R&A Men’s Home Internationals – 2021 Preview & Results

Friday 17th September 2021 – Day 3 Matches

Ireland won the 2021 R&A Home Internationals after a thrilling contest at Hankley Common GC which went down to the final putt of the competition.

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Ireland With The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Luke Walker / Getty Images / The R&A)

After a disappointing morning Foursomes against England on the final day the Irish fought back bravely to secure an all important half in the match which in turn locked out Scotland. 

Scotland had earlier beaten Wales 11-4 to apply pressure on Ireland and England who both entered the final afternoon with a good chance of winning the competition.

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Final Table / Match Points (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Scotland who secured 27.5 winning points, compared with Ireland’s 27, finished second, England a very disappointing 3rd and Wales 4th. 

England had already won the Seniors, Girls and Boys and Women’s Home Internationals this season but were found wanting in the Men’s event. No one would have predicted before play started that they would be comfortably beaten in both Singles series against Scotland (8-2) and Ireland (6.5-3.5) and it was these two performances that cost them.

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Match Overview (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to view the full results – 2021 R&A Home internationals

Robert MORAN (IRL), Andrew NI (SCO), John GOUGH (ENG) and Luke HARRIES / Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) were the leading players for the four nations based on the SPWAR analysis of team events: –

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Scotland v. Wales

Scotland beat Wales 11-4 to fulfil their side of the last day bargain. 

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All of the Foursomes and Singles games in this match started from the 5th tee after early morning fog in Southern England caused a 30 minute delay in play.

Scotland enjoyed another strong session winning four and halving one of their Foursomes games against Wales.

Captain Matthew CLARK continued his unbeaten run securing a half with partner Angus CARRICK on the final hole (4th) when their opponents conceded early.   

With Ireland struggling against England in their Foursomes encounter (see below) the Scots went into the Singles as favourites for the title.

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Scotland won the Singles 6.6-3.5 to complete a comfortable overall victory over Wales.

George BURNS, Angus CARRICK and Andrew NI all enjoyed 4&3 wins at the tail of the line up after the Scots had made a slow start to the afternoon games.

Ben CHAMBERLAIN, Matt ROBERTS and Tomi BOWEN, who beat Scotland’s talisman Matt CLARK, all signed off from Hankley Common with Singles wins. 

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Scotland v. Wales Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Ireland v. England

Ireland and England halved their match 7.5-7.5 on the final afternoon.

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England won the Foursomes 4-1 against Ireland to give themselves some hope of recovering from their poor showing against Scotland yesterday. 

The best performance on the final morning came from unbeaten Foursomes pairing Sam BAIRSTOW and Haider HUSSAIN who produced six birdies and no bogeys to beat Marc BOUCHER and Liam NOLAN by 6&5.

With Robert MORAN halving his Foursomes with partner Alex MAGUIRE John GOUGH entered the Singles as the only player with a 100% winning record in this year’s competition. He and Olly HUGGINS have also won all three of their Foursomes games.

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The Robert MORAN and John GOUGH match proved to be of the highest quality and in some respects it was nice to see a half meaning both players finished the competition with unbeaten records – the only two do so.

The real heroes for the Irish were Hugh FOLEY and Liam NOLAN who secured 1Up victories over Sam BAIRSTOW and Callan BARROW under the most intense pressure. Barrow had a 10ft birdie putt on the 18th green to half his game and secure the match win for England (and the event win for Scotland). When he missed Ireland had the half and enough points to secure the title. 

Matt MCCLEAN and Caolan RAFFERTY secured big early wins over Zach CHEGWIDDEN and Laird SHEPHERD respectively to provide the Irish with momentum and the confidence that they could overturn the 3-point Foursomes deficit they carried into this final series.

On a disappointing afternoon for the home side Jack BIGHAM confirmed his promise by completing a third Singles win, this time over Alan FAHY

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Ireland v. England Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

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Thursday 16th September 2021 – Day 2 Matches

Ireland made it two wins from two games to take control of the 2021 R&A Home Internationals.

However, with Scotland beating England today and Ireland still to face the hosts all three of these teams still have a chance of winning The Raymond Trophy.

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If England beat Ireland and Scotland beat Wales tomorrow the title will be decided by total winning match points. Here’s the current position in this regard: –

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Day 2 Table / Match Points (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

England v. Scotland

Scotland surprised England by comprehensively out playing them in the afternoon Singles to easily win their Day 2 match.

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England won the morning Foursomes 3-2 but the scoreline hardly told the full story.

Jack DYER and Arron EDWARDS-HILL, who had been 3Up after 7 holes, ended up having to win both the 17th and 18th holes to secure a point against Rory FRANSSEN and James WILSON.

In a game where neither side ever led by more than 1Up Sam BAIRSTOW and Haider HUSSAIN birdied the par 3 16th to get their noses in front just in time against Andrew NI and George BURNS.

Olly HUGGINS and John GOUGH were again England’s strongest pairing producing five birdies in their match to easily beat Ruben LINDSAY and Darren HOWIE by 5&3.

However, the best performance of the morning came from Scotland’s Lewis IRVINE and Stuart EASTON who fought back from 4Down after 8 holes to run out 3&1 winners against Zach CHEGWIDDEN and Laird SHEPHERD who lost five holes in a row from the 9th to completely lose the initiative.

In the final match Matthew CLARK and Angus CARRICK handed Jack BIGHAM and Josh HILL their second foursomes defeat. The English pair produced two lates birdies to put a little respectability on the final result but having been 5Up after 12 the Scots coasted in to victory.

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Scotland won the afternoon Singles 8-2 to turn the match in their favour.

James WILSON, Rory FRANSSEN, Connor WILSON, Lewis IRVINEMatt CLARK and Andrew NI took their Singles with a barrage of birdies that their English opponents simply couldn’t live with.

Stuart EASTON and George BURNS also won their games but to a greater degree than their teammates benefitted from Callan BARROW and Zach CHEGWIDDEN playing poorly.

On a disappointing day for England the only really bright spot for the home team was 17 year old R&A Boys’ Amateur champion Jack BRIGHAM winning his second Singles game of the event.

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England v. Scotland Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Wales v. Ireland

Ireland comprehensively beat Wales 11-4 in the second match of Day 2.

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The Foursomes games in this match ended up being relatively comfortable for the respective winning pairs, Ireland ultimately taking a 3-2 advantage over Wales into the afternoon Singles.

Marc BOUCHER and Liam NOLAN, who replaced Caolan RAFFERTY in the line up, starred for the Irish. Six birdies in the 13 holes played understandably proved too much for Matt ROBERTS and Aled GREVILLE who went down by 6&5.

Hugh FOLEY and Alan FAHY, who had received a drubbing against Scotland yesterday bounced back well to record a solid 4&3 win against Tomi BOWEN and Tom MATTHEWS.

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Just like Scotland in the earlier game Ireland easily beat Wales in the Singles, albeit looking through the hole-by-hole scores the 8-2 margin of victory perhaps flattered them a little.

The biggest winners for the Irish were Robert MORAN, who after a slow start went into overdrive on the back nine, Matt MCCLEAN, who birdied the opening three holes of his match against Aled GREVILLE to take control, and pleasingly Caolan RAFFERTY, who bounced back well after a difficult opening day in Surrey.

For the Welsh Luke HARRIES won his game with a birdie on the last and Ben CHAMBERLAIN hung on well after going 4Up after four holes.

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Wales v. Ireland Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

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Wednesday 15th September 2021 – Day 1 Matches

England and Ireland moved into the box seats after recording wins on the opening day of the 2021 R&A Home internationals.

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Day 1 Table (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

England v. Wales

England beat Wales in today’s opening match.

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England got off to a good start winning the morning Foursomes 4-1.

The BB&O pairing of Olly HUGGINS and John GOUGH produced the best win of the series beating Craig MELDING and Kieron HARMAN by 5&3.

Matt ROBERTS and Aled GREVILLE proved too strong for England’s junior pairing of JACK BIGHAM and Josh HILL to ensure Wales took a point into the Singles.

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England won the Singles series 6.5-3.5 with wins from Sam BAIRSTOW, Olly HUGGINS, John GOUGH, Jack BIGHAM, Zach CHEGWIDDEN and Amateur champion Laird SHEPHERD.

Luke HARRIES, Tom MATTHEWS, who was rested in the morning, and Kieron HARMAN were victorious for the Welsh.

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England v. Wales Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

Scotland v. Ireland

Ireland got the better of Scotland in a competitive opening match at Hankley Common.

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Ireland edged the morning Foursomes 3-2.

Robert MORAN and Alex MAGUIRE gelled perfectly to win the opening game against Angus CARRICK and Connor WILSON by 8&6. Six birdies in their opening eight holes set them up for a memorable win.

Almost as impressively Matt CLARK and Darren HOWIE posted a 6&5 win against an out of sorts Hugh FOLEY and Alan FAHY.

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Ireland won the Singles series 5.5-4.5 to complete the win over Scotland.

Liam NOLAN, who sat out the Foursomes, and Hugh FOLEY, who bounced back well after his loss this morning, were the big winners for the Irish. Nolan beat Connor WILSON 5&4 whilst Foley got the better of Darren HOWIE by the even bigger margin of 7&5.

Scottish playing captain Matt CLARK, starting as he finished the 2019 competition – unbeaten, took down TJ FORD by 6&5 whilst a flawless Andrew NI surprised 2019 Walker Cupper Caolan RAFFERTY by 7&6.

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Scotland v. Ireland Results (Graphics: The R&A / Golfbox)

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9th September 2021

The R&A Men’s Home Internationals will be played at Hankley Common Golf Club on the North Downs in Surrey, England between 15th and 17th September 2021.

This year’s staging will be the 80th playing of this prestigious event.

England will start as favourites but will carry the burden of expectation whilst having to overcome highly motivated opponents.

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7th Hole, Hankley Common Golf Club (Photo: David Lee / @Davidlee123)

The Competition

Historically the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Golf Unions have taken it in turns to host the event but from this playing The R&A will be taking over responsibility for it.

The competition was first played in 1932.

The 2020 competition was due to be played at Royal Dornoch G.C. in Scotland but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last cancellation came in 1979 when the competition was scheduled to be played at Royal County Down G.C. in Northern Ireland. Before that there had been an uninterrupted run stretching back to 1947 when six years (1939-46) were lost due to World War II.

To assist with the selection of this year’s Walker Cup team The R&A initially attempted to bring forward the 2021 Men’s Home Internationals to 14-16 April and to play them at Royal Dornoch but the pandemic again led to a postponement.

The 2021 event had originally been scheduled to be played at Hankley Common G.C. on 8-10 September but is now taking place a week later.

Format

11-man teams from ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND and WALES play against each other once over three days.

Each series consists of five morning foursomes and ten afternoon singles match play games.

The overall winner is the country with the highest number of match points. 1 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a half and 0 for a loss.

Ties are resolved by considering the number of individual game points secured in the three matches played.

Since 1952 the winning team has received The Raymond Trophy.

In the 79 competitions played today England have won 38, Scotland 21, Ireland 12 and Wales 1. The remaining 7 were tied before it was decided that ties would be resolved by using game points.

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The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

2021 Players

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

I have also included the Team (total) and Individual Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) and World Amateur Golf Rankings below (as at 9th September): –

ENGLAND – Team SPWAR 1,728 / WAGR 3,569
Sam BAIRSTOW (34 / 30) – Hallowes
Callan BARROW (114 / 188) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Jack BIGHAM (159 / 1,586) – Harpenden
Zach CHEGWIDDEN (125 / 642) – Orsett
Jack DYER (44 / 110) – Boyce Hill
Arron EDWARDS-HILL (101 / 274) – Chelmsford
John GOUGH (65 / 136) – Stoke Park
Josh HILL (177 / 217) – Trump International Dubai
Olly HUGGINS (100 / 163) – Frilford Heath
Haider HUSSAIN (125 / 173) – The Kendleshire
Laird SHEPHERD (684 / 50) – Rye

All 11 English players are making their debut in the tournament.

Jack Dyer is the only 2021 GB&I Walker Cup player in the field.

Jack BROOKS (The Mere) and Joe HARVEY (The Kendleshire) were also named as 1st and 2nd Reserves respectively.

IRELAND – Team SPWAR 4,706 / WAGR 5,490
Marc BOUCHER (281 / 321) – Carton House
Alan FAHY (427 / 353) – Dun Laoghaire
Hugh FOLEY (290 / 542) – Royal Dublin
T.J. FORD (515 / 592) – County Sligo
Alex MAGUIRE (372 / 428) – Layton & Bettystown
Matt MCCLEAN (487 / 513) – Malone
Jack MCDONNELL (720 / 1,066) – Forrest Little
Robert MORAN (278 / 231) – Castle
Liam NOLAN (308 / 1,008) – Galway
PETER O’KEEFFE (520 / 293) – Douglas
Caolan RAFFERTY (508 / 143) – Dundalk

Matt McClean and Caolan Rafferty both played in 2019 at Lahinch Golf Club.

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SCOTLAND – Team SPWAR 6,305 / WAGR 7,049
George BURNS (688 / 533) – Williamwood
Angus CARRICK (962 / 1,605) – Cragielaw
Matthew CLARK (713 / 1,015) – Renfrewshire
Stuart EASTON (459 / 423) – Irvine
Rory FRANSSEN (193 / 238) – Auchterarder
Darren HOWIE (821 / 717) – Peebles
Lewis IRVINE (388 / 396) – Kirkhill
Ruben LINDSAY (655 / 775) – Turnberry
Andrew NI (395 / 461) – Murrayfield
Connor WILSON (210 / 335) – Castle Park
James WILSON (821 / 551) – Balmore

Scotland are the most experienced team with George Burns, Matthew Clark, Stuart Easton, Darren Howie, Lewis Irvine and James Wilson all having played in 2019. Indeed Clark will be playing in his ninth consecutive Home Internationals.

WALES – Team SPWAR 27,931 / WAGR 15,551 + 2 ‘No Ranking’ players
James ASHFIELD (283 / 449) – Delamere Forest
Tomi BOWEN (2,566 / NR) – Welshpool
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (2,783 / 943) – Padeswood & Buckley
Jacob DAVIES (5,181 / 1,076) – Rhuddlan
Aled GREVILLE (2,510 / 1,391) – Ashburnham
Kieron HARMAN (2,466 / 4,180) – St Athan
Luke HARRIES (1,010 / 1,201) – Tenby
Tim HARRY (3,808 / 4,624) – The Vale
Tom MATTHEWS (2,902 / 1,111) – Aldersey Green
Craig MELDING (2,783 / NR) – Neath
Matt ROBERTS (1,639 / 576) – Royal Porthcawl

Ben Chamberlain, Jacob Davies, Kieron Harman and Matt Roberts all return for the Welsh in Surrey.

Highlighting the speed at which players turn professional nowadays just 12 of the 44 players who competed at Lahinch in 2019, admittedly two years ago, are on show this year. This compares with 23 returnees last time and 14 at Conwy in 2018.

Venue – Hankley Common Golf Club

Hankley Common G.C. in Tilford, near Farnham in Surrey was first opened as a nine hole course in May 1897. A further nine holes were added by James Braid in 1923/24 but it was only after Harry Colt undertook some remodelling and replaced three holes in 1935 that it started to be recognised as one of England’s best inland courses.

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Hankley Common G.C. (Photo: Jake Austin / @jbaustin2703)

It sits on a huge piece of heathland which allows the holes to meander across the property often in isolation. The area has been designated as a ‘site of special scientific interest’ due to its range of trees and abundant wildlife.

Off the back tees the course measures 6,909 yards and plays to a par of 71, there being only one par 5 on the back nine.

The uphill par three 7th is the ‘signature hole’ but in truth their are many memorable holes on the property.

There are a number of roads, paths and tracks on the course all of which have been deemed integral with no free relief available.

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Where My Ball Finished Off The 13th Tee When I Played There In September 2015 ! (Photo: GolfBible)  

Hankley Common has hosted a number of major events through the years most recently the English Men’s Amateur Championship (Closed) in 2019 which was won by Conor Gough.

2021 Weather Forecast (as at 14th September)

The latest forecast is encouraging with dry weather and low winds forecast for the three competition days: –

Wed. 15th Sept. – Light Cloud / Wind 7mph NW / Temp. Min 11º, Max 21º
Thurs. 16th Sept. – Sunny Intervals / Wind 6mph SW / Temp. Min 11º, Max 21º
Fri. 17th Sept. – Sunny Intervals / Wind 8mph S / Temp. Min 12º, Max 20º

2019 Men’s Home Internationals

The 2020 Men’s Home Internationals were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

England won the 2019 Men’s Home Internationals at Lahinch G.C. in Ireland, winning all three of their games, and retaining The Raymond Trophy after their 2018 win at Conwy G.C.

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The England Team (Photo: Nigel Edwards)

Matty LAMB was the star man for England winning five of his matches. The whole team contributed with Ben SCHMIDT and Ben JONES, who both won four games, next in line for praise.

Experienced Matt CLARK contributed the most for Scotland winning four games, including two Singles, and halving another.

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Colm CAMPBELL was the star man for Ireland with Caolan RAFFERTY and Conor PURCELL also contributing strongly with four wins. Connor JONES played the best for Wales winning two Singles.

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Click here to view the – Men’s 2019 Home Internationals Results
– click the match score to see the individual games and the game score to view the hole by hole scores.

Historic Results

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

ME.

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

The Jacques Léglise Trophy – 2021 Preview & Results

28th August 2021 

Continent of Europe won the The 44th Jacques Léglise Trophy match against Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) at Falsterbo Golfklubb in Sweden.

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Continent of Europe Team (Photo: European Golf Association)

The final score was 16.5-8.5 with the Continent of Europe winning ten points on Day 2 whilst GB&I could only muster three.

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Day 2 Scoreboard (Graphic: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

Continent of Europe won the Saturday Singles 6.5-2.5 to complete a comprehensive victory over GB&I.

GB&I’s two wins came from Harley SMITH and Cameron ADAM with Joshua HILL earning a half in his game.

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Saturday Afternoon Singles Results (Graphic: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

Continent of Europe won the Saturday Foursomes series 3.5-0.5 to take control of the Jacques Léglise Trophy match in Sweden.

Jack BIGHAM and Josh HILL secured the half for GB&I.

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Saturday Morning Foursomes Results (Graphic: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

Click here to view the final – Jacques Léglise Trophy Results

Here is my assessment of the individual performances in the match: –

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Marco FLORIOLI was unbeaten for Continent of Europe winning all three of the games he was selected for. Tim WIEDEMEYER played all four series, wining three games and halving his Day 1 Singles. Oihan GUILLAMOUNDEGUY was the only European player to win both of their Singles. 

Harley SMITH and Cameron ADAM were the two GB&I players to come out of the match with a positive record, winning three and two of their games respectively. Smith enhanced his growing reputation by winning both of his Singles.

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27th August 2021

Continent of Europe lead Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) by 6.5-5.5 at the end of the opening day at Falsterbo Golfklubb in Sweden.

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Day 1 Scoreboard (Graphic: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

It was a better afternoon for GB&I who took the Friday Singles 4.5-3.5 to reduce Continent of Europe’s lead to a more manageable one point. Ruben LINDSAY, Harley SMITH, Archie FINNIE and Cameron ADAM delivered wins whilst Joshua HILL halved the final match.

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Friday Afternoon Singles Results (Graphic: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

Continent of Europe won the Friday Foursomes series 3-1 to take an early advantage in the Jaques Léglise Trophy match against GB&I.

On a tough morning for GB&I Daniel BULLEN and Harley SMITH were the sole winners for the away side.  

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Friday Morning Foursomes Results (Graphic: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

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24th August 2021

The 44th Jacques Léglise Trophy match between Continent of Europe and Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) will take place at Falsterbo Golfklubb, Sweden on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th August.

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This annual match is contested by two nine-player U18 boys’ teams. It is essentially a junior equivalent of the biennial men’s St. Andrews Trophy match also played between these two regions.

The 2020 match, which was due to be played at Blairgowrie GC last August, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I will be updating this article with daily reports during the match.

2021 Teams

The R&A have selected the following team to represent GB&I: –

Cameron ADAM (18, Playing Captain) – Scotland
Daniel BULLEN (16) – Scotland
Jack BIGHAM (17) – England
Archie FINNIE (16) – Scotland
Connor GRAHAM (14) – Scotland
Josh HILL (17) – England
Joshua HILL (18) – Ireland 
Ruben LINDSAY (17) – Scotland
Harley SMITH (16) – England

Wales’ Chris KING, GB&I’s Boys’ Captain / Manager, will finally take charge of his first event. He succeeds Stuart Wilson (SCO) who stepped up to be the GB&I Men’s Captain in 2020.

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2021 GB&I and Continent of Europe Teams (Photo: European Golf Association)

The 2021 Continent of Europe team, selected by the European Golf Association, consists of: –

Tiger CHRISTENSEN – Germany
Riccardo FANTINELLI – Italy
Marco FLORIOLI – Italy
Oihan GUILLAMOUNDEGUY – France
Yannick MALIK – Germany
Flavio MICHETTI – Italy
Jaime MONTOJO – Spain
Daniel SVÄRD – Sweden
Tim WIEDEMEYER – Germany

Europe will be led for the second time by Captain Joachim FOURQUET of France. He succeeded Jeroen Stevens (NED) who captained the team to two wins and a loss during his three year term of office between 2016-2018.

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The Jacques Léglise Trophy (Photo: European Golf Association) 

Format

Four foursomes games are played each morning.

Singles are then played in the afternoon; eight on Day 1 and nine on Day 2.

As there will be 25 points to play for each team will require 13.0 points to claim outright victory.

Venue

Falsterbo GK is a links course set in a nature reserve beside the Baltic Sea on the south west tip of Sweden.

The club was established in 1909 with the current course opened in 1930. It plays to around 6,650 yards with water hazards featuring on a number of holes. 

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  Falsterbo Golfklubb (Photo: Falsterbo GK )

Weather

The current weather forecast suggests cloudy conditions with moderate winds can be expected.

Friday 27th August – Cloudy, PM Showers / Wind 14 mph N / Temp. Min. 14°C, Max. 17°C.
Saturday 28th August – Cloudy, PM Showers / Wind 14 mph N / Temp. Min. 14°C, Max. 18°C.

The 2019 Jacques Léglise Trophy Match

Continent of Europe beat Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) 15.5 – 9.5 to win the 43rd Jacques Léglise Trophy at Aldeburgh G.C. in England.

They won three out of the four series with GB&I halving the opening foursomes.

Daniel DA COSTA RODRIGUES and Bård Bjørnevik SKOGEN were both unbeaten for the Continent of Europe. Loïc ETTLIN also won three of his four matches for the winning team.

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Continent of Europe Team (Photo: @EGA_golf)

Click here to view the full – 2019 Jacques Léglise Trophy Results

Previous Matches

A junior match was first played between 1958 and 1966 with GB&I winning all of them.

After a short break it was re-instated to the amateur calendar in 1977 as the Jacques Léglise Trophy. Jean-Louis Dupont donated the new trophy in memory of Jacques Léglise, a former President of both the French Golf Association and the European Golf Association. Leglise was also a past French amateur champion and national team captain.

Since becoming the Jacques Léglise GB&I have won 29 of the matches with the Continent of Europe claiming 13 victories with the 2015 match tied. Surprisingly nine of Europe’s wins have been in away matches.

Originally played in a single day the match moved to two in 1996.

Click here to view all of the – Jaques Léglise Trophy Historic Results

ME.

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

The Amateur Championship – 2020 Preview, Reports & Results

Sunday 30th August 2020

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

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

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

Long built up a 3Up lead after 11 holes helped by birdies on the 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th holes. Whilst Harvey battled till the end Long steadied himself after a shaky opening nine in the afternoon to see out the match.

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Long v. Harvey (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Long and Harvey were well known to each other coming into the Final; hailing from the Gloucestershire County and golf clubs just 10 miles apart, namely The Kendleshire and Lansdown respectively.

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

Joe LONG was the clear favourite before play commenced. At the beginning of the Championship he was ranked 102nd and 31st in the WAGR and SPWAR whilst Joe HARVEY was 897th and 387th.

With his victory Joe LONG secured exemptions into the Open, Masters Tournament and US Open in 2021. He also guaranteed a place in the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team.

Joe Long shot a 74 (-3) in the stroke play qualifying to finish tied 30th. In then reaching the Final he also had to care of three of England’s leading players Olly HUGGINS, Barclay BROWN and Jake BOLTON. All in all a well deserved victory for the 23 year old.

img_3759Joe Long’s Match Play Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

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

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Saturday 29th August 2020

Semi-Finals

Here are the results from Saturday afternoon’s Semi-Finals: –

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Semi-Finals Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Joe HARVEY (ENG) beat Mark POWER (IRL) by 3&2 in the first Semi-Final at Royal Birkdale G.C. The Bristolian made a good start and having moved into a 3Up lead after 6 holes saw out the match relatively comfortably despite Power improving down the home stretch.

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Harvey v. Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Joe LONG (ENG) beat Jake BOLTON (ENG) by 2&1 in the second Semi-Final at Royal Birkdale G.C. The standard of play doesn’t appear to have been as good as the first semi but at this stage it’s all about the result. After a demanding week perhaps Long’s much easier Quarter Final when compared with Bolton’s gave him an advantage.

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Long v. Bolton Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Quarter Finals

Here are the results from Saturday morning’s four matches: –

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Quarter Finals Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Joe HARVEY (ENG) did what was required to overcome an out of sorts Victor H.S. SVENDSEN (DEN) in the first Quarter Final.

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Svendsen v. Harvey Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Barclay BROWN (ENG) couldn’t find the game he had enjoyed yesterday and succumbed easily to a very steady performance form Joe LONG (ENG).

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Brown v. Long Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Five birdies in his opening 10 holes provided Mark POWER (IRL) with a strong foundation against Callan BARROW (ENG) and he saw out the match to secure the third semi-final place.

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Barrow v. Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

The fourth match proved to be the tightest with Jake BOLTON (ENG) taken all the way by Hamish W. BROWN (DEN).

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Bolton v. Brown Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

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Friday 28th August 2020

Round 4

Joe HARVEY (ENG), Callan BARROW (ENG), Mark POWER (IRL), Barclay BROWN (ENG), Joe LONG (ENG) and Jake BOLTON (ENG) all won their Last 16 matches to progress to the Quarter Finals.

Some of the results were a little more comprehensive this afternoon as the mental and physical stresses perhaps started to show up a little more in the play.

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Round 4 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

The SPWAR was updated after Round 4 of The Amateur so heading into the Quarter Finals I thought it would be interesting to review the current rankings of the remaining players: –
Joe LONG (ENG) – #8
Jake BOLTON (ENG) – #19
Mark POWER (IRL) – #34
Barclay BROWN (ENG) – #37
Callan BARROW (ENG) – #94
Joe HARVEY (ENG) – #151
Victor H.S. SVENDSEN (DEN) – #192
Hamish W. BROWN (DEN) – #236

Round 3

22 GB&I players became 11 after the completion of Round 3 this morning.

Three Danes, Victor H.S. SVENDSEN, Frederik KJETTRUP and Hamish W. BROWN make up the majority of the five overseas players still standing and are clearly finding Royal Birkdale to their liking.

Svendsen beat Ilari SAULO (FIN), who having won two matches yesterday, quickly fell back down to earth with a heavy defeat in the opening game of the day.

Callum FARR (ENG) enjoyed a solid 3&2 victory over his England teammate Tom PLUMB (ENG).

Mark POWER and Marc BOUCHER ensured Irish interest remained well and truly alive in the Championship overcoming the in form English pair Jack DYER and Matty LAMB respectively.

The other Irish player in the draw Tom MCKIBBIN saw his hopes ended at the hands of Barclay BROWN (ENG).

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Round 3 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

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Thursday 27th August 2020

Round 2

The ‘Curse of the Medalist’ struck Ruben LINDSAY (SCO) who lost 2&1 to Finland’s Ilari SAULO. Saulo, who won the 2020 Finnish Amateur in early August, had already given notice of his continued good form when he knocked out Sam BAIRSTOW (ENG) in the Preliminary Round.

David RAVETTO (FRA), winner of the Brabazon Trophy last week, beat Jack COPE (ENG), the English Amateur champion, by 5&4 in an interesting match up thrown up by the draw.

Dubai-based Josh HILL (ENG) completed a long day on the links with a smile on his face after winning his second match on the 19th hole. His victory over Sam BROADHURST (ENG) suggests that he may now be ready to fulfil his undoubted potential over here.

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Round 2 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Preliminary Round 1

Day 3 of The Amateur Championship started with the Preliminary Round 1 which featured the eight lowest qualifiers. The four winners feeding into the Round 2 draw against the top four qualifiers.

Josh HILL (ENG) and Matthew MCCLEAN (IRL) were the two GB&I players to progress to Round 2.

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Preliminary Round 1 Results (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

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Wednesday 26th August 2020

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

Play started at 7.30am this morning with the original Round 2 tee times being used by the 120 players contesting this year’s Amateur Championship.

36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying was introduced in 1983 and this was the first time in 37 years that The R&A have been unable to complete it in full.

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Ruben Lindsay’s Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Four other players broke par at the challenging Lancashire links today. Mason ESSAM (ENG), 21, finished 2nd on -3 with Sam BROADHURST (ENG), 23, and Ben SCHMIDT (ENG), 18, a shot further back in tied 3rd with Jack DYER (ENG), 22, securing the 5th seed on -1.

The decision to reduce the Stroke Play Qualifying competition to just 18 holes saw The R&A extend qualifying to the leading 64 players and ties. The original competition rules had stated that a card count back approach would be adopted for the first time in the Men’s event this year.

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

The qualifiers comprise 29 English players, 7 Scottish, 6 Irish, 6 Danish, 5 German, 5 Italian, 4 Swiss, 2 Finnish and 1 each from Estonia, France, Norway and Wales.

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

Amongst the more notable players to narrowly miss out were England Internationals Harry GODDARD +6, Robin WILLIAMS +6, Max MARTIN +6 and Conor GOUGH +7.

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

ME.

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Tuesday 25th August 2020

Round 1 of the Stroke Play Qualifying competition at the 2020 Amateur Championship was abandoned at 4.00pm. All of the scores that had been posted today, and there were some very good completed rounds in atrocious conditions, were cancelled.

Play had started on time at 7.30am but was quickly suspended at 7.50pm due to heavy rain and strong winds. It re-commenced at 9.50am before again having to be suspended at 2.50pm. No resumption in play was possible.

The R&A has decided to reduce the Stroke Play Qualifying to 18 holes which will now be played tomorrow. The top 64 players and ties will now go through to the Match Play Stage.

Assuming no time extension was possible I would have retained the 36 holes of stroke play and reduced the qualifiers to the top 32. The proposed one round of stroke play and six rounds of match play is now too lopsided a format for my liking.

18 holes of stroke play turns qualifying into a shootout and may not see all of the best players progress.

I would also have retained the new card count back rule that had been introduced to The Amateur this year. This is primarily because The R&A have historically not conducted the match play draw correctly when trying to accommodate a Preliminary Round, i.e. the medalist hasn’t played the 64th seed (or higher), etc. [These latter concerns proved to be unfounded on Wednesday evening as The R&A made the draw correctly this year – see above.]

ME.

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24th August 2020

The 125th Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale G.C. in Southport, England on 25th – 30th August 2020.

The Amateur is the most prestigious amateur golf event played outside of the United States and without question the highlight of the Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur season.

The 2020 Championship was originally due to be co-hosted by Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire G.C.’s in England from 15th – 20th June 2020 but was re-scheduled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

West Lancs. is now hosting The Women’s Amateur Championship, being staged  concurrently with the men’s event, having replaced Kilmarnock (Barassie) G.C. for logistical reasons.

In order to receive Government and Local Authority approval to proceed The R&A have agreed that the Championship will be played behind closed doors with no spectators and only essential / authorised personnel on-site.

Format

The normal field of 288 players has been reduced to 120 this year.

Two stroke play qualifying rounds will be completed on Tuesday 25th August and Wednesday 26th August.

English Amateur champion Jack COPE (ENG) will hit the first shot of the Championship at 7.30am. With an 11 minute gap between tee times the final group will go out at 2.54pm on each of the opening days.

Click here to view the – 2020 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Tee Times

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

In a welcome change by The R&A a Round 2 card countback will be used to ensure a clean 64 players advance. Ties for 64th place will not advance as they have done in previous years and as a result there will be no preliminary round and a standard match play draw will be made made.

The Match Play stage will then be played between Thursday 27th and Sunday 30th August.

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

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Royal Birkdale G.C.’s 18th Hole and Clubhouse (Photo: thetravellinggolfer.com)

Players

The 120 players have been firstly drawn from a number of exempt categories covering various historic Championship performances and representative team selections.

Thereafter places have been allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at Week 30 2020, i.e. the Wednesday 29th July release.

Players from 13 different countries will contest the 2020 Amateur Championship. 34 countries were represented in 2019 highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 travel restrictions and the 60% reduction in the field size.

England have 44 players in the field (37%), Scotland 17, Ireland 10 and Wales 4.

The COVID-19 travel restrictions mean that James SUGRUE (IRL) is unable to defend his title ahead of appearing in the 2020 U.S. Open Championship at Winged Foot G.C. on 17-20th September.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are Italy (10), Germany (9), Switzerland (9) and Denmark (8).

Notably there are no players this year from Australia, South Africa and USA.

Current circumstances mean this is probably the weakest field ever assembled for an Amateur Championship. There are just 9 players in the WAGR top 100 competing (as at 29th July). These are Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) #27, Ben JONES (ENG) #30, Conor GOUGH (ENG) #37, David RAVETTO (FRA) #52, Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) #62, Jake BOLTON (ENG) #77, Mark POWER (IRL) #81, Matty LAMB (ENG) #87 and Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) #93. The picture isn’t improved by looking further down WAGR either; there are 23 players starting the event in the top 200 and 31 in the top 300.

France’s David RAVETTO and Denmark’s Christoffer BRING, winner and runner-up in this week’s Brabazon Trophy at Sherwood Forest, will arrive in Southport full of confidence.

Host Course

Royal Birkdale G.C. is one of the most famous golf courses in GB&I staging numerous Championships and International Matches since coming to prominence after World War II.

Birkdale G.C. was formed in 1889 with the club moving to the current site in 1897.

Hawtree and former Open Champion J.H. Taylor set about routing the course between the sandhills in the 1930s. Major changes were subsequently made in the 1960s and 1990s to ensure the layout remained at the forefront of the game.

The Club received it’s royal patronage from King George VI in 1951.

Birkdale has previously hosted the Amateur Championship in 1946, 1989 and 2005.

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Royal Birkdale Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

The course will play to around 7,100 yards during the Championship and a par of 71.

The formidable final six holes will no doubt come into play during the match play stage.

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Royal Birkdale Course Map (Photo: Royal Birkdale G.C.)

Weather Forecast (as at Monday 24th August)

The weather forecast looks generally wet for the week with scoring unlikely to be helped by moderate to strong breezes throughout: –

Tues 25th – Heavy Rain. Wind 45 mph SE. Temp. Max. 19°C / Min 15°C.
Wed 26th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 26 mph NW. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 12°C.
Thurs 27th – Light Rain Showers. Wind 8 mph S. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 28th – Light Rain Showers. Wind 16 mph NE. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Sat 29th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 16 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Sun 30th – Sunny Intervals. Wind 11 mph NW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.

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

Tee times between 7.30am and 2.54pm mean changes in the weather can have a material impact on the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Royal Birkdale G.C.’s 12th Hole (Photo: visitliverpool.com)

Prizes / Exemptions

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

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

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

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into the 149th Open Championship being staged at Royal St. George’s G.C. in Kent, England in July 2021.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C. and also exempted into the 2021 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Torrey Pines G.C. in San Diego, California.

Finally, given the May 2021 staging of the next Walker Cup match any GB&I player who wins this Amateur Championship will be assured of a place in our team.

2019 Amateur Championship

James SUGRUE (IRE) won the 124th Amateur Championship at Portmarnock G.C. beating Euan WALKER (SCO) by 2 Holes in a competitive Final which went the full 36 holes.

James from Mallow G.C. was the 8th Irish winner of the title following in the footsteps of Jimmy Bruen, Max McCready, Joe Carr, Garth McGimpsey, Michael Hoey, Brian McElhinney and most recently Alan Dunbar in 2012.

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James Sugrue (Photo: The R&A / Sam Barnes / Getty Images)

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

Tom PLUMB (ENG) secured Stroke Play medalist honours at the 2019 Amateur after posting an aggregate 36 hole score of 139 (-4). Plumb shot a 68 at The Island in Round 1 and a 71 (-1) on Day 2 at Portmarnock. John AXELSEN (DEN) also recorded a 139 (-4) total but lost out by 4-shots on combined back nine count back.  

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Qualifying Results

The top 64 and ties Match Play cut fell at 147 (+4) with a total of 76 players progressing. The 24 lowest scoring qualifiers participated in a Preliminary Round to establish the final 64 players.

A Short History of The Amateur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

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 James Sugrue’s win in 2019 the previous 10 winners of The Amateur Championship were: –

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 (IRE) – Royal Troon G.C.
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside G.C.
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby G.C.

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2020, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.