The Lytham Trophy – 2019 Preview

7th April 2019

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

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

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

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

Format and Tee Times

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

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

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

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

Course

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

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

Prizes

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

Lytham Trophies

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

Players

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2018 Lytham Trophy

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

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Matthew Jordan (Photo: Angie McGlue)

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

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

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

History, Past Winners and Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Lytham Trophy – 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.