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

24th December 2017

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

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

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

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JANUARY

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

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

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

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

FEBRUARY

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

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

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

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

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

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Liam Johnston (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

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

Ben AMOR (ENG) turned Pro in February.

MARCH

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

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

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

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

APRIL

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

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

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

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Charlie Strickland with Peter McEvoy (Photo: @GolfBible)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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David Hague (Photo: Kevin Diss)

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

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

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

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

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) turned Pro in May 2017.

JUNE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mark Power (Photo: Castleroy GC)

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

Kevin LE BLANC (IRE) turned Pro in June.

JULY

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

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 Alfie Plant (Photo: GolfBible)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_4962Jake Burnage (Photo: GolfBible)

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

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

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

AUGUST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPTEMBER

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

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

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The USA Walker Cup Team (Photo: GolfBible)

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

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

OCTOBER

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

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

NOVEMBER

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

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

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

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

DECEMBER

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

U.S. Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Daily Reports & Results

Sunday 20th August 2017

Final Results

Doc REDMAN came back from 2 Down with two holes to play to beat Doug GHIM in the 36 hole U.S. Amateur Final at Riviera Country Club.

Redman eagled the 17th and birdied the 18th to force extra holes. Ghim, presumably in shock, then made a mess of the tricky short par 4 10th, the 37th hole played, and having made a bogey conceded Redman his birdie putt and the Championship.

img_8417Doc Redman, 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion (Photo: USGA)

Click here to review the full Stroke Play Qualifying Match Play results – U.S. Amateur Championship Live Scoring

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Final Preview

Doug GHIM (21) will play Doc REDMAN (19) for the Havemeyer Trophy in today’s 36 hole U.S. Amateur Final at Riviera Country Club. The Final will tee off at 7.45am (3.45pm GMT).

The champion will also receive a Gold Medal, whilst the runner-up a Silver one.

Both finalists are now exempt in to the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills G.C. The champion will also be exempt in to the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links and can expect an invitation to play in the 2018 Masters at Augusta National G.C.

img_8405Finalists Doug Ghim (l) and Doc Redman (r) with the U.S. Open Trophy (Photo: USGA)

Both players are US College students; Ghim plays for the University of Texas and Redman for Clemson University.

Doug Ghim is ranked 1st in the SPWAR (updated as at 19/08/17) and 7th in the WAGR (as at 13/08/17). Ghim has enjoyed a very strong season and was already a very likely Walker cup pick for the U.S.A.

Doc Redman is ranked 7th in the SPWAR (as at 19/08/17) and 70th in the WAGR (as at 13/08/17). Redman has come on strong in the last few weeks. He was runner up in the Final of the Western Amateur a couple of weeks ago and has now backed it up with a great run at the U.S. Amateur. He must therefore be right in the Walker Cup picture too.

Sophia Schubert, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last week also studies at Texas. Whilst I am sure Doug Ghim won’t be thinking too much about it never in the history of the USGA have their reigning men’s and women’s amateur champions attended the same College.

ME.

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Saturday 19th August 2017

Semi-Finals (4)

Doug GHIM (USA) beat Theo HUMPHREY (USA) 2&1

Mark LAWRENCE Jr (USA) lost by 1 hole to Doc REDMAN (USA)

ME.

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Friday 18th August 2017

Quarter Finals (8)

In a game where neither player was at their best Connor SYME eventually lost 2&1 to Doug GHIM (USA) in the Quarter Final match.

Connor was 5-over par for the 17 holes played, albeit a double bogey on the 16th hole makes this appear worse than it really was. A single birdie on the 8th only produced a half for the Scotsman and against an in form and confident Ghim this was unlikely to be enough.

In his post round interview with the USGA Connor said “I just didn’t quite have my best stuff today. I was grinding away as much as I could. It was a good Championship but I’m obviously disappointed to lose today.”

Nevertheless a great week for Connor and he can now positively look forward to the Walker Cup down the road at Los Angeles Country Club.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

img_8396Match Play Quarter Finals Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Thursday 17th August 2017

PM – Match Play Round 3 (16)

Connor SYME beat Norway’s Kristoffer VENTURA by 1 hole in their Round of 16 match.

In the previous round Ventura beat Stroke Play medalist Hayden WOOD (USA) 3&2.

In a tight match it took a forty yard chip in on the 18th hole for Connor to come out on top.

Connor was 1-under par for the round and continues to play very well.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

After the round Connor spoke with Shane O’Donoghue on Fox Sports.

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ME.

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AM – Match Play Round 2 (32)

Connor SYME beat Ricky CASTILLO (USA) 4&3 in a very impressive performance. Teeing off at 7.25am Connor wasted little time in taking the lead, birdieing the 493 yard 1st. A sequence of birdies on holes 6, 7 and 8 put the Scotsman 4 Up and cruising. The match finished on the 15th with Connor -4 for the holes played and bogey free. Let’s hope he can maintain that kind of form for a little while longer.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

Robert MACINTYRE lost 3&1 to Dawson ARMSTRONG (USA) in their Round of 32 match. Robert made a great start – two birdies helping him into a 3Up lead after four holes. However, Armstrong, one of USA’s strongest players, won the 5th with a birdie before winning five holes in a row between the 7th and 11th to lead 3Up. Unfortunately he didn’t have to work too hard for this match turning run as MacIntyre bogeyed four of the five. The end of the line for Robert but he can take comfort in a good Championship which must surely have secured his GB&I Walker Cup place.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

img_8352Match Play Round 2 (32) & Round 3 (16) Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Wednesday 16th August 2017 – Match Play Round 1 (64)

The day started badly for GB&I with Harry ELLIS losing out in the play-off on the famous short par 4 10th hole at Riviera Country Club. His double bogey 6 in the second group out sadly saw him fall out of contention quickly.

Some better news was to come when the Round of 64 started in earnest.

Connor SYME beat Maverick MCNEALY (USA) 2&1. Connor won his match around the turn, winning the 9th with a par, the 10th with a conceded eagle 2 and the 11th with a birdie 4. 3Up at this point he was able to see out the match, albeit bogeys on 13 and 14 gave McNealy some hope. However, the American then proceeded to bogey the short 160 yard 16th and after shared birdies on the par 5 17th the match was over. Connor finished 2-under for the 17 holes played.

img_8321Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

Fellow Scot Robert MACINTYRE then beat Cameron YOUNG (USA) by 1 hole. In what appears to have been a high class game our man from Oban had to be at his match play best to overcome Young who battled all the way to the finish line. Robert finished 2-under for the 18 holes played.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

In the final GB&I match to finish Jack SINGH BRAR lost by 3 & 1 to Joey VRZICH (USA). As can be seen from the scores below Jack had a bad day at the office, starting very poorly and not really improve. He finished 7-over par for the 17 holes played. Worryingly in the context of the forthcoming Walker Cup this is the second time in three weeks, following the English Amateur, that Jack has qualified easily in stroke play before falling to a relatively unknown player in the first round of match play.

Hole-by-Hole Scores (Photo: USGA Scoring)

Here are the hole locations for the Round of 64 Match Play at Riviera Country Club: –

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Match Play Round 1 (64) Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Tuesday 15th August 2017 – Stroke Play Round 2 

Jack SINGH BRAR, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME have all qualified for the Match Play Stage of the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Harry ELLIS will contest a 13 player for 8 spots play-off tomorrow morning to see if he can join them.

Here are the Round 2 GB&I scores from the U.S. Amateur Championship which started today.

GB&I Round 2 Scores (Photo: USGA US Amateur Scoring)

The Stroke Play Medalist was Hayden Wood who broke the U.S. Amateur Championship 36-hole qualifying record with a total of 131. Wood followed his 64 at Riviera with a 67 at Bel-Air to beat the 132 shot by Hank Kim (1994), Gregor Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).

Wood said. “To play that way these last two days has been good. I like where my game is. I feel comfortable on this course (Riviera) and it fits my game. I am looking forward to it because the tournament starts tomorrow.”
ME.

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Monday 14th August 2017 – Stroke Play Round 1 

Here are the Round 1 GB&I scores from the U.S. Amateur Championship which started today.

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GB&I Round 1 Scores (Photo: USGA US Amateur Scoring)

Here are the hole locations for the 36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying at Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club: –

Stroke Play Qualifying Hole Locations (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

ME.

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Sunday 13th August 2017

The 117th U.S. Amateur Championship starts tomorrow in Los Angeles, California.

This year the championship is being staged at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.img_8291Administered by the United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) the U.S. Amateur is the most important and prestigious competition in the amateur golf calendar.

Competition Format

On Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th August all of the contestants will play 36-holes of stroke play, one at Riviera and the other at Bel-Air.

The Top 64 qualifiers will then move forward to the match play stage of the competition. Ties for the last qualifying place will be resolved by a sudden death play-off.

18 hole match play rounds will then be played between Wednesday 16th and Saturday 19th, culminating in a 36-hole Championship Final on Sunday 20th August. Extra holes will be played to resolve any halved games.

2017 Field

A field of 312 players from 29 different countries will contest this year’s Championship.

251 players are from the U.S.A. with Australia (11) and Canada (7) the next best represented countries.

This year 100 (2015: 99) 36 hole Sectional Qualifying events were held in July across the USA, with one each in Canada and Mexico too.

The introduction of a European Sectional Qualifier, like the U.S.G.A. stage for the U.S. Open Championship, is long overdue. Perhaps it could be rolled into the South of England Open Amateur Championship ? Walton Heath have staged the U.S. Open one for many years so I am sure they would be pleased to extend their relationship with the U.S.G.A. further.

This year’s average competitor age is 22.39 (2016: 22.29).

The oldest player being George ZAHRINGER (64, b. 23rd April 1953), who successfully came through Sectional Qualifying and will be playing in his 19th U.S. Amateur.

The youngest Alec NACHMANN (15, b. 27th March 2002) will be one of three 15 year olds competing. One of them Karl VILIPS (AUS), who is certainly one to watch, turns 16 on 16th August.

There are nine GB&I players competing this year. There were 11 in 2016 at Oakland Hills.

Here is a list of them with their exemption category or sectional qualifying event noted: –

David BOOTE 22 (WAL) – QF 2016 U.S. Amateur, Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

Harry ELLIS 21 (ENG) – 2017 Amateur Champion

Scott GREGORY 22 (ENG) – 2016 Amateur Champion, 2017 U.S. Open Qualifier, Top WAGR 21/6/17

Stuart GREHAN 24 (IRE) – Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

Robert MACINTYRE 21 (SCO) – WAGR 21/6/17

Alfie PLANT 25 (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

Jack SINGH BRAR 20 (ENG) – Qualifier at New City, New York (07/07/17)

Daniel SUTTON 21 (ENG) – Qualifier at Iowa City, Iowa (17/07/17)

Connor SYME 21 (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR 21/6/17

2017 Stroke Play Qualifying Draw

The draw for the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifying competition was confirmed yesterday and can be viewed here – U.S. Amateur SP Draw

Interestingly the two Scots in the field, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME, have been drawn together.

Host Courses

Riviera Country Club
7,284 yards, Par 70.
Opened 1927.
Designed by George C. Thomas and William P. Bell.

Riviera has hosted one U.S. Open (1948 Ben Hogan), two P.G.A. Championships (1983 Hal Sutton & 1995 Steve Elkington) and one U.S. Senior Open (1998 Hale Irwin) as well as serving as the perennial host of the US PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open.

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Riviera Country Club (Photo: California GOLF)

Bel-Air Country Club
6,785 yards, Par 70.
Opened 1926
Designed by George C. Thomas and William P. Bell, assisted by Jack Neville.

Bel-Air has previously hosted the U.S. Amateur (1976 Bill Sander) and 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur (2004 Mark Bemowski).

Bel-Air Country Club (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Weather Forecast (as at 7.00pm 13th August 2017)

Stroke Play Stage

Mon 14th Aug – Sunny. Wind 8mph (N). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 18°C.

Tues 15th Aug – Sunny. Wind 8mph (N). Temp. Max. 23°C / Min 17°C.

Match Play Stage

Weds 16th Aug – Sunny. Wind 7mph (N). Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 15°C.

Thurs 17th Aug – Sunny. Wind 7mph NW). Temp. Max. 27°C / Min 15°C.

Fri 18th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (W). Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 16°C.

Sat 19th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (NW). Temp. Max. 27°C / Min 17°C.

Sun 20th August – Sunny. Wind 7mph (NW). Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 17°C.

As one would expect in California in August the weather is expected to be perfect for golf all week.

UK Television Coverage

Sky Sports normally take the US television feed, via the Red Button, over the final weekend.

Prizes

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion will receive the following (assuming they remain amateur): –

a) A Gold Medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the ensuing year.

b) An exemption to play in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills G.C.

c) An exemption to play in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.

d) An invitation to play in the 2018 Masters at Augusta National G.C.

e) An exemption to play in the 2018 – 2027 U.S. Amateurs; and no doubt

f) Invitations to play in a variety of PGA Tour and European Tour competitions.

A Silver Medal is awarded to the runner-up and Bronze Medals to the two losing semi-finalists.

The original silver Havemeyer Trophy was presented to the U.S.G.A. on March 1895 in honour of the Association’s first President Theodore A. Havemeyer. This was lost in a fire at Bobby Jones’ home club, East Lake, in 1925.

A new gold trophy was produced in 1926. This was retired in 1992 with a copy of the trophy being produced and passed from champion to champion ever since.

Sadly the original gold trophy was stolen from the USGA Museum in 2012 and has never been seen since.

The 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship

The 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship was played at Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit.

Curtis LUCK (AUS) won beating Brad DALKE (USA) 6&4 in the 36-hole Championship match.

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Curtis Luck (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Alex SMALLEY (USA) earned medalist honours in the Stroke Play Qualifying. His 133 (-7) total came after two impressive rounds; a 65 on the North Course (NC), followed on Day 2 by a 68 on the tougher South Course (SC).

In the Stroke Play 56 players scored +1 or better to progress. A further 23 players finished with a +2 total and were required to participate in a sudden death play-off to determine the final 8 qualifiers.

Collectively Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) enjoyed a relatively successful Championship. Six of our players progressed to the Match Play Stage including one from each of the four home nations.

Here is a summary of the GB&I performances (in order of success): –

David BOOTE (WAL)
MP – Brad DALKE (USA) won 3&2 in the Quarter Finals.
SP – Tied 57th, SC 70 / NC 72 (+2)*

Sam HORSFIELD (ENG)
MP – Dylan MEYER (USA) won 19th hole in Round of 16.
SP – Tied 11th, NC 66 / SC 72 (-2)

Scott GREGORY (ENG)
MP – Nick CARLSON (USA) won 19th hole in Round of 32.
SP – Tied 6th, NC 69 / SC 68 (-3)

Connor SYME (SCO)
MP – Dylan MEYER (USA) won 2Up in Round of 64.
SP – Tied 30th, SC 70 / NC 70 (Ev)

Bradley MOORE (ENG)
MP – Dawson ARMSTRONG (USA) won 1Up in Round of 64.
SP – Tied 57th, NC 71 / SC 71 (+2)*

Jack HUME (IRE)
MP – Bryson NIMMER (USA) won 1Up in Round of 64.
SP – Tied 41st, SC 72 / NC 69 (+1)

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 80th, SC 71, NC 72 (+3)

Ewen FERGUSON (SCO)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 80th, NC 72, SC 71 (+3)

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 99th, NC 68, SC 76 (+4)

Grant FORREST 23 (SCO)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied185th, NC 73, SC 75 (+9)

Jamie BOWER (ENG)
MP – Did Not Qualify
SP – Tied 243rd, SC 74, NC 77 (+11)

* David BOOTE and Bradley MOORE both birdied the 11th in the Stroke Play Qualifying play-off to progress to the match play stage, holing putts of 20 and 45 yards respectively on the 465 yard par 4.

To review all of the U.S. Amateur Championship results click this link – 2016 U.S. Amateur Results

U.S. Amateur Championship History

The U.S. Amateur is the oldest golf championship in America and this will be its 117th playing.

It was first played in 1895, the winner being Charles B. Macdonald.

It has always been decided by match play save for an 8 year period between 1965 and 1972 when the winner was determined solely by stroke play.

Former US winners include Walter Travis (1900-01-03), Jerome Travers (1907-08-12-13), Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Francis Ouimet (1914-31), W. Lawson Little (1934-35) Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959-61), Deane Beman (1960-63), Lanny Wadkins (1970), Craig Stadler (1973), Mark O’Meara (1979), Hal Sutton (1980), Phil Mickelson (1990), Justin Leonard (1992), Tiger Woods (1994-95-96), Matt Kucher (1997), Ryan Moore (2004), Peter Uihlein (2010) and Bryson DeChambeau (2015).

British players have won the Championship on six occasions but just twice in the last 100 years – H.J. Whigham (1896-97), Findlay Douglas (1898), Harold Hilton (1911), Richie Ramsay (2006) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013).

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Photo: U.S.G.A.)

Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (2005) is the only  player from the Continent of Europe to have lifted the Havemeyer Trophy.

Future U.S. Amateur Venues

2018 – Pebble Beach Golf Links, California.

2019 – Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, North Carolina.

2020 – Bandon Dunes, Oregon

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

24th June 2017

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

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

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

img_7757Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA)

Here are the hole-by-holes scores for what proved to be a titanic battle: –

img_7747Harry Ellis will now receive exemptions into the 2017 Open Championship and 2018 U.S. Open Championship as well as an invitation to the 2018 Masters. He has also guaranteed himself a spot in Great Britain & Ireland’s 2017 Walker Cup team.

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

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

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Final Results

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

ME.

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23rd June 2017

Semi-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Semi-Finals Results

Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Luca Cianchetti (ITA) 3&2 in their semi-final match.

Cianchetti took an early lead after Ellis bogeyed the 4th hole but a par on 6 helped the Englishman regain parity. The Italian retook the lead on the 8th after Ellis’ approach found a greenside bunker but a birdie on 9 and a good par save on 10 from the 2012 English Amateur champion, which he won when he was just 16, meant the players were level with 8 holes to play.

The next two holes were to prove pivotal. Cianchetti bogeyed the long par 3 11th before Ellis birdied the par 4 12th to move ahead. Ellis defended this 2Up lead well before winning the 16th, with a nerveless up and down from the right hand bunker, and securing a 3&2 win.

ellis rsg 2

Harry Ellis (Photo: Andrew Griffin / @griffinongolf)

In the first semi-final Dylan Perry (AUS) got into a 3 Up lead early on against Alejandro Tosti (ARG) and like Ellis held on to see out a 3&2 victory. Dylan is the first Australian to play in the Final since Bryden Macpherson became champion in 2011 at Hillside G.C.

Quarter-Finals

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Quarter Final Results

In a close match this morning Harry ELLIS (ENG) beat Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) by 2 holes to set up a semi-final with Italy’s Luca Cianchetti.

Alejandro Tosti (ARG) will play Dylan Perry (AUS) in the first semi-final.

ME [with some additional reporting by Andrew Griffin].

                 ___________________________________________

22nd June 2017

Play on Day 4 of the 122nd Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s finished later than expected due to a two hour thunder and lightening weather delay around lunchtime.

We started the day with 14 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) players. Read my reports below on Rounds 3 and 4 to see how we ended up with just two left standing.

Round 4 (16)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 4 Results

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) was the first of our six remaining players to lose. Alejandro Tosti (ARG), clearly not the worst for wear after his Round 3 exertions, set up a Quarter Final match with Stefano Mazzoli (ITA) with a 4&3 win.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) was next to go succumbing to Norway’s Jarle Kaldestad Volden by 2 holes.

In the England-Ireland match Paul MCBRIDE beat Jack SINGH BRAR by 1 hole. McBride who lost to Robert MacIntyre on the 20th hole of an epic semi final match last year at Royal Porthcawl is round by round playing himself into the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team.

Like McBride Harry ELLIS (ENG) isn’t doing himself any Walker Cup harm at Royal St. George’s either. This evening he beat fellow European Arnold Palmer Cup team member Kristoffer Ventura (NOR) 3&1.

img_7725

Harry Ellis of Florida State University (Photo: Ross Obley / seminoles.com)

Is it possible that tomorrow’s Quarter Final match between Paul McBride and Harry Ellis may end up being a Walker Cup eliminator ?

Scotland’s last man Robert MACINTYRE was 1Up with 2 to play before the GB&I nemesis Fredrik Niléhn (SWE) disappointingly won the last two holes with birdies to prevail by 1 hole.

Tomorrow morning’s Quarter Final line up is therefore: –
Alejandro Tosti (ARG) v. Stefano Mazzoli (ITA)
Dylan PERRY (AUS) v. Jarle Kaldestad Volden (NOR)
Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) v. Harry ELLIS (ENG)
Luca Cianchetti (ITA) v. Fredrik Niléhn (SWE)

Round 3 (32)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 3 Results

Prior to the weather delay four matches were completed. In the first of those Jordan SUNDBORG was comprehensively beaten 6&5 by Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), the 2015 European Amateur champion, who has just finished his sophomore year at Texas Christian University in the United States (U.S.), appears to be enjoying his time on the Kent links.

It was better news for Jordan’s compatriot Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG). He fought back from 2 down with 3 to play to record a memorable 1 hole win against Min Woo Lee (AUS), the reigning US Junior Amateur champion.

Perhaps reinvigorated by their extended lunch break Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Alejandro Tosti (ARG) seemed as if they wanted to play 36 holes in their match. Game 1 ended up being one of the last to finish, Tosti finally winning on the 25th hole. Given the 7th is right on the coastline, nearly as far from the clubhouse it is is possible to be, I hope they had buggies on hand to return them home.

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) put up a good fight before being edged out by Australia’s Zach Murray on the final hole.  The Nottinghamshire man, who has just completed his freshman season at McNeese State in U.S., continues to show improvement.

Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) beat Stuart GREHAN (IRE) by 1 hole in one of the more interesting Round 3 encounters. The London-based Lumsden is on a scholarship at Northwestern University and this win will further enhance his growing reputation in our amateur game.

Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) both moved in to the next round to set up a game against each other. Singh Brar overcame U.S.-based Perry Cohen (SUI) by 1 hole whilst McBride had a notable 2 holes win against highly ranked Floridian Jimmy Stanger, a member of the U.S. Walker Cup squad.

img_7724Paul McBride of Wake Forest University (Photo: wakeforestsports.com)

Another American Joshua Seiple, albeit one not in the same league as Stanger, found himself on the end of a 6&5 defeat by Harry ELLIS (ENG). Ellis was, in my opinion, on the periphery of the GB&I Walker Cup team prior to The Amateur starting so this run of match play form is certainly well timed and most encouraging for him.

The three Englishman Tom SLOMAN, George BAYLIS and David LANGLEY all fell in Round 3. All of them can be pleased with their efforts. Sloman lost to Finland’s Matias Honkala and Baylis to Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), both narrowly by 1 hole. Langley lost 4&3 to Sweden’s Fredrik Niléhn who is frankly starting to annoy me – Langley being the third straight GB&I player he has defeated after Conor Purcell and David Boote.

In an interview with the R&A after his match with Baylis MacIntyre said: “It was a rollercoaster from the word go. I mean to get 3Up early doors and then to come down the last there was just..I hung on. Nerves every time. Last year getting to the Final doesn’t mean anything because it’s just another guy in front of you. It’s one v. one and you’ve got to wear the guy down.”

Craig HOWIE (SCO) was unfortunate not to join Messrs. Lumsden and MacIntyre in Round 4. He lost to Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura on the 20th hole after a tight match.

So at the end of a stop-start Round 3 there were just 6 GB&I golfers who advanced to Round 4.

ME.

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21st June 2017

77 players started the day in with a chance of winning The Amateur Championship. That number quickly became 32 as the Match Play stage progressed.

Here’s the story of Rounds 1 and 2, with the normal Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) bias you would expect.

Round 2 (64)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 2 Results

The 7 GB&I players who negotiated Round 1 (see below) were joined later in the day by 20 more from the home nations, all of whom were amongst the stronger stroke play qualifiers.

Medalist Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) showed no hangover from his heroics at Prince’s yesterday. He made quick work of David Ravetto (FRA), winning 5&3 before lunchtime.

England had the beating of Scotland in four ‘auld enemy’ matches this afternoon. In one of the day’s more interesting games Charlie STRICKLAND beat Sandy SCOTT 2&1. Shortly afterwards Jordan SUNDBORG got the better of Euan WALKER 3&2. Daniel O’LOUGHLIN held on to record a 1 hole victory over Craig ROSS before Chris MACLEAN then lost by 1 hole to Somerset’s TOM SLOMAN.

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Charlie Strickland – Winner of the 2017 Peter McEvoy Trophy (Photo: Golf Bible) 

Later in the day there were further English wins for Harry ELLIS (2&1 over Tim Harry’s conqueror Kim Koivu), George BAYLIS (who easily beat Iceland’s Gisli Sveinbergsson 5&4) and David LANGLEY who backed up his great morning win with an easier 5&3 victory over Alberto Castagnara (ITA).

It proved to be a bad afternoon for Wales with all of their four remaining players losing out. Evan GRIFFITH (4&2 to Hayden Springer USA), Ben CHAMBERLAIN (2&1 to Hurly Long GER), Llewellyn MATTHEWS (3&1 to Luca Cianchetti ITA) and David BOOTE (3&2 to Fredrik Niléhn).

After their early losses Ryan LUMSDEN gave Scotland something to cheer about. He produced one of the best performances of Round 2 despatching Ireland’s Robin DAWSON 5&3.

Stuart GREHAN and Paul MCBRIDE quickly turned the tide for Ireland. Stuart beat Peter Melching (NED) 4&2 whilst Paul recorded his second win of the day, this time against Sweden’s Oliver Gilberg (4&2). However, another Irishman Sean FLANAGAN was unable to prevent the in form Jack SINGH BRAR from progressing, the Englishman winning 2&1.

Later on Scottish amateur stars Craig HOWIE and Robert MACINTYRE moved through to Round 3 relatively unscathed. Craig beat Zan Luka Stirn (SLO) 4&2 whilst Robert sent the Scottish born Ben Ferguson (AUS) packing with a 3&2 result.

Other GB&I second round losers included Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), who lost to Florida University’s Alejandro Tosti (ARG), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) who had the misfortune to be paired with US Junior Amateur champion Min Woo Lee (AUS) and  Matthew JORDAN (ENG) whose run of great results finally came to an end on the Kent coast.

Other remaining International players not mentioned above to keep an eye on tomorrow include Harrison Endycott (AUS), Stefano Mazzoli (ITA), Zach Murray (AUS), Dylan Perry (AUS), Jimmy Stanger (USA) and Kristoffer Ventura (NOR).

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Harrison Endycott – Winner of the 2016 Porter Cup (Photo: Jon Scott)

2017 Brabazon Trophy winner Kyle McClatchie (RSA) can consider himself a little unlucky to go out in Round 2. He lost on the 3rd extra hole of his match with Casper Simberg, the Finnish player holing in one on the 239 yard par 3.

We now have 14 GB&I players left standing. Good luck to them all in Round 3.

Round 1 (Preliminary)

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship MP Round 1 Results

26 players, including 13 from GB&I, were called upon to contest the Preliminary Round 1. 24 of these qualified on -1, with the remaining two having finished on -2 after the 36 holes of stroke play (the latter two were included after a count back was applied).

Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) was out first at 7.00am and he delivered a strong win, taking out much fancied Australian David Micheluzzi by 1 hole.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) in game 4 had to fight hard for his 20th hole win over Mateusz Gradecki from Poland.

Llewellyn MATTHEWS (WAL) beat Franck Medale (FRA), one of the two -2 qualifiers, by 1 hole.

In the two all-England games Tom SLOMAN beat Will WHITEOAK by 2 holes and George BAYLIS comfortably beat Josh HILLEARD 5&4.

2016 finalist Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) took out the other -2 qualifier Zheng Kai Bai (CHI) 3&1.

In the final game David LANGLEY (ENG) took the Round 1 plaudits with his 1 hole victory over GB&I No. 1 Connor SYME (SCO).

Other GB&I first round losers included Tim HARRY (WAL), who having led for much of his match fell on the 19th to Kim Koivu (FIN), JR GALBRAITH (IRE), who succumbed 3&2 to another Fin, Casper Simberg, and Conor PURCELL (IRE) who was beaten 3&1 by Fredrik Niléhn (SWE).

ME.

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20th June 2017

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

The big story on Day 2 of The Amateur Championship was Caolan RAFFERTY‘s (IRE) amazing round at Prince’s Golf Club. His new course record 62 (-10), with a bogey on the 448 yard par 4 18th, lifted him 82 places and helped him achieve medalist honours in some style.

77 players qualified for the Match Play Stage with the Top 64 and Ties cut falling at 141 or 1 under par.

Welsh pair Ben CHAMBERLAIN and Evan GRIFFITH showed earlier in the day that Prince’s was again going to be very scorable. Ben’s 65 (-7) and Evan’s 66 (-6) helped them to tied 23rd (-3) and tied 4th (-7) finishes respectively in the Stroke Play Qualifying Stage.

David BOOTE (-3), Llewellyn MATTHEWS (-1) and Tim HARRY (-1) made it five Welsh qualifiers in total. Boote had left himself some work to do after a 71 at Prince’s yesterday but will be pleased with his 68 (-2) at Royal St. George’s today.

In addition to Rafferty Ireland will be represented by Robin DAWSON (-5), Stuart GREHAN (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), Sean FLANAGAN (-2), Conor PURCELL (-1), JR GALBRAITH (-1) and Paul MCBRIDE (-1) in the Match Play draw.

Harry ELLIS (ENG) -8 and Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS) -7 both secured their match play qualification on Day 2 with best of the week 65’s (-5) at Royal St. George’s. Ellis finished 3rd and Endycott tied 4th with Evan Griffith.

Chris MACLEAN (SCO), who was medalist at the Spanish International Amateur, once again demonstrated his qualifying prowess with a second 68, this time at Royal St. George’s. His -6 total secured a tied 6th finish. Fellow Scots Craig HOWIE (-5), Sandy SCOTT (-5), Craig ROSS (-3), Euan WALKER (-3), Ryan LUMSDEN (-2), Robert MACINTYRE (-1) and Connor SYME (-1) all joined him.

English pair Matthew JORDAN and Josh HILLEARD both dug deep to make the cut. Matthew started the day on +4 but delivered a 67 at Prince’s to finish on the -1 mark. Josh shot a par 70, never to be sniffed at particularly under some pressure, at Royal St. George’s.

In addition to Harry Ellis, Josh Hilleard and Matthew Jordan, Jack SINGH BRAR (-4), Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (-3), Jordan SUNDBORG (-2, who like Jordan shot 67 at Prince’s to bounce back well), Charlie STRICKLAND (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-2), Tom SLOMAN (-1), George BAYLIS (-1), David LANGLEY (-1) and Will WHITEOAK (-1) all live to fight another day.

Notable players, mainly in the context of the Walker Cup, to miss the cut included Bradley MOORE (ENG) Ev, Alfie PLANT (ENG) Ev, Jamie STEWART (SCO) Ev, Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) +1, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +2, Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) +3), Dan BROWN (ENG) +5, Peter O’KEEFFE (IRE) +5, Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) +6, James WALKER (ENG) +6, Marco PENGE (ENG) +7, Alex GLEESON (IRE) +7, Harry HALL (ENG) +8, Owen EDWARDS (WAL) +12 and Barry HUME (SCO) +12.

ME.

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19th June 2017

The Amateur Championship started at 7.00am today with 288 players embarking on this marathon event.

The leading 64 players and ties after 36 holes of stroke play, 18 on each of the adjacent host courses in Kent, will progress to the match play stage.

In near perfect playing conditions it quickly became clear that scoring was generally going to be very good. This was particularly true at the shorter and less demanding Prince’s. The only caveat to this being the late starters who faced stronger winds in the evening and as such some of their scores drifted upwards.

Gils SVEINBERGSSON (ISL) led the field with a superb bogey free 64 (-8), a new course record at Prince’s.

There were plenty of players queuing up behind him too. From GB&I Tim HARRY (WAL) 66 (-6), Joshua MCMAHON (ENG), George BAYLIS (ENG), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all 67 (-5), Tom GANDY (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Sam BROADHURST (ENG), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Matt MYERS (ENG), Craig HOWIE (SCO) and Jeff WRIGHT (SCO) all 68 (-4) have also made good starts.

Next door at Royal St. George’s (RSG) scoring was understandably tougher. Zach MURRAY (AUS) shot 7 birdies in his 66 (-4) to lead the way on this course. Craig ROSS (SCO) 67 (-3) was the second best at RSG with Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 68 (-2), Evan GRIFFITH (WAL), Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) all 69 (-1) not too far behind.

For what it’s worth the current Top 64 and Ties cut line sits at -1, with 82 players currently ‘qualifying’. To highlight the difference in the scoring just 17 of these played at RSG today.

ME.

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15th June 2017

The 122nd Amateur Championship starts on Monday 19th June at Royal St. George’s GC and Prince’s GC in Kent.

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

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Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Getty Images)

 Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th June. Tee times will start at 7.00 am and end at 3.52 pm on both days.

To view the stroke play draw click here – Amateur Championship SP Draw

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

This second stage will be played solely at Royal St. George’s between Wednesday 21st and Saturday 24th June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for the Final which will be over 36 holes.

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Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Photo: Golf Bible)

Players

Players from 40 countries will contest the 2017 Amateur.

20 of the 21 players in the GB&I Walker Cup squad are competing as are many of the other hopefuls.

Scott GREGORY (ENG / SPWAR #78), the defending champion, is unfortunately the missing player. He has been playing in the US Open Championship at Erin Hills this week so is unavailable.

Connor SYME (SCO / SPWAR #15), David BOOTE (WAL / SPWAR #17), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO / SPWAR #21), Matthew JORDAN (ENG / SPWAR #26), Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG / SPWAR #30), Craig HOWIE (SCO / SPWAR #32), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO / SPWAR #47), Robin DAWSON (IRE / SPWAR #52), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL / SPWAR #53), JR GALBRAITH (IRE / SPWAR #70 and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE / SPWAR #74) are the leading GB&I players competing.

Our Walker Cup captain Craig WATSON (SCO) is also in the field, exempt as a past champion. He of course won The Amateur Championship at Royal St. George’s in 1997.

Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA / SPWAR #2), Jimmy STANGER (SPWAR #27), Alejandro TOSTI (ARG / SPWAR #28), Min Woo LEE (AUS / SPWAR #29), Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS / SPWAR #31), Dylan WU (USA / SPWAR 33), Garrick HIGGO (RSA / SPWAR #34), Viktor HOVLAND (NOR / SPWAR #35), Kristoffer VENTURA (NOR / SPWAR #43) and Travis SMYTH (AUS / SPWAR #48) are the highest ranked international players on show.

Whilst there are some Americans playing, notably USA Walker Cup squad member Jimmy Stanger, it sadly remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the ‘prizes’ on offer.

Host Courses

The Championship is being staged at Royal St. George’s and Prince’s in Sandwich, Kent.

This will be the 14th time Royal St. George’s has been the lead course at The Amateur Championship. Only Royal Liverpool (18) and St. Andrews (16) has hosted it more often.

Founded in 1887 it has recently been invited to host The Open Championship for the 15th time in 2020. It has also previously staged The Walker Cup (1930 and 1967) and The Curtis Cup (1988).

Royal St. George’s plays to 7,204 yards from the championship tees and has a par of 70.

Neighbouring Prince’s was established in 1906 and hosted The Open for the first and last time in 1932, That Championship was famously won by Gene Sarazen. It also hosted The Curtis Cup in 1956.

It plays to 6,880 yards over the Shore and Dunes nines and a par of 72.

Weather Forecast

As at Saturday 17th June the weather forecast is very nice, albeit the wind looks like it will be moving around a little: –

Mon 19th June – Sunny. Wind 7mph NE. Temp. Max. 24°C / Min 15°C.
Tue 20th June – Light Cloud. Wind 10mph NE. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 15°C.
Wed 21st June – Sunny. Wind 14mph NE. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 15°C.
Thu 22nd June – Light Cloud. Wind 9mph SE. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.
Fri 23rd June – Sunny. Wind 12mph SW. Temp. Max. 23°C / Min 16°C.
Sat 24th June – Sunny. Wind 13mph NE. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 14°C.

Just like at The Open players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.52pm on Monday and Tuesday so the weather and wind may very well play a part in the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions        

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

They will also be exempt into the 2018 US Open Championship which is being held at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York State.

Traditionally, the Amateur Champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National.

It is also an unofficial rule that should The Amateur be won by a GB&I player in the year of a Walker Cup match then that player will be selected for the team. 

2016 Amateur Championship

Scott GREGORY (ENG) beat Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) 2&1 in the 36-hole final of the 2016 Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl GC.

Scott Gregory Amateur Champion 2016

Scott Gregory (Photo: R&A / Getty Images)

Gregory shot 72 at Royal Porthcawl and 71 at Pyle & Kenfig in the stroke play stage to qualify 13th (+1).

He then proceeded to beat Andre NEL (RSA) by 2 holes, Pierre MAZIER (FRA) by 1 hole, Harry HALL (ENG) 4&3, Javier SAINZ (ESP) 5&4 and Adrian MERONK (POL) to reach the Final.

Click this link to view the – 2016 Amateur Championship MP Results 

Click this link to view the – 2016 Amateur Championship SP Results

A Short History of The Amateur 

The Amateur Championship was first played in April 1885 at Royal Liverpool GC. 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 a many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and better than most of the professionals of the time.

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

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

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

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

Past Winners

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

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

Prior to Gregory’s win last year the last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

2015 Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie GL
2014 Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush GC
2013 Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports GC
2012 Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon GC
2011 Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside GC
2010 Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009 Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby GC
2008 Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry
2007 Drew Weaver (USA) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC
2006 Julien Guerrier (FRA) – Royal St. George’s

A great honour for all of the players listed above but perhaps when one reviews where most of them are now another clear reminder that golf is an incredibly tough game and career to pursue at the professional level.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.SaveSave

The St. Andrews Links Trophy – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

11th June 2017

Royal Liverpool’s Matthew JORDAN continued his amazing run of form by today winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy.

Matthew Jordan (Photo: Kenny Smith)

He must now be assured of a place in the 2017 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team.

Final day rounds of 69 and 70 took Matthew to a finishing total of -11. He bogeyed the last two holes in round 4 as he played in conservatively.

JR GALBRAITH (IRE) shot 70 and 71 (-10) to secure second place with Ben FERGUSON (AUS) finishing 3rd on -9.

From a GB&I perspective there were also encouraging results for Laird SHEPHERD (-8) 4th, David BOOTE (-8) 6th, Liam JOHNSTON (-6) 7th , Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-5) 8th and Jack DAVIDSON (-5) 9th.

Click here to view the – 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy Results

ME.

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10th June 2017

JR GALBRAITH (IRE) retained his 1 shot advantage over the field with a 71 (-1) over the Old Course.

Six players are 1 shot back on -6. These include Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 68 and Jamie STEWART (SCO) 71.

Recent Brabazon Trophy winner Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA) 69 moved up into tied 8th place on -5, alongside the impressive Alejandro TOSTI (ARG).

English pair Bradley MOORE (66) and Laird SHEPHERD (67) shot the best two rounds of the day to get their tournaments back on track. They’ll both start the final day on -2.

Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Robin DAWSON (IRE) both -4 , Craig HOWIE (SCO) -3, David BOOTE (WAL), Liam JOHNSTON (SCO), Alfie PLANT (ENG) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all -2, Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) both -1 and Jack DAVIDSON (WAL) Ev also made the cut and will be hoping to boost their Walker Cup claims tomorrow.

Unfortunately Connor SYME (SCO) had to withdrawal early in his second round due to a severe migraine.

The Top 40 and Ties cut fell at Even par with a total of 45 players progressing.

With 32 players on -2 or better, i.e. within 5 shots of the lead, an exciting final day’s play appears guaranteed.

ME.

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9th June 2017

Day 1 of the the St. Andrews Links Trophy on the Jubilee Course was dominated by the weather. A rainy and windy morning giving way to improved conditions in the afternoon enabling the later starters to shoot some impressive numbers.

Having started with two bogeys Ireland’s JR GALBRAITH reeled off 8 birdies in his remaining 16 holes to shoot a best of the day 66. His -6 total being good enough for a 1-shot lead over David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Claudio CONSUL (GER).

On a good day for GB&I Walker Cup hopefuls, Craig HOWIE, Robin DAWSON (both 69 -3), Matthew JORDAN, Jack SINGH BRAR (all 70 -2), Jake BURNAGE, Jack DAVIDSON, Liam JOHNSTON, Robert MACINTYRE and Connor SYME, (all 71 -1) also finished round 1 in the Top 25.

ME.

7th June 2017

144 golfers from 21 different countries will tee off on Friday 9th June in the 29th St. Andrews Links Trophy.

This Championship has quickly established itself as one of the ‘Majors’ in men’s amateur golf.

A list of all the past winners can be found in an Appendix at the end of this article. The most famous is Justin Rose who won the Links Trophy in 1997.

St Andrews Clubhouse

R&A Clubhouse, St. Andrews (Photo: R&A Website)

Competition Format

The Links Trophy is a 72 hole scratch stroke play competition normally played over a combination of the Old and New Courses at St. Andrews in early June.

After various National Golf Union nominations the field is determined by World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) rather than handicap as is normally the case.

This year Round 1 will be played on the Jubilee Course and Round 2 on the Old Course.

Following a top 40 and ties cut the leading players will play 36 holes on the Old Course on Sunday.

The Jubilee Course plays 6,742 yards to a par of 72. The front nine is 3,238 yards long with a par of 36 whilst the tougher back nine is 266 yards longer also with a par of 36.

Jubilee Course Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

The Old Course is 6,721 yards off the white tees and has a par of 72. Both nines have a par of 36 and have similar yardages – the front is 3,336 yards long whilst the back is a little longer at 3,385 yards.

Old Course Scorecard (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

The winner will be the player who returns the lowest 72 hole score. In the event of a tie a sudden death play-off will be held over holes 1 and 18.

Ties for other places are decided by the lowest score for the last 18 holes or the last 9 or 6 or 3 or 2 or 1 hole if necessary.

The Field

The start sheet can be viewed here – 2017 St Andrews Links Trophy Rounds 1 and 2 draws

The Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed the Links Trophy 6th in its 2016 Amateur Tournament Ranking based on the strength of it’s field. The 2017 field is impressive so there is no reason to think it will be any lower in this year’s list.

18 of the 21 members of the GB&I Walker Cup squad are in action this weekend. Many of them drawn together in the opening rounds to help the selectors follow them all closely. David BOOTE (WAL), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) and Connor SYME (SCO) will all be looking to continue their good play whilst the others will be hoping to kick start their selection claims.

Of the missing trio Scott GREGORY (ENG) is preparing for the US Open and Stuart GREHAN (IRE) is competing in the Arnold Palmer Cup in Atlanta.

Other GB&I players who have been doing well this year, like Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) and Jamie STEWART (SCO), are all playing.

The attraction of St. Andrews ensures a strong overseas entry. Players of particular interest to me this year are Harrison ENDYCOTT (AUS), Min Woo LEE (AUS – 2016 US Junior Amateur champion), Kyle MCCLATCHIE (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Travis SMYTH (AUS), Alejandro TOSTI (ARG – Florida University) and Albert VENTER (RSA).

Weather Forecast (as at Wed 7th June)

Fri     9th June – Showers. Wind 13mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 10°C.
Sat   10th June – Showers. Wind 13mph SE. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 13°C.
Sun 11th June – Showers. Wind 18mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 11°C.

Tee times in Rounds 1 and 2 start at 7.00am and end at 3.10pm so as with any links course the draw could play a big part in the outcome.

Prizes

The winner receives The St Andrews Links Trophy and a cheque for £500.

The runner-up and third place finisher also receive commemorative medals.

Reducing cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 finishers in all.

In addition to the main prizes The Ian Forbes Memorial Cup is awarded for the best aggregate score on the first two days of the event.

2016 Event

In something of a surprise Ireland’s Conor O’Rourke won the 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy with a magnificent performance that saw him lead from start to finish.  

Conor O'Rourke St Andrews Links Trophy 2016

 Conor O’Rourke (Photo: Kenny Smith / @TheHomeofGolf)

Conor shared the lead after a round 1 65 on the New Course and followed it up with rounds of 69, 71 and 70 on the Old to pick up by far the biggest title of his amateur career with a 275 (-12) total.

Prior to play commencing O’Rourke was ranked 1,245th in the SPWAR. He was a higher 549th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

Home players Sandy SCOTT (-11), who is the 2017 field, and Ewen Ferguson (-10) pushed the Naas man hard eventually picking up 2nd and 3rd spots respectively.

Click here to view the full results – 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results 

Appendix – Past Winners & Notable Past Performances

As one would expect for a competition held at the home of golf the list of past winner’s is impressive:-

2016  Conor O’Rourke (IRE) 275
2015  Federico Zucchetti (ITA) 214 (54 holes only)
2014  Grant Forrest (SCO) 278 (after play-off)
2013  Neil Raymond (ENG) 282
2012  Daan Huizing (NED) 264 (lowest 72 hole score)
2011  Tom Lewis (ENG) 279
2010  Matthew Southgate (ENG) 275
2009  Alan Dunbar (N.I.) 285
2008  Keir McNicoll (SCO) 283
2007  Llewellyn Matthews (WAL) 273
2006  Oliver Fisher (ENG) 280
2005  Lloyd Saltman (SCO) 275
2004  Jamie McLeary (SCO) 284
2003  Richard Finch (ENG) 276
2002  Simon MacKenzie (SCO) 289
2001  Steven O’Hara (SCO) 281
2000  Matthew King (ENG) 140 (36 holes only)
1999  David Patrick (SCO) 152 (36 holes only)
1998  Craig Watson (SCO) 276
1997  Justin Rose (ENG) 284
1996  Barclay Howard (SCO) 282
1995  Graham Rankin (SCO) 276
1994  Barclay Howard (SCO) 294
1993  Garry Hay (SCO) 280
1992  Craig Watson (SCO) 281
1991  Ricky Willison (ENG) 289
1990  Stuart Bovier (AUS) 280
1989  Russell Claydon (ENG) 284

Only Craig Watson (1992 and 1998), the current Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup captain, and Barclay Howard (1994 and 1996) have won the title twice.

Interestingly given the normally cosmopolitan nature of the fields the Links Trophy has only been won by players from outside GB&I on three occasions – Australia’s Stuart Bovier (1990), Daan Huizing from The Netherlands (2012) and last year Federico Zucchetti from Italy.

Huizing, who had won the Lytham Trophy by 11 shots just a few weeks earlier, set a scoring record of -23 in 2012 (65 New, 64, 68 and 67 all Old) and won by an astonishing 14 shots.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2017, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

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The Brabazon Trophy – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

28th May 2017 – Round 4 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE today celebrated his 20th birthday by winning the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and lifting the famous Brabazon Trophy.

Kyle shot 71 (-2) today with five birdies, including one on the last, offsetting three bogeys. His -10 score was good enough for a narrow 1-shot win.

He follows in the footsteps of four previous South African winners of the Brabazon Trophy – Neville Sundelson (1974), Richard Kaplan (1986), Craig Rivett (1989T) and Charl Schwartzel (2002).

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Kyle McClatchie (Photo: Ernest Blignault)

If that wasn’t enough the victory also took McClatchie to the top of the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR). He is the first South African to hold the No. 1 spot in this ranking. However, with the NCAA Division I National Championships currently being played this status is likely to be short lived (at least for the time being).

Jamie STEWART (SCO), Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) all finished on -9 to tie for second place.

Jamie Stewart had a superb weekend shooting the lowest two scores on both days. He followed yesterday’s 67 (-6) with a 68 (-5) today. Having dropped two shots in his first three holes he reeled off 7 unblemished birdies over his remaining 15 holes. He will surely take huge confidence from a 5 birdie 32 on his finishing 9 holes.

Jake Burnage continued his rich vein of form too. Having finished 3rd at the Lytham Trophy he put together a very consistent 71, 70, 70 and 72 at Woodhall Spa. I was particularly impressed with his three birdies in a row finish in the heat of battle. He has moved up to 98th in the SPWAR and must now firmly be in the GB&I Walker Cup mix.

Jack Singh Brar also shot 72 for another excellent finish in 2017. He continues to look in complete control of both himself and his golf game.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) shot a final round 70 (-3) to finish 5th. He has now finished in the Top 10 at the Lytham Trophy, Irish Amateur Open and the Brabazon in the last month which clearly tells you he is starting to fulfil his potential and that he now sits firmly amongst our finest amateurs.

It was also good to see Dan BROWN (ENG) finish in 6th place after rounds of 72, 68, 75 and 72. Hopefully he can use this as momentum to put together a string of good results in the coming weeks.

David BOOTE (WAL) finished 7th and Connor SYME (SCO) tied 8th. Both started poorly today but showed their experience in grinding out good scores at the end of the day. Boote was 4-over after 5 holes before securing 4 birdies on the way back home to record a very creditable par 73. Syme (71) was 2-over after 3 holes before he turned his day around with 3 birdies and an eagle on the par 5 14th.

Both Boote and Syme will travel south tonight to Walton Heath GC to join the other three amateurs competing in tomorrow’s 36 hole US Open Sectional Qualifying event. Good luck to them all.

Click here to see the full Brabazon Trophy Results

ME.

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27th May 2017 – Round 3 Report

After another windy day at Woodhall Spa Jake BURNAGE (70), Jack SINGH BRAR (74) and Kyle MCCLATCHIE (75) share the 54 hole lead on -8.

The trio have a 4 shot lead over a group of five players on -4. Jamie STEWART (67) and Matthew JORDAN (68) produced the best two scores of the day to join David BOOTE (72), Conor O’ROURKE (72) and Dan BROWN (75) as the leading chasers.

Having played in Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Harry GODDARD‘s disrupted preparation and long journey up to Lincolnshire haven’t affected his performance. Rounds of 72, 70 and 74 (-3) have left him in striking distance with 18 holes to play.

David HAGUE (73 73 71 -2), who won the Laguna Trophy so impressively last week, continues to creep up the leaderboard too. He’ll start the final day in tied 12th place.

After his disappointing 78 in the opening round Connor SYME recorded his second successive 70 to move up to -1 and tied 16th place.

ME.

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26th May 2017 – Round 2 Report

South Africa’s Kyle MCCLATCHIE matched the best round of the week (66) to move into the 36-hole lead on -10 on a pleasant but windy day at Woodhall Spa.

Craig ROSS (67) and Jack SINGH BRAR (70) are tied for 2nd place on -9.

Dan BROWN (68), Mitch WAITE (69) and Tom THURLOWAY (69) all enjoyed good days and went into the weekend nicely placed in the top 10.

A little further down the leaderboard just three other players broke 70 on Day 2. Rowan LESTER (67), David BOOTE (69) and Alisdair MCDOUGALL (69).

The 36 hole cut saw 63 players on +4 and lower qualify for the final 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday.

Ben CHAMBERLAIN (76 75 / +5) just missed the cut but left Lincolnshire with the consolation of having scored the Championship’s fifth hole-in-one on the 5th hole.

Josh HILLEARD (74 77 +5), Robin DAWSON (68 83 +5), Marco PENGE (79 73 +5), Owen EDWARDS (74 78 +6), Colm CAMPBELL (73 79 +6), Charlie STRICKLAND (75 80 +9), Charlie THORNTON (75 81 +10) and Liam JOHNSTON (79 77 +10) were amongst the more notable, in form players to miss the cut.

ME.

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25th May 2017 – Round 1 Report 

Playing in near perfect conditions a course record 66 (-7) gave Braintree’s Todd CLEMENTS the Round 1 lead at the Brabazon Trophy. His only bogey came on the par 4 2nd hole before he reeled off eight birdies including six on the back nine to finish with an inward score of just 31.

Clements’ 31 was matched by Jack SINGH BRAR the recent winner of the Lytham Trophy. Jack had just the one bogey in his round of 67 (-6) on the tough Woodhall Spa heathland course.

Frenchman Alexandre FUCHS (-6) is tied second having hit something of a purple patch on Woodhall’s fourth and fifth holes. His 2-1 scores, two eagles and four under the card, clearly went along way to making him the the early clubhouse leader in Round 1.

Robin DAWSON, Robert MACINTYRE and Jacob OAKLEY followed Fuchs in on the short 5th, playing 163 yards to a back pin. Amazingly four holes-in-one were recorded on this hole during round 1. Dawson and MacIntyre went on to deliver 68’s (-5) and therefore were tied 4th after Day 1.

Other players to make solid starts to this 72-hole stroke play championship included Craig ROSS (-3), George BLOOR (-3), Alfie PLANT (-2), James WALKER (-2), Jake BURNAGE (-2), Kevin LE BLANC (-2), Conor O’ROURKE (-2), John Ross GALBRAITH (-2), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-1), Jack DAVIDSON (-1), Daniel BROWN (-1) and Matthew JORDAN (-1) all of whom are nicely placed in the Top 25.

England international Bradley MOORE withdrew after 10 holes.

ME.

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21st May 2017

The English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy will be played at Woodhall Spa Golf Club this coming week.

The 71st playing of this event takes place between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th May on the Lincolnshire Club’s Hotchkin Course.

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Woodhall Spa G.C. (Photo: WoodhallSpaGolf.com)

Format

The competition consists of 72 holes of stroke play golf with 18 holes being played each day.

A 36 hole cut will take place with only the leading 60 competitors and ties progressing to the two weekend rounds.

In the event of a tie for the Championship on Sunday, there will be a sudden death play off.

Field

150 competitors will start the 2017 Championship.

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

88 players were exempted into the field based on their previous accomplishments with 62 coming through a qualifying process.

Two Qualifying Competitions were held last week; the North at Sandiway G.C. in Cheshire and the South at Littlestone G.C. in Kent, with 31 players progressing from each one.

Sam BROADHURST (-5) of Atherstone G.C. was the medalist at Sandiway. Click here to view the full North Qualifier Results

Matt TURNER (-5) from Burnham & Berrow G.C. led the qualifiers at Littlestone. Click here to view the full South Qualifier Results

16 of the 21 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Squad players will be competing at the Brabazon. These are David BOOTE (WAL), Dan BROWN (ENG), Colm CAMPBELL (IRE), Jack DAVIDSON (WAL), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Conor O’ROURKE (IRE), Marco PENGE (ENG), Alfie PLANT (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Connor SYME (SCO) and James WALKER (ENG).

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) had entered but withdrew before play commenced.

Barry HUME (SCO), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Scott GREGORY (ENG) and Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) are the four that are missing. Gregory is playing in The Memorial Tournament and US Open Championship in early June so has travelled over to USA this week.

Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG), who by rights should also be in the Squad based on their 2017 performances, are also competing at Woodhall Spa.

Other players on show who have been doing well this year and could easily feature at the top of the scoreboard are Jake BURNAGE (ENG), David HAGUE (ENG), Josh HILLEARD (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Chris MACLEAN (SCO), Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG), Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG), Charlie THORNTON (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG).

In 2016 the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) listed the Brabazon Trophy as it’s 24th most important amateur competition in the world based on the strength of it’s field.

Prizes

The Winner receives the magnificent gold Brabazon Trophy shown in the centre of the photo below.

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The Brabazon Trophy and Other Prizes (Photo: London Golf Club)

Prize vouchers will be awarded to those players finishing in the top six.

Two other prizes are connected to the Brabazon Trophy competition. The George Henriques Salver is awarded to the leading GB&I player in the Championship under the age of 20. The Philip Scruton Jug is awarded later in the year to the player returning the best aggregate scores in The Brabazon Trophy and The Berkshire Trophy (which will be played on 24th and 25th June).

Woodhall Spa Golf Club

Situated in Lincolnshire Woodhall Spa’s Hotchkin course is one of England’s finest heathland layouts.

From the blue Championship tees it plays to 7,080 yards with a par of 73. Here is the scorecard: –

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* The 12th has been extended to 176 yards since the above card photo was taken so the course now plays to 7,084 yards in total.

Golf in Woodall Spa dates back to 1890 with the Hotchkin opening for play in 1905. Harry Vardon (1902), Harry Colt (1911) and the Hotchkin Family (1920-1995) all playing a part in the course’s development since.

The Hotchkin family sold the facilities to the English Golf Union in 1995. Over time an impressive National Golf Centre has been developed with a second course, The Bracken, also opened in 1998.

The Hotchkin Course is currently in the middle of a three year refurbishment programme by Renaissance Golf, with the work being overseen by their acclaimed lead architect Tom Doak.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast (as at Tuesday 23rd May) is currently positive for all four competition days.

Thu 25th May – Sunny / Wind 4 mph N / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 22°C.
Fri  26th May – Sunny / Wind 10 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C, Max. 21°C.
Sat  27th May – Sunny / Wind 12 mph SE / Temp. Min. 15°C / Min 24°C.
Sun 28th May – Cloudy / Wind11 mph SE / Temp. Min. 12°C / Max. 21°C.

It is worth remembering that Rounds 1 and 2 will see players tee off the 1st from 7.00am right through until 3.40pm.

The 2016 Brabazon Trophy

Jamie BOWER won the Brabazon Trophy last year at the London Golf Club with a total score of -12. He pipped Cameron DAVIS (-11) on the final green after a rain delay with Ryan LUMSDEN (-10) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (-9) finishing third and fourth respectively.

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Jamie Bower (Photo: London Golf Club)

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

History, Past Winners and Records

The English Amateur International Trophy competition was first played in 1947.

In 1957 the official title was changed to the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

The current trophy was donated by Lord Brabazon of Tara in 1948 and the event has come to be widely known as the Brabazon Trophy.

Here is a list of all of the past winners, their scores and the Championship venues: –

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The first player to successfully defend the title was Ronnie WHITE who won at Birkdale in 1950 and nearby Formby in 1951.

Shortly afterwards Philip SCRUTTON won the Brabazon three times in four years (1952, ‘54 & ‘55).

Sir Michael BONALLACK has four wins to his name. The first came at Royal Cinque Ports in 1964 and the last at Hillside in 1971. At Moortown in 1969, with play-offs having been discarded at this time, he shared the title with Rodney FOSTER.

Other well known British winners of the Brabazon include Gordon Brand Jnr, Sandy Lyle (2), Peter MCEVOY, Ronan Rafferty and Ronnie SHADE (3).

There have been several overseas winners over the years. South African’s Neville SUNDELSON (1974), Richard KAPLAN (1986) and Charl SCHWARTZEL (2002) have all won.  Other notable European winners include well known pros Ignacio GARRIDO (1992) and Peter HANSON (1998).

ME.

Copyright © 2017, 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 Georgia Cup – 2017 Preview & Results

28th March 2017

UPDATE

Scott Gregory beat Curtis Luck on the 19th hole to win the 2017 Georgia Cup held at the Golf Club of Georgia.

Scott Gregory and The Georgia Cup (Photo: Georgia State Golf Association)

Here are the hole-by-hole scores from the match.

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ME.

27th March 2017

The Georgia Cup is an 18-hole match play competition played the week before The Masters between the reigning United States and (British) Amateur champions.

Both Amateur champions are always in town in late March ahead of The Masters for which their respective wins gain them honorary invitations, albeit only one year competing.

The Georgia Cup (Photo: The Golf Club of Georgia)

The match was established by The Golf Club of Georgia (GCOG) and was first contested in 1998. Craig Watson, the current Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup captain, was the Amateur Championship representative in that first match. He lost to Matt Kutcher, obviously now a well known PGA Tour pro, 3 & 1.

Located in Alpharetta the GCOG has two Alfred Hills-designed courses, the Lakeside (L) and the Creekside (C). Both have hosted the event in the past but since 2006 the Lakeside has taken precedence with regard to hosting the Georgia Cup match.

The 2017 Georgia Cup is being played at 1.00pm (6.00pm GMT) on Tuesday 28th March. It is a charitable event with funds being raised for the Georgia State Golf Association Foundation which primarily provides educational scholarships for children.

Following last year’s win for Romain Langasque (FRA) over Bryson DeChambeau (USA) the Amateur champions leads the US champions 10 – 9. Langasque’s win made it four wins out of the last five for the Amateur champion. All of the previous results can be seen in the Appendix below.

This year’s match, the 20th, will be contested by Curtis LUCK (AUS) and Scott GREGORY (ENG).

Curtis Luck is arguably the best amateur golfer in the world, having won both the US Amateur Championship and the Asia-Pacific Amateur championship last year. He plans to turn Pro immediately following The Masters and this year has been playing in various professional tournaments gaining experience on both the European and PGA Tours.

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Curtis Luck – 2016 US Amateur champion (Photo: USGA)

England’s Scott Gregory will be his opponent. Gregory is planning to stay amateur until after the 2017 Walker Cup. He arrives in Georgia after winning the New South Wales Amateur Championship in Australia, another match play event, in early February.Scott Masters 3

Scott Gregory – 2016 Amateur champion (Photo: Andrew Griffin)

It will be interesting to see which player wins and gains a confidence boost ahead of next week’s main event – The 2017 Masters at Augusta National.

Appendix

The previous results are shown below (with the Amateur titles won shown in brackets): –
1998 (L) – Matt Kuchar (US) def. Craig Watson (British) – 3 & 1
1999 (L) – Sergio Garcia (British) def. Hank Kuehne (US) – 5 & 4
2000 (L) – David Gossett (US) def. Graeme Storm (British) – 3 & 2
2001 (C) – Mikko Ilonen (British) def. Jeff Quinney (US) – 6 & 4
2002 (C) – Michael Hoey (British) def. Bubba Dickerson (US) – 4 & 2
2003 (L) – Ricky Barnes (US) def. Alejandro Larrazabal (British) – 4 & 2
2004 (C) – Gary Wolstenholme (British) def. Nick Flanagan (US) – 4 & 2
2005 (C) – Ryan Moore (US) def. Stuart Wilson (British) – 2 & 1
2006 (L) – Brian McElhinney (British) def. Edoardo Molinari (US) – 3 & 2
2007 (L) – Richie Ramsay (US) def. Julien Guerrier (British) – 2 & 1
2008 (L) – Colt Knost (US) def. Drew Weaver (British) – 2 & 1
2009 (L) – Danny Lee (US) def. Reinier Saxton (British) – 2&1
2010 (L) – Matteo Manassero (British) def. Byeong-hun An (US) – 5&4
2011 (L) – Peter Uihlein (US) def. Jin Jeong (British) – 4&2
2012 (L) – Brydon Macpherson (British) def. Kelly Kraft (US) – 2&1
2013 (L) – Alan Dunbar (British) def. Steven Fox (US) – 1Up
2014 (L) – Garrick Porteus (British) def. Matthew Fitzpatrick (US) – 3&2
2015 (L) – Gunn Yang (US) def. Bradley Neil (British) – 3&2
2016 (L) – Romain Langsaque (FRA) def. Bryson DeChambeau – 4&3

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.