Men’s European Nations Cup – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

21st April 2018

The 2018 European Nations Cup competition at RCG Sotogrande proved to be a memorable one for England, who largely dominated from start to finish.

The England Team, consisting of Todd Clements, David Hague, Matthew Jordan and Gian-Marco Petrozzi, won the Team competition by an impressive 20 shots with a 853 -11 total.

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The England Team (Photo: Graham Walker)

Of the other competing home nations Ireland finished second on 873 (+9) and Wales 11th on 910 +46.

Click here to view the full ENC – Team Results

Todd Clements secured the Individual title with rounds of 69 73 71 and 70 for a 283 total (-5).

Five shots back Ireland’s Alex Gleeson (76 74 69 69 / Ev), Denmark’s Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen (72 75 72 69 / Ev) and Gian-Marco Petrozzi (69 71 76 72 / Ev) all tied for second place.

Matthew Jordan (71 76 76 68 / +3) finished tied 5th and David Hague (79 73 74 68 / +6) 11th. Ireland’s Caolan Rafferty (72 79 74 71 / +8) was tied 12th and compatriot Jonathan Yates (77 74 72 75 / +10) tied 20th.

Ben Chamberlain (77 76 76 72 / +13) and Thomas Williams (79 75 74 74 / +14) were the best Welsh players, finishing tied 27th and tied 30th respectively.

Click here to view the full ENC – Individual Results

ME.

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16th April 2018

The Men’s European Nations Cup (ENC) starts on Wednesday 18th April at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande in Southern Spain.

RCG Sotogrande is the permanent home of the ENC and this will be the 12th playing of the event.

It is a 72 hole stroke play Team and Individual competition.

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Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

Field
This year 16 four-man teams (64) will play for a Team prize whilst a total of 72 players will contest the Individual competition. 8 players have been invited by RCG Sotogrande and the Spanish Golf Federation to complete the field.

This year the following players have been selected to represent the three competing home nations: –

England – David HAGUE, Matthew JORDAN, Gian-Marco PETROZZI, Todd CLEMENTS

Ireland – Robin DAWSON, Alex GLEESON, Caolan RAFFERTY, Jonathan YATES

Wales – Ben CHAMBERLAIN, Jake HAPGOOD, Tim HARRY, Thomas WILLIAMS

Of these just Robin Dawson and Alex Gleeson played in the event in 2017. Alex also played in 2016.

Scotland have historically entered a team but with the event being played a little later this year, and therefore clashing with both the Craigmillar Park Open and Battle Trophy, they have chosen not to do so in 2018.

A Women’s ENC takes place alongside the Men’s competition. England and Scotland both competed in this in 2017. However, with this year’s date falling against the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship no home nations are participating in 2018.

Format and Prizes
72 holes of stroke play, with 18 holes played daily, will be contested by all of the players. There is no cut.

In the Team event the best three 18-hole scores from the four players count towards the overall total.

In the case of a tie for 1st place a team member will be nominated and a sudden death play-off will be contested on the 9th hole. Other ties will be determined by a count back of the team score for the last 18, 27, 36, etc. holes.

The Individual prize is awarded to the lowest scoring player. Ties will be broken in line with the Team approach outlined above.

Winning Team members each receive a replica of the Nations Trophy. The Individual champion receives a trophy and a fetching yellow jacket.

Weather Forecast
The forecast looks fine for golf albeit strong easterly winds are forecast throughout the four days. This is likely to cause problems given the numerous water hazards on the course.

Wednesday 18th – Sunny Max. 19°C / Min. 15°C; E 18mph
Thursday 19th – Sunny Max. 19°C / Min. 15°C; E 20mph
Friday 20th – Sunny Max. 18°C / Min. 15°C; E 25mph
Saturday 21st – Sunny with PM Thunderstorms Max. 18°C / Min. 15°C; E 20mph

Venue and Course
Real Club de Golf Sotogrande was opened in 1964 and was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones. One of the best courses in Continental Europe it first held the Spanish Open in 1966, won that year by Roberto de Vicenzo.

In 1970 The Sherry Cup, the precursor of the European Nations Cup, was established. Former Individual winners of this include Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia. (see below for the full list of past Individual winners).

In 1973 a Women’s event started to be played alongside the Men’s.

In 1983 Sotogrande hosted the Spanish Amateur Championship with Jose Maria Olazabel victorious.

Sotogrande was awarded royal patronage by HM King Juan Carlos I in 1994.

Between 1996 and 2001, in tandem with nearby San Roque GC, the course hosted the European Tour’s Qualifying School.

In 2006 The Sherry Cup was rebranded as the European Nations Cup and more recently has become the European Nations Championship played for the Sotogrande Cup.

In 2011, ahead of it’s 50th anniversary, the Club decided to embark upon a major course renovation appointing Roger Rulewich and David Fleury. With the work on greens, bunkering and drainage taking place in 2015 and early 2016 the ENC moved temporarily to the nearby La Reserva Club de Golf for two years. In 2017 the competition returned being played on the renovated course for the first time.

The Black Tee Championship Course at Sotogrande plays 6,492m with a par of 72. The front nine measures 3,163m and the back 3,329m.

Past ENC Winners / 2017 Results

Team Competition

The home nations have an excellent record in the Men’s Team event, both when it was The Sherry Cup and now it’s known as the European Nations Cup.

2017  Wales    2017 ENC Team Results

Wales, represented by David BOOTE, Jack DAVIDSON, Joshua DAVIES and Owen EDWARDS, won the European Nations Cup team competition for the first time in 2017.

Wales’ total of +13 was 11 shots better than second placed Ireland (+24) and 21 shots better than fourth placed Scotland (+34). England (+61) finished a disappointing 12th.

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Wales – l-r Josh Davies, David Boote, Jack Davidson and Owen Edwards (Photo: GUW)

2016  Ireland    2016 ENC Team Results

Ireland European Nations Cup 2016

Ireland – l-r Stuart Grehan, Alex Gleeson, Jack Hume and Dermot McElroy (Photo: GUI)

2015  England
2014  Scotland
2013  England
2012  France
2011  England
2010  England
2009  England
2008  Scotland
2007  Denmark

Past Sherry Cup Team Winners (started 1998)

2006  Spain
2005  Spain
2004  England
2003  England
2002  Wales
2001  England
2000  England
1999  Germany
1998  Spain

Individual Competition

2017  Jack DAVIDSON (Wales)    2017 ENC Individual Results
Jack Davidson won the Individual European Nations Cup title by 4-shots last year. 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. He had won the Spanish International Amateur a few weeks before.

2016  Jack HUME (Ireland)    2016 ENC Individual Results
In winning the Individual Jack Hume played one of the best rounds of amateur golf in the world in 2016 at La Reserva. His 64 in Round 2 was an astonishing 8 shots better than any other player in the field.

2015  Mario Galliano (Spain)
2014  Guido Migliori (Italy)
2013  Adrien Saddier (France)
2012  Robin Kind (The Netherlands)
2011  Julien Brun (France)
2010  Nino Bertasio (Italy)
2009  Sam Hutsby (England)
2008  Shane Lowry (Ireland)
2007  Rory McIlroy (Ireland)

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Rory McIlroy (Photo: RCG Sotogrande)

Past Sherry Cup Individual Winners

2006  Nigel Edwards (Wales)
2005  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
2004  Francesco Molinari (Italy)
2003  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
2002  Lee Harpin (Wales)
2001  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
2000  Gary Wolstenholme (England)
1999  Marcel Siem (Germany)
1998  Sergio Garcia (Spain)
1997  Sergio Garcia (Spain)

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Sergio Gracia (Photo: RCG Sotogrande)

1996  Alvaro Salto (Spain)
1995  José María Zamora (Spain)
1994  Francisco Cea (Spain)
1993  Francisco Valera (Spain)
1992  Frederic Cupillar (France)
1991  Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
1990  Alvaro Prat (Spain)
1989  Diego Borrego (Spain)
1988  Yago Beamonte (Spain)
1987  Yago Beamonte (Spain)
1986  Borja Queipo de Llano (Spain)
1985  José L. Padila (Spain)
1984  John Marks (England)
1983  José L. de Bernardo (Spain)
1982  Borja Queipo de Llano (Spain)
1981  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1980  Jesús López (Spain)
1979  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1978  José L. de Bernardo (Spain)
1977  F. Jiménez (Spain)
1976  Alberto Croze (Italy)
1975  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1974  Veit Pagel (Germany)
1973  Alberto Croze (Italy)
1972  E. de la Riva and J. Gancedo (Spain)
1971  Alberto Croze (Italy)
1970  Henric Adam (England)

ME.

Copyright © 2018, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2016 Results & Reflections

13th August 2016

Ireland won the 2016 Home Internationals after a nail biting 8-7 victory over England on the final day at Nairn Golf Club.

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Ireland with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Kenny Smith)

England had led the match 3-2 after the morning Foursomes but Ireland came out fighting in the afternoon Singles. Early on they appeared to be leading virtually all of the matches. England did well to recover a few of the games but at the end of the day the Irish were able to carry their early momentum through to a crucial 6-4 series win.

Man of the moment was Colm Campbell Jr who birdied the last to secure a narrow 1 hole win over Adam Chapman. Playing in the final Singles it proved to be the crucial winning point.

Please click the link to review the full competition results – 2016 Men’s Home Internationals Results.  [Click on the match results to see the individual game scores]

Ireland’s win was their third consecutive one in the Home Internationals and they will no doubt travel to Moortown GC, England full of confidence next year. Next year’s match will be played between 16-18 August 2017.

Well done to Ireland.

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Here are some additional thoughts on this year’s Home Internationals and the Individual Player performances: –

1) It remains a frustration to me that such an historic and important competition is treated so poorly by the GB&I Unions even after allowance for the crowded amateur golf calendar. The scheduling of the event against next week’s US Amateur Championship left it sadly bereft of 10 of our leading players.

Hosts Scotland, the reigning European Men’s Amateur Team champions, were the most affected, left playing without Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest, Robert MacIntyre and Connor Syme.

Until this is properly resolved the Home Internationals results will to a degree continue to have something of a hollow ring to them.

2) It was pleasing to see five mid-amateur players amongst the ‘positive’ contributors. Colm Campbell (IRE), Barry Hume (SCO), Matthew Clark (SCO), Lee Jones (WAL) and Graeme Robertson (SCO) all showed they remain competitive at this level. Could we have a mid-amateur in our 2017 Walker Cup team ?

3) Ireland’s production line remains strong. Despite losing Paul Dunne, Gary Hurley,  Dermot McElroy, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin in the last year, and not having Jack Hume available, they still won.

Robin Dawson did very well in the Singles – he beat Thomas Williams (WAL) who was unbeaten in his other two games, George Duncan (SCO), the recently crowned Scottish Amateur champion and Jack Yule (ENG) who had a disappointing week but has been playing well this year.

Ireland failed to win a foursomes series all week. However, the JR Galbraith and Colm Campbell foursomes pairing won all of their matches – pretty comfortably too, 3&2 being their ‘worst’ result – and provided a foundation for their own individual performances and the Irish victory.

The Irish player that continues to impress me more and more though is Stuart Grehan who enjoyed another good week. Fingers crossed he stays amateur for another year.

With Kevin Le Blanc, Marc McKinstry, Thomas Mulligan and Mark Power all coming through the ranks the future continues to look bright for Ireland.

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4) England will obviously be disappointed they couldn’t close out yesterday’s winner takes all match against Ireland after winning the Foursomes series.

Ashton Turner played superbly winning all 6 of his matches, pairing up well with James Walker in the foursomes and taking care of Sandy Scott (SCO) 5&3, Evan Griffith (WAL) 3&2 and most impressively Stuart Grehan (IRE) 3&2 in the Singles. Grehan was previously unbeaten in 2016 international Singles games, winning 5 and drawing 1 across the Arnold Palmer Cup, the St. Andrews Trophy and the Home Internationals. Ashton was the only player to achieve the 100% ‘clean sweep’ and was justifiably awarded the Fairstone Player of the Championship award. I wonder if this achievement had anything to do with him not playing in last week’s European Amateur Championship in Estonia, unlike many of the other competitors.

img_9406Ashton Turner – Fairstone Player of the Championship (Photo: Kenny Smith)

Marco Penge, who has been missing in action in recent months, made a welcome return to form with a strong contribution, notably winning all three of his Singles. Hopefully he is now fully back on track.

Marco’s results were indicative of the England team’s week to some degree – players who you would have expected to be leading the way like experienced campaigners Alfie Plant and Dan Brown and young up and comers Will Enefer and Gian-Marco Petrozzi never really got going. It was therefore left to the likes of James Walker, Adam Chapman, Harry Hall and Josh Hilleard (who was unbeaten in his three games) to pick up the points that nearly took England to the title.

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England, with greater strength in depth, suffered less from US Amateur absences than Scotland but I am sure their selectors would still liked to have been able to consider Jamie Bower, Scott Gregory, Bradley Moore and Jack Singh Brar, all of whom were en route to Oakland Hills in Detroit.

5) Scotland, weakened by their inability to select their leading players, put up a valiant fight. All of their matches were tight affairs and their two losses to England and Ireland both came by narrow 8.5-6.5 scorelines.

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Liam Johnston and Jamie Savage formed a successful foursomes pairing, winning two and halving one. Johnston also did well in the Singles, preventing James Walker on Day 1 from subsequently going 100% and beating Owen Edwards on the final afternoon.

Sandy Scott and Calum Fyfe won all three of their foursomes games but surprisingly both could only manage one Singles win each.

Foursome partners Craig Howie and Craig Ross will wonder how they didn’t finish higher up the above table. The answer probably lies in generally playing up the order and as a result of some inconsistency. Both seemed to have their moments before then losing a bit of form.

6) Save for the England game where they were thrashed 11.5-3.5 Wales put up a good fight this year. 8-7 losses to both Ireland and Scotland could easily have gone the other way on another day.

Perhaps if David Boote had been available to them these two losses could have been turned around, making them a real factor in this year’s competition.

On a positive note, the Welsh selectors will take heart from the performances of relative newcomers Thomas Williams and Patrick Mullins.

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This year’s Home Internationals were clearly a really competitive event. With the exception of one match all the results were very close which has to be a good thing for Great British & Irish golf and player development.

It’s now time to see whether those players that missed the competition in Nairn can make an impact on the biggest stage of all – the US Amateur Championship.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.