The European Amateur Championship – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

26th June 2019

Round 1 starts at 8.00am local time (BST + 1)

Click here to view the – 2019 European Amateur Championship Leaderboard

ME.

_____________________________________________

25th June 2019

The 32nd European Amateur Championship starts tomorrow at Diamond Country Club in Austria.

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

Diamond C.C. Aerial View (Photo: golfbreaks.com)

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 29th 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 (1st-1,600th only).

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 2019 South American Amateur champion and the 2019 European Mid-Amateur champion.

Most of the leading European and Great Britain and Irish (GB&I) players will be on show. There are 39 GB&I players in total competing in Austria.

There are 27 of the current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking’s Top 100 in the field. These are Euan WALKER (SCO) #7, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) #12, Jayden SCHAPER (RSA) #13, Conor PURCELL (IRE) #14, Daniel HILLIER (NZE) #15, Blake WINDRED (AUS) #18, Takumi KANAYA (JAP) #22, Harry HALL (ENG) #25, Ben JONES (ENG) #28, Jake BURNAGE (SCO) #29, Tom PLUMB (ENG) #30, TOM SLOMAN (ENG) #31, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) #36, David LANGLEY (ENG) #39, Matthias SCHMID (GER) #42, Keita NAKAJIMA (JAP) #43, Bailey GILL (ENG) #45, Ronan MULLARNEY (IRE) #48, Koen KOUWENAAR (NED) #49, Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) #55, Luca FILIPPI (RSA) # Matty LAMB (ENG) #69, Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) #80, Adrien PENDARIES (ENG) #85, Jack THOMPSON (AUS) #86, Michael HIRMER (GER) #89 and Nathan BARBIERI (AUS) #99

Amateur champion James SUGRUE (IRE) was originally entered in the Golf Union of Ireland squad but withdrawal late last week.

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) had entered but also withdrew last week after missing the cut in the Amateur Championship.

Diamond Country Club

The 2019 Championship is being staged at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, near Vienna in Austria.

Diamond C.C. Boathouse (Photo: golf.at)

The course was designed by Jeremy Pern and plays to 6,819m and a par of 72 off the back tees. It is an American-style parkland course set around a large central lake.

It hosted a European Tour event between 2010 and 2018. In 2018 it held the Shock Clock Masters, where every shot was timed for the first time.

It has staged many EGA competitions most recently the 2017 Men’s European Team Championship which was won by Spain.

Weather Forecast

A hot and sunny week is forecast for Austria and conditions should be very good over the four competition days.

Weds 26th June – Sunny. Wind 7 mph (SE). Min. 23°C / Max. 36°C.
Thurs 27th June – Sunny. Wind 10 mph (NW). Min. 18°C / Max. 32°C.
Fri 28th June – Sunny. Wind 9 mph (NW). Min. 16°C / Max. 28°C.
Sat 29th June – Sunny. Wind 6 mph (NW). Max. 17°C / Min 29°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.

2018 European Amateur Championship

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

img_9392

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

Robin DAWSON (IRE) and Jerry JI (NED) pipped Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) and Mitch WAITE (ENG) to silver and bronze medals respectively, based on a last 36 and 18 hole count back, after all four finished on 282 (-6).

Click here to view the – 2018 European Amateur Championship Results

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.

2019 will be the second occasion Austria have hosted the Championship. To date 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.

Click here to view the – European Amateur Championship Past Winners and Venues

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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 © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

The St. Andrews Links Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results

9th June 2019

Round 4

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) from Saunton G.C. is the 2019 St. Andrews Links Trophy champion.

In a superb performance he recorded a 268 (-20) total and completed a remarkable comeback, having started the day 6 shots back of the leader Matty LAMB (ENG).

Talking to the St. Andrews Links Trust organisers afterwards Jake said “I love this pace that’s for sure. It’s basically my home because I’m a links golfer. It’s nothing new for myself. I forgot about last year (when he finished tied 3rd) and concentrated on doing the job this year. It’s amazing to turnaround and you suddenly see a lot of people behind you. It’s pretty cool. I love a crowd. I’m not scared of one, I’d much prefer to have one than not have one that’s my take on it.”

Burnage rose 96 places to 30th in the updated Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking and as an existing initial squad member now looks a certainty for the GB&I Walker Cup team.

IMG_0941

Jake Burnage and Family (Photo: Burnage Family)

Matty LAMB (ENG) finished 2nd and whilst he will be frustrated there was much to admire in his play this week.

Today’s 36 holes were never going to be a straight forward coronation for Lamb and with conditions much better than originally expected there was always hope for the chasing pack.

Burnage made inroads this morning reducing Lamb’s lead to 3 shots at lunch.

Both players completed the front nine this afternoon in level par, Lamb appearing to be the steadier. However, Burnage then seized the initiative on the 10th with a birdie, reducing Lamb’s lead to 2 shots. The 618 yard par 5 14th proved to be the 2019 Championship’s pivotal hole. Burnage eagled from 10 feet whilst Lamb bogeyed. The three shot swing suddenly put Burnage in the driving seat, now with a 1 shot advantage with four holes to play. A little surprisingly, given the holes in question and the circumstances, both players pared in and the man from Devon was crowned the winner.

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) shot 66 this afternoon to secure 3rd place on 271 (-17). James WILSON (SCO) 67 and Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) 68 also finished strongly to tied for 4th on 275 (-13).

Bailey GILL (ENG) recorded the best Round 4 score. His 65 lifted him up to tied 12th.

fullsizeoutput_370d

The Final Results (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Click here to view the complete – 2019 St Andrews Links Trophy Results

Round 3

The good news for Matty LAMB (ENG) was he shot a solid 69 (-3) in his morning around on the Old Course. Five birdies were offset by a double bogey 6 on the 16th. As a result he continues to lead the St. Andrews Links Trophy on -20 after 54 holes.

The bad news was his nearest challenger Jake BURNAGE (ENG) showed no signs of going away.  The Devonian shot the best round of the remaining 40 players; a 66 (-6) including 7 birdies to move onto -17, now only 3 shots back with 18 holes to play.

fullsizeoutput_3705

Jake Burnage’s Rd 3 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

The final pair are playing some great golf including these two par rescues on the Road Hole – well worth a watch.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) 67, Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) 68 and Josh GREER (AUS) 68 all moved up the leaderboard after good rounds.

ME.

____________________________________________________

8th June 2019

Matty LAMB (ENG) followed yesterday’s 64 (-8) on the Jubilee Course with an even more impressive 63 (-9) on the Old Course today. After a bogey on the relatively straight forward first he produced 10 birdies in his remaining 17 holes, finishing with a back nine of 29.

I assume his 127 (-17) 36 hole total must be a Championship record.

fullsizeoutput_36fa

Matty Lamb’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Conditions were a little better than anticipated with fewer showers and only modest winds all day. There were numerous low scores once again as the links was left relatively defenceless.

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) recorded the second best round of the day with a 64 (-8) to move into 2nd on -11.

Jake Burnage’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

One shot further back are Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Thomas PLUMB (ENG). Rafferty shot a 65 to move himself nicely into the mix whilst Yeovil’s Plumb produced a steadier 70. Both players will start the final day on -10.

fullsizeoutput_36fb

Caolan Rafferty’s Rd 2 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

The top 40 and ties cut fell at 140 (-4) with 40 players progressing to the final day.

Charlie STRICKLAND (ENG) recorded a 66 (-6) on Day 2 to make the cut and deliver the best recovery after his opening 74 (+2).

Colm CAMPBELL (IRE) 68, Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) 68, Casey JARVIS (RSA) 68, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 66, Joe PAGDIN (ENG) 68, Matt ROBERTS (WAL) 66 and Jamie STEWART (SCO) 68 were amongst those to enjoy good scores today. All went down fighting on the Old Course but had simply left themselves too much to do to make the cut.

Nicklas REGNER (AUT) missed the cut on 142 (-2) although he had the consolation of leaving St Andrews having holed his approach on the Old Course’s 18th hole for eagle.

ME.

____________________________________________________

7th June 2019

Round 1 was played on the Jubilee Course. With sunny intervals and just a modest breeze blowing the 6,847 yard course was there for the taking. Many of the competitors were happy to oblige particularly on the front nine which played down wind.

Matty LAMB (ENG) and Tom PLUMB (ENG) both recorded 8 under par 64’s on Day 1 to set a sparkling pace.

Matty Lamb’s Rd 1 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Tom Plumb’s Rd 1 Scorecard (Photo: St Andrews Links Trust / Intelligent Golf)

Alexander FRANCES (DEN), Kyle MICHEL (AUS), Stuart EASTON (SCO), Callum FARR (ENG) and Rowan LESTER (IRE) are all tied 2nd, two shots back of the two leaders, after 66’s (-6).

There were two notable shots in Round 1. Ronan MULLARNEY‘s (IRE) round of 68 (-4) included a hole-in-one on the 192 yard 9th hole while Euan MCINTOSH (SCO) finished his round of 69 in style by holing his approach to the 468 yard 18th.

76 of the 144 players shot an under par score on Day 1 with a further 17 on level par.

36 players scored 69 (-3) or better.

Given the very low scoring today, the forecast of rain for much of tomorrow and the top 40 and ties cut after Round 2 on the Old Course many players will have already played themselves out of the Championship. Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) +3, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) +3, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) +5, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +5 and Matt SAULEZ (RSA) +8 are amongst the more notable names who would appear to have no way back.

ME.

____________________________________________________

6th June 2019

144 golfers from 21 different countries will tee off on Friday 7th June in the 31st St. Andrews Links Trophy.

This event has become one of the ‘Majors’ in men’s amateur golf helped by its venue and timing.

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 played over the St. Andrews Links in early June.

The field is primarily determined by reference to the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) as at 2nd May 2019 and finished off with various National Golf Union and St. Andrews Links Trust nominations.

This year Round 1 will be played on the Jubilee Course – the New Course was used last year – with Round 2 on the Old Course.

Following a top 40 and ties cut on Saturday the leading players will play a final 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 but to the same par.

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 aggregate score.

In the event of a tie a sudden death play-off will be held over holes 1 and 18 on the Old Course.

Ties for other places will be 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

Click here to view the – 2019 St Andrews Links Trophy Rd 1 and Rd 2 Tee Times

The Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) placed the Links Trophy 7th in its 2018 Amateur Tournament Ranking based on the strength of it’s field. It was 8th in the same ranking in 2017.

22 of the 26 members of the 2019 GB&I Walker Cup Squad will be competing at St. Andrews this week.

From the Squad leading contenders Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG), Bailey GILL (ENG), Harry HALL (ENG), Ben JONES (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Tom PLUMB (ENG), Conor PURCELL (IRE), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Tom SLOMAN (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO) will all be looking to cement their places on the GB&I team in front of the watching selectors.

The defending champion John MURPHY (IRE) also returns to Scotland to try and become just the third player to win the Championship twice.

Of the four missing Walker Cup players Sandy SCOTT (SCO) is playing for the International Team at the Arnold Palmer Cup at The Alotian Club in Arkansas whilst Archie DAVIES (WAL), Conor GOUGH (ENG) and Mark POWER (IRE) are all busy with exams.

The attraction of St. Andrews always ensures a strong overseas entry. Blake COLLYER (AUS), Jordan DUMINY (RSA), Adrien DUMONT DE CHASSART (BEL), Mateo FERNANDEZ DE OLIVEIRA (ARG), Falko HANISCH (GER),

Michael HIRMER (GER), Alex HIETALA (FIN), Casey JARVIS (RSA), Jerry JI (NED), Jeong Weon KO (FRA), Charles LARCELET (FRA), Kyle MICHEL (AUS), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Therion NEL (RSA), Wilco NIENABER (RSA), Yurev PREMLALL (RSA), Matt SAULEZ (RSA), Jayden SCHAPER (RSA), Sam SIMPSON (RSA) and Martin VORSTER (RSA) are amongst the most highly rated international entries.

Weather Forecast (as at Tuesday 4th June)

The current weather forecast appears mixed with rain over the weekend and swirling winds throughout.

Friday 8th June – Sunny Intervals. Wind 13 mph SE. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 10°C.
Saturday 9th June – Heavy Rain. Wind 11 mph NE. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 9°C.
Sunday 10th June – Light Rain. Wind 16 mph SW. Temp. Max. 15°C / Min 8°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 proceedings.

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 Championship.

2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy

John MURPHY (IRE) beat Jannik DE BRUYN (GER) on the first play-off hole to win the 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy.

John became the third Irish golfer to win the title following in the footsteps of Alan Dunbar (2009) and Conor O’Rourke (2016).

Both players completed the 72 holes in 278 shots (-9). De Bruyn fired a final round 68 on the Old Course to force the play-off.

img_9294

John Murphy (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust / Kenny Smith Photography)

Jake BURNAGE (ENG) and Haydn BARRON (AUS) finished tied 3rd on 279 (-8), just one shot back.

The two other leading GB&I players were Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) who tied 5th on 280 (-7) and Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) whose 281 (-6) total was good enough for tied 8th.

Click here to view the – 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

Past Winners

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) won in 2017. Click here to view the – 2017 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) won in 2016. Click here to view the – 2016 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results 

Click here to view a full list of the – St Andrews Links Trophy Past Winners

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

The most famous winner is Justin ROSE who won in 1997.

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 Federico ZUCCHETTI from Italy (2015).

Huizing, who had won the 2012 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 © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All Rights Reserved.

Men’s European Nations Championship – 2019 Preview & Results

13th April 2019

Defending champions ENGLAND (+14) retained the European Nations Championship in Spain. Their 878 total was 8 shots better than The Netherlands (+22).

img_0537

Gareth Jenkins (Manager), Tom Plumb, Tom Sloman, Bailey Gill and Ben Jones
(Photos: @EnglandGolf)

IRELAND (+23) were third and WALES (+29), who recorded the lowest final day score (213), were an encouraging 4th. SCOTLAND (+37) had a poor final day and fell to 8th.

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Team Results

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) won the Individual competition with a 294 (+6) total. His final round 77 looked like it would cost him the title but an eagle on 14 and three closing pars ended up being sufficient as other faltered on the challenging Sotogrande course.

img_0536

Tom Sloman (Photos: @Golfing4Life_)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) +8 finished 4th, Euan WALKER (SCO) and Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL) +9 tied 5th and Tom PLUMB (ENG), Jake HAPGOOD (WAL), Bailey GILL (ENG)  and Conor PURCELL (IRE) +10 tied 11th.

Young Archie DAVIES (WAL) became the first player to shoot in the 60’s during the Championship. His final day 69 (-3) included six birdies.

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Individual Results

ME.

______________________________________________

8th April 2019

The Men’s European Nations Championship (ENC) starts on Wednesday 10th April at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande in Southern Spain.

RCG Sotogrande is the permanent home of the ENC and this will be the 13th playing of the event.

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

img_9033

Real Club de Golf Sotogrande

Field
This year 15 four-man teams (60) will play for a Team prize whilst a total of 69 players will contest the Individual competition. 9 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 four competing home nations: –

England – Bailey GILL, Ben JONES, Tom PLUMB, Tom SLOMAN

Ireland – Mark POWER, Conor PURCELL, Caolan RAFFERTY, Rob BRAZILL*

*A late replacement for James SUGRUE who was injured in practice.

Scotland – Kieran CANTLEY, Jim JOHNSTON, Euan MCINTOSH, Euan WALKER

Wales – Ben CHAMBERLAIN, Archie DAVIES, Jake HAPGOOD, Matt ROBERTS

Of these just Ben Chamberlain, Jake Hapgood and Caolan Rafferty played in the event in 2018.

A Women’s ENC also takes place alongside the Men’s competition. Three women teams from England and Scotland are both competing.

Scores

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Tee Times

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Individual Scores

Click here to view the – 2019 ENC Men’s Team Scores

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.

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 in 2017 become known as 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.

Weather Forecast
The forecast looks good albeit as always the winds will be a factor, particularly in the afternoon. This can cause problems given the numerous water hazards on the course.

Wednesday 10th – Sunny Max. 19°C / Min. 10°C; W 16mph
Thursday 11th – Sunny Max. 20°C / Min. 11°C; W 16mph
Friday 12th – Sunny Max. 21°C / Min. 11°C; W 11mph
Saturday 13th – Sunny Max. 23°C / Min. 12°C; SW 10mph

Past ENC Winners / 2018 Results

Team Competition

The home nations have an excellent record in the Men’s Team event.

2018  England     2018 ENC Team Results

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.

Of the other competing home nations Ireland finished second on 873 (+9) and Wales 11th on 910 +46. Scotland didn’t play in 2018.

img_9075

England – l-r Gareth Jenkins (Manager), David Hague, Gian-Marco Petrozzi, Todd Clements, Graham Walker (Coach) and Matthew Jordan (Photo: Graham Walker)

2017  Wales    2017 ENC Team Results

img_7370-2

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

2018  Todd CLEMENTS (England)    2018 ENC Individual Results
Todd 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.

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)

img_5738

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)

img_5737

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 © 2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Men’s Home Internationals – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

14th September 2018

ENGLAND won the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals beating IRELAND 9 – 6 in today’s championship match.

img_0031

England celebrate with the Raymond Trophy (Photo: Wales Golf)

Here is a summary of the final results from this year’s tournament: –

img_0028

Final Results – 2018 Men’s Home Internationals (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox)

In the ENGLAND v. IRELAND match today the foursomes were shared 2.5 – 2.5 but in the afternoon England pulled away with some impressive singles victories.

The highlights were Andrew WILSON’s 7&6 win over the previously unbeaten Conor PURCELL and Mitch WAITE’s 2 Holes win over Robin DAWSON, both of which set the foundation for their team to build on.

img_0029

Ireland v. England Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

David HAGUE (ENG) and Tiarnan MCLARNON (IRE) both finished the tournament with 100% records, winning all 6 of their games. Tom PLUMB (ENG) was also unbeaten, winning four of his games and halving two of his foursomes.

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 19.27.37

Host nation WALES once again fell the wrong side of the thin line that sometimes separates winning and losing. Today Scotland edged them out 8 – 7.

Scotland won the foursomes 4 -1 in the morning but were made to work hard for the additional four single wins they needed in the afternoon.

img_0024

Scotland v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

Whilst it was tough going for SCOTLAND and WALES for most of the week it was possible for some of their individuals to shine.

Euan WALKER was outstanding for Scotland winning five of his six games.

Likewise Paddy MULLINS did well for Wales and can be particularly pleased with his two singles wins.

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 18.15.24

Click here to view the full – 2018 Men’s Home Internationals Results
– click the match score to see the individual games and the game score to view the hole by hole scores.

ME.

_________________________________________________

13th September 2018

IRELAND beat WALES 11.5 – 5.5 on Day 2 of the Men’s Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club.

The morning foursomes went the way of the Irish 3.5 – 1.5 albeit the Robbie CANNON / JAMES SUGRUE pairing needed a birdie on the 18th to secure a half in their match so the overall series scoreline could have been closer.

Ireland won the singles 6 – 4 with Conor PURCELL, Caolan RAFFERTY and Peter O’KEEFFE (all 4&3) enjoying their biggest wins.

However, the best performance of this match arguably fell to Welshman Jake HAPGOOD. He beat in form Robin DAWSON 4&3 with both players blitzing Conwy’s back nine. Jake recorded four birdies and two eagles between the 7th and 15th holes to unsurprisingly take the game.

img_0015

Ireland v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

In the second match of Day 2 ENGLAND narrowly beat SCOTLAND 8 – 7.

After the morning foursomes, which England won 4 – 1, it appeared the Scots could be in for another heavy defeat.

However, Scotland showed great heart to run out 6 – 4 winners of the singles series. Ryan LUMSDEN, Euan WALKER, Kieran CANTLEY, Stephen RODGER, Jeff WRIGHT and James WILSON were all victorious in the afternoon.

At the end of the day England won the match and that’s all that matters – unless like last year the two leading nations draw again ! The four single wins they enjoyed were all comprehensive and as such after their dominant foursomes performance there was never really a feeing that an upset might be in the air.

img_0018

Scotland v. England Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

_________________________________________________

12th September 2018

IRELAND beat SCOTLAND 11.5 – 3.5 in the opening game of the 2018 Men’s Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club.

Ireland won the morning foursomes 4 – 1. Most of the matches tipping their way due to some exceptional play on the back nine by their four final pairings. Scotland’s Euan MCINTOSH and Ryan LUMSDEN provided the only resistance in game 1.

The Irish carried their momentum into the afternoon series too winning the singles 7.5 – 2.5. Robin DAWSON (5&3), Jonathan YATES (5&4) and Tiarnon MCLARNON (4&3) enjoyed the biggest wins.

img_0006

Ireland v. Scotland Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ENGLAND overcame a stubborn WALES 11.5 – 3.5 in the second match on Day 1. As you can see below the games were generally closer than in match 1 and the margin of victory somewhat flatters England who were made to work hard for many of their points.

The morning foursomes were halved 2.5 – 2.5 with Welsh pairing Matt ROBERTS and Paddy MULLINS enjoying the biggest victory of the series, 5&3.

ENGLAND composed themselves in the afternoon and in the end won nine of the ten singles. Ben JONES won his match 4&3 but otherwise the games were tight affairs. Paddy MULLINS maintained his unbeaten personal record by recording the sole singles win for the hosts.

img_0009

England v. Wales Results (Photo: Wales Golf / Golfbox Scoring)

ME.

_________________________________________________

9th September 2018

The 2018 Men’s Home Internationals will be contested at Conwy Golf Club in Wales between 12th and 14th September.

IRELAND will travel to North Wales hoping to win the Raymond Trophy for a fifth consecutive year.

img_9980

Conwy Golf Club (Photo: Golfing Wales)

The Competition

11-man teams from ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND and WALES play against each other annually, taking it in turns to the host the event.

Over three days all of the countries play each other once. There are five foursomes and ten singles match play games in each series.

The winner is the country with the highest number of match points. 1 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a half and 0 for a loss. Ties are resolved by considering the number of individual game points secured in the three matches played.

2018 Players

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

I have also included the current Team (total) and Individual Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings (SPWAR) below.

ENGLAND – Team SPWAR 1,432
Jack BURNAGE (93)
Bailey GILL (176)
David HAGUE (99)
Ben JONES (105)
David LANGLEY (169)
Joe LONG (201)
Tom PLUMB (147)
Nick POPPLETON (190)
Tom SLOMAN (64)
Mitch WAITE (40)
Andrew WILSON (148)

IRELAND – Team SPWAR = 3,300
Robbie CANNON (908)
Robin DAWSON (14)
Alex GLEESON (122)
Tiarnan MCLARNON (406)
Ronan MULLARNEY (265)
Peter O’KEEFFE (354)
Mark POWER (240)
Conor PURCELL (37)
Colin RAFFERTY (82)
James SUGRUE (374)
Jonathan YATES (498)

img_8282

The Raymond Trophy (Photo: Ayrshire Golf Blog)

SCOTLAND – Team SPWAR = 3,620
Kieran CANTLEY (448)
Matthew CLARK (483)
Stuart EASTON (187)
Calum FYFE (259)
Jim JOHNSTON (562)
Ryan LUMSDEN (80)
Euan MCKINTOSH (156)
Stephen ROGER (406)
Euan WALKER (113)
James WILSON (227)
Jeff WRIGHT (699)

WALES – Team SPWAR = 13,944
Oliver BROWN (2,041)
Ben CHAMBERLAIN (976)
Archie DAVIES (981)
Jacob DAVIES (1,438)
Jake HAPGOOD (395)
Kieron HARMAN (1,698)
Paddy MULLINS (1,572)
Matt ROBERTS (797)
Lewys SANGES (1,095)
Gaelan TREW (2,217)
Tom WILLIAMS (734)

Just 14 of the 44 players competed last year at Moortown. England have 8 new players in their 2018 line up, Ireland 6, Scotland 9 and Wales 7.

I think ENGLAND have got to start as slight favourites this year but I certainly wouldn’t bet against IRELAND making it five in a row.

Venue – Conwy Golf Club

Founded in 1890 the Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club is the third oldest club in Wales.

The course was originally laid out by Jack Harris with more recent alterations completed by Frank Pennink.

One of the best links courses in Great Britain it has hosted many amateur and professional tournaments in the past. It’s next big appointment is the Curtis Cup match which it will stage in 2020.

img_9978

Conwy Golf Club Scorecard (Photos: Conwy Golf Club)

The courses measures 6,936 yards from the Blue Championship tees, playing to a par of 72. It is relatively flat with it’s exposed coastal position meaning the prevailing westerly wind is always a major factor particularly as the design has holes going in all directions.

img_9979

Conwy Golf Club Course Map (Photos: Conwy Golf Club)

2018 Weather Forecast (as at 9.00am Sunday 9th September)
Wed. 12th Sept. – Light Rain / Temp. Min 9º / Max 15º / Wind 11mph NW
Thurs. 13th Sept. – Sunny / Temp. Min 10º / Max 16º / Wind 11mph W
Fri 14th Sept. – Cloudy / Temp. Min 11º / Max 16º / Wind 15mph SW

2017 Men’s Home Internationals

IRELAND won the 2017 Men’s Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds.

They secured the Raymond Trophy after halving the deciding match with ENGLAND 7.5 – 7.5. This was good enough for the Irish to pip the home nation by a half point in total match points earned, 26.5 against 26.0.

The win was a record breaking fourth consecutive victory in the event for the men in green.

img_8391-1

The 2017 Ireland Team (Photo: Leaderboard Photography) 

WALES beat SCOTLAND 9.5 – 5.5 on the final day to consign the Scots to the wooden spoon.

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

Here is the final Points Table with the ‘Countback’ information at the bottom: –

img_8385-1

2017 Men’s Home Internationals Points Table (Photo: England Golf Event Microsite)

Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) and Josh HILLEARD (ENG) delivered the best individual records during the week, both winning five of their six games.

ME.

Copyright © 2018, 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.