The Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

22nd June 2019

Final

James SUGRUE (IRE) won the 124th Amateur Championship at Portmarnock G.C. on a near perfect day for golf.

He becomes the 8th Irish winner of the title following in the footsteps of Jimmy Bruen, Max McCready, Joe Carr, Garth McGimpsey, Michael Hoey, Brian McElhinney and most recently Alan Dunbar in 2012.

He beat Euan WALKER (SCO) by 2 Holes in a pulsating Final which went the full 36 holes.

The Mallow G.C. (County Cork) member can now look forward to playing in The Open, The Masters and U.S. Open over the next 12 months. He is additionally assured of a place in the Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team which will face USA at Royal Liverpool G.C. in September.

IMG_1038

James Sugrue and Euan Walker (Photo: Pat Cashman)

Sugrue (22) made a dream start this morning. A combination of aggressive play off the tee, good chipping and confident holing out saw him build a 5Up lead after the first nine holes.

Walker started to settle on the back nine helped in no small part by holing a 50ft putt for a winning birdie on the 10th. When he then birdied the par 5 13th to reduce the deficit to 3 Down the match was certainly back on.

After both players bogeyed the long par 3 15th Sugrue moved to 4Up after Walker bogeyed the 17th. However, the extended advantage was short lived; an untidy 18th, with Sugrue taking four to get down from the green side after a duffed chip, ended with Walker taking the home hole with a bogey to go into lunch just 3 Down.

It was the Irishman who struck first in the afternoon with a birdie on the 2nd but this was quickly given back when he bogeyed the next.

With both players now comfortable with their surroundings and the large crowd the play became much improved. Walker produced four birdies to Sugrue’s two over the next ten holes to claw his way back into the match. When Sugrue bogeyed the 16th Walker had completed the comeback – we were All Square with three holes to play.

However, the exertions of regaining parity having been 5 Down after nine holes perhaps took too much out of the Scotsman. He will no doubt be disappointed with his play over the remaining two holes.

Firstly, a poor pitch on 17 opened the door to Sugrue who bravely two-putted from the front of the green to go 1Up.

Fortune then favoured Sugrue as his drive on the 18th bounced out of a fairway bunker, finishing on the mown top, whilst Walker found heavy rough well right. Both players did well to get just over the 18th green with their seconds before Walker’s first putt failed to climb a steep bank and he ultimately ended up conceding the hole to Sugrue’s tap in bogey. The home crowd which had swelled to around 3,000 cheered loudly as Sugrue and Ireland had won by 2 Holes.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Sugrue said “It is hard to believe really. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Just to think about this win is unbelievable. Everything that comes with the win and all the crowds that were out there, it’s incredible. I’m just kind of happy I did it for the crowds, really, as I didn’t want all those people who came out to support me to see me end up losing. It’s more relief than anything else really to get over the line, especially after being three up going into the afternoon session. I’m just delighted to do it.”

fullsizeoutput_378a

Sugrue v. Walker Final Scores (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to follow the – 2019 Amateur Championship Final Live Scores

The 125th Amateur Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale and West Lancashire G.C.’s in England from 15th – 20th June 2020.

ME.

___________________________________________

21st June 2019

Semi-Finals

fullsizeoutput_3783

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

David MICHELUZZI (AUS) played James SUGRUE (IRE) in the first Semi-Final in a game that understandably attracted a large following at Portmarnock. After an up and down front nine the Irishman took control around the turn and saw out the match relatively comfortably.

fullsizeoutput_3784.jpeg

Micheluzzi v. Sugrue Semi-Final Scores (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

In the second Semi-Final Euan WALKER (SCO) got the better of Ben JONES (ENG). A birdie on the par 5 6th had given the Scotsman the early lead but this was soon overturned when he bogeyed both 8 and 9. Despite starting the back nine 1 Down Walker’s steadier play over the closing holes enabled him to eventually gain the upper hand.

fullsizeoutput_3785

Walker v. Jones Semi-Final Scores (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Semi-Final Results

Quarter Finals

The first Quarter Final between David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Cameron SISK (USA) proved to be a tight affair with neither player ever leading by more than one hole. In the end a birdie on the 18th proved decisive for the Australian who broke the deadlock to win by 1 Hole.

James SUGRUE (IRE) started nervously in his game against Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) and was 2 Down after four holes. He recovered to All Square after the Dutchman found trouble on both the 8th and 9th, two longish par fours. Birdies were exchanged on 13 and 14 with first Sugrue taking the lead before Kouwenaar immediately bounced back. A bogey on 16 by the Mallow man appeared to have opened the door to his opponent but after the 17th was halved in par he holed a 15 footer on the final green for a birdie to save the day. When Kouwenaar then bogeyed the 1st Sugrue made no mistake with his safe par delighting the home crowd.

After a tight front nine where Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Euan WALKER (SCO) matched each other shot for shot the third Quarter Final came alive at the start of the back nine. Scott birdied the 11th and after Walker bogeyed the next the Nairn player found himself 2Up with 6 holes to play. Walker birdied the par 5 13th to reduce the deficit and then quickly moved ahead after his compatriot handed him the 14th and 16th with bogeys. Like Sugrue in the game in front Scott refused to be beaten, his birdie on 18th forcing extra holes. The recovery was to be short-lived however as Walker composed himself to take the match on the 19th.

Ben JONES (ENG) beat Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) 3&1 in the final match this morning. After the front nine finished All-Square Jones played the difficult back nine in 3-under par to win well. Birdies on the 12th, 13th and 16th holes were the difference on the day.

fullsizeoutput_3780

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

Click here to follow the – 2019 Amateur Championship Quarter Final Results

ME.

___________________________________________

20th June 2019

Round 4

James SUGRUE (IRE) and Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) both kept Irish hopes for a home winner alive with Last 16 wins this afternoon.

Mullarney beat Matty LAMB (ENG) by 1 Hole in Round 4. Having led 5Up after 11 holes Mullarney required a par on the last to finally take care of Lamb who fought right to the end.

Euan WALKER (SCO) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) delivered the all-Scottish quarter final by both winning close matches.

Ben JONES (ENG) will play Mullarney tomorrow, both players will be playing their fifth game having come through the Preliminary Round.

fullsizeoutput_377b

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

Round 3

Day 2 of Match Play started badly for GB&I with medalist Tom PLUMB (ENG), Tom SLOMAN (ENG), Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) and Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) all falling to disappointing losses.

James SUGRUE (IRE) got things back on track. He was 3 Down with four holes to play before securing a memorable 1 Hole victory over Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE). Sugrue gained revenge for a Round 3 loss to the Swede at Royal Aberdeen last year.

James ROBINSON‘s (ENG) run came to an end but not without some fight. He eventually lost on the 21st hole to Sergio PARRIEGO CORNEJO (ESP).

Euan WALKER (SCO) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) both secured wins to keep alive hopes of an all-Scottish Quarter Final match.

The final four matches of the morning series all went the way of the home player with Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE), Matty LAMB (ENG), Bailey GILL (ENG) and Ben JONES (ENG) continuing their good form.

fullsizeoutput_3779.jpeg

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

___________________________________________

19th June 2019

Round 2

Despite my complaints below about the unfairness of his draw Medalist Tom PLUMB (ENG) took little time in despatching 41st seed Alejandro DEL RAY GONZALEZ (ESP) 7&5 this morning.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was made to work very hard for his 1 hole win over Joe PAGDIN (ENG). Sloman trailed from the start and was 3 down with 6 holes to play but managed to overturn the deficit over Portmarnock’s challenging finishing holes.

It was obvious from the Stroke Play Qualifying that no match would be over until it was over given par was often going to be good enough to take many holes coming home.

Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) handed a heavy 7&6 defeat to an out of sorts David LANGLEY (ENG), damaging the latter’s hopes of forcing his way into the GB&I Walker Cup team.

Germany’s Matthias SCHMID, back from Louisville University for the summer, provided the biggest win of Round 2, taking out Sam DONE (ENG) 9&8.

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) produced the best comeback of the day. He was 5 Down with 6 to play but somehow managed to beat last week’s St. Andrews Links Trophy winner Jake BURNAGE (ENG) on the 20th hole.

Harry HALL (ENG) was also undone by the finishing holes; 1 Up with 3 to play fellow Walker Cup panelist James SUGRUE (IRE) came through to win by 2 holes.

The final match in the Upper Half of the draw saw surprise package James ROBINSON (ENG) comfortably dispose of Therion NEL (RSA) 4&3. Nel is currently ranked 88th in the SPWAR whilst Robinson sits 1,319th.

fullsizeoutput_376d.jpeg

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

In the Lower Half of the Match Play draw Euan WALKER (SCO) showed all of his fighting qualities to come from behind to beat Eanna GRIFFIN (IRE) by 2 holes.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) will be disappointed not to have got past Finland’s far less experienced Jonatan JOLKKONEN.

In two tight matches Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) overcame Midlands rival Sam BROADHURST (ENG) on the first extra hole and Sandy SCOTT (SCO) beat Markus BRAADLIE (NOR) by 1 hole, the Norwegian perhaps tiring a little having also played in the Preliminary this morning.

Matty LAMB (ENG) secured his second victory of the day and in taking out Yurav PREMLALL (RSA) 3&1 ended South African interest in the Championship.

Bailey GILL (ENG) also enjoyed a good 4 &2 win over University of South Florida’s Albin BERGSTRÖM (SWE). Bergström had enjoyed an award winning Freshman season in the U.S. so will have arrived in Ireland with a lot of confidence.

Ben JONES (ENG) would have to be my ‘Player of the Day’ though, firstly beating Jayden SCHAPER (RSA / SPWAR #10) in 22 holes this morning before going all the way to the 18th green with John AXELSEN (DEN / SPWAR #151) this afternoon. I am sure his fighting spirit will not have been lost on the watching Walker Cup selectors.

fullsizeoutput_3770

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

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Round 2 Draw / Scores

Preliminary Round 1

The Match Play Stage of The Amateur Championship, which is being played exclusively at Portmarnock G.C., started at 7.00am this morning.

76 players made the top 64 and ties cut.

As a result the 24 lowest scoring qualifiers had to play a Preliminary Round 1 to produce the final 12 players required to make up the 64 needed for Round 2.

Sam BROADHURST (ENG), Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE), Matty LAMB (ENG) and Ben JONES (ENG) all came through the Preliminary Round to take their place in Round 2.

fullsizeoutput_376e

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

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship Preliminary Round 1 Draw / Scores

ME.

___________________________________________

Every year I complain about the use by The R&A of a Preliminary Round rather than using a play-off or card count back to produce the 64 players needed for the first round proper.

This year because of the Preliminary Round medalist Tom PLUMB (ENG), who would be playing the 64th qualifier in a clean draw, has been paired with the 41st qualifier Alejandro DEL REY GONZALEZ (ESP).

Take a look at the table below which outlines how the 76 Stroke Play seeds fed through into this year’s Amateur Championship draw and how this compares with a Standard 64 player Match Play draw.

You will see most of the leading qualifiers end up playing against higher rated players than they deserve to. The only beneficiaries being those players who receive the winners of the Preliminary Round in the Lower Half of the draw.

Upper Half Draw Lower Half Draw
Amateur ‘19 Standard Amateur ‘19 Standard
1 vs 41 64 22 vs 47 43
32 vs 50 33 11 vs 36 54
16 vs 38 49 27 vs 37 38
17 vs 35 48 6 vs 34 59
8 vs 44 57 19 vs 57 vs 53 46
25 vs 39 40 14 vs 70 vs 54 51
9 vs 51 56 30 vs 75 vs 73 35
24 vs 48 41 3 vs 64 vs 60 62
4 vs 42 61 23 vs 61 vs 62 42
29 vs 49 36 10 vs 69 vs 56 55
13 vs 43 52 26 vs 76 vs 58 39
20 vs 40 45 7 vs 66 vs 55 58
5 vs 46 60 18 vs 59 vs 67 47
28 vs 33 37 15 vs 72 vs 71 50
12 vs 52 53 31 vs 65 vs 63 34
21 vs 45 44 2 vs 68 vs 74 63

ME.

___________________________________________

18th June 2019

Tom PLUMB (ENG) secured Stroke Play medalist honours at The Amateur today after posting an aggregate 36 hole score of 139 (-4). Plumb shot a second round 71 (-1) at Portmarnock.

IMG_0998

Tom Plumb (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

In the last group out John AXELSEN (DEN) recorded a 69 at Portmarnock to pull level with Plumb on 139 (-4). However, he lost out on count back; his 72 (I 37 / P 35) was four shots more than Plumb’s (I 33 / P 35) on the aggregate of the two back nines.  

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) was 3rd after a 69 at The Island left him on 140 (-3).

William BUHL (NOR) and Harry HALL (ENG) were tied 4th on 141 (-2).

Conditions were favourable today with sunny intervals and a modest breeze.

The best rounds of the day at Portmarnock belonged to Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) and Mason ANDERSEN (USA) who all posted 68’s (-4) to qualify.

fullsizeoutput_3760

fullsizeoutput_3761

Caolan Rafferty’s and Euan McIntosh’s Scorecards (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

The average Round 2 score at Portmarnock was 75.33 (+3.33).

Blake WINDRED (AUS) recorded the lowest round at The Island on Day 2 with a bogey free 67 (-4). Unfortunately his 82 at Portmarnock yesterday was never going to be recoverable.

fullsizeoutput_3762

Blake Windred’s Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

The average Round 2 score at The Island was 74.16 (+3.16).

24 of the 26 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup squad players were competing. 12 of the group made it through to the Match Play Stage. These were Thomas PLUMB (ENG) -4, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 2nd, Harry HALL (ENG) -2, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) -1, Joe PAGDIN (ENG) Ev, Bailey GILL (ENG) +1, Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) +1, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) +2, Euan WALKER (SCO) +2, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +2, James SUGRUE (IRE) +3 and Ben JONES (ENG) +4.

14 other GB&I players qualified, namely, David LANGLEY (ENG) -1, Jake BOLTON (ENG) -1, Eanna GRIFFIN (IRE) Ev, Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) +1, James ROBINSON (ENG) +1, Connor MCKINNEY (SCO) +1, Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) +1, Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) +2, Sam DONE (ENG) +2, Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) +2, Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) +4, Jack AINSCOUGH (ENG) +4, Sam BROADHURST (ENG) +4 and Matty LAMB (ENG) +4.

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

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Results

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Match Play here are the Stroke Play Qualifying hole-by-hole statistics for Portmarnock G.C. which may assist with strategy: –

fullsizeoutput_375f

ME.

___________________________________________

17th June 2019

Geoff LENEHAN (IRE) and Tom MCKIBBIN (N.I.) played the first tee shots of the 124th Amateur Championship at 7.00am this morning at Portmarnock G.C. and The Island G.C. respectively.

On a breezy but dry day on the east coast of Ireland the scoring was relatively high. Just 17 players in the field of 288 recorded an under par score.

Anton ALBERS (GER) was the low man at Portmarnock in Round 1 of the Stroke Play Qualifying with a 4-under par 68.

fullsizeoutput_3759

Anton Albers’ Round 1 Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

There was a total of six under par rounds at Portmarnock. Sandy SCOTT (SCO), who recorded a 71 (-1), provided one of them.

The average score at Portmarnock in Round 1 was 77.47 (+5.47).

Ayoub SSOUADI (MOR) and Harry HALL (ENG) both recorded 67’s (-4) at The Island to share the Day 1 lead with the German.

fullsizeoutput_3757

fullsizeoutput_3758

Ayoub Ssouadi’s and Harry Hall’s Round 1 Scorecards (Photo: The R&A / Getty Images)

A total of 11 under par rounds were posted at The Island. Tom PLUMB (ENG) 68 (-3), James ROBINSON (ENG) and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) both 69 (-2), Curtis KNIPES (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG) and Joe PAGDIN (ENG) all 70 (-1) led the way for Great Britain & Ireland.

The average score at The Island in Round 1 was 75.14 (+4.14).

The projected top 64 and ties match play cut mark looks like being 147 (+4). This is based on the fact that after Round 1 27 players are tied 52nd on +2. 31 of these 78 players played at Parmarnock and 47 at The Island.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) I +3, Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) P +3, Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) P +3, David HAGUE (ENG) P +3, Euan WALKER (SCO) P +3, Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) P +4, Tom MCKIBBIN (IRE) I +4, Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) P +4, Akshay BHATIA (USA) P +4, Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) P +4, James SUGRUE (IRE) P +5, Conor PURCELL (IRE) I +5, Ben JONES (ENG) P +5, Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) I +5, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) P +5, Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) P +6, Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) I +6, Josh MCMAHON (ENG) P +6, Jamie STEWART (SCO) P +7, John MURPHY (IRE) I +7, Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) I +8 and Blake WINDRED (AUS) P +10 are therefore amongst the more notable players who can afford few mistakes tomorrow.

ME.

___________________________________________

14th June 2019

The 124th Amateur Championship starts on Monday 17th June at Portmarnock Golf Club and The Island Golf Club. Both courses are located a short distance to the north east of Dublin city centre in Ireland.

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.

Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th June.

Click here to view the – 2019 Amateur Championship SP Qualifying Tee Times

The 64 players with the lowest 36 hole scores, and ties for 64th place, will advance to the match play stage and be seeded in line with their qualifying finishes. A preliminary round will be used if more than 64 players qualify. [I would prefer there to be a play-off or an aggregate count back so there can be a clean draw made.]

The match play stage will then be played solely at Portmarnock between Wednesday 19th and Saturday 22nd June.

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

An Aerial View Of Portmarnock Golf Club (Photo: Portmarnock G.C.)

Players

The 288 players are drawn firstly from a number of exempt categories covering various Championship performances and representative team selections. Thereafter places are allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at 15th May 2019. The lowest non-exempt WAGR player in the field is currently Islam HABEBUL (ENG) at #939.

Looking at the current SPWAR, my preferred amateur ranking, there are 19 of the top 50 players competing. These are Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) 9th, Conor PURCELL (IRE) 10th, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) 12th, Blake WINDRED (AUS) 14th, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) 19th, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 22nd, Euan WALKER (SCO) 25th, Harry HALL (ENG) 27th, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) 29th, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 32nd, Alejandro DEL REY GONZALEZ (ESP) 33rd, Keita NAKAJIMA (JAP) 34th, Tom PLUMB (ENG) 38th, David LANGLEY (ENG) 39th, Yurav PREMLALL (RSA) 41st, Ben JONES (ENG) 43rd, Bailey GILL (ENG) 45th, Matthias SCHMID (GER) 47th and Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) 49th.

Players from 34 different countries will contest the 2019 Amateur Championship.

England have 54 players in the field, Ireland 22, Scotland 18 and Wales 5.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are USA (27), France (24), Germany (16), Spain (16), Sweden (12), Italy (11), Australia (11), Denmark (9), South Africa (8) and Finland (8).

Whilst there are a large number of Americans playing it again remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. It is disappointing but perhaps understandable that most of them prefer to play in the Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett C.C. in Providence, Rhode island – an event that starts on Wednesday 19th June. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the Major exemptions on offer. The best American this year is Cole MADEY (SPWAR 54) albeit Akshay BHATIA (SPWAR 101) is a notable junior.

Stewart HAGESTAD (USA), Daniel HILLIER (NZL) and Chun An “Kevin” YU (TPE) all qualified for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and were sadly all late withdrawals.

12 Reserves were called upon since the original draw was made on 20th May.

Portmarnock G.C.’s Promotional Video For The Amateur Championship (3:13)

Host Courses

This is only the second time that The Amateur has been staged outside Great Britain. Portmarnock hosted the Championship 70 years ago in 1949 with Max McCready overcoming Willie Turnesa 2&1 in the Final.

Situated on its own peninsula Portmarnock G.C., which was opened in 1894, will play to 7,422 yards and a par of 72. Whilst the front nine is longer by 150 yards it is the strong finishing holes for which the links are renowned.

The Island G.C. was founded in 1890 and as its name suggests was originally only accessible by ferry boat. It plays to 7,019 yards from the back tees and has a par of 71.

13th hole, The Island Golf Club (Photo: The Island G.C.)

Weather Forecast (as at Monday 16th June)

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

Mon 17th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 10°C.
Tue 18th June – Sunny. Wind 10 mph SW. Temp. Max. 18°C / Min 9°C.
Wed 19th June – Showers PM. Wind 12 mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Thu 20th June – Cloudy. Wind 13 mph W. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 7°C.
Fri 21st June – Sunny. Wind 12 mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 9°C.
Sat 22nd June – Cloudy. Wind 13 mph SE. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 11°C.

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

Players will tee off between 7.00am and 3.52pm on Monday and Tuesday so changes in the weather and wind speed may have a role to play in the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions

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

The winner of the match play stage will become the Champion Amateur Golfer for the year and is awarded the Championship Trophy and a Gold Medal. The runner-up receives a Silver Medal and each losing semi-finalist a Bronze Medal.

The winner of The Amateur Championship will be exempt into next month’s 148th Open Championship being staged at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C. and also exempted into the 2020 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Winged Foot G.C. in Mamaroneck, New York.

Finally, there is an informal rule that any GB&I player who wins the Amateur Championship in a Walker Cup year will be automatically selected for our team.

2018 Amateur Championship

Jovan REBULA (RSA) won the 2018 Amateur Championship beating Robin DAWSON (IRE) 3&2 in the 36 hole Final played at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

He was the first South African winner since Bobby Cole in 1966.

img_9363

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

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

Fellow South African Wilco NIENABER was medalist in the preceeding Stroke Play Qualifying. He shot a 66 at Murcar Links and a 67 at Royal Aberdeen G.C. for a 133 (-8) total.

The top 64 and ties match play cut fell at +6 with 77 players progressing. There were 30 GB&I qualifiers amongst this number.

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

A Short History of The Amateur

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_9362

The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Past Winners

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

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

Prior to Jovan Rebula’s win in 2018 the previous 10 winners of The Amateur Championship were: –

2017  Harry Ellis (ENG) – Royal St. George’s G.C.
2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl G.C.
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie G.L.
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush G.C.
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports G.C.
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon G.C.
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside G.C.
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby G.C.
2008  Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry

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

Click here to view a complete list of – Amateur Championship winners

ME.

Copyright © 2014-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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

Friday 27th July 2018

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

img_9552

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Individual Performances Analysis

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 15.32.45

Day 2 Afternoon Singles

img_9549

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

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

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

Day 2 Morning Foursomes

img_9545

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

ME.

______________________________________________

Thursday 26th July 2018

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

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

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

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

Day 1 Afternoon Singles

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

Day 1 Morning Foursomes

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

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

ME.

______________________________________________

25th July 2018

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

ME.

______________________________________________

15th July 2018

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

img_9481

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

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

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

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

2018 Teams

Each team has nine players.

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

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

Continent of Europe

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

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

Edgar CATHERINE – France  #153 (15th)

Marc HAMMER * – Germany  #537 (102nd)

Angel HIDALGO PORTILLO – Spain  #113 (11th)

Matias HONKALA – Finland  #325 (53rd)

Frédéric LACROIX – France  #126 (13th)

Stefano MAZZOLI – Italy  #62 (7th)

Frederik NILEHN – Sweden  #23 (2nd)

Lorenzo SCALISE – Italy  #29 (4th)

Sami VALIMAKI – Finland  #172 (22nd)

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

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

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

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

img_5949

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

Great Britain & Ireland Team

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

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

Robin DAWSON (22) – Ireland  #8 (1st)

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

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

John MURPHY (20) – Ireland  #61 (7th)

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

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

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

Mitch WAITE (23) – England  #17 (3rd)

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

Match Format 

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

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

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

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

Venue – Linna Golf, Finland

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

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

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

img_9482

Linna Golf, Finland (Photo: European Golf Design)

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

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

Weather Forecast

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

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

2016 Match – Prince’s Golf Club

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

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

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

img_6409.jpg

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 18.55.13

Past Results

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

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

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

Here are the historic match results in full: –

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 15.26.00

___________________________________________

Appendix – My 2018 St. Andrews Trophy Team With Analysis

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

1. SPWAR (as at 15th July 2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking at the individual performances: –

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

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

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

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

4. St. Andrews Trophy Squad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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

The European Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

30th June 2018

img_9392

Robin Dawson (Silver), Nicolai Hojgaard (Gold) and Jerry Ji (Bronze)
(Photo: European Golf Association / Ronald Speijer)

Nicolai HOJGAARD (DEN) won the 2018 European Amateur Championship at Royal Hague today.

A final round 73 (+1), which included a double bogey 7 on the 18th, was good enough for a 281 (-7) total and a 1 shot win. The victory comes with an exemption to the 2018 Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie Golf Links in three weeks time.

img_9389

Nicolai Hojgaard’s Scorecard (Photo: European Golf Association / Golfbox)

Norwegians Viktor HOVLAND and Kristoffer REITAN both recorded best of the day 67’s (-5) in Round 4 to finish the event strongly.

Hovland finished tied 2nd on 282 (-6) alongside Robin DAWSON (IRE), who himself shot a 68 (-4) today, Jerry JI (NED) and Mitch WAITE (ENG). In accordance with the competition rules Dawson and Ji won the silver and bronze medals based on a 36, then 18, hole count back.

img_9390

Robin Dawson’s Scorecard (Photo: European Golf Association / Golfbox)

img_9391

Mitch Waite’s Scorecard (Photo: European Golf Association / Golfbox) 

Dawson’s compatriots Conor PURCELL and Rowan LESTER also finished the Championship well and can be pleased with their 6th and tied 7th place finishes respectively.

Here is a list of the GB&I final results (only players who made the T60 54 hole cut): –
T2   Robin DAWSON (IRE) 71 72 71 68 282 (-6)
T2   Mitch WAITE (ENG) 72 69 68 73 282 (-6)
6     Conor PURCELL (IRE) 74 69 71 69 283 (-5)
T7   Rowan LESTER (IRE) 70 73 71 70 284 (-4)
T16 Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 74 70 69 73 286 (-2)
T21 Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) 75 69 71 72 287 (-1)
T21 Euan WALKER (SCO) 72 71 70 74 287 (-1)
T21 Jack GAUNT (ENG) 70 72 69 76 287 (-1)
T29 Jamie STEWART (SCO) 72 73 72 71 288 (Ev)
T37 Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) 77 70 71 72 290 (+2)
T44 Andrew WILSON (ENG) 75 68 76 73 292 (+4)
T49 Bailey GILL (ENG) 71 77 71 74 293 (+5)
T49 Ben JONES (ENG) 75 71 73 74 293 (+5)
T49 Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) 72 73 72 76 293 (+5)
T54 Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 72 69 72 81 294 (+6)
T59 Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) 78 68 73 76 295 (+7)
T59 Nick POPPLETON (ENG) 71 72 75 77 295 (+7)

To view the detailed final scores click here – 2018 European Amateur Championship Results

ME.

__________________________________________

29th June 2018

Nicolai HOJGAARD (DEN) leads the European Amateur after 54 holes with a 208 (-8) total. The 17 year old identical twin of Rasmus (who is tied 15th) shot a 68 today.

A number of British players moved nicely into position on Friday. Mitch WAITE (ENG) also shot 68 to move into sole second on -7 and Jack GAUNT (ENG) a bogey free 69 to start Day 4 in tied 3rd on -5.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 69, Euan WALKER (SCO) 70 and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 72 all finished their third rounds strongly to end the day on -3, tied 8th.

Irish trio Conor PURCELLRobin DAWSON and Rowan LESTER all recorded 71’s and are now tied 15th on -2. Dawson and Lester are paired together tomorrow at 11.20am so will hopefully drive each other on to good finishes.

63 players, including 17 from GB&I, made the top 60 and ties cut which fell at 220 (+3). Mark POWER (IRE), Joe PAGDIN (ENG) and BEN HUTCHINSON (ENG) were amongst the 8 players who just missed out on +4. It was particularly hard on both Power, who had fought back well from a first round 79, and 16 year old Pagdin who shot a brave 69 in Round 3.

Australia’s Charlie DANN went out in a blaze of glory recording a 67, the best round of the day. Unfortunately it could only lift him to +5 for the Championship and hence he still missed the cut by two shots.

ME.

__________________________________________

28th June 2018

Whilst Thursday was hot and sunny throughout unfortunately it proved to be a day of two halves with regard to the wind. This morning saw wind speeds of 10mph but this afternoon they were generally stronger gusting up to 30mph.

Inevitably this had an impact on the scoring. The first 72 players out today, teeing off between 7.00am and 11.17am (local time), had an average score of 72.39. The next 72, teeing off between 11.32pm and 3.49pm, were 1.47 shots higher at 73.86.

Blake WINDRED (AUS) finished with 4 birdies in his last 6 holes to post his second 69. He leads on 138 (-6) from overnight leader Perry COHEN (SUI) whose even par 72 left him on 139 (-5).

Giovanni TADIOTTO (BEL) bounced back from a first round 80 with a 66, the best of the week so far. He finished the day tied 51st nicely within the top 60 cut line which will be applied tomorrow.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) and Tom SLOMAN (ENG) who have been pretty inseparable in recent weeks both shots 69’s to move up to tied 5th on 141 (-4).

Jack GAUNT (ENG) is the only other home player in the top 10. He produced a good 72 playing late this afternoon to stay on -2 and tied 8th.

Andrew WILSON (ENG) produced the best GB&I round of the day with a 68 (he’s T19). Conor PURCELL (IRE) had a 69 (also T19), notable as he is the first player to deliver a bogey free round in the Championship to date.

ME.

__________________________________________

27th June 2018

Switzerland’s American-based Perry COHEN leads the European Amateur at the end of Round 1 after a superb 67 (-5). After bogeying the 1st hole the recent graduate of St. Mary’s California University produced an unblemished round featuring three birdies on each side.

Jack GAUNT (ENG), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Rowan LESTER (IRE) and Tom PLUMB (ENG) were the best of the 36 Great British and Irish players competing at Royal Hague. Their 70’s (-2) represented a very creditable start to this prestigious amateur event.

Gleeson had more birdies (7) than any other player in the field in Round 1 and will clearly have been disappointed to tarnish a great day with a double bogey 7 on the home hole.

Robin DAWSON (IRE), Bailey GILL (ENG) and Nicholas POPPLETON (ENG) are also under par for the championship after shooting 71 (-1) today.

Congratulations to Alexander HERRMANN (GER) who recorded a hole-in-one on the par 3 12th in his round of 69.

The average score on Day 1 was 74.39 (+2.39) so anything around par represented a solid start.

The field of 144 players will be cut to the top 60 and ties after 54 holes so there is still lots to play for.

ME.

__________________________________________

26th June 2018

The 31st International European Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Royal Hague Golf & Country Club in Netherlands.

This prestigious Championship is run by the European Golf Association (EGA), assisted each year by the host nation; this year, the Royal Netherlands Golf Federation.

img_9375

Royal Hague G. & C.C. 18th Green and Clubhouse (Photo: rcedejong)

Competition Format

The European Amateur is a 72-hole stroke play competition. 18-holes are played daily over four days.

A cut will take place after 54 holes with the 60 lowest scores and ties qualifying for the final round on Saturday 30th June.

A 3 hole aggregate score play off will decide the winner in the event of a tie. If this doesn’t separate the players then a sudden death play-off will commence over the same holes.

Entries

144 players will contest the Championship this week.

All of the players must have handicaps of 0.0 or better with an entry ballot applied based on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Exemptions were also available to the defending champion, a single nomination from each EGA member nation, four nominated players from the host nation, Netherlands, competitors in the most recent Bonallack Trophy, St. Andrew’s Trophy and Jacques Léglise Trophy matches, the 2018 South American Amateur champion and the 2018 European Mid-Amateur champion.

Most of the leading European and Great Britain and Irish (GB&I) players will be on show. There are 36 GB&I players in total competition at Royal Hague.

There are 17 of the current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking’s Top 100 competing. These are Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) #7, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) #11, Robin DAWSON #16, Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) #30, Frederik NILEHN (SWE) #35, Kristoffer REITAN (NOR) #41, Mitch WAITE (ENG) #52, Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) #56, David HAGUE (ENG) #71, Stefano MAZZOLI (ITA) #66, TOM SLOMAN (ENG) #79, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) #82, Alex GLEESON #86, Victor PASTOR (ESP) #87, Conor PURCELL (IRE) #92, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) #93 and Shae WOOLS-COBB (AUS) #100.

Stefano Mazzoli is a past champion having won the event at Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia in 2015.

Event Information

Round 1 starts at 7.00am local time (BST + 1)

Click here to view the – 2018 European Amateur Championship Tee Times

Click here to view the – 2018 European Amateur Championship Leaderboard

I will be providing a short report after each day’s play on this webpage throughout the Championship.

Royal Hague Golf Club

The 2018 Championship is being staged at Koninklijke Haagsche Golf & Country Club in Wassenaar, Netherlands. Better known to us in English as Royal Hague.

It is generally acknowledged to be the best course in Netherlands and one of the most challenging in Europe.

img_9374

15th hole, Royal Hague G. & C.C. (Photo: Frank Pont / Infinite Variety Golf Design)

Founded in April 1893 the Club is celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year.

The current course was designed by Englishmen C. Hugh Alison and Harry Colt and opened for play in 1939.

Since 2008 Dutch architect Frank Pont has been engaged on an extensive course restoration project. He has reviewed all of the greens, bunkers and tees greatly improving Royal Hague’s playability and presentation.

Located on the famous strip of Dutch links land, just north of The Hague city centre, the course lies a couple of miles inland from the North Sea. Uneven stances on an undulating dune landscape, with a few blind shots thrown in, are very much the order of the day here.

img_9373

10th hole, Royal Hague G. & C.C. (Photo: Frank Pont / Infinite Variety Golf Design)

A standard par 72 championship course it stretches to 6,844 yards with two very even nines.

It is going to play firm and fast this week albeit I understand the upturned saucer greens have been watered and are therefore holding well struck approach shots.

Weather Forecast

A hot and sunny week is forecast for Northern Europe and conditions should be very good over the four competition days. Winds tend to increase in speed here as the day goes on.

Weds 27th June – Sunny. Wind 15 mph (NNE). Max. 23°C / Min 14°C.
Thurs 28th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph (NNE). Max. 24°C / Min 14°C.
Fri 29th June – Sunny. Wind 20 mph (NNE). Max. 23°C / Min 13°C.
Sat 30th June – Sunny. Wind 16 mph (NNE). Max. 24°C / Min 16°C.

Prizes

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the Top 3 finishers.

More importantly the champion receives an exemption into this year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland. Last year Alfie Plant used his exemption to go on and win the low amateur Silver Medal at Royal Birkdale G.C.

The Championship Trophy is held by the winning player’s national golf authority.

2017 European Amateur Championship

England’s Alfie PLANT won the 2017 European Amateur Championship on the Old Course at Walton Heath Golf Club in England.

img_4890-e1513627245464.jpg

Alfie Plant, 2017 European Amateur Champion (Photo: GolfBible)

Alfie overcame Italian duo Luca CIANCHETTI and Lorenzo SCALISE on the fifth play-off hole after all three had tied on -15 for the 72 holes of stroke play.

Luca had won the 2016 European Amateur in Estonia after seven play-off holes with Norway’s Victor HOVLAND so a trend appears to be developing.

Click here to view the – 2017 European Amateur Championship Results

Click here to view the – 2016 European Amateur Championship Results

History

The competition was first contested in 1986 at Eindhoven G.C. Initially it was held biennially before moving to an annual fixture from 1990.

2018 will be the second occasion the Netherlands have hosted it. It has been held in 18 different countries in total.

Former winners who have gone on to enjoy very successful professional careers include Stephen GALLACHER (1994), Sergio GARCIA (1995), Gregory HAVRET (1999), Carl PETTERSSON (2000), Rory MCILROY (2006) and Victor DUBUISSON (2009).

In addition to Gallacher and McIlroy other GB&I past winners include Jim PAYNE (1991), Paddy GRIBBEN (1998), Stephen BROWNE (2001), Brian MCELHINNEY (2003), Matthew RICHARDSON (2004), Rhys PUGH (2012) and Ashley CHESTERS (2013 and 2014) and Alfie PLANT (2017).

Ashley Chesters is the only two-time winner and the only player to have retained the trophy.

ME.

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

The St. Andrews Trophy – 2016 Preview and Results

21st July 2016

Click here to view the complete – MATCH RESULTS

David BOOTE bravely pared the 18th hole at Prince’s Golf Club this evening to secure the point which enabled Great Britain & Ireland to half the match 12.5-12.5.

As the holders the draw was good enough to ensure GB&I retained the St. Andrews Trophy they won in Sweden back in 2014.

Given they started the day 4-8 down to the Continent of Europe they will surely view the final score as a moral victory if not exactly a numerical one.

Great Britain & Ireland Retain The St. Andrews Trophy (Photo: Darren Plant) 

GB&I quickly got back on track this morning. Whereas yesterday all four of the foursomes games were lost today was thankfully a totally different story – GB&I winning the series 3.5-1.5. Stuart GREHAN and Scott GREGORY (5&4) led the team out and quickly secured the first point of the day against Italian pair Luca CIANCHETTI and Stefano MAZZOLI. Equally impressive were Grant FORREST and Connor SYME (4&3) who dealt with Matthias SCHWAB and Guido MIGLIOZZI. Jack HUME and David BOOTE were GB&I’s other outright winners.

This afternoon’s singles were again a rollercoaster affair. Just like yesterday GB&I got off to a strong start before Europe pegged them back.

There were crucial early wins for Scott GREGORY (2 holes), Stuart GREHAN (4&3, 7 under par when his match against Luca CIANCHETTI ended on the 15th) and Alfie PLANT (4&3).

Jack HUME was then unlucky to lose to Stefano MAZZOLI (1 hole) who birdied the last 3 holes to turn their game around. After losses for Grant FORREST (2&1) and Jamie BOWER (3&2) Scottish pair Connor SYME and Robert MACINTYRE secured important halves, both birdieing the short 374 yard 16th to draw level before seeing out their matches with pars.

All eyes started to drift to the 8th game in the series – David BOOTE against Ivan CANTERO GUTIERREZ. For much of the afternoon this had appeared a given for GB&I. Boote had got off to a great start which he consolidated with birdies on 12 and 13 to go 4Up with 5 to play. However, the highly rated Cantero Gutierrez refused to lie down and before we knew it birdies for the Spaniard on the 14th and 15th followed by a mistake by Boote on 17 saw the Surrey-based Welshman having to defend a 1Up lead going down 18.

Thankfully the experienced David Boote was up to the task and with the final hole of the game and match halved Captain Craig WATSON could breathe a sigh of relief and the GB&I supporters could begin celebrating.

Here are the updated Individual Team Contributions for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 18.55.13

ME.

 ______________________________

20th July 2016 – Day 2 Draws

DRAW – 21st July – Day 2 Morning Foursomes

For Great Britain & Ireland Grant FORREST has been drafted into the foursomes. He will pair up with Connor SYME in game 3 with Robert MACINTYRE stepping down. Captain Craig WATSON has kept his other pairings unchanged and will give his players the opportunity to redeem themselves in a format that normally favours GB&I.

Unsurprisingly European captain Yves HOFSTETTER has left his foursome pairings well alone.

With both captains tweaking their running orders none of today’s games are repeated. At this stage one can only speculate on what difference this may make to the series result.

DRAW – 21st July – Day 2 Afternoon Singles

All 18 players are competing in the Day 2 singles with no players rested.

The draw has thrown up 3 Day 1 re-matches – Scott GREGORY v. Jeroen KRIETEMEIJER, Stuart GREHAN v. Luca CIANCHETTI and Alfie PLANT v. Mario GALIANO.

ME.

______________________________

20th July 2016 – Day 1 Report

Day 1 of the St. Andrews trophy proved to be a triumph for the Continent of Europe. They will take an 8-4 advantage into tomorrow’s final day.

DAY 1 RESULTS

Great Britain & Ireland’s new captain Craig WATSON could not have got off to a worse start this morning. His four foursomes pairings all lost, not one able to take their match beyond the 17th hole at Prince’s Golf Club.

GB&I fought back in the singles and for much of the afternoon it looked as if Day 1 parity could be rescued. Scott GREGORY (3&2), Jack HUME (5&4), Connor SYME (5&4) and Stuart GREHAN (6&4) all won to salvage some personal pride.  However, late losses for Grant FORREST (2&1), David BOOTE (3&1), Alfie PLANT (1 hole) and perhaps most notably, given the lead he held, Robert MACINTYRE (1 hole) saw the second series ultimately halved 4-4.

Europe’s Mario GALIANOIvan CANTERO GUTIERREZ, Robin PETERSSON and Matthias SCHWAB will all take 100% unbeaten records into Day 2.

Europe have won only once on GB&I soil in the history of the match – at Portmarnock GC in 2012. With a 4 point lead and needing just 5 more points from a possible 13 they will no doubt go in to tomorrow’s identical series of games in confident mood, optimistic of a 6th victory.

Here is my analysis of the Day 1 Individual Player Contributions: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 21.52.38

ME.

______________________________

19th July 2016 – Day 1 Draws

The draws for tomorrow’s St. Andrews Trophy foursomes and singles matches were announced this afternoon.

For Great Britain & Ireland Grant FORREST sits out the foursomes on Day 1 whilst Jamie BOWER misses out in the singles. Europe’s Jeroen KRIETEMEIJER has to wait for the afternoon singles for his first competitive action whilst Victor VEYRET will play in just the foursomes.

Here are the Day 1 draw / live scoring links: –

Live Scores

DRAW – 20th July – Day 1 Morning Foursomes

DRAW – 20th July – Day 2 Afternoon Singles

 

ME.

______________________________

17th July 2016 – Preview

The 31st St. Andrews Trophy is being contested on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st July at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England.

This amateur men’s team match has been played biennially between Great Britain & Ireland and the Continent of Europe since 1956. It was originally established by The R&A to give more European countries the chance to play at the highest level and GB&I players more team match play experience for the Walker Cup which is held in alternate years with this event.

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

St Andrews Trophy GBI Team 2014

2014 GB&I Team (Photo: R&A / Getty Images)

2016 Teams

Captain Craig WATSON (Scotland) and The R&A announced the nine players to represent GB&I on 10th July. Each player’s Scratch Player’s World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR), as of today, is noted in brackets behind their name and nationality.

David BOOTE, 22, Walton Heath, Wales (33)
Jamie BOWER, 23, Meltham, England (10)
Grant FORREST, 23, Craigielaw, Scotland (11)
Scott GREGORY, 21, Corhampton, England (31)
Stuart GREHAN, 23, Tullamore, Ireland (68)
Jack HUME, 22, Naas, Ireland (8)
Robert MACINTYRE, 19, Glencruitten, Scotland (18)
Alfie PLANT, 24, Sundridge Park, England (51)
Connor SYME, 21, Drumoig, Scotland (15)

Craig HOWIE, 21, Peebles, Scotland and Conor O’ROURKE, 24, Naas, Ireland were named as reserves.

The Europe Team led by non-playing captain Yves HOFSTETTER (Switzerland) was confirmed by the European Golf Association on 15th July. Again current SPWAR’s follow each name and nationality.

Ivan CANTERO GUTIERREZ, Spain (47)
Luca CIANCHETTI, Italy (95)
Mario GALIANO, Spain (71)
Jeroen KRIETEMEIJER, Netherlands (725)
Stefano MAZZOLI, Italy (76)
Guido MIGLIOZZI, Italy (119)
Robin PETERSSON, Sweden (92)
Matthias SCHWAB, Austria (7)
Victor VEYRET, France (108)

The total SPWAR team score for GB&I is 245 whilst it is 1,340 for Europe. Whilst matches are not won on past form it is clear that GB&I have the greater strength in depth and must therefore start as firm favourites. Home advantage by way of greater links experience may be mitigated this week due to the sunny weather forecast.

Unfortunately the match clashes with the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France on the European Challenge Tour. Ugo COUSSAUD (FRA – 63), Thomas PERROT (FRA – 126) Antoine ROZNER (FRA – 23) and Adrian MERONK (POL – 11) have all been invited to play as amateurs. Good news for GB&I, bad news for Europe.

Match Format 

The St Andrews Trophy format consists of match play foursomes and singles matches.

Wednesday 20th June AM – Foursomes x 4
Wednesday 20th June PM – Singles x 8
Thursday 21st June AM – Foursomes x 4
Thursday 21st June PM – Singles x 9

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

Prince’s Golf Club

Prince’s Golf Club is located alongside Royal St. George’s in Sandwich Bay, Kent. Whilst it can’t match the history of it’s illustrious neighbour it is certainly noteworthy in its own right.

img_6377

Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Prince’s Golf Club)

Prince’s most famous moment came in 1932 when it staged the 67th Open Championship, won wire-to-wire by US golfing legend Gene Sarazen.

Following the Second World War, when once again the course was requisitioned by the military for training, Sir Guy Campbell and John Morrison were engaged to to redesign and restore the course.

More recently it has been used as a Local Final Qualifying course for the 2011 Open Championship. It co-hosted The Amateur Championship in 2006 and 2013 and will do so again in 2017. Later this year it will also host the Jacques Leglise Trophy match between the U18 Boy’s of GB&I and Europe.

Since the 1950s Prince’s has had 3 sets of 9 holes, The Shore (3,448 yards), The Dunes (3,432 yards) and The Himalayas (3,201 yards), each playing to a par of 36. The Shore and Dunes are being used for the St. Andrews Trophy.

Weather Forecast

As at Sunday 18th July, 7.00pm the weather forecast looks very good for both the practice and competition days: –

Wed 21st July – Sunny. Wind 17 mph S. Temp. Max. 25°C / Min 16°C.

Thur 22nd July – Sunny. Wind 10 mph W. Temp. Max. 21°C / Min 15°C.

Past Results

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

Here are the historic match results in full: –

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 07.38.12

I will of course post links to the live scoring when it becomes available and will add results and player analysis to this article as the match unfolds.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.