in the last 32. It was good to see Sandy back fully fit and producing some of the great golf we know he is capable of.

Of the overseas players Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE), Christian BANKE (USA), Jonathan BROOMHEAD (RSA), Kyle DE BEER (RSA) and Hugo TOWNSEND (SWE) look the most threatening after another day on the links.

Of the 15 players who came through the morning Preliminary Round 1 just four were able to win again in the afternoon. They were Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL), Matteo CRISTONI (ITA), Kiet VAN DER WEELE (NED) and Gustav FRIMODT (DEN).

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

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Preliminary Round 1

With 79 players progressing from the Stroke Play Qualifying the lowest 30 players, i.e. those finishing in 50th to 79th place, were required to play in a Preliminary Round 1.

The 15 winners of Preliminary Round 1 then joine the highest finishers, i.e. those finishing in 1st to 49th place, in Round 2.

Royal Lytham member Callan BARROW (ENG) overcame Samuel SLATER (AUS) in the opening match of Preliminary Round 1 to provide medalist Jonathan BROOMHEAD (RSA) were perhaps a tough assignment than he may have been expecting.

Last week’s St. Andrews links Trophy winner Connor MCKINNEY (AUS) saw his hopes of a famous double disappear when he lost a tight match with Jonas BAUMGARTNER (GER).

I would still prefer to see a play-off to resolve the 64th position and ties where the use of a Preliminary Round means a number of players are required to play another round and the Day 1 draw becomes convoluted for spectators as two rounds are played simultaneously.

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

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Tuesday 14th June 2022

Stroke Play Qualifying – Round 2

Jonathan BROOMHEAD (RSA) earned medalist honours at The Amateur Championship with a 36 hole score of 135 (-7).

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Jonathan Broomhead’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard

Barclay BROWN (ENG) finished on the same score after a 65 (-7) at St. Annes Old Links, taking second place on count back.

After their last nine holes on both courses were the same (aggregate 69) it came down to the last six holes. Broomhead recorded a total score of 46, two better than Brown’s 48.

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Barclay Brown’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard

Third place went to Ireland’s Mark POWER (IRL) on 136 (-6) who matched the low score at St. Anne’s Old with his own 65 today.

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Mark Power’s Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard

Welshmen Archie DAVIES and Luke HARRIES both qualified strongly on -5. Harries should enter the match play stage with confidence after his 67 (-3) in Round 2 at Royal Lytham.

img_1912 Luke Harries’ Stroke Play Qualifying Scorecard

Sitting alongside the two Welshman on 137 (-5) were Nathan LEGRANDE (FRA), who rose 70 places on the leaderboard today with a 66 at St. Annes, and Hugo TOWNSEND (SWE), who held steady with a solid even par 70 at Royal Lytham.

Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE), the Round 1 leader, found the going a little tougher at Royal Lytham. His 73 saw him finish in 8th place on -4.

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) and John GOUGH (ENG) were the leading English qualifiers, both finishing on 139 (+3), taking the 10th and 12th seeds respectively.

Christian BANKE (USA) finished 9th moving up 122 places after he posted the third 65 of the day, and the fourth in overall Qualifying, at St. Annes Old Links. Christian’s father Danke has travelled over with his son. Danke himself played in the Amateur Championship four times between 1982-1985 and was Stroke Play Qualifying medalist in both 1985 and 1986, the latter played at the same venues as this year.

Day 2 saw average scores of 73.88 (+3.88) at Royal Lytham [Round 1 75.40 (+5.40)] and 72.30 at St. Annes Old [Round 1 73.77 (+1.77)].

It was a perfect day for golf by the coast – the sun shone and a light breeze took the edge off the rising temperatures.

At the end of play 79 players on 143 (+1) or better made the 64 lowest scores and ties cut to advance to the match play stage.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Please click here to view the – R&A Amateur Championship Website

Please click here to view the – Golfbox Stroke Play Qualifying Results

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Monday 13th June 2022

Stroke Play Qualifying – Round 1

Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE) lived up to his billing as the highest ranked player in the field shooting a blemish free 65 (-7) at St. Annes Old Links (par 72).

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Ludvig Åberg’s Round 1 Scorecard

However, Jamie ROBERTS (SCO) arguably posted the best round of the day with a superb 66 (-4) at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (par 70) which included an eagle 2 on the par 4 13th and five other birdies.

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Jamie Roberts’ Round 1 Scorecard

Day 1 saw average scores of 75.40 (+5.40) at Royal Lytham and 73.77 (+1.77) at St. Annes Old, a 3.63 differential against par. Just three players in the current top 30 played their opening 18 holes at Royal Lytham.

Whilst it was dry, the winds were strong all day only abating late in the afternoon, thus giving the late starters an advantage.

Åberg leads Mathias LORENTZEN (DEN) -6 and Hugo TOWNSEND (SWE) -5 after they shot a 66 and 67 at St. Annes Old.

Irish players enjoyed a good opening day at St. Annes Old with Paul COUGHLAN -4, Matt MCCLEAN -4, Jack HEARN -4 and Luke O’NEILL -3 all high up the leaderboard. Robert MORAN‘s 68 -2 at Royal Lytham was noteworthy too.

Åberg’s Texas Tech University teammates Sandy SCOTT and Calum SCOTT, the Scottish brothers, both shot 70’s (-2) at St. Annes Old Links.

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Stroke Play Qualifying Round 1 Leading Scores (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

As is always the case a number of competitors played themselves out of the Championship on the opening day, either doing too much damage at Royal Lytham or not giving themselves enough of a buffer from St. Annes Old.

Field Update

Following further withdrawals over the weekend eight additional players were called up from the Reserve List, set after Pre-Qualifying had finished. Kipp POPERT (ENG), who lost the 8-for-7 73 (+1) play-off and thus finished 31st, Matthew GAUNTLETT (ENG) 74 (+2) 32nd, Adam CHARLTON (ENG) 74 33rd, Taylor PAUL (ENG) 74 34th, Dominic BARRON HOLDEN (ENG) 74 35th, Timothy CHAN (HKG) 74 36th, James NASH (ENG) 74 38th and Carl BANNER (ENG) 75 (+3) 39th are all now in the starting field. Oscar DORAN (ENG) 73, who finished 37th must have declined his place.

Popert, who lives with a form of Cerebal Palsy, is understood to be the first golfer with a disability to compete in the Amateur Championship.

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Friday 10th June 2022

Pre-Qualifier

Gregor TAIT (SCO) won the 18 hole Pre-Qualifying (PQ) competition which was played today at St. Annes Old Links. His 67 (-5) included eight birdies and three bogeys.

Ireland’s Charlie DENVIR finished second with a 68 (-4) and Jake BENSON (ENG) and Hannes HILBURGER (GER) tied third on -3.

Louis TALARCZYK (ENG)  71 -1 and Jamie VAN WYK (ENG) 72 Ev, both members of Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C., were amongst the players to progress.

72 players were competing for 30 spaces in the Amateur Championship which starts on Monday. It was a windy day on the Fylde Coast so the scoring was particularly good.

A minimum of 10 places were originally allocated to PQ by The R&A. However, as there had been 20 withdrawals from the main field, after the close of entries and prior to PQ starting, this number had increased to 30.

31 players ultimately finished on 73 (+1) or better. As eight of them were on +1 there was an 8-for-7 play-off to determine which player missed out.

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Pre-Qualifying Results (Graphic: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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Wednesday 8th June 2022

The 127th Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. and St. Annes Old Links in England between Monday 13th and Saturday 18th June 2022.

For the first time a Pre-Qualifying competition will also be staged. This will take place at St. Annes Old Links on Friday 10th June 2022.

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.

Championship Format

Stroke Play Qualifying

Two rounds of stroke play will be completed on Monday 13th June and Tuesday 14th June to determine the match play field.

Each contestant will play 18 holes at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. and St. Annes Old Links with three-ball tee times between 7.00am and 3.52pm on both days.

The 64 lowest scores and ties for 64th place will advance to the match play stage. This is a change on last year’s format where a Round 2 card count back was used to break ties for 64th place.

Match Play Stage

The Match Play stage will be played between Wednesday 15th and Saturday 18th June and held solely at Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.

The decision to again take all ties through to match play will almost certainly necessitate a Preliminary Round 1 so that a proper 64 player Round 2 can take place. I believe a play-off, as used in the U.S. Amateur Championship, to determine a clean 64 for Round 1 would be a more efficient solution.

Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes except the Final which will be played over 36 holes. Any tied matches will continue into sudden death extra holes to determine a winner.

Pre-Qualifying

In a welcome change The R&A have this year introduced a Pre-Qualifying (PQ) event to offer some of the players not allocated an automatic place in the field an opportunity to earn one.

72 players will play 18 holes of stroke play at St. Annes Old Links on Friday 10th June. This field was made up of the 15 highest ranked WAGR players (cut off 1,478th) followed by a lowest handicap ballot for the remainder (cut off +3.6).

A minimum of 10 places are to be made available from PQ. However, additional spaces will become available if there are any withdrawals from the main field after the close of entries and prior to PQ starting.

Ties for the last qualifying place from PQ will be resolved via sudden death play-off.

Withdrawals following PQ and before the Championship commences will be handed to players on a card count back from PQ rather than any play-off results.

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. in 2012 (Photo: David Cannon / Getty Images / The R&A)

Click here to view the full – Amateur Championship Terms of Competition

Field

288 male amateur golfers will contest the Championship. With competitors coming from 42 different countries the 2022 Amateur will see a full international field return.

It is worth noting that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic only 120 and 144 competitors could be accommodated by The R&A in 2020 and 2021.

There were originally 585 entries, a record for the Championship.

278 competitiors were originally drawn from 1) a number of exempt categories covering various historic Championship performances and representative team selections and 2) allocated to those highest ranked players 1st-2,000th in the WAGR as at Week 19 2022, i.e. the Wednesday 18th May release, and then via WHS Handicap index at the date of entry.

The remaining 10 players plus any players to cover for early Withdrawals and to create a Reserve List will be drawn from the Pre-Qualifying event discussed above. Current information suggests a total of 29 players may now come through the Qualifier into the starting line-up.

The defending champion Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) is playing in the U.S. Open Championship, using his exemption from Nairn, and turning pro immediately afterwards. He will be debuting in the BMW International Open in Germany on 23rd June.

Leading Players

Whilst is is never easy to predict anything in golf here are 20 players that I think could feature in the latter stages of the Championship and are worth watching as the week unfolds: –

Ludvig ÅBERG (SWE), Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG), Paul BEAUVY (FRA), Kyle DE BEER (RSA), Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG), Hugh FOLEY (IRL), Rory FRANSSEN (SCO), John GOUGH (ENG), Connor GRAHAM (SCO), Olly HUGGINS (ENG), Casey JARVIS (RSA), Christiaan MAAS (RSA), Connor MCKINNEY (AUS), Matt MCCLEAN (IRL), Robert MORAN (IRL), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) Bård SKOGEN (NOR), Hugo TOWNSEND (SWE) and Kiet VAN DER WEELE (NED).

Having won the Lytham Trophy last month John Gough will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Sir Michael Bonallack by completing the double by winning the Amateur in the same year. He arrives with a 21 game unbeaten match play record so he will certainly start as a favourite.

Thailand’s highly ranked Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat was invited to play in the LIV Golf Series and is warming up by playing in the Centurian event near London this week.

Host Courses

Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.

7,060 yards / Par 70 / Slope Rating 147 / Course Rating 74.3

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Founded in 1886, Royal Lytham & St Annes is one of the premier links courses in the world, renowned for it’s superb bunkering.

It has hosted The Open on 11 occasions, the last one being in 2012, and The Ryder Cup twice in 1961 and 1977.

This will be the fifth Amateur Championship that the Club has staged. Previous champions at Lytham include Lawson Little (USA) in 1935, Joe Conrad (USA) in 1955, David Curry (WAL) in 1986 and Drew Weaver (USA) in 2007.

It has also hosted the prestigious Lytham Trophy since 1965, most recently won by England’s John GOUGH in May 2022, and memorably the 2015 Walker Cup match won by the GB&I Team.

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Golf Bible)

St. Annes Old Links G.C.

6,875 yards / Par 72 / Slope Rating 143 / Course Rating 74.5

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Founded in 1901, St Anne’s Old Links is one of many fine championship links courses on England’s north west coast.

It has been used by The R&A as a Final Qualifying course for The Open on a number of occasions and is currently on the 2019-2022 rota.

Amongst numerous amateur Championships it staged the Boys’ Home Internationals in August 2017 which some of this year’s Amateur competitors will have played in.

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9th Green and Clubhouse, St. Annes Old Links G.C. (Photo: St. Annes Old Links G.C.)

Weather Forecast (as at Friday 10th June)

The weather forecast is very good for the Championship with largely dry conditions and moderate breezes expected: –

Fri 10th – Sunny. Wind 21mph SW. Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 19°C.
Mon 13th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 14mph W. Temp. Min. 11°C / Max. 16°C.
Tues 14th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 10 mph SW. Temp. Min. 11°C / Max. 17°C.
Wed 15th – Light Cloud. Wind 10 mph SW. Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 19°C.
Thu 16th – Light Cloud. Wind 13 mph SW. Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 19°C.
Fri 17th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 14 mph SW. Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 19°C.
Sat 18th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 14 mph W. Temp. Min. 13°C / Max. 19°C.

Click here to view the – Latest BBC Weather Forecast For Lytham St. Annes

Tee times between 7.00am and 3.52pm mean changes in the weather during the opening two days can have a material impact on the stroke play qualifying competition.

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the leading player in the stroke play qualifying competition, with any ties for this prize decided on the lowest aggregate score for the second nine holes on both courses (or the last six or three or one if necessary).

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

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

The winner of The Amateur Championship, on the basis they remain an amateur, will receive the following exemptions / invitations into –

a) the 150th Open Championship being staged on the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland in July 2022;

b) the 2023 U.S. Open Championship which will be held at The Los Angeles Country Club in California, venue of the 2017 Walker Cup match;

c) the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C.; and

d) a DP World Tour event to be determined.

The other Semi-Finalists, on the basis they are still an amateur, will receive an invitation to compete in a Challenge Tour event to be determined.

The other Quarter Finalists, on the basis they are still an amateur, will receive exemptions into Final Qualifying for The 150th Open Championship.

More Information

Click here to view the – R&A Amateur Championship Official Website

2021 Amateur Championship

23 year old Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) won the 2021 Amateur Championship at Nairn G.C. to become the 52nd Englishman to lift the famous silver trophy.

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

In a second consecutive all-English Final Shepherd, a graduate of Stirling University and now a St. Andrews resident, beat Monty SCOWSILL (ENG) on the 38th Hole. Shepherd was 8-Down on the 18th tee in the morning round and 4-Down with four holes to play before completing an astonishing comeback.

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

In the earlier Semi-Finals Shepherd beat Jack DYER (ENG) by 1-Hole and Scowsill overcame James ASHFIELD (WAL) by 2-Holes.

The losing Quarter Finalists were John PATERSON (SCO), Calum SCOTT (SCO), Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) and Olly HUGGINS (ENG).

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

Experienced Scottish International Matthew CLARK secured medalist honours in the Stroke Play Qualifying competition. The highlight being his bogey free course record 62 (-9) in Round 2.

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

As is the way of the golfing gods Clark inevitability slipped to a 5&4 defeat to Mason ESSAM (ENG) in Round 1 of the Match Play Stage.

A Round 2 card count back was used by The R&A for the first time to ensure a clean 64 player match play draw could be made. The cut came on 148 (+6). 16 players achieved this score with nine of them missing out due to the new rule.

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

The 2021 Championship was originally due to be co-hosted by The Nairn G.C. and Nairn Dunbar G.C. but due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 the R&A took the decision, as they did in 2019, to play the Championship solely at Nairn with a reduced field. With the Walker Cup having also been played prior to the event in May 2021 this was possibly the weakest field ever assembled for the Championship.

For more information on this championship please click here – The Amateur Championship – 2021 Preview & Results Article

A Short History of The Amateur

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

Up until the Second World War it was a hugely prestigious event and in many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open Championship. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and as good if not better than most of the professionals of the day.

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

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

With the growth and transformation of the professional game from the early 1980s onwards both the better players and the media increasingly started to turn their backs on the amateur game.

Save for exceptional cases like Gary Wolstenholme (ENG) all continuity has been lost over the last 30 years and most of the young golfing stars of today rarely play any more than 2 or 3 Amateurs before being lured into the pro ranks by the potentially huge rewards on offer.

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

Past Winners

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

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

Prior to Laird Shepherd’s win in 2021 the previous 10 winners of The Amateur Championship were: –

2020 Joe Long (ENG) – Royal Birkdale G.C.
2019  James Sugrue (IRL) – Portmarnock G.C.
2018  Jovan Rebula (RSA) – Royal Aberdeen G.C.
2017  Harry Ellis (ENG) – Royal St. George’s G.C.
2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl G.C.
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie G.L.
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush G.C.
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports G.C.
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRL) – Royal Troon G.C.
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside G.C.

A great achievement and honour for all of the players listed above. However, looking through the names reminds us of how incredibly tough golf is and that wins in the biggest amateur events are no guarantee of success in the professional game.

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

Click here to view a complete list of – Past Amateur Stroke Play Qualifying Medalists

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2022, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2022 Preview & Results

1st May 2022

John GOUGH (ENG) won the 2022 Lytham Trophy with a 280 (Ev) total, albeit he was made to work very hard for arguably the biggest win of his career.

Gough has won the Palmetto Amateur (USA), English Amateur, Spanish International Amateur and now the Lytham Trophy during the last 12 months. He rose to 37th in the updated Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking accurately reflecting his status as one of the world’s best amateur golfers.

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John Gough (Photo: Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C.)

The 57th Lytham Trophy will be played on 5th-7th May 2023.

Round 4

Gough showed great heart in twice having to recover from setbacks in the final round to secure the victory. His double bogey 5 on the 5th hole saw him tumble out of the lead before a badly timed run of three bogeys on the 14th to 16th holes initially looked like it may be terminal.

Having dropped into a share of the lead with Connor Graham, safely in the clubhouse on +1, Gough was faced with parring his final two holes to force a play-off. At the time few would have bet on it with the wheels seemingly having come off his victory parade bus. To then birdie the 17th – he chipped in from off the green – and par the 18th with the Trophy on the line showed just how much the BB&O golfer has matured in recent years.

Reflecting on the 17th afterwards Gough said “I don’t think I’ll ever forget that shot.” Perhaps Royal Lytham should install a plaque to commemorate Gough’s chip-in, after all Bobby Jones was afforded one back down the 17th fairway for a par on his way to winning the 1926 Open Championship ?

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John Gough Scorecard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

Whilst the plaudits will go to the winner the 2nd place performance of 15 year old Scottish protege Connor GRAHAM was equally impressive. After a roller coaster opening nine in the morning his play was simply outstanding in the heat of battle. To play the final 27 holes at Royal Lytham with just two bogeys on his card, not to mention six birdies, is nothing short of remarkable for one so young.

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Connor Graham Scorecard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

Ben QUINNEY (ENG) finished 3rd on 283 (+3), Connor ROCHON (SCO) 4th on 285 (+5) and Robert MORAN (IRL) 5th also on +5.

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Final Results (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

Click here to view the full – 2022 Lytham Trophy Results

Round 3

Eoin MURPHY (IRL) and Nicola GERHARDSEN (SUI), who recorded 1-under 69’s, were the only players in the third round to break par. Both players made slow starts before birdieing the 9th and then coming home strongly with no bogeys; Murphy was 2-under for his back nine whilst Gerhardsen was 3-under.

Murphy shares the 54 hole lead with John GOUGH (ENG) who sadly bogeyed his final two holes to give the chasing pack some encouragement.

Ben QUINNEY (ENG) and Robert MORAN (IRL) are tied 3rd, just one shot back of the leaders. Both could have been much better off. Moran triple bogeyed the 8th and double bogeyed the 7th on his way to a front nine 40. Quinney double bogeyed the 11th and 17th before bogeying his final hole.

15 year old Scottish protege Conor GRAHAM (SCO) moved into the top 5 with a level par 70 which included four birdies. It would be some story if he comes through this afternoon to win the title.

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Round 3 Leaderboard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

ME.

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30th April 2022

Robert MORAN (IRL) moved into the 36 hole lead on 136 (-4) at Lytham with a second consecutive 68. He is the only player in the competition to have recorded to under par rounds.

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Rob Moran Scorecard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

John GOUGH (ENG), who Moran memorably competed against at last year’s Men’s Home Internationals when they were the best two players on show, moved into sole 2nd place, on -3, with a 70 in Round 2.

Ben QUINNEY (ENG) and Paul BEAUVY (FRA) recorded the day’s low rounds with 3-under 67’s to move firmly into the top 10. Quinney’s highlight was an eagle on the 589 yard 8th which presumably brought a smile to his face having had an 8 on the same hole yesterday. Beauvy was 3-over after 4 holes but seven birdies during the rest of his round represented some bounce back.

It proved to be a tough day for the two opening day leaders, Matt McCLEAN (IRL) and Oliver MUKHERJEE (SCO). McClean shot a 77 and Mukherjee a 76 which saw them both tumble down the leaderboard to tied 14th on 143 (+3).

45 players made the top 40 and ties cut which fell at 147 (+4).

The weather started to turn a little today with early morning mist giving way to cloud before some late light rain came in to disturb the later finishers.

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Round 2 Leaderboard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

Sadly Royal Lytham were unable to provide live scoring in Round 2 which meant it was difficult to follow the ebbs and flows of the rounds as had been possible on the opening day.

ME.

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29th April 2022

Matt McCLEAN (IRL), who plays out of the Malone G.C. in Ulster, teed off in the third from last group at 3.20pm on Day 1 of the Lytham Trophy. His 4-under 66, which included five birdies and a solitary bogey on the challenging dog-leg 17th, proved good enough to take the early lead.

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Matt McClean’s Round 1 Scorecard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

One shot further back after 67’s were young Oliver MUKHERJEE (SCO), Florian SCHWEIGHOFER (AUT) and John GOUGH (ENG).

Mukherjee was the second player to tee off in the competition and like McClean impressively kept the damage on his card to just a single bogey. His came on the 3rd hole with birdies on 7 and 8 before another pair on 17 and 18 left him well placed heading into the weekend.

The highlight of Austrian Schweighofer’s round was an eagle 2 on the 417 yard par 4 8th hole.

John Gough, who teed off in the final group at 3.40pm made a great start moving to 4-under after 8 holes. He had got to 5-under after 12 before two successive bogeys on 14 and 15 took the edge off what looked like it could be a special round.

Robert MORAN (IRL), who is tied with compatriot Eoin MURPHY on 2-under in 5th place, will clearly have been disappointed to triple-bogey the home hole to slip out of the Round 1 lead which he had held on 5-under standing on the 18th tee.

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Round 1 Leaderboard (Graphic: Royal Lytham G.C. / Golf Genius)

ME.

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26th April 2022 

The 2022 Lytham Trophy will be played between 29th April and 1st May at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.

This event was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally the first major event in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) men’s amateur golf season its return is being eagerly anticipated.

It has historically been the 3rd best event in GB&I based on field strength sitting behind only the Amateur Championship and the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Coming so early in the season it is held back by missing out on all of the European players still studying at and competing for their U.S. colleges.

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Golf Bible)

Format and Tee Times

144 scratch golfers from 15 different countries will tee off in what will be the 56th playing of this prestigious competition.

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

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

View the Draw for Rounds 1 and 2 here – 2022 Lytham Trophy Tee Times

Players

Whilst most of GB&I’s leading home-based amateurs will be competing my perception is that the field looks weaker than I have seen it in previous years.

This is probably due to the growing popularity of U.S. college golf and a clash of dates this year with the Italian International Stroke Play Championship. Additionally a COVID-19 travelling and funding hangover, which is perhaps seeing overseas players undertaking shorter trips, may mean we see a focus on the St Andrews Links and The Amateur in June or worse still the new seven event Elite Amateur Golf Series in USA.

This scenario is a little disappointing given that the 127th Amateur Championship is also being staged at Royal Lytham, alongside St. Anne’s Old Links, on 13th-18th June 2022 so one would have thought the Lytham Trophy may have been better supported.

There are just 11 players competing this week who are currently ranked in the top 200 of the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking. Here are the ten highest ranked players: –

Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) – SPWAR 34th
The 2021 Brabazon Trophy winner will arrive on the Fylde coast as GB&I’s No. 1 amateur.

John GOUGH (ENG) – SPWAR 60th
John has enjoyed a great last 12 months winning the English Amateur and earlier in 2022 backing it up with the Spanish International Amateur.

Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) – SPWAR 95th
Rory moved into the world top 100 after a hugely successful tour of South Africa in the winter and a good run at the Spanish Amateur.

Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) – SPWAR 112th
The consistent Essex man has to win a big one soon – why not this week ?

Kiet VAN DER WEELE (NED) – SPWAR 133rd
A recent home win at the Voorjaarswedstrijd tournament has Keita on an upward curve.

Jack BROOKS (ENG) – SPWAR 142nd 
The world’s most active amateur golfer has thankfully found time in his busy schedule to play at Lytham. In great form and 3rd in 2019, just one shot behind the winner, it’s hard to see how the big man won’t finish well up the leaderboard.

Olly HUGGINS (ENG) – SPWAR 148th
Olly has also shown good form in Spain and Portugal earlier in 2022 and will now be looking to push on in the big events coming up back in the UK.

Hugh FOLEY (IRL) – SPWAR 158th 
Fast improving and links ready Foley, Ireland’s No. 1, will be confident after another impressive performance at the West of Ireland last week.

Luis MASAVEU (ESP) – SPWAR 164th 
One of Spain’s best prospects Luis has already reached the semi-finals of the Spanish Amateur and placed 2nd at Sotogrande in the European Nations Individual this year. Let’s see what he makes of there Lytham test.

Robert MORAN (IRL) – SPWAR 180th 
The star player at last year’s Home Internationals has been a bit quieter this year but can hopefully recapture his best form this week.

Lytham Trophies

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

Course

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

Players will tee off between 7.30am and 3.40pm on the Friday and Saturday so changes in the weather and wind speeds throughout the first two days can play a big part in scoring.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Tuesday 26th April) looks good; sunny and dry throughout with only moderate breezes expected during the competition.

Friday 29th April – Sunny Intervals / Wind 8 mph N / Temp. Min. 6°C, Max. 14°C.
Saturday 30th April – Sunny Intervals / Wind 10 mph NW / Temp. Min. 7°C, Max. 13°C.
Sunday 1st May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 8 mph NW / Temp. Min. 7°C, Max. 15°C.

The 2019 Lytham Trophy

Josh MCMAHON (ENG) won the 55th Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham & St Annes G.C

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Josh McMahon (Photo: Golf Bible)

McMahon, then 22 and now a professional, produced a solid final round of 71 to secure the biggest title of his amateur career. He memorably finished with a clutch 40 foot putt on the final green to set a 288 (+8) total which proved to be good enough.

Josh McMahon’s 72nd Hole Birdie That Secured The 2019 Lytham Trophy Title

Gerold FOLK (AUT) +9 finished his tournament with a best of the day 69 which also included a closing birdie to secure 2nd place. As the winds picked up there briefly appeared a chance that his score may hold up despite 30 players teeing off after him.

Jack BROOKS (ENG), who incidentally bogeyed the tough 17th, finished 3rd behind Folk on +9 countback.

The most disappointed player on the final afternoon was probably Harry GODDARD (ENG) who enjoyed a superb opening nine but fell away down the home straight having been amongst the leaders all week and worked himself back in to contention. A final bogey on 18 saw him slip out of a share of the lead to also finish one back.

The top 40 and ties 36 hole cut fell at +9 in 2019 with 49 players progressing to the final day.

Royal Lytham have recently changed their scoring system from Intelligent Golf to Golf Genius so the complete 2019 Results are no longer publically available.

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one else has ever come close to this low scoring mark before or after. The next best scores being Matthew JORDAN‘s 272 in 2018 and Daan HUIZING’s 273 in 2013.

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

The following list of the last 10 winners shows just how international the amateur game has become. However, after a spell of overseas winners the last four have all come from England: –
Paul CUTLER – 2010 (Ireland)
Jack SENIOR – 2011 (England)
Daan HUIZING – 2012 (The Netherlands)
Albert ECKHARDT – 2013 (Finland)
Thriston LAWRENCE – 2014 (South African
Marcus KINHULT – 2015 (Sweden)
Alfie PLANT – 2016 (England)
Jack SINGH BRAR – 2017 (England)
Matthew JORDAN – 2018 (England)
Josh MCMAHON – 2019 (England)

Here’s is the Winner’s Board which is situated on the main staircase in the Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. clubhouse.

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Lytham Trophy Past Winners’ Board in 2019 (Photo: Golf Bible) 

For more information please take a look at the Club website’s dedicated page – Lytham Trophy 

ME.

Copyright © 2014-22, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

5th May 2019 – Round 4 

Josh MCMAHON (ENG) won the 55th Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham & St Annes G.C.

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Josh McMahon (Photo: Golf Bible)

McMahon (22) produced a solid final round under pressure to secure the biggest title of his amateur career.

Josh McMahon’s Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

His round started with 13 straight pars, combining some birdie near misses with notable saves, none more so than on the 8th where he got up and down from well over the green. After having lost his way a little on 14 and 15, where he dropped three shots, he showed some composure to bounce back with a birdie on the short par 4 16th. With a par tucked away on the challenging dog leg 17th he then finished with a clutch 40 foot putt on the final green to record a 71 (+1). His total score of 288 (+8) setting a strong target for the eight remaining players following him in. A target that ultimately proved good enough.

Josh McMahon’s 72nd Hole Birdie That Secured The 2019 Lytham Trophy Title

With his win Josh rose 478 places in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking to 124th and has now given himself a great opportunity to make the Great Britain & Ireland 2019 Walker Cup team. The match at Royal Liverpool G.C coincidentally taking place just a few miles from his home.

Prior to McMahon’s grandstand finish Gerold FOLK (AUT) had posted a 289 (+9) total. The Austrian following his morning 72 with a best of the day 69, which also included a closing birdie. As the winds picked up there appeared a chance that his score may hold up despite 30 players teeing off after him on Day 3.

As the afternoon round proceeded it also looked for a long time as if Harry GODDARD (ENG) would be the winner. He showed no ill effects from his disappointing morning round with early birdies on the 1st, 5th and 7th. Having hit his approach close on the par 3 9th he had the chance to turn in 30 but his birdie putt just slipped by. It looked like a turning point after he went on to hit poor tee shots on the challenging 10th, 11th and 12th to quickly drop 4 shots. However, to his credit he steadied the ship parring the next five holes including a great save in the circumstances on the 17th where he holed a lengthy putt. Having then hit a long straight drive into the wind down 18 he looked to be in a strong position. Unfortunately he pushed his approach and despite playing an excellent bunker shot failed to convert a short three foot par putt effectively handing the title to the man from Wallasey G.C.

Harry Goddard Playing the 18th Hole in Round 4 (Photos: Ben Haworth)

Jack BROOKS (ENG), who incidentally bogeyed the tough 17th, finished 3rd behind Folk on countback (+9).

View the complete 2019 Results here – 2019 Lytham Trophy Results

5th May 2019 – Round 3

Play started at 7.00am on the final morning with the two leading players teeing off at 10.12am.

A round of 70, including 5 birdies, gave Bailey GILL (ENG) the 54 hole lead on 215 (+5).

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Bailey Gill’s Round 4 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

The three leading players overnight, Harry GODDARD (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and Callum FARR (ENG) all struggled in the morning round shooting 78, 77 and 83 respectively.

Ludvig ABERG (SWE) 71, Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) 72, Stephen ROGER (SCO) 73, Marc HAMMER (GER) 74 and Laurie OWEN (ENG) 75 found themselves well placed for an afternoon assault on 216 (+6), just one shot back of our new leader.

Goddard and Hutchinson were now on on 217 (+7) after Round 3 and were joined by Jack BROOKS (ENG), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) and Joshua MCMAHON (ENG).

View the Draw for Rounds 3 and 4 here – 2019 Lytham Trophy Day 3 Tee Times

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4th May 2019 – Round 2 Report

Scores were generally higher on Saturday with stronger winds seen throughout the day and seemingly tougher hole locations on many of the greens. The CSS of 77 was one shot higher than Friday’s first round.

Harry GODDARD (ENG), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and Ludvig ABERG (SWE) all posted impressive 71’s (+1) given the testing conditions. There were eleven 72’s.

Goddard holds the lead on 139 (-1) and he is now the only player under par at the Lytham Trophy. His lead could have been higher too given his relatively disappointing back nine.

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Harry Goddard’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

It was another steady day on the links for Yorkshire’s Ben Hutchinson. He has recorded just 5 bogeys in his first 36 holes and now finds himself tied 2nd with the Round 1 leader Callum FARR (ENG) who posted a 75 today.

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Ben Hutchinson’s Round 2 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

The top 40 and ties cut fell at +9 with 49 players progressing to the final day.

ME.

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3rd May 2019 – Round 1 Report

Callum FARR (ENG) shot a 65 (-5) to take the Round 1 lead in the Lytham Trophy. After a bogey on the 206 yard par 3 opener the Northampton man reeled off 6 birdies over his remaining holes.

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Callum Farr’s Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: Lytham Trophy Scoring)

In an unfortunate aside one of his playing partners for the opening rounds was Taylor STOTE (ENG) who shot the highest score on Day 1; his 87 a full 22 shots more than our leader.

Harry GODDARD (ENG), out in the fourth group teeing off at 8.00am, set a strong early marker for the remainder of the field. His 68 (-2) held the clubhouse lead for over three hours.

Laurie OWEN (ENG), Stephen ROGER (SCO), Jim JOHNSTON (SCO), Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) and James BILLINGHAM (ENG) were the only other players to shoot under par on the demanding Royal Lytham & St. Annes course. All five posted 69’s (-1).

Owen, Roger, Hutchinson and Billingham all teed off after 3.00pm and as is often the case by the sea an early or late tee time proved to be beneficial with the wind abating. Owen, who seems to have come from nowhere to record a number of high finishes this year, recorded 6 birdies in a rollercoaster of a round. The other four players were a little steadier, recording three or fours birdies each in their opening rounds.

The two highly ranked South Africans Jayden SCHAPER and Wilco NIENABER got off to good starts. Neither did any damage with opening rounds of 72 and 70.

Nienaber was joined by seven other players on 70 (Ev) and there were a further ten players who shot 71 (+1). Beyond Farr and Goddard the leaderboard is tightly packed.

Finally while perusing the hole-by-hole scores I saw Matthew CLARK‘s (SCO) card. His 80 (+10) contained a 12 on the par 3 9th. How one hole can ruin an otherwise reasonable day.

The Round 1 CSS was 76 highlighting just how good Callum Farr’s effort was.

ME.

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2nd May 2019 (Updated)

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

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

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. (Photo: Golf Bible)

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

Format and Tee Times

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

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

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

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

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Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. Sign (Photo: Golf Bible)

Players

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

Here are ten players to watch out for (SPWAR rankings as at 2nd May): –

Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) – SPWAR 11th
Not quite in the same league as Nienaber but Schaper will arrive in confident mood after winning the 2019 South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) – SPWAR 15th
A prolific winner in recent years the 2019 South African Amateur champion must start as one of the favourites.

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

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

Euan WALKER (SCO) – SPWAR 43rd
The 2019 African Amateur champion knows a top 10 finish at Lytham will go a long way to securing his place in the 2019 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) – SPWAR 47th
A recent win in the Individual competition at the European Nations Team Championship in Sotogrande, Spain will have gone a long way to securing Tom’s place in this year’s GB&I Walker Cup team.

Joey SAVOIE (CAN) – SPWAR 56th
Canadian Savoie played well in Australia earlier this year and will be looking to secure a high finish at Lytham.

Tom PLUMB (ENG) – SPWAR 83rd
Plumb, recent winner of the Cape Province Open in South Africa, is the highest 2018 finisher returning this year. Another 5th place or better in 2019 would be very welcome for the Dorset man whose Walker Cup ambitions are increasing by the month.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) – SPWAR 105th
Saunton’s Burnage finished 3rd at Lytham in 2017 and whilst he has been a bit inconsistent since he is certainly capable of another high finish.

Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) – SPWAR 339th
Tom will arrive on the Fylde coast full of confidence having won both the Peter McEvoy Trophy and Junior Invitational in the last few weeks. Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult won the latter in South Carolina before travelling back to England and winning The Lytham. Could Tom complete a hat-trick ?

Course

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

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

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Thursday 2nd May) looks dry, albeit cold, with only moderate breezes expected during the competition.

Friday 3rd May – Light Cloud / Wind 11 mph N / Temp. Min. 3°C, Max. 10°C.
Saturday 4th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 16 mph N / Temp. Min. 3°C, Max. 11°C.
Sunday 5th May – Sunny Intervals / Wind 14 mph NW / Temp. Min. 6°C, Max. 10°C.

Prizes

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

Lytham Trophies

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

The 2018 Lytham Trophy

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

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

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

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

img_9148

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Angie McGlue)

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s is the Winner’s Board which is situated on the main staircase in the Royal Lytham & St. Annes G.C. clubhouse.

img_6346.jpg

Lytham Trophy Past Winners’ Board (Photo: Golf Bible) 

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2017 Preview & Results

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

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

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

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

Jack Singh Brar (Photo: @Golfing4Life_)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 4 Start Sheet / Round 4 Results / Final Results

___________________________________________________________

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

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

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

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

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

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

Round 3 Start Sheet / Round 3 Results

______________________________________________________________

Saturday 6th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 2 Start Sheet / Round 2 Results

______________________________________________________________

Friday 5th May 2017 – Round 1 Report

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

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

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

Round 1 Start Sheet / Round 1 Results

________________________________________________________________

26th April 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lytham Trophies

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

The 2017 Lytham Trophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weather Forecast

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

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

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

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

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

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

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

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_5938

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

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2016 Preview & Results

1st May 2016

UPDATE 

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

Alfie Plant Lytham Trophy 2016 Photo 2

Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)

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

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

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

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

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

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

24th April 2016

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

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

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

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

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

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

Lytham Trophies

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

The 2016 Lytham Trophy

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

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

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

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

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

Weather Forecast (updated daily ahead of play commencing)

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

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

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

Betting Odds

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

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

Sky Bet – Outright Winner Odds

Paddy PowerOutright Winner Odds

img_5953
Sky Bet Leading Ante Post Betting Odds 

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

The 2015 Lytham Trophy

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

Marcus Kinhult Lytham Trophy

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

Highlights of the 2015 Lytham Trophy (© Golfing World)

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_5938

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

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – The GB&I Team (3)

12th May 2015

The 45th Walker Cup match starts at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in four months time on 12th September 2015. Walker Cup 2015 Logo Following the playing of the Lytham Trophy and the Irish Amateur Open Championship I thought it was time for a further review of the potential Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Team.

On 23rd January 2015 The R&A announced an initial 20-man GB&I Walker Cup squad. Since then two members of that squad, Paul Howard (ENG) and Ben Stow (ENG), have chosen to turn Pro thus excluding themselves from this amateur match against a team from the United States.  Whilst not confirmed, Bradley Neil (SCO), the 2014 Amateur Champion, is expected to follow their lead after he has taken advantage of invitations to the forthcoming Irish Open, Memorial Tournament and US Open.  Chris Selfridge (IRE), whilst not in the initial Squad but currently ranked 128th in the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings* (SPWAR), has also stated his intention to turn Pro once his US collegiate season with Toledo is completed.  One of the primary roles of a Walker Cup captain is to persuade their better players to stay amateur.  However, the opportunities and rewards available to young golfers are now so great that this is becoming increasingly difficult.  One thing’s for certain Nigel Edwards can ill afford to lose any more of his top GB&I players to the Pro ranks prior to this year’s contest.

So how are the 18 remaining Squad members getting on now the season is well and truly underway ?  I have listed each player alongside their current SPWAR rankings.  In brackets is their SPWAR ranking on the 23rd January when the Squad was announced.  I have used just the SPWAR rankings this time as most players and commentators I have spoken to consider this to be a more accurate ranking than the alternative World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).

1. Gary Hurley (IRE)                     13   (33)
2. Bradley Neil (SCO)                   15   (6)
3. Cormac Sharvin (IRE)              23   (53)
4. Ashley Chesters (ENG)            30   (36)
5. Gavin Moynihan (IRE)              32   (74)
6. Nick Marsh (ENG)                     36   (22)
7. Paul Dunne (IRE)                      38   (26)
8. Grant Forrest (SCO)                 44   (31)
9. Jack Hume (IRE)                       50   (63)
10. David Boote (WAL)                 65   (55)
11. Sam Horsfield (ENG)              71   (39)
12. Jack McDonald (SCO)           102   (75)
13. Tomasz Anderson (ENG)      106   (110)
14. Jimmy Mullen (ENG)             139   (119)
15. Jamie Savage (SCO)             140   (103)
16. Daniel Brown (ENG)              146   (170)
17. Adam Chapman (ENG)          195   (112)
18. Graeme Robertson (SCO)     208   (146)

A little worryingly only 7 of the 18 players have seen their SPWAR rankings improve since the Squad was selected.

Gavin Moynihan’s win at the Irish Amateur last Sunday represented a very welcome return to form for him.  Moynihan, who played in the 2013 Walker Cup match, had been struggling a little since finding the US College scene at Alabama not entirely to his liking.  One would think this win should go a long way to cementing his place in the 2015 team.  His past Walker Cup experience could be very useful for the Team at Lytham.

In addition to Moynihan there were excellent performances from Ashley Chesters, Jimmy Mullen and to a lesser degree Nick Marsh in the England v. Spain match at Burnham and Berrow GC last weekend. Indeed if ever we needed evidence that a week is a long time in golf last weekend provided it. Chesters, Marsh and Moynihan had all very noticeably missed the cut the previous weekend at the Lytham Trophy.  A quick return to form for all three was therefore very welcome.

Likewise Paul Dunne, Grant Forrest and David Boote are playing for their US College’s and have therefore not contested the major early season events in GB&I. The SPWAR rankings will be updated in early June to reflect their recent play in the US, primarily in the NCAA Division 1 Championship which takes place at the end of this month and for which they all will hopefully qualify later this week.

18 year old Sam Horsfield is completing his High School studies in Florida so isn’t playing too much at the moment. His planned appearances in the UK, on links courses, during the summer will clearly be critical to his potential selection as will his outings in some of the top US competitions.  It would be great to see Horsfield on the team but at this stage he still has some questions to answer about his ability to deliver on a links course.

What will have pleased Mr. Edwards, and to be fair he did throw down the challenge when he announced his Squad, is the number of non-Squad players who are stepping up to the mark in 2015; some of whom are now well and truly on the Team radar.  These players, whose performances are reflected in big jumps up the SPWAR rankings are: –

Ewen Ferguson (SCO)           52
Daniel Young (SCO)               57
Dermot McElroy (IRE)            58
Craig Ross (SCO)                   61
Connor Syme (SCO)              99
James Allan (ENG)               107
Ashton Turner (ENG)            127
Ben Taylor (ENG)                  137
Scott Gibson (SCO)              144
Sean Towndrow (ENG)         175
Jamie Bower (ENG)              179
Richard James (WAL)           186
Michael Saunders (ENG)      189

Scotland’s Ewen FergusonDaniel Young and Craig Ross appear to have benefitted from spending much of the winter in South Africa with the Scottish Golf Union.  Ferguson and Young have both won twice this season but Ferguson’s consistency has probably made him the stand out GB&I player of 2015 so far.

Dermot McElroy has enjoyed a good last month winning the West of Ireland and finishing well at Lytham and in the Irish Amateur.  His T7 and T10 finishes in the 2014 and 2015 Lytham Trophy events must also benefit his selection chances too.

England’s James Allan and Ashton Turner should also be highlighted from the above list.  Allan, who has been gaining valuable experience in the last 12 months on the MENA Tour, mainly in the United Arab Emirates, has returned to these shores and delivered a string of impressive performances, most notably his win at the West of England at Saunton GC.  Turner has come from even further back but a win at the Darwin Salver, recent Top 10s at the Duncan Putter and Lytham and an encouraging display for England at Burnham have certainly got him in the mix.  If both of these players can continue their current form they will undoubtedly start to put pressure on some of the higher ranked players currently ‘in the Team’.

As I intimated earlier the Lytham Trophy was obviously a very important event this year.  The high finishes of Richard James (T2) and Jamie Bower (T10) will certainly have registered with the selectors.  Likewise 17 year old Bradley Moore (ranked 228th), who finished 8th at Lytham and who continues to demonstrate outstanding potential.  Nothing would please me more than to see Bradley, who plays a limited schedule, win a big one in the Summer and force his way into the Walker Cup discussion too.

It will be interesting to hear in the coming weeks if any of the above players have been added to the Squad who are formally meeting at Lytham on 21st and 22nd July 2015.  There are theoretically two spaces now up for grabs !

The unwritten rule that a win at the Amateur Championship or US Amateur Championship for a GB&I player automatically leads to selection in that year’s Walker Cup team means that a ‘wild card’ is still a possibility.  Putting this aside who would I select for the GB&I Walker Cup if a decision had to be made today ?

Objectively, and taking the SPWAR rankings as my lead, I would currently have to go with Hurley, Neil, Sharvin, Moynihan, Chesters, Marsh, Dunne, Forrest, Hume and Ferguson.  If Neil jumps ship as is expected then I’d add McElroy to the list – his Lytham track record just pipping Young to this place.

The above team would have 5 (6) representatives from Ireland (a record number), 3 (2) from Scotland, 2 from England and 0 from Wales. The final 10-man team with 2 reserves will be announced in mid-August.  So there is still plenty of time for things to change.  The question is which players are going to hold their nerve and deliver the results to change the current picture ?

* The SPWAR used in this article were correct as at 12th May 2015 6.55am

Notes
Walker Cup background information and my previous articles on it can be found by clicking here – 2015 Walker Cup

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 2015 Preview & Results

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

Marcus Kinhult LT

Marcus Kinhult – winner of the 2015 Lytham Trophy

Highlights of the 2015 Lytham Trophy (© Golfing World)

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30th April 2015

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

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC 

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

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

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

Lytham Trophies

The Lytham Trophy

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

The Lytham Trophy – 1st to 3rd May 2015

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

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

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

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

The Leading Players in 2015 (Nationality / Current SPWAR)

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

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

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

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

Weather Forecast (@Thurs 30th, 7.00pm)

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

Appendix – History and Past Winners

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

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

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

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

Thriston Lawrence LT

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – The GB&I Team (2)

23rd January 2015

The R&A has today announced an initial 20-man Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup squad.

The 2015 Walker Cup is to be played on 12th and 13th September.

The players are to meet up at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, the host course, on two occasions; ahead of the Lytham Trophy which is to be played on 1st – 3rd May and then more formally on 21st and 22nd July.

The squad is shown below in full.  I have listed the players based on their World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) but also show their Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) alongside: –

Rankings –                                     WAGR   SPWAR

  1. Bradley Neil (SCO)                     9             6
  2. Ashley Chesters (ENG)             22           36
  3. Grant Forrest (SCO)                  24           31
  4. Sam Horsfield (ENG)                 26          39
  5. Nick Marsh (ENG)                     32           22
  6. Gavin Moynihan (IRE)               34           74
  7. Paul Howard (ENG)                   45          20
  8. Ben Stow (ENG)                        48          34
  9. Paul Dunne (IRE)                      49           26
  10. Jack Hume (IRE)                       51          63
  11. Jamie Savage (SCO)                52         103
  12. Gary Hurley (IRE)                      64          33
  13. Adam Chapman (ENG)             82         112
  14. Jack McDonald (SCO)              90          75
  15. Cormac Sharvin (IRE)               92          53
  16. Jimmy Mullen (ENG)                123        119
  17. Tomasz Anderson (ENG)         124        110
  18. Daniel Brown (ENG)                 131        170
  19. Graeme Robertson (SCO)       139        146
  20. David Boote (WAL)                  159         55

The Top 10 GB&I players listed above have a combined WAGR ranking of 340.  The USA’s current Top 10 in the same rankings have a combined total of 108.  If one removes Ollie Schniederjans (1) and Brian Campbell (18), who have already indicated they will probably be turning Pro and won’t be playing, and replace them with the next highest ranking Americans, Xander Schaufelle (28) and Bryson DeChambeau (29), this total rises to 146.  This gives a rough indication – without allowing for the USGA’s Mid-Amateur selection policy * – of the relative merits of the two teams.  Thankfully Walker Cup’s are not played on paper.

[* On the 25/1/15 Scott Harvey (36), the reigning US Mid-Amateur Champion, won the South American Amateur Championship – almost assuring himself a spot on the US Team and to a degree overturning the point I was trying to make about this policy potentially weakening the US team.]

The squad consists of 9 English, 5 Irish, 5 Scottish and 1 Welsh player.  In 2013 there were no Scottish players in the team, the first time this had happened since 1949.  This time Wales looks the most likely to miss out with the other Home Nations well represented in this initial squad.  Hopefully someone else, perhaps Evan Griffith, Mike Hearne or Rhys Pugh, can rise to the challenge and give David Boote some support in this regard.

There are no real surprises here and the players selected are all well known and proven.  As I highlighted in December on this website there is little the selectors can do at this stage than go off the World Rankings.  Daniel Brown is the only player I excluded from today’s squad when I selected one in December.  I included Ireland’s Dermot McElroy instead.  Some background information and 2014 playing information on the players is available in that post – Golf Bible Squad.

Bradley Neil has rightly chosen to keep his options open at this stage but it is no secret that he will be hoping to turn Pro in the summer after competing in the US Masters and US Open.  Good results and growing confidence may also see other selected players elect to turn Pro before the competition starts in September, thus making themselves ineligible.

With the exception of Robertson and Boote the squad is essentially made up of the highest ranking GB&I players on the R&A-endorsed World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) list (click to view).  Continuing down the current WAGR – see below – highlights those players, most notably Dermot McElroy, who are perhaps unlucky to miss out.  Of course these and many others are still in with a good chance of making the team as the season unfolds.

  1. Dermot McElroy (IRE)              130        84
  2. Haydn McCullen (ENG)           147       363
  3. Ben Taylor (ENG)                     156       136
  4. Robin Dawson (IRE)                 170       211
  5. Chris Selfridge (IRE)                175       159
  6. Luke Johnson (ENG)               187        201
  7. Cameron Shaw (ENG)             192        547
  8. Sean Towndrow (ENG)            214        190
  9. Brandon R.-Thompson (ENG) 222        738
  10. Paul Kinnear (ENG)                 225        150
  11. Craig Ross (SCO)                    226         93
  12. Daniel Young (SCO)                229        109
  13. Connor Syme (SCO)                358       177

I am sure all of the elite GB&I players appreciate an early squad announcement so they all know where they stand with the selectors and the work they have to do over the season ahead – both to stay in the Top 20 but equally to break into it.  Whilst slightly ironic for me to say so, The R&A may regret making their thoughts known this early, particularly as it is not possible for the squad to meet before May, a full three months away.  There is lots of amateur golf to be played between now and then.  A ‘date for the diary’ communication via the Home Nations about a pre-Lytham Trophy gathering may have been preferable alongside a statement as to an early April date for a formal squad announcement.

The final 10-man team with 2 reserves will be announced in mid-August.  I look forward to following the progress of the squad and reporting on how the team is shaping up over the coming months.

Notes
Walker Cup background and my previous articles on it can be found by clicking here – 2015 Walker Cup
The full R&A press release with regard to todays GB&I squad announcement can be read here – GB&I Squad Announcement

ME.

Copyright © 2015, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – The GB&I Team (1)

18th December 2014

Golf in Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) has well and truly entered the quieter winter period.  All of the rounds being played now are of the bonus variety, with survival often the priority over score.  The 2015 Walker Cup still seems an age away and it is no surprise at all that The R&A has made no announcements with regard to it’s possible Team yet.

Royal Lytham Clubhouse

Royal Lytham & St. Annes – Venue Of The 2015 Walker Cup

The 45th Walker Cup Match will take place at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England on 12th and 13th September 2015, i.e. in 268 days time.  For more information on the 2015 Walker Cup and Royal Lytham please click here.

Walker Cup 2015 Logo

Across the Atlantic the USGA have been far more forthcoming, naming a 16-man Walker Cup squad for a practice / bonding session which started yesterday in Georgia.  You may have read my analysis of ‘Team USA’ a few weeks ago.

Whilst it may appear GB&I are falling behind in their preparations we all know that the ever meticulous Captain Nigel Edwards will already be mulling over his options.  He will certainly be looking forward to seeing how some of his charges go in the early 2015 events in the Southern Hemisphere.  Many of our elite players have been overseas enjoying warmer climes and practicing hard for these competitions and the season ahead in recent weeks.  Of course, in his capacity as Performance Director for England Golf Mr. Edwards will also have spent a lot of time with England’s top players at their recent training camp in Portugal.

So to keep myself occupied in the absence of any news I thought I’d pick my own 20-man GB&I training squad.  To give it a bit more edge I’ve split the players into a Current Walker Cup Team and a Challenger Team.  Each player has been given a current Selection * Rating out of 5.

As consistency in selection is important I started by carefully considering the merits of all of the players selected for the GB&I Team that beat the Continent of Europe 14-10 to win the St. Andrews Trophy match in Sweden last August.

Obviously Ryan Evans has turned Pro so he has been excluded.  Likewise Amateur Champion Bradley Neil is almost certain to turn Pro after the US Open so I have reluctantly left him out also.  His recent playing record is included below just in case he decides to play on as Amateur.

Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie GC) – Blairgowrie, Scotland
WAGR 10 / SPWAR 5 – d.o.b. 16/01/96
World Amateur Team T15 (2014)
St. Andrews Trophy W2 D1 L1 (2014)
Amateur Championship Champion (2014)
St. Andrews Links Trophy 2nd (2014)
Lytham Trophy 3rd (2014)
Selection Rating = ***** Would be a definite but expected to turn Pro after the US Open so discounted here.

In addition I have objectively reviewed the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking Positions (WAGR) and Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) to try to determine the best GB&I team available.  The rankings quoted below are accurate as at 17th December 2014.

So here goes: –

My Current Walker Cup Team – December 2014

1. Paul Dunne (Greystones GC) – Dublin, Ireland
WAGR 48 / SPWAR 21 – d.o.b. 26/11/92
Performing well for the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 2014 (Senior)
St. Andrews Trophy W3 D1 L0 (2014)
Home Internationals W6 D0 L0 (2014)
Qualified for The Open Championship (2014)
Palmer Cup W1 D1 L2 (2014)
Selection Rating = *****  Playing very well over in the US and on the back of some excellent Team results last year is simply too good not to be selected.  I believe he can be measured for his outfits now.

2. Grant Forrest (Craigielaw GC) – North Berwick, Scotland
WAGR 26 / SPWAR 25 – d.o.b. 19/06/93
Performing well for the University of San Diego in 2014 (Senior)
European Amateur Team T6 (2014)
Palmer Cup W2 D0 L2 (2014)
St. Andrews Links Trophy Champion (2014)
Home Internationals W5 D0 L1 (2013)
Selection Rating = ***** Like Paul, Grant is doing well on the US College circuit this year and given his recent competition results is therefore increasingly certain of a 2015 Walker Cup debut.

3. Nick Marsh (Huddersfield GC) – Huddersfield, England
WAGR 23 / SPWAR 28 – d.o.b. 20/09/94
St. Andrews Trophy W1 D1 L1 (2014)
Home Internationals W4 D1 L1 (2014)
English Amateur Champion (2014)
Scottish U21 Champion (2014)
Scottish Open Amateur T2 (2014)
Portuguese International Amateur 2nd (2014)
Selection Rating = ***** Well worth his place after an outstanding 2014.  He seems to be getting better as each year passes which is no mean achievement.

GB&I Walker Cup 1-6

Dunne, Forrest, Marsh (top row l-r), Hurley, Chesters and Howard (bottom row l-r)

4. Gary Hurley (West Waterford GC) – Dungarvan, Ireland
WAGR 67 / SPWAR 30 – d.o.b. 28/01/93
St. Andrews Trophy W3 D1 L0 (2014)
Home Internationals W5 D1 L0 (2014)
European Amateur T2 (2014)
Brabazon Trophy T5 (2014)
Lytham Trophy T4 (2014)
Selection Rating = ***** A consistent sequence of high finishes in 2014, including some course form at Lytham, means Gary is looking a very good bet for selection. 

5. Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park GC) – Shrewsbury, England
WAGR 24 / SPWAR 33 – d.o.b. 25/08/89
St. Andrews Trophy W3 D0 L1 (2014)
Home Internationals W5 D0 L1 (2014)
European Amateur Champion (2013, 2014)
Brabazon Trophy 2nd (2014)
Hampshire Salver T3 (2014)
Selection = *****  Consecutive European Amateurs and excellent 2014 Team results mean the experienced Shropshire man is worthy of his place.  Will almost certainly be turning Pro after the Walker Cup so will be striving hard for a place this season.    

6. Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale GC) – Southport, England
WAGR 43 / SPWAR 36 – d.o.b. N/k
Good run at European Tour Q-School in November 2014
US Amateur 32s (2014)
Amateur Championship T4 SP / QFs MP (2014)
St. Andrews Links Trophy T3 (2014)
Lytham Trophy T7 (2014)
Hampshire Salver 2nd (2014)
South American Amateur Champion (2014)
Selection Rating = ***** Lancashire’s No. 1 simply has to be selected; an excellent 2014, including a Top 10 at Lytham.  Certain to boost the crowd numbers too !

7. Gavin Moynihan (The Island) – Dublin, Ireland
WAGR 32 / SPWAR 61 – d.o.b. 17/09/94
Left Alabama and the US College circuit behind in Autumn 2014.
World Amateur Team T15 (2014)
European Amateur Team T13 (2014)
Brabazon Trophy T5 (2014)
Scottish Open Amateur Champion (2014)
Bonallack Trophy W3 D0 L2 (2014)
Walker Cup W2 D0 L2
Selection Rating = *****  I am confident Gavin will settle back into GB&I amateur golf in 2015 and put his disappointing time in Alabama behind him.  His undoubted ability and past Walker Cup and Irish Team experience will make him a valuable member of the 2015 team.  

8. Ben Stow (Rushmore) – Salisbury, England
WAGR 28 / SPWAR 37 – d.o.b. 24/10/91
World Amateur Team T8 (2014)
European Amateur T5 (2014)
Brabazon Trophy Champion (2014)
Amateur Championship 64s (2014)
NCAA Div. 1 National USA T29 (2014)
Jones Cup T6 (2014)
Selection Rating = **** A solid performer for many years with the Brabazon Trophy win the highlight of 2014.  Now back from US College I expect him to do well in the major amateur events this year.  Lots of international golf experience should stand him in good stead for Lytham too. 

9. Sam Horsfield (Davenport, USA) – Manchester, England
WAGR 25 / SPWAR 62 – d.o.b. 8/10/96
Outstanding Junior record in the US and now signed up for the University of Florida (2015)
Junior Players Champion (2014)
US Amateur T8 SP / 64s MP (2014)
US Junior T1 SP / SFs MP (2014)
US Public Links 6th SP / 32s MP (2014)
Selection Rating = **** Clearly an outstanding prospect who is consistently delivering in the top junior / adult events in the US.  A lack of competitive UK play / links experience makes his selection tougher than it should be.  It’s probably now or never for Sam as he appears to be on the fast track to the Professional ranks.  His reputation, if not his play, will also be well known to the opposition unlike some members of the Team.

GB&I Walker Cup 7-12

Moynihan, Stow, Horsfield (top row l-r), Chapman, Sharvin, McDonald (bottom row l-r)

10. Adam Chapman (Windermere GC) – Windermere, England
WAGR 83 / SPWAR 103 – d.o.b. N/k (19)
North of England Amateur Champion (2014)
European Amateur T18 (2014)
South of England Amateur Champion (2014)
Amateur Championship 16s (2014)
Hampshire Salver 10th (2014)
Duncan Putter 3rd 2014)
Selection Rating = *** Far from secure in the team, after all I have elevated him above more highly ranked players,  but there is something about Mr. Chapman’s game that I like.  Clearly needs a few good results in 2015, preferably in a national event and ideally in the Lytham Trophy to secure his place.   

Challenger Team

11. Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass GC) – Ireland
WAGR 93 / SPWAR 49 – d.o.b. 8/10/92
Selection Rating = *** Cormac, the 2013 & 2014 Irish Amateur (Closed) champion has a really good chance of making the Team but like many others will need a few good national results to be certain of a spot. 

12. Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie) – Troon, Scotland
WAGR 91 / SPWAR 59 – d.o.b. 12/02/93
Selection Rating = *** The University of Stirling player impressed at the 2014 Home internationals and appears to like Lytham (2014 LT – T13).  He will need to play himself on to the team in 2015.

13. David Boote (Kingswood GC / Walton Heath GC) – Surrey, England
WAGR 164 / SPWAR 51 – d.o.b. N/k (20)
Selection Rating = *** Gaining momentum for selection with some encouraging Fall 2015 results for Stanford University.  Unclear whether the US base will help or hinder his selection prospects.  Limited GB&I competition exposure is always a concern as Greg Eason found out in 2013.   

14. Dermot McElroy (Ballymena GC) – Ballymena, Northern Ireland
WAGR 132 / SPWAR 69 – d.o.b. 13/06/93
Selection Rating = *** An exceptional if slightly inconsistent player.  Capable of some very low scoring and good results as he showed in 2014 at the European Amateur (T9) and usefully at the Lytham Trophy (T7).  

15. Jamie Savage (Cawder GC) – Scotland
WAGR 52 / SPWAR 92 – d.o.b. 24/07/94
Selection Rating = *** 2014 was a good year for Jamie who won the Irish Amateur (Open) and reached the QFs of the Amateur Championship.  Unfortunately he struggled to make an impression in the St. Andrews Trophy, losing the two matches he was selected for.  Will Mr. Edwards see beyond this ?  

 GB&I Walker Cup 13-18

Boote, McElroy, Savage (tope row l-r), Anderson, Taylor, Robertson (bottom row l-r) 

16. Tomasz Anderson (Brocket Hall GC) – Welwyn Garden City, England
WAGR 126 / SPWAR 96 – 29/05/92
Selection Rating = *** Will need a good run next year but has performed well for Jacksonville State University in the Autumn and scored well in the 2014 Home internationals last year.  US base may hinder prospects as with others.

17. Ben Taylor (Walton Heath GC) – Leatherhead, England
WAGR 161 / SPWAR 118 – d.o.b. N/k (22)
Selection Rating = *** A strong player who appears to be improving in the tough US College system.  Now a Senior at Louisiana State he has a recent win to his name and must be a good ‘outsider’ if he can continue his form into 2015. 

18. Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie GC) – Scotland
WAGR 141 / SPWAR 126 – d.o.b. N/k (26)
Selection Rating = *** Selected for the St. Andrews Trophy last summer – so on the radar – but will need some strong 2015 results to secure a spot.

19. Jack Hume (Naas GC) – Ireland
WAGR 56 / SPWAR 99 – d.o.b. 8/10/93
Selection Rating = *** performed well in the British (64s), Irish (T6) and Scottish (T2) Amateurs last year but will clearly need to play himself into contention in 2015 given the competition.  Likes to travel around and often pops up in high quality US events which can be ranking enhancing. 

20. Jimmy Mullen (Royal North Devon GC) – Devon, England
WAGR 94 / SPWAR 129 – d.o.b. 18/11/93
Selection Rating = *** The 2014 Duncan Putter Champion went on to impressively record the highest GB&I finish at the US Amateur last year (SP T8 / MP 16s).  He will need to record similar results next year to break into the team but wouldn’t surprise anyone if he did.

GB&I Walker Cup 19-20

Hume, Mullen and The Walker Cup Trophy

Other Notables Worth Watching (i.e. time to cover my back a little more)

Wales’ Rhys Pugh** (WAGR 265 / SPWAR 214) played on the Walker Cup team in 2011 and 2013 so his experience would be very useful.  However, he is having something of a lacklustre year at East Tennessee State in the US, where he is in his final year of study.  Well down the world rankings currently.

Scotland’s Craig Ross** (WAGR 235 / SPWAR 84) and Daniel Young** (WAGR 237 / SPWAR 95) are both unlucky not to be included above given their good results at the 2014 Home internationals and 4th / T5 places at the Brabazon Trophy.

Others put on the bench by me at this stage but with a good chance to fight their way up the rankings are Paul Kinnear *(WAGR 231 / SPWAR 138), Daniel Brown* (WAGR 133 / SPWAR 160), Connor Syme *(WAGR 355 / SPWAR 166), Chris Selfridge* (WAGR 208 / SPWAR 167), Haydn McCullen* (WAGR 158 / SPWAR 342), Robin Dawson* (WAGR 168 / SPWAR 200), Luke Johnson* (WAGR 190 / SPWAR 184) and Scott Borrowman* (WAGR 282 / SPWAR 187).

Of course the above commentary is all a bit of fun.  We all know it is very early days in terms of GB&I selection with the final team not expected to be announced until late August 2015.  There is clearly plenty of time for other players, even those not listed anywhere above, to play there way in to consideration.  Irrespective of what happens and how accurate my initial assessments are I look forward to following the selection process through 2015 and updating the above analysis (with apologies to those who prove me wrong) over the coming months.

Please let me know what you think and feel free to point out anyone who I should have mentioned but haven’t !

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Walker Cup 2015 – Team USA (1)

30th November 2014

It seems early but the countdown to the 2015 Walker Cup is already underway.  On 13th November 2014, a full 304 days before the next instalment of this biennial contest starts, the USGA announced their first Walker Cup training squad.  As has become the norm in Team USA’s preparations a turn-of-the-year practice session is to be held; this time on 17th – 20th December at Frederica GC in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The 45th Walker Cup Match will take place at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England on 12th and 13th September 2015.  For more information on the 2015 Walker Cup and Royal Lytham please click here.

Walker Cup 2015 Logo

As the USA have shown their hand first I thought I would take a closer look at their training squad and what it tells us.

Whilst neither team will be confirmed until mid-August 2015 it is interesting to note that nine of the final ten in the 2013 USA Team attended the first practice session held that year in January 2013.  Therefore the 16-man squad named two weeks ago is likely to be a very good indicator of who we may see on the Fylde Coast next September.

I have listed the USA players below in order of their current World Amateur Golf Ranking Positions (WAGR).  I have also provided some basic biographical information and their current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR).  The differences highlighted between an individual player’s WAGR and SPWAR ranking are in themselves interesting.

The following players have accepted an invitation to attend the St. Simons Island session: –

1. Robby Shelton (Wilmer, Alabama)
b. 25/08/95 (19)  WAGR – 3  SPWAR – 8
University of Alabama – Sophomore (2014/15)
NCAA Div. 1 Championship winning team member (2013/14)
National Freshman of the Year – Phil Mickelson Award (2013/14)
Qualified for the 2014 US Open
Palmer Cup Team member (2014)

2. Will Zalatoris (Plano, Texas)
b. 16/08/1996 (18)  WAGR – 7  SPWAR – 92
Wake Forest University – Freshman (2014/15)
2014 US Junior Amateur Champion

3. Lee McCoy (Clarkesville, Georgia)
b. 05/02/1994 (20)  WAGR – 10  SPWAR – 14
University of Georgia – Junior (2014/15)
SP co-medalist at the 2014 US Amateur

4. Denny McCarthy (Rockville, Maryland)
b. 04/03/1993 (21)  WAGR – 12  SPWAR – 2
University of Virginia – Senior (2014/15)
6th at the NCAA Div. 1 Championship (2013/14)
SF at the 2014 US Amateur 
US Junior Ryder Cup Team (2010)

5. Doug Ghim (Arlington Heights, Illinois)
b. 16/04/1996 (18)  WAGR – 13  SPWAR – 60
University of Texas – Freshman (2014/15)
Runner-up at the 2014 US Amateur Public Links
SF at the 2013 US Junior Amateur

6. Beau Hossler (Mission Vejo, California)
b. 16/03/1995 (19)  WAGR – 14  SPWAR – 4
University of Texas – Sophomore (2014/15)
Western Amateur Champion (2014)
2014 World Amateur Team Champion – USA
Competed in the 2011 (age 16) and 2012 (29th) US Open Championships
USA Junior Ryder Cup (2012)

US Walker Cup 1-6

Shelton, Zalatoris, McCoy (top row l-r), McCarthy, Ghim and Hossler (bottom row l-r)

7. J. Hunter Stewart (Lexington, Kentucky)
b. 22/05/1993 (21)  WAGR – 15  SPWAR – 12
Vanderbilt University – Senior (2014/15)
Qualified for the 2014 US Open

8. Charlie Danielson (Osceola, Wisconsin)
b. 16/01/1994 (20)  WAGR – 32  SPWAR – 44
University of Illinois – Junior (2014/15)
Last 16 at 2013 US Amateur

9. Kyle Jones (Snowflake, Arizona)
b. 15/07/1993 (21)  WAGR – 39  SPWAR – 67
Baylor University – Senior (2014/15)

10. Bryson Dechambeau Clovis, California)
b. 16/09/1993 (21)  WAGR – 40  SPWAR – 9
Southern Methodist University – Junior (2014/15)
2014 World Amateur Team Champion – USA
Last 16 at the 2014 US Amateur
QFs of the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links
Palmer Cup Team member (2014)
9th at the NCAA Div. 1 Championship (2013/14)

11. Rico Hoey (Rancho Cucamonga, California)
b. 19/09/1995 (19)  WAGR – 41  SPWAR – 18
University of Southern California – Sophomore (2014/15)
Palmer Cup Team member (2014)

12. Maverick McNealy (Portola Valley, California)
b. 07/11/1995 (19)  WAGR – 53  SPWAR – 99
Stanford University – Sophomore (2014/15)
Competed at the 2014 (29th) US Open
[Named, like his siblings, after a car by his father Scott, the co-founder and former long-time CEO of Sun Microsystems]

US Walker Cup 7-12

Stewart, Danielson, Jones (top row l-r), Dechambeau, Hoey and McNealy (bottom row l-r)

13. Byron Meth (San Diego, California)
b. ??/??/1993 (21)  WAGR – 73  SPWAR – 110
University of the Pacific – Senior (2014/15)
2014 US Amateur Public Links Champion
Last 16 in the 2014 US Amateur 

14. Scott Harvey (Greesboro, North Carolina) *
b. 30/05/1978 (36)  WAGR – 79  SPWAR – 69
2014 US Mid-Amateur Champion
2014 Cardinal Amateur Champion
Property Manager and former Mini-Tour Professional.

15. Nathan Smith (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) *
b. 06/08/78 (36)  WAGR – 80  SPWAR – 160
2014 US Amateur QF
2003 (aged 25), 2009, 2010 and 2012 US Mid-Amateur Champion 
US Walker Cup Team 2009, 2011 and 2013
Investment adviser

16. Mike McCoy (West Des Moines, Iowa) *
b. 21/11/1962 (52)  WAGR – 184  SPWAR – 76
2013 US Mid-Amateur Champion
Insurance Executive

US Walker Cup 13-18

Meth, Harvey, Smith (top row l-r), McCoy, Schniderjans and Campbell (bottom row l-r)

If you will forgive me for stating the obvious the USA Team is again going to be very strong with a foundation of elite amateurs, with both major Am / Pro championship experience and victories as well as sound current College playing records.  However, in GB&I’s favour is home advantage and the challenge of links golf which will be a new experience to many of the USA team.  May be a bit of September wind and rain will help too.

The USGA have a policy of including a minimum of two mid-amateurs (aged 25 or over) in their team.  Whilst some commentators argue that this weakens their team it is clear from the squad selections that it will be continued in 2015.  Of course Captain Miller also played his one Walker Cup in 1999 as a mid-amateur in his late 40’s. What was a surprise was why it was felt necessary to include three mid-amateurs (denoted with a *) in the squad.  The inclusion of the 2013 US Mid-Amateur Champion Mike McCoy, now 52, in particular looks a little odd given his rankings.

Looking at the current WAGR’s notable omissions from the practice team were Ollie Schniederjans (WAGR – 1), Brian Campbell (WAGR – 8), Sam Burns (WAGR – 12), Xander Schauffele (WAGR – 26) and Jack Maguire (WAGR – 37).  In other words the USA team could still be improved or in reality may have been stronger.  I say this as we can probably now assume that in the case of Schniederjans and Campbell they must have already indicated an intention to turn Pro next Summer prior to the match.  In the case of Burns, Schauffele and Maguire they clearly still have work to do in convincing the Selection Committee of their merits.  Miller doesn’t seem overly keen at this stage on giving youth an opportunity at Lytham.  Burns, 18, has been overlooked as has well ranked Cameron Young (WAGR – 32), Scottie Scheffler (WAGR – 33) and Davis Riley (WAGR – 41).

Mid-amateur Nathan Smith is the only member of the current squad who played in the 2013 Walker Cup at the National Golf Links of America (he also played in 2011).  Jordan Niebrugge (WAGR – 64) could add some more experience from the victorious 2013 team but clearly needs to show some better form to get pack in the picture.  Of course, that is exactly what he did in 2013 as he was the player who forced himself onto the team last time through outstanding play.

In theory selection for the December 2014 USA practice squad means nothing but, as noted above, in practice it has in the past proven to be a good indicator.  There is still plenty of golf to be played next year so only time will tell how close the Selection Committee have got it on their first stab.  Another unknown in the USA selection equation is who will succeed the current Selection Committee Chairman Dan Burton who steps down from post in February 2015 ?  Only time will tell if a new person leads to a different approach and new names being put forward.

Finally, look out for my early thoughts on a possible ‘GB&I Squad’ which will be coming soon.

ME.

Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.