The Open Championship – 2018 Final Qualifying

3rd July 2018

Scotland’s Sam LOCKE saved the day for GB&I amateur golf at Final Qualifying today. Rounds of 69 and 66 helped the Stonehaven man to medalist honours on 135 (-7) at The Renaissance and a place in The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links.

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(l-r) Thomas Curtis, Sam Locke and Grant Forrest (Photo: @Renaissancegc)

With only 3 qualifying places available from each site it was always going to be a big ask for any amateur to come through. It’s therefore a great achievement for Sam who had been exempted into Final Qualifying as the reigning Scottish Closed Amateur champion. He was also rewarded by a 105 place jump in the SPWAR to 140th.

Other notable amateur performances came from David HAGUE ENG (T6), Alex FITZPATRICK ENG (T6) and Jake BURNAGE ENG (T9) at Hollinwell, Ryan LUMSDEN SCO (T4) at Prince’s, Joshua MCMAHON ENG (T8) and Ben HUTCHINSON ENG (T8) at St. Annes Old Links and Eugenio LOPEZ-CHACARRA ESP (T5) at The Renaissance. All ‘came close but no cigar’.

There were 72 amateurs amongst the 288 players contesting today’s four 36 hole Final Qualifying events. 59 of them came through Regional Qualifying whilst 13 were granted exemptions.

Links to the final results are provided below, along with a list of all of the qualifiers from each site and every amateur performance.

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NOTTS G.C. (HOLLINWELL)Results
72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. TURNER, Ashton – Kenwick Park 72 66 (-6)
2. WILSON, Oliver – Unattatched 72 69 (-3)
3. ENOCH, Rhys – Truro 72 70 (-2)

Amateur Results
T6. HAGUE, David (A) – Malton & Norton 68 76 (Ev)
T6. FITZPATRICK, Alex (A) – Hallamshire 73 71 (Ev)
T9. BURNAGE, Jake (A) – Saunton 69 76 (+1)
T15. WILSON, Andrew (A) – Darlington 72 75 (+3)
T19. BROOKS, Jack (A) – The Mere 76 72 (+4)
T19. MCKENZIE, Billy (A) – Rowlands Castle 73 75 (+4)
T24. HAWKSBY, Jack (A) – The Millbrook 75 74 (+5)
T24. SLOMAN, Thomas (A) – Taunton & Pickeridge 72 77 (+5)
T24. WOODCOCK, Lee (A) – The Leicestershire 72 77 (+5)
T28. BROADHURST, Sam (A) – Atherstone 74 76 (+6)
T31. ABBOTT, Chris (A) – Lutterworth 78 73 (+7)
T31. FARRELL, Oliver (A) – Evesham 74 77 (+7)
T43. TREW, Gaelan (A) – Wentworth 74 79 (+9)
T50. HUSSAIN, Haider (A) – The Kendleshire 84 71 (+11)
T50. NEVIN, Rhys (A) – Hartford 78 77 (+11)
T56. HAPGOOD, Jake (A) – Southerndown 81 78 (+15)
59. SHIN, Timothy (A) – Castle Royle 79 82 (+17)
60. MACARTHUR, Freddie (A) – Ullesthorpe Court 83 83 (+22)
62. WINTER, Adam (A) – Woburn 83 91 (+30)
WD. FIRTH, Benjamin (A) – Leeds Golf Centre 81 WD

PRINCE’S G.C.Results
72 players / 17 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. LEWIS, Tom – Welwyn Garden City 72 68 (-4)
2. MAGNUS, Haraldur – Iceland 72 70 (-2)
3. GOOSEN, Retief – South Africa 71 72 (-1)

Amateur Results
T4. LUMSDEN, Ryan (A) – Royal Wimbledon 76 68 (Ev)
T16. BURNS, Liam (A) – Chislehurst 77 72 (+5)
T16. NILEHN, Fredrik (A) – Sweden 75 74 (+5)
T23. BAUCHOU, Zachary (A) – USA 77 73 (+6)
T23. DAWSON, Robin (A) – Tramore 75 75 (+6)
T23. HALL, Harry (A) – West Cornwall 74 76 (+6)
T31. DYER, Jack (A) – Rochford Hundred 80 72 (+8)
T31. BYERS, Harvey (A) – Walton Heath 78 74 (+8)
T33. HOVLAND, Viktor (A) – Norway 81 72 (+9)
T33. GENNINGS, George (A) – Thorndon Park 75 78 (+9)
T41. SHERREARD, Tom (A) – Kings Hill 76 79 (+11)
T44. TAPLIN, Daniel (A) – Chartham Park 80 76 (+12)
T44. LEONARD, Eoin (A) – Wentworth 79 77 (+12)
T55. MULLAN, Sean (A) – Wentworth 84 78 (+18)
60. RUDGE, Charlie (A) – South Herts 80 86 (+22)
61. RILEY-BOURNE, Daniel (A) – The Essex 83 85 (+24)
RTD. ORTIZ, Alvaro (A) – Mexico 79 RTD

ST. ANNES OLD LINKS – Results
72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. ROBINSON, James – Southport & Ainsdale 67 65 (-12)
T2. SENIOR, Jack – Carus Green 68 66 (-10) 
T2. ARMITAGE, Marcus – Howley Hall 65 69 (-10)

Amateur Results
T8. MCMAHON, Joshua (A) – Wallasey 71 70 (-3)
T8. HUTCHINSON, Ben (A) – Howley Hall 70 71 (-3)
T14. ROBINSON, James (A) – Redditch 75 67 (-2)
T14. SUGRUE, James (A) – Mallow 75 67 (-2)
T19. HESSING, Rick (A) – Netherlands 74 69 (-1)
T19. BANNAN, Joseph (A) – The Manchester 72 71 (-1)
T27. JORDAN, Matthew (A) – Royal Liverpool 76 68 (Ev)
T27. BARROW, Callan (A) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes 74 70 (Ev)
T27. BOWE, William (A) – Workington 71 73 (Ev)
T34. NEWTON, James (A) – Prestbury 69 77 (+2)
T43. PLUMB, Thomas (A) – Yeovil 73 76 (+5)
T49. SIDDLE, Ashley (A) – Rossendale 74 76 (+6)
T49. KELLY, Luke (A) – Ashton Under Lyme 71 79 (+6)
T52. LONG, Joe (A) – Lansdown 75 76 (+7)
T52. AINSCOUGH, Jack (A) – Hartlepool 72 79 (+7)
T57. GOODMAN, Paul (A) – Huyton & Prescot 78 74 (+8)
T57. SUTTIE, Jack (A) – Denton 78 74 (+8)
T57. CARROLL, John (A) – Huyton & Prescot 77 75 (+8)
T62. SHUCKSMITH, William (A) – Alwoodley 77 76 (+9)
66. ROGERS, Luke (A) – Kidderminster 79 81 (+16)

THE RENAISSANCE CLUB Results
72 players / 15 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

Qualifiers
1. LOCKE, Sam (A) – Stonehaven 69 66 (-7)
2. FORREST, Grant – Craigelaw 67 69 (-6)
3. CURTIS, Thomas – Unattached 68 69 (-5)

Amateur Results
T5. LOPEZ-CHACARRA, Eugenio (A) – Spain 67 73 (-2)
T25. CAHILL, Ryan (A) – Mill Ride 72 74 (+4)
T25. DODDS, William (A) – Stonehaven 69 77 (+4)
T31. PLUMB, Alasdair (A) – Chelmsford 73 74 (+5)
T48. LAW, Tom (A) – Broome Manor 77 74 (+9)
T48. BEST, Ben (A) – Rathmore 74 77 (+9)
T48. NESBIT, Gavin (A) – Boldon 73 78 (+9)
T48. SIDDELL, Aaron (A) – Castle Royle 73 78 (+9)
T54. UNDERWOOD, Kyle (A) – Australia 76 76 (+10)
T54. FAIRBURN, Simon (A) – Torwoodlee 74 78 (+10)
T59. GREEN, Christopher (A) – Cleakheaton & District 78 77 (+13)
64. ROGERS, Alistair (A) – Grange 77 81 (+16)
T65. HAIN, Alistair (A) – St. Andrews 80 79 (+17)
T65. BLAIR, Stuart (A) – Royal Musselburgh 74 85 (+17)

ME.

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The Open Championship Website Links – Home Page and Final Qualifying Live Reporting.

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ME.

30th June 2018 (Updated 1st July 2018)

Final Qualifying for the 2018 Open Championship will take place on Tuesday 3rd July at four courses across Great Britain.

The qualifying venues are Notts G.C. (Hollinwell), Prince’s G.C., St. Annes Old Links and The Renaissance Club.

There are currently three amateurs in The Open Championship field. These are: –
The Amateur Champion for 2018 – Jovan REBULA (RSA);
The Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion 2017 – Lin YUXIN (CHI); and
The European Amateur Championship 2018 – Nicolai HOJGAARD (DEN).

Doc REDMAN (USA), the 2017 U.S. Amateur Champion, and Joaquin NIEMANN (CHL), winner of the 2017 Mark H. McCormack Medal (Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking No. 1 in August 2017) have both turned pro and therefore foregone their exemptions.

Final Qualifying represents the last roll of the dice for the Great British and Irish amateur fraternity. There are 72 amateurs competing out of a total field of 288 players, with 65 of them coming from GB&I. 13 amateurs were exempt straight into Final Qualifying. With 12 places available hopefully one of them can come through for me.

Regional Qualifying

143 players initially progressed from the 13 Regional Qualifying events on Monday 25th June with 40 amateurs amongst them.

Following withdrawals from Final Qualifying around 55 Reserves have now also been brought forward from the Regionals. Within this number are another 19 amateurs.

For more information on this first stage please read my earlier report – ‘The Open Championship – 2018 Regional Qualifying’.

Final Qualifying

36 holes of stroke play golf will be played by each competitor in Final Qualifying.

287 players, including 66 amateurs, have been allocated evenly to the four venues.

The three leading players at each of theses events will advance to the Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie Golf Links on 15th – 22nd July.

Any ties for the last qualifying places in each competition will be resolved by a hole by hole play-off at the end of play.

As always 156 players will contest The Open itself, with the majority of these already being exempted into the field.

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Carnoustie Golf Links (Photo: http://www.execgolf-leaisure.com)

Amateur Players / Tee Times

Here is a list of the four Final Qualifying events with all of the amateur entries (in tee time order) noted.

All tee times at Hollinwell will be off the 1st whilst the other three venues will be utilising their 1st and 10th tees.

NOTTS G.C. (HOLLINWELL)Tee Times

72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

06.40 / 12.10 SHIN, Timothy (A) – Castle Royle
07.00 / 12.30 HAWKSBY, Jack (A) – The Millbrook
07.10 / 12.40 FARRELL, Oliver (A) – Evesham
07.20 / 12.50 MACARTHUR, Freddie (A) – Ullesthorpe Court
07.55 / 13.25 WOODCOCK, Lee (A) – The Leicestershire
08.05 / 13.35 TREW, Gaelan (A) – Wentworth
08.15 / 13.45 BURNAGE, Jake (A) – Saunton
08.25 / 13.55 HAPGOOD, Jake (A) – Southerndown
08.25 / 13.55 WINTER, Adam (A) – Woburn
08.40 / 14.10 HUSSAIN, Haider (A) – The Kendleshire
08.50 / 14.20 NEVIN, Rhys (A) – Hartford
09.00 / 14.30 WILSON, Andrew (A) – Darlington
09.20 / 14.50 MCKENZIE, Billy (A) – Rowlands Castle
09.30 / 15.00 FITZPATRICK, Alex (A) – Hallamshire
09.45 / 15.15 BROOKS, Jack (A) – The Mere
09.55 / 15.25 ABBOTT, Chris (A) – Lutterworth
10.05 / 15.35 HAGUE, David (A) – Malton & Norton
10.15 / 15.45 SLOMAN, Thomas (A) – Taunton & Pickeridge
10.25 / 15.55 BROADHURST, Sam (A) – Atherstone
10.35 / 16.05 FIRTH, Benjamin (A) – Leeds Golf Centre

PRINCE’S G.C.Tee Times

72 players / 17 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

07.10 / 12.55 HALL, Harry (A) – West Cornwall
07.10 / 12.55 TAPLIN, Daniel (A) – Chartham Park
07.20 / 13.05 ORTIZ, Alvaro (A) – Mexico
07.20 / 13.05 MULLAN, Sean (A) – Wentworth
07.30 / 13.15 BAUCHOU, Zachary (A) – USA
07.40 / 13.25 RILEY-BOURNE, Daniel (A) – The Essex
07.40 / 13.25 DYER, Jack (A) – Rochford Hundred
07.50 / 13.35 NILEHN, Fredrik (A) – Sweden
08.05 / 13.50 DAWSON, Robin (A) – Tramore
08.15 / 14.00 BURNS, Liam (A) – Chislehurst
08.25 / 14.10 LEONARD, Eoin (A) – Wentworth
08.25 / 14.10 RUDGE, Charlie (A) – South Herts
08.35 / 14.20 SHERREARD, Tom (A) – Kings Hill
08.45 / 14.30 GENNINGS, George (A) – Thorndon Park
08.45 / 14.30 HOVLAND, Viktor (A) – Norway
08.45 / 14.30 BYERS, Harvey (A) – Walton Heath
08.55 / 14.40 LUMSDEN, Ryan (A) – Royal Wimbledon

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ST. ANNES OLD LINKSTee Times

72 players / 20 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

07.10 / 12.55 ROGERS, Luke (A) – Kidderminster
07.10 / 12.55 SIDDLE, Ashley (A) – Rossendale
07.20 / 13.05 GOODMAN, Paul (A) – Huyton & Prescot
07.20 / 13.05 AINSCOUGH, Jack (A) – Hartlepool
07.30 / 13.15 MCMAHON, Joshua (A) – Wallasey
07.30 / 13.15 BOWE, William (A) – Workington
07.40 / 13.25 SUGRUE, James (A) – Mallow
07.50 / 13.35 SHUCKSMITH, William (A) – Alwoodley
07.50 / 13.35 CARROLL, John (A) – Huyton & Prescot
07.50 / 13.35 HESSING, Rick (A) – Netherlands
08.15 / 14.00 BANNAN, Joseph (A) – The Manchester
08.15 / 14.00 HUTCHINSON, Ben (A) – Howley Hall
08.25 / 14.10 JORDAN, Matthew (A) – Royal Liverpool
08.25 / 14.10 NEWTON, James (A) – Prestbury
08.35 / 14.20 PLUMB, Thomas (A) – Yeovil
08.35 / 14.20 ROBINSON, James (A) – Redditch
08.35 / 14.20 BARROW, Callan (A) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes
08.45 / 14.30 KELLY, Luke (A) – Ashton Under Lyme
08.55 / 14.40 LONG, Joe (A) – Lansdown
08.55 / 14.40 SUTTIE, Jack (A) – Denton

THE RENAISSANCE CLUBTee Times

71 players / 15 amateurs / 3 qualifying places

07.00 / 12.45 NESBIT, Gavin (A) – Boldon
07.10 / 12.55 GREEN, Christopher (A) – Cleakheaton & District
07.20 / 13.05 HAIN, Alistair (A) – St. Andrews
07.20 / 13.05 BLAIR, Stuart (A) – Royal Musselburgh
07.30 / 13.15 CAHILL, Ryan (A) – Mill Ride
07.50 / 13.35 ROGERS, Alistair (A) – Grange
07.50 / 13.35 LOPEZ-CHACARRA, Eugenio (A) – Spain
08.15 / 14.00 FAIRBURN, Simon (A) – Torwoodlee
08.15 / 14.00 BEST, Ben (A) – Rathmore
08.25 / 14.10 LOCKE, Sam (A) – Stonehaven
08.25 / 14.10 DODDS, William (A) – Stonehaven
08.35 / 14.20 LAW, Tom (A) – Broome Manor
08.45 / 14.30 UNDERWOOD, Kyle (A) – Australia
08.55 / 14.40 PLUMB, Alasdair (A) –
08.55 / 14.40 SIDDELL, Aaron (A) – Castle Royle

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For more information on the Low Amateur prize at The Open Championship you may like to take a look at an article I wrote earlier this year – ‘The Open Championship’s Silver Medal’.

ME.

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

The European Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

30th June 2018

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Click here to view the – 2017 European Amateur Championship Results

Click here to view the – 2016 European Amateur Championship Results

History

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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

The Amateur Championship – 2018 Preview, Reports & Results

Saturday 23rd June 2018

Jovan REBULA (RSA) is the 2018 Amateur champion.

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

He is the first South African winner since Bobby Cole in 1966 and can now look forward to playing in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie Links, the 2019 Masters at Augusta National and the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

He beat Robin DAWSON, 22, (IRE) 3&2 in today’s 36 hole Final at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

Following his win 20 year old Jovan spoke to The R&A: “It’s unreal. It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but its an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different.

“I’m shattered. It’s been a long week and especially today. I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me.

“I had my friend Matt (Saulez) on the bag and he has been unbelievable for me this week. He’s been the foundation to me, keeping me calm, and we just have an awesome time out there. It’s just so much fun.”

It was cloudy with a modest north westerly breeze blowing when the morning round started at 8.30am; conditions which remained throughout the day, save for a slight increase in the wind speed later in the day.

Here’s The R&A film of the opening tee shots.

Both players made a steady start halving the first five holes. The South African then birdied 6 before being gifted 7 and 8 when Dawson bogeyed. The remainder of the morning round was up and down with Rebula eventually taking a 1-Up lead into lunch.

A poor front nine in the afternoon round by Dawson allowed Rebula to extend his lead to 5-Up by the turn. Both players settled and halved the opening three holes of the back nine in par. Then the nerves seemed to kick in particularly for the South African whose mind may have started to wander given his strong position. Double bogeys on the 13th and 15th gave Dawson some encouragement.

However, hopes of a big turnaround over the last few holes like last year were quickly extinguished on 16 when Rebula got up and down from a green side bunker to close out the match 3&2.

Here are the full hole by hole scores from today’s Final.

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Jovan Rebula v. Robin Dawson Final Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Final Scores

With Wilco NIENABER also winning the Stroke Play Qualifying the Championship proved to be a very successful one for the South African’s.

It was the fifth time a South African had made the Final but just the second time they had claimed the Gold Medal: –
2014 – Zander Lombard Lost 2&1
1997 – Trevor Immelman Lost 3&2
1988 – Ben Fouchee Lost 1 Hole
1980 – David Suddards Lost 4&3
1966 – Bobby Cole Won 3&2

It wasn’t long before his Uncle Ernie passed on his congratulations to Jovan too.

ME.

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Friday 22nd June 2018

Playing conditions proved to be far more amenable today. Whilst cloudy, with temperatures struggling to rise above 13°C, the north westerly wind was much more manageable at 15mph.

Semi Finals

Jovan REBULA (RSA) beat Mitch WAITE (ENG) 6&4. Waite has enjoyed a very good year and Championship but like compatriot Tom Sloman this morning was unable to find his game in this afternoon’s semi final. Rebula was again not made to work very hard for his victory.

Rebula, the 20 year old nephew of Ernie Els, plays for Auburn University in Alabama and finished tied 21st in the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship in late May. He joined up with the South African touring party for the recent St. Andrews Links Trophy but missed the cut by 1-shot.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Jovan said: “My game was really solid and I kept the ball in play all day. I took advantage on the holes you need to attack, played it clever out there and I’ve got a good feel of the golf course at this stage. I’m honestly having so much fun. I’m not even looking at my opponents beforehand. I just take it easy and spend time with my mates. They’ve been a great support structure. Also, they keep me motivated and it’s awesome having one of my good friends (Matt Saulez) on the bag too. I’ve been working hard towards this so being able to reach the final is such a big thing and hopefully I can take it a step further tomorrow.”

Tomorrow he will play Robin DAWSON in the 36 hole Final over the Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen G.C., their match starting at 8.30am.

Dawson was too good for Conor PURCELL this afternoon winning 3&2. Purcell handed Dawson the initiative with bogeys on the 1st and 3rd and despite fighting all the way to the end couldn’t get close to his fellow Irishman.

Speaking to The R&A afterwards Robin said:“It feels good. I’m somewhat relieved to make it this far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m a bit tired now so it’ll be good to get a good sleep tonight and get set for tomorrow. Today was great but it wasn’t easy (playing against fellow countrymen). They are both good friends of mine from being in Ireland teams in the past but we had a couple of good friendly matches out there today. It was nice. I had a good strategy in place and was just hitting decent shots. My swing was good and I was in my own little world at times out there, which was great. To get the chance to play in one major, never mind three, is great. I would love that opportunity but there is still a lot of golf to play tomorrow.”

Dropping very few shots in his two matches today Robin should go in to the Final with great confidence. The winner of the Irish Amateur in May is seemingly in complete control of his game.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Semi Final Results

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Quarter Finals

The Quarter Finals started at 8.15am with Tom SLOMAN (ENG) taking on Jovan REBULA (RSA) in Match 1. Unfortunately it proved to be a game too far for Sloman who will be disappointed that he didn’t make the South African work harder for his 2&1 victory. Neither player was at their best this morning in a poor quality affair.

England’s other quarter finalist Mitch WAITE faired better beating Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) 3&2. As is becoming the norm for Waite it was far from straight forward. He was 3-Up after 7, before slipping to AS after 12 and then recovering to win comfortably on the 16th.

Conor PURCELL recorded an eagle and 4 birdies in a great 3&2 win over David MICHELUZZI (AUS). Micheluzzi, the highest ranked player left in the field, was simply unable to live with the Irishman’s superb play in the middle of their match.

In perhaps the highest quality Quarter Final Robin DAWSON overcame fellow Irishman John MURPHY 2&1. The Waterford man had the upper hand throughout but was certainly made to work hard for the win.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship Quarter Final Results

ME.

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Thursday 21st June 2018

It was a dry but cool day in Aberdeen, temperatures not rising much above 13°C. The wind was the big story. Like yesterday it was primarily from the north west but today it consistently blew at 25mph with occasional gusts reported of up to 45mph.

This made playing conditions particularly challenging. With hole-by-hole scoring now available (click the score or result in the middle of each game to reveal) it was clear to see how tough the links played today.

Round 4

Round 4 proved to be the end of the line for Wilco NIENABER (RSA). In a tight match where neither player led by more than 1 hole Tom SLOMAN (ENG) was handed a 1-Up win when the 18 year old South African missed a relatively short par putt on the last hole.

Fellow South African Jovan REBULA was behind for virtually all of his match before two bogeys on the last two holes by Ben HUTCHINSON ensured there would be Boks representation in the Quarter Finals. Rebula won by 1 hole.

Match 3 arguably proved to be the most exciting in the last 16 with Bristol’s Mitch WAITE attempting to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory before thankfully saving the day against Timo VAHLENKAMP. As you can see from the scorecard below the German made a strong comeback over the last 8 holes but a three putt on the 19th meant it was all in vein.

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Mitch Waite v. Timo Vahlenkamp Rd 4 Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) again didn’t have to work very hard to progress. Luca FILIPPI (RSA) struggled this afternoon and easily fell to a 4&3 defeat.

Conor PURCELL (IRE) was the first of three Irish to make the last 8 at The Amateur Championship. The Charlotte 49ers via Dublin golfer reeled off five birdies in 6 holes from the 11th to blow away Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE).

Robin DAWSON was next up. He beat Elis SVÄRD 6&5 as the relatively inexperienced Swede finally bowed out having enjoyed a very good Championship.

John MURPHY, who seems to have transformed himself into a world beater in the last two weeks, was the third Irishman to make it through to the Quarter Finals. He beat a clearly out of sorts Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) 6&5.

Murphy talking to The R&A afterwards said: “I feel a lot more confident coming off the back of winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy. I feel I can win against the top ranked players in the world and I don’t think I would have felt that way without the victory last week. I’m feeling good and every part of my game is clicking. I was the 14th Reserve so when I got the call to say I was playing here at Balgownie I was delighted.”

There were a number of one sided matches this afternoon as perhaps the physical and mental exertions of the last four days started to affect some of the remaining competitors.

In the other last 16 game David MICHELUZZI played well to beat Paul PEREDA (MEX) 5&4. The experienced Australian seems to be making very comfortable progress, largely under the radar, and must now be one of the favourites for the title.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 4 Results

Round 3

The highlight of this morning’s golf was the final match, played between relatively unknown Tom FORSTER (ENG) and WAGR Number 5 Viktor HOVLAND (NOR).

Forster, who is studying in the USA at NCAA Division II college Carson-Newman, is clearly not a respecter of reputations as he gave Hovland, one of the star players at Oklahoma State, the 2018 NCAA Division I champions, a game to remember.

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Tom Forster v. Viktor Hovland Rd 3 Scoreboard (Photo: R&A / Golfbox Scoring)

As you can see from the above scoreboard Forster led 4-Up after 13 holes, Hovland in all kinds of trouble in the wind. Thankfully the Norwegian recovered his senses just in time and with a little help from an increasingly nervous Forster escaped with a 1 hole victory.

Round 3 started at 7.30am with Wilco NIENABER (RSA) playing US-based Perry COHEN (SUI) in Match 1. The stroke play medalist started well and quickly built a 3-Up lead after 8 holes. However, some loose play around the turn and improvement by Cohen saw the match All Square with just the 18th to play. In the end a par down the last was good enough to secure the win for the South African protégé.

Tom SLOMAN (ENG) enjoyed a tight match with Jeff WRIGHT (SCO). A bogey on the 17th by the battling Scotsman finally letting in the big man from Somerset, who would hold on down the last for a 1 hole win.

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) overcame Rowan LESTER 2&1 in Match 3. The Irishman was leading 1-Up after 15 but sadly stumbled down the last 3 holes.

Ben JONES (ENG) had an horrific start in his match and was quickly 5-Down to Timo VAHLENKAMP after just 7 holes. The German youngster ran out a surprisingly easy winner 7&5 in the end.

Mitch WAITE (ENG) beat Stuart EASTON (SCO) by 1 hole in a rollercoaster match.  Waite was 2-Up after 4 before then falling 3-Down after 11. Easton then lost his way, recording four bogeys in a row, allowing the man from Bristol to pull 1-Up after 15. Both players then steadied themselves before halving the last in double-bogey 6, Waite moving on.

James SUGRUE (IRE) lost 3&2 to Christoffer PÅLSSON (SWE) in what appears to have been a poor quality Match 7. The Irishman bogeyed or failed to finish 11 of the 16 holes contested.

Matthew JORDAN (ENG) looked comfortable early on against Conor PURCELL (IRE) but let things slip. Purcell, who plays out of Portmarnock, the 2019 host course, drew level after Jordan bogeyed the 18th and then completed the coup de grâce with a 40 foot chip in on their first extra hole.

Scotland bowed out of the Championship later in the morning when their remaining player Sandy SCOTT lost 3&1 to Mexico’s Paul PEREDA.

Match 13 saw Robin DAWSON (IRE) take on Spain’s Victor PASTOR. Dawson struggled on the front nine but played the back nine superbly in 3-under to run out the winner by 2 holes.

In a very similar match Dawson’s compatriot John MURPHY played the back nine very well to overcome Lee WALKER (USA) 4&2 having earlier been 2-Down after 8 holes.

Jovan REBULA (1 Hole) and Luca FILIPPI (4&3) were the winners in the two all-South African matches beating  Malcolm MITCHELL and Therion NEL respectively.

There were also wins for Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE), the ever impressive Australian David MICHELUZZI and giant killer Elis SVÄRD (SWE).

At the end of the morning our 14 GB&I players had been reduced to just 6.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 3 Results

ME.

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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Round 2

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) started his Round 2 match against Niclas WEILAND at 9.15am. Showing no signs of faltering, as often happens with the medalist, he quickly despatched the Swede 5&4.

Malcolm MITCHELL (RSA), David MICHELUZZI (AUS), Paul PEREDA (MEX) and Victor HOVLAND (NOR) are amongst the other highly ranked overseas players who are through to Round 3. However, it was a surprise to see Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) lose, albeit he took Adam BLOMMÉ (SWE) to the 21st in the longest match of the Championship so far.

GB&I contributed 26 players to the 64 that started Round 2. We finished the day down to 14.

The Irish party are doing well. Rowan LESTER will be pleased with his performance; he beat fellow St. Andrews Trophy squad member David HAGUE (ENG) 6&5. James SUGRUE beat Australian Kyle MICHEL on the 19th hole whilst Conor PURCELL overcame Pablo RODRIGUEZ-TABERNERO TORRES (ESP) 2&1 to progress. Robin DAWSON took control of his match against David RAVETTO (FRA) from the start and ran out a comfortable 4&2 winner. Finally, John MURPHY made it 5 for the ‘Green Army’ coming from being behind early on to beat Oliver FARRELL (ENG) 4&2.

Scotland have three representatives in Round 3. Jeff WRIGHT showed great determination to take out compatriot Euan MCINTOSH on their first extra hole; Euan having qualified strongly and played well for most of this match too. Stuart EASTON beat Australian Will HEFFERNAN by 1 hole before Sandy SCOTT took care of Claudio CONSOL (GER) 3&2.

Of the 13 Round 1 winners just four could do the business again. One of these was Thomas FORSTER who surprised Daniel HILLIER (NZE) 2&1. The Englishman was joined by Tom SLOMAN, who beat Jediah MORGAN (AUS) by 1 hole, and Mitch WAITE, who enjoyed the biggest win of the afternoon, 6&4 against German Alexander HERRMANN. Wins for Ben HUTCHINSON, Ben JONES and Matthew JORDAN took the English qualifiers up to 6. Hutchinson beat Jamie LI (ENG) 5&3, Jones recorded a good 2 holes win against Matt SAULEZ (RSA) whilst Jordan ended up having to go to the 20th to finally despatch Finland’s battling Matias HONKALA.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 2 Results

 

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The Amateur Championship Trophy (Photo: Dominik Holyer) 

Round 1

Game 1 of the Match Play Stage between Eetu ISOMETSÄ (FIN) and Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) teed off at Royal Aberdeen G.C. at 7.00am. It was raining, with a north westerly wind appearing for the first time.

It was a game that Williams would disappointingly go on to lose 3&2.

Of the 30 qualifying GB&I players 8 were required to play in this preliminary Round 1 which consisted of 13 matches.

John PATERSON (SCO), Jack COPE (ENG), Oliver FARRELL (ENG) and Thomas FORSTER (ENG) were successful with the last three all requiring extra holes to overcome stubborn opponents. Cope ended up beating compatriot Max O’HAGAN, who had led for much of their match, on the 20th hole.

Callan BARROW (ENG) lost 4&3 to Top 100 SPWAR ranked Mexican Paul PEREDA.

Australia-based Scot Robbie MORRISON lost by 1 hole to experienced German Claudio CONSUL.

The 13 winners of these Round 1 matches fed into the bottom of the Round 2 draw and would therefore be required to play again in the afternoon.

The rest of the field will certainly have been pleased to see Takumi KANAYA (JAP), Alvaro ORTIZ (MEX) and Matias SANCHEZ (AUS) all surprisingly fall at this first step.

Click here to view the – 2018 Amateur Championship MP Round 1 Results

ME.

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Tuesday 19th June 2018

18 year old Wilco NIENABER (RSA) shot a 67 (-4) at Royal Aberdeen G.C. today to secure medalist honours at the 2018 Amateur Championship. His impressive 133 (-8) total included 11 birdies and just three bogeys.

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Wilco Nienaber’s Stroke Play Scores (Photo: R&A / Golfbox)

In an interview quoted on The R&A website Wilco said: “When I heard I was going to play The Amateur Championship this year I was really excited. To finish at the top after the qualifying is great. I made good decisions from the tee, stuck to my game plan and hit the greens. When I missed a green I got up and down – I kept the momentum going and didn’t really make a lot of bogeys. The match play stage is a different game but winning this or finishing at the top makes me feel like I can beat the other guys, which is really nice. So we will see what happens this week.”

Watch Wilco’s interview with GolfWeek’s Alistair Tait after the stroke play qualifying prize presentation: –

Two shots further back was Victor HOVLAND (NOR) who finished second in the stroke play qualifying on 135 (-6). Hovland shot a 65 (-5) at Murcar Links today, the best score on this course over the two days.

Sam MEEK (CAN), who recorded rounds of 69 and 69 for a 138 (-3) total, finished third to claim the final stroke play qualifying prize.

MATT SAULEZ (RSA) and Blake WINDRED (AUS) joined Wilco in shooting 67 at Royal Aberdeen today. This was the best score at the lead host course during the stroke play stage.

Harry HALL (ENG) recorded a second successive 70 today to finish on 140 (-1). His tied 5th result was the best of all of the GB&I players in the field.

Ben HUTCHINSON (ENG) Ev and Mitch WAITE (ENG) +1 finished 8th and tied 9th respectively.

At the end of play the top 64 and ties match play cut fell at +6 with 77 players progressing.

There were 30 GB&I qualifiers in total including 2018 winners John MURPHY (IRE) +2, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) +3, Robin DAWSON (IRE) +3 and Billy MCKENZIE (ENG) +4.

With the wind dropping on Day 2 and the sun shining for the most part the scores were much improved. Murcar Links (par 70) saw it’s average score drop to 73.94 from yesterday’s 77.30 (-3.36) whilst Royal Aberdeen’s (par 71) fell from 76.86 to 73.98 (-2.88). Clearly those that played at the tougher Murcar Links yesterday had a slight disadvantage over the two days of qualifying.

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

Amongst the leading players to miss out were Joe PAGDIN (ENG) +7, Dylan PERRY (AUS) +7, Andrew WILSON (ENG) +7, Calum FYFE (SCO) +8, Euan WALKER (SCO) +8, John AXELSON (DEN) +8, Angel HIDALGO (ESP) +8, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) +8, Clayton MANSFIELD (RSA) +9, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) +9, Sam LOCKE (SCO) +9, Nick POPPLETON (ENG) +9, Alex GLEESON (IRE) +10, Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) +10, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) +11, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) +13, Bailey GILL (ENG) +14, Jamie STEWART (SCO) +16, Garrick HIGGO (RSA) +17, Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) +17 and John PAK (USA) +18. 

ME.

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Monday 18th June 2018

Wilco NIENABER (RSA) shot a 66 (-4) at Murcar Links to lead the 36 hole Stroke Play Qualifying after Round 1 of the 123rd Amateur Championship.

David MICHELUZZI (AUS) and Sam MEEK (CAN) are second having both posted 69’s (-2), the best round of the day, at Royal Aberdeen G.C.

Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) was the only GB&I player to post an under par score; his 69 (-1) at Murcar Links leaving him in tied 4th place.

Euan MCINTOSH (SCO), who hit the first tee shot at Royal Aberdeen at 7.00am this morning, shot 71 (Ev) and finished the day tied 7th alongside Harry HALL (ENG) whose 70 (Ev) at Murcar Links looked like being much better for most of his round.

On a windy but sunny day in Scotland the average score was higher at Murcar Links (77.30 / +7.30 in relation to par) than at Royal Aberdeen (76.86 / +5.86).

After 18 holes there are 60 players on +3 or better, with a further 31 on +4, implying that the top 64 and ties cut will be around +7.

The final stroke play round will start at 7.00am tomorrow morning with each competitor playing on the other host course.

ME.

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17th June 2018

Unsurprisingly Chun An YU (CTP), who played the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, has withdrawn from this year’s Amateur Championship.

Other late withdrawals include William BUHL (USA), Falko HANISCH (GER) – winner of the 2016 Boys’ Amateur Championship at Muirfield -, Noah COMBS (USA), Yuxin LIN (CHN), Zach MURRAY (AUS) and Raphael GEISSLER (GER).

Click here to view the final – 2018 Amateur Championship Stroke Play Draw

ME.

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15th June 2018

The 123rd Amateur Championship starts on Monday 18th June at Royal Aberdeen G.C. and Murcar Links G.C. in north east Scotland.

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

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Royal Aberdeen Golf Club (Photo: Royal Aberdeen G.C.)

Format

288 players will play two stroke play qualifying rounds, one round on each course, on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th June.

As in previous years tee times will commence at 7.00am and end at 3.52pm on both days.

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.

The match play games will be played solely at Royal Aberdeen between Wednesday 20th and Saturday 23rd June.

Matches will be played over 18 holes except for Saturday’s Final which will be over 36 holes.

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5th hole, Murcar Links Golf Club (Photo: Albrecht Golf Guide)

Players

The 288 players are drawn firstly from a number of exempt categories covering R&A and U.S.G.A. Championship performances and representative teams. Thereafter places are allocated to those players ranked 1st – 2,000th in the WAGR as at 16th May 2018 and, if required, by reference to exact handicaps.

Players from 38 different countries will contest the 2018 Amateur Championship.

Outside of the home nations the best represented countries are France (31 players), U.S.A. (23), Australia (20), Germany (14), Spain (13), Sweden (13), South Africa (10), The Netherlands (9) and Italy (8).

Whilst there are a large number of Americans playing it sadly remains the case that the vast majority of their leading players continue to skip the Championship. It is a sad state of affairs 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 20th June. Without their participation The Amateur will always lack a little something despite the Major exemptions on offer. The best American this year is John PAK (SPWAR 52).

Harry ELLIS, the defending champion, has not entered the Championship. He has been playing in the U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills this week and is expected to turn pro immediately afterwards. Last year’s runner up Dylan PERRY (AUS) is back for another go at claiming the title that eluded him last year.

KristofferREITAN (NOR) 40 and Ryan LUMSDEN (SCO) 51 had both entered the Championship but both withdrew when they qualified for the U.S. Open. Chun An YU (CTP) 28 is also currently playing in New York but remains entered. It will be interesting to see if he is at Murcar Links on Monday for his 1.02pm tee time. Good on him if he is.

Looking at the the current SPWAR top 50 the leading players, in addition to Yu, competing are Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) 9, Matthew JORDAN (ENG) 12, Christo LAMPRECHT (RSA) 17, Garrick HIGGO (RSA) 24, Wilco NIENABER (RSA) 26, Todd CLEMENTS (ENG) 27, Matt SAULEZ (RSA) 29, Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) 31, David MICHELUZZI (AUS) 33, Joey SAVOIE (CAN) 37, Malcom MITCHELL (RSA) 42 and Alvaro ORTIZ (MEX) 45.

From a GB&I perspective Robin DAWSON (IRE) 57, Jake BURNAGE (ENG) 67, Harry HALL (ENG) 68, Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) 73, David HAGUE (ENG) T74, Alex GLEESON (IRE) T74, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) 91, Laird SHEPHERD (ENG) 95, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 115, Ben JONES (ENG) 124, Andrew WILSON (ENG) 128, John MURPHY (IRE) 145, Bailey GILL (ENG) 177, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) 189 and Nick POPPLETON (ENG) 194 will all arrive with high hopes given their current good form.

With the nine-man GB&I St. Andrews Trophy team due to be announced in mid-July a good Amateur Championship by any of the home players will undoubtedly resonate with the selectors.

Finally, Spain’s Alejandro LARRAZABEL is an interesting entry. Alejandro won The Amateur in 2002 at Royal Porthcawl G.C. and has recently been reinstated to the amateur game. He will be the only past winner in the field.

Host Courses

For the first time in it’s history the Amateur Championship is being staged at Royal Aberdeen and Murcar Links in Scotland.

Royal Aberdeen was founded in 1780 and is the 6th oldest golf club in the world. Originally known as The Society of Golfers at Aberdeen the club’s name was changed in 1815 to Aberdeen Golf Club. In 1903 the ‘Royal’ title was conferred on the club by His Majesty King Edward VII.

The club has hosted many prestigious championships, including seven Scottish Amateurs, two Boys’ Amateur Championships, the Boys’ Jacques Léglise Trophy and perhaps most memorably the 2011 Walker Cup, when GB&I defeated the United States by a single point.

In 2005, it hosted the Senior Open which was won by five-time Open champion Tom Watson. In 2014, the Scottish Open was held there for the first time with Justin Rose coming out on top.

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Royal Aberdeen – Balgownie Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

The Balgownie Links at Royal Aberdeen is a classic links with the outgoing holes played through the undulating dunes on the coast before the return on an inland plateau with numerous blind shots and hidden ditches coming into play.

Neighbouring Murcar Link’s was established in 1909 and lies to the north of the Royal Aberdeen course.

Murcar hosted the inaugural Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play competition on the European Tour in 2016. Previously it had staged the European Girls Team Championship (2009), the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play (2009) and the European Boys Team Championship (2013).

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Murcar Links Indicative Scorecard (Photo: mygolfdays.com)

Weather Forecast (last updated Sunday 17th June)

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

Mon 18th June – Sunny. Wind 17 mph SW. Temp. Max. 17°C / Min 7°C.
Tue 19th June – Sunny. Wind 15mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 10°C.
Wed 20th June – Showers. Wind 11mph W. Temp. Max. 13°C / Min 8°C.
Thu 21st June – Light Cloud. Wind 15mph NW. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 9°C.
Fri 22nd June – Light Cloud. Wind 10mph SW. Temp. Max. 14°C / Min 10°C.
Sat 23rd June – Light Cloud. Wind 11mph SW. Temp. Max. 16°C / Min 11°C.

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

Players will tee off throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday so changes in the weather and wind speed early in the week may impact the stroke play qualifying scoring.

Prizes / Exemptions

A momento is presented by The R&A to the players finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the stroke play qualifying competition, with any ties determined by a second round count back.

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 147th Open Championship down the coast at Carnoustie Golf Links.

Traditionally, the champion is also invited to compete in the following year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National G.C.

Finally, they will also be exempt into the 2019 U.S. Open Championship which is being held at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

2017 Amateur Championship

England’s Harry ELLIS won the 2017 Amateur Championship on the 38th hole at Royal St. George’s G.C.

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

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

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Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA / Getty Images)

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

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

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

Click here to view the – 2017 Amateur Championship Match Play Results

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

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.

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 Ellis’ win in 2017 the last 10 winners of The Amateur Championship have been: –

2016  Scott Gregory (ENG) – Royal Porthcawl GC
2015  Romain Langasque (FRA) – Carnoustie GL
2014  Bradley Neil (SCO) – Royal Portrush GC
2013  Garrick Porteous (ENG) – Royal Cinque Ports GC
2012  Alan Dunbar (IRE) – Royal Troon GC
2011  Bryden Macpherson (AUS) – Hillside GC
2010  Jin Jeong (KOR) – Muirfield
2009  Matteo Manassero (ITA) – Formby GC
2008  Reinier Sexton (NED) – Trump Tunberry
2007  Drew Weaver (USA) – Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC

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.

ME.

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

The European Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

1st July 2017

Alfie PLANT (ENG) today won the European Amateur Championship on another beautiful day for golf on the perfectly presented Old Course at Walton Heath.

With his win Alfie earned an exemption into this month’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale and certainly made a very well timed and strong statement with regard to his inclusion in the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team.

Scheduled the week after the Amateur Championship in nearby Kent the field was the strongest it has ever been, helped by a high number of non-European entries. The SPWAR expects to rank it the 5th strongest event in 2017, after the NCAA Division I Championship, The Amateur and the forthcoming Western Amateur (US) and US Amateur.

All in all what a win for Alfie, the biggest of what has been a very good amateur career.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. You’ve got to take the highs and the lows and I know I’ve been playing really good golf so it was only a matter of time.” said Plant beside the 2nd green as he reflected on what had largely been a disappointing season to date. “I can also have a few days off now as I don’t have to go up to Hollinwell tomorrow” where he had a 6.45am tee time in Tuesday’s Final Qualifying event for The Open.

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

Play-Off

Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA), Afie PLANT (ENG) and Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA), who had all tied on -15 for the 72 holes of stroke play, qualified for the play-off.

Plant, who is probably the best supported amateur golfer in the world, had the strong backing of ‘Alfie’s Army’ who were certainly out in full force for what was a ‘local’ event for them. In a family affair his brother Albert was also caddying for the Kent man.

Alfie’s Army (Photo: @lad_golf)

A 3 hole aggregate score play off over holes 1, 2 and 18 was the order of the day. If this proved to be insufficient to separate the players then a sudden death play-off would commence over the same holes.

So off we went. Last year’s Championship took 7 play off holes to decide and with three experienced players contesting the 2017 version no one expected this one to be over quickly.

On the 235 yard par 3 1st hole Plant and Scalise both found the heart of the green but Cianchetti pulled his tee shot well to the left, short siding himself and finding a poor lie in long grass thirty feet from the green. Cianchetti hacked out well on to the green but was ultimately unable to save his par. Plant misjudged his long first putt allowing it to run well past the hole. Scalise who was last to play, and foreseeing an early advantage, lagged his effort down the hill to comfortably secure his par. In what would prove to be a critical moment Plant bravely stepped up and holed his 10 footer back up the hill to huge cheers from the spectators.

On the 472 yard par 4 2nd hole, a sweeping down and up right handed dog leg the players all pared. However, this was the moment you felt Cianchetti’s race may be run. He had played a superb second shot up the hill leaving himself a short four footer for birdie and the opportunity to regain parity with his playing partners. It was an unexpectedly bad miss in the circumstances.

On the 404 yard par 4 18th Plant found the green, albeit some distance from the flag, as did Cianchetti who was much closer. Scalise was unfortunate to bounce through the back with his approach. The Tennessee University man was unphased however playing a beautifully judged chip which ended up a matter of inches from the hole. Plant two putted to ensure that at least he and Scalise would progress with their Even par scores. Cianchetti’s birdie putt was hit too firmly and missed the break. He bravely holed for his par putt but at +1 he had to step down.

Cianchetti’s consolation being that he had already qualified for the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale via his 2016 win. Last year’s Championship in Estonia was played in August after The Open was staged at Royal Troon. The European Golf Association, in conjunction with The R&A have subsequently brought the Championship forward so in the future the winner can enjoy their Open exemption almost immediately.

Meanwhile, Plant and Scalise crossed the road back towards the clubhouse to play the 1st hole again, this time in a sudden death format. Both players found the green. Plant putted first and having learned from his near identical putt half an hour earlier was unlucky to lip out, a tad too much pace preventing the ball from dropping. Scalise had a bit of a rush of blood to the head with his first effort, misjudging the slope as Plant had done earlier, and needed to bravely hole from four feet to allow the fun to continue.

Alfie Plant Lips Out On The 4th Play-Off Hole

Both players found the fairway on the 2nd hole, albeit Scalise pulled his drive, leaving a slightly longer approach than he would have liked. The Italian came up just short of the green. Plant seized the advantage and played his iron into the centre of the green, about 15 feet from the flag. Scalise putted up to 6 feet leaving the stage free for the Englishman. Plant prevented Scalise suffering the ignominy of potentially losing the play-off with a bogey by confidently holing his left to right putt for a winning birdie.

The cheers from Alfie’s Army were long and loud and continued all the way back to the clubhouse where the celebrations could properly begin.

Alfie Plant Holes The Winning Putt On The 5th Play-Off Hole With Brother Albert Watching 

Alfie Plant, the 2016 Lytham Trophy winner, who also holed England’s crucial silver medal winning putt at the World Amateur Championship in Mexico, once again showed nerves of steel. He birdied the 18th to put pressure on the Italian leaders before outlasting them, by simply not missing a shot, in the play-off.

Round 4

After bogeying his first hole of the day our winner Alfie PLANT produced an unblemished card with five birdies to shoot a fine 68. He saved his best hole till last though. Knowing he needed a birdie on the par 4 18th to have any chance of making a play-off he played a magnificent approach to 4 feet and calmly holed the putt.

He had just watched his playing partner Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) bogey the hole, unable to recover from a drive into the left hand fairway bunker which required a sideways chip out. Scalise, who shot 69, had something of a rollercoaster round littered with 6 birdies and an eagle but sadly for him five bogeys.

In the final group the defending champion Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) looked well placed after he eagled the par 5 14th and birdied the 15th to move onto -16. However having watched Scalise bogey in front of him he was unable to secure the par he needed to win the 2017 Championship. His approach to the elevated 18th found a tricky spot on the greenside bank above the left bunker. A slightly clumsy chip left him 10 feet for the title but he missed.

Luca Cianchetti Misses His Putt On The 72nd Hole

A few groups further back Victor PASTOR (ESP) had made a late run for the title. He stood on the 17th tee in Round 4 on -15, -7 for his round, but again fell foul of the 18th. His bogey left him on -14 after a 66 and a tie for 4th place.

Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) also shot a final round 66. His bogey free effort lifted him up to -14 where he set the early clubhouse mark before Pastor joined him. Robert must surely have secured his Walker Cup spot now.

GB&I’s most in form player Matthew JORDAN (ENG) once again delivered on the big stage. His final round 66, which included a holed mid-iron from the fairway of the 485 yard par 4 4th, finished on -13 and tied 6th. Interestingly he had failed to par the 4th, dropping four shots in the process, during the first three rounds.

John-Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) and Jack SINGH BRAR (ENG) also enjoyed strong finishes, tieing for 7th place. Both players shot 8 birdies in their rounds with Galbraith recording a best of the day 65 and Singh Brar a 66.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 70 and Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG) 68 tied for 10th place on -11. Both of these young lads have big futures.

View the Results here – 2017 European Amateur Championship Results

ME.

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30th June 2017

Round 3

At the end of 54 holes Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA), Jeremy GANDON (FRA) and Lorenzo SCALISE (ITA) share the lead at the European Amateur, tied on -12 (204).

Lorenzo SCALISE and Zan Luka STIRN (SLO) both shot best of the day 7-under 65’s on another day of very good scoring at Walton Heath GC.

Alfie PLANT (ENG) backed up his 66 of yesterday with a 67 today. On -11 he is well placed to make a push for the title in tomorrow’s final round.

Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) 69 -10, Joshua MCMAHON (ENG) 70 -9, Sandy SCOTT (SCO) 67 -9, Daniel BROWN (ENG) 66 -9 and Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) 70 -9 are Great Britain and Ireland’s (GB&I) other leading players.

Jack SINGH BRAR, who this week chose to has pass on the European Amateur Team Championships to try and qualify for the US Amateur, shot 66 to move up to tied 21st on -6. Connor SYME (SCO) 67 -6, JR GALBRAITH (IRE) 66 -5, Scott GREGORY (ENG) 66 -5 and Owen EDWARDS (WAL) 67 -4 were the other GB&I players to enjoy their rounds.

Sean CROCKER (USA) finally sorted himself out and shot a 66 to move onto -3 (tied 45th), securing himself another round and no doubt an even higher finish.

The Top 60 and Ties cut fell at -2 (214) highlighting the standard of play this week. 64 players achieved this mark or better.

Notable players to miss the cut included James WALKER ENG, 2015 champion Stefano MAZZOLI ITA, Alex GLEESON IRE, Min Woo LEE AUS, Marco PENGE ENG (all -1), Josh HILLEARD ENG (Ev), Harry HALL ENG (+4), Jack DAVIDSON WAL, Charlie STRICKLAND ENG, Jamie STEWART (all +5) and Craig ROSS SCO (+11 Rd2 WD).

ME.

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29th June 2017

Round 2

Day 2 ended at Walton Heath GC with a three way tie for the European Amateur lead. Victor PASTOR (ESP), Jeremy FREIBURGHAUS (SUI) and Dylan PERRY (AUS) shot 64, 66 and 69 respectively to all move onto -9.

The best round of the day, and for that matter the week so far, came from Matthias SCHMID (GER). His 63 (-9) included two eagles and seven birdies.

Defending champion Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) shot a 67 in Round 2 and is nicely placed in tied 6th on -7.

Despite this strong start from a number of the overseas entries there is still plenty of hope for the Great Britain and Irish players in the field.

England’s boys from the Wirral Matthew JORDAN (-8) and Joshua MCMAHON (-7) lead the way. Jordan shot a second 68 whilst McMahon went one better with a 67. Compatriots Alfie PLANT (-6) moved into contention on -6 after a 66 today whilst Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (-6) held firm after a 71.

Scotland’s Liam JOHNSTON (-7), Rory FRANSSEN (-7), Robert MACINTYRE (-6) and Craig HOWIE (-5) as well as Ireland’s Conor O’ROURKE (-7) and Paul MCBRIDE (-5) are also doing well.

After tomorrow’s third round there will be Top 60 and Ties cut.

ME.

___________________________________________

28th June 2017

Round 1

Italy’s Lorenzo SCALISE leads the European Amateur after Day 1. The University of Tennessee student shot a bogey free 64 (-8).

On a day of generally low scoring 61 players in the field of 144 recorded under par scores in Round 1.

Toby BRIGGS (ENG) and Keegan DE LANGE (RSA), both of whom had eagles in their round, are both one shot back on -7.

Daniel O’LOUGHLIN (ENG), who played well at The Amateur last week, continued his form at Walton Heath. His 67 (-5) saw him finish the day in tied 6th place with Conor O’ROURKE (IRE) and Rory FRANSSEN (SCO) for company.

Daniel BROWN (ENG), Matthew JORDAN (ENG), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) and Liam JOHNSTON (SCO) all shot 68’s in Round 1. Their -4 scores leaving them nicely placed in tied 9th with 54 holes still to play.

ME.

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25th June 2017

The 30th European Amateur Championship starts on Wednesday 28th June at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.

This prestigious international Championship is being run by the European Golf Association (EGA), assisted this year by England Golf.

Competition Format

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

A 54-hole cut will be in force with the 60 lowest scores and ties qualifying for the final round on Saturday 1st July.

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, competitors in the most recent Bonallack Trophy, St. Andrew’s Trophy and Jacques Léglise Trophy events as well as four players from England, the host nation.

All of the leading European and Great Britain and Irish (GB&I) players will be on show. Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) will be defending the title he won in Estonia last August and new Amateur Champion Harry ELLIS (ENG) will also be competing.

Whilst some of the Australian and South African touring parties have now returned home a number of their top players are entered at Walton Heath, notably Min WOO LEE and Albert VENTER respectively.

Amongst the United States entries are highly ranked Sean CROCKER, who made the cut at the BMW International on the European Tour last week, and Jimmy STANGER. Stewart HAGESTAD had entered but withdrew prior to the event commencing.

Walton Heath Golf Club

The 2017 Championship is being staged on Walton Heath’s famous Old Course. 

Seve Ballesteros 16th hole, Old Course, Walton Heath GC (Photo: Walton Heath GC)

This heathland masterpiece in Surrey, known for it’s superb turf, heather fringed bunkers and large greens, has hosted many major amateur and professional golf events in its illustrious history.

The par 72 championship course stretches to 7,406 yards, as the scorecard below shows, and is noted for it’s strong finishing holes.

img_4772Old Course Scorecard (Photo: Walton Heath GC)

Weather Forecast

A generally dry week is forecast in the south east of England this week (as at Tuesday 27th June 7.00 pm): –

Weds 28th June – Showers. Wind 9 mph (SW). Max. 22°C / Min 13°C.
Thurs 29th June – Showers. Wind 5 mph (NW). Max. 19°C / Min 12°C.
Fri 30th June – Showers. Wind 7 mph (NW). Max. 23°C / Min 13°C.
Sat 1st July – Cloudy. Wind 12 mph (N). Max. 23°C / Min 14°C.

Prizes

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

The winner also receives an invitation to compete in this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Lancashire, England.

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

2016 European Amateur Championship

Luca CIANCHETTI (ITA) beat Viktor HOVLAND (NOR) on the seventh play-off hole to win the 2016 European Amateur Championship.

Luca Cianchetti (Photo: Italian Golf Federation)

Both players were tied on -16 at the end of the 72 hole stroke play event which was taking place at the Estonia Golf & Country Club.

Scotland’s Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) -13 and Connor SYME (SCO) -12 were the best of the GB&I players, finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Gian-Marco PETROZZI (ENG) -9 finished tied 9th.

Click here to view the – 2016 European Amateur Championship Results

History

The competition was first contested in 1986.

It has been hosted in 18 different countries to date.

2017 will be the seventh time it has been played in GB&I and the second time in England. The previous courses to host the event being Hillside (1991), Dalmahoy (1993), Celtic Manor (1999), Nairn (2003), Carton House (2012) and The Duke’s St. Andrews (2014).

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).

Chesters is the only player to have won the Championship twice.

ME.

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

The Amateur Championship – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

24th June 2017

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

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

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

img_7757Harry Ellis (Photo: @RandA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

 ___________________________________________

23rd June 2017

Semi-Finals

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

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

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

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

ellis rsg 2

Harry Ellis (Photo: Andrew Griffin / @griffinongolf)

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

Quarter-Finals

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

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

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

ME [with some additional reporting by Andrew Griffin].

                 ___________________________________________

22nd June 2017

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

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

Round 4 (16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 3 (32)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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21st June 2017

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

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

Round 2 (64)

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

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

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

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

img_0974

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 1 (Preliminary)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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20th June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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19th June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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15th June 2017

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

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

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Prince’s Golf Club (Photo: Getty Images)

 Format

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

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

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

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

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

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

Players

Players from 40 countries will contest the 2017 Amateur.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Host Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weather Forecast

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

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

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

Prizes / Exemptions        

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

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

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

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

2016 Amateur Championship

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

Scott Gregory Amateur Champion 2016

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

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

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

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

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

A Short History of The Amateur 

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

Up until the Second World War it was a hugely prestigious event and in a many of these early years was afforded a much higher standing in the game than The Open. Players like Johnny Ball (ENG), Harold Hilton (ENG) and Freddie Tait (SCO) were all amateurs and better than most of the professionals of the time.

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

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

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

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

Past Winners

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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

The Arnold Palmer Cup – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

11th June 2017

USA won the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup 19.5-10.5 at the Atlanta Athletic club.

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Team USA (Photo: @GolfChannel)

The final day Singles were halved 5-5.

USA now leads the all-time match series 11-9-1.

Norman XIONG quickly secured the single point USA required to win. He beat Harry HALL 8&7 in the opening game of the day.

Four of the Five European Singles wins on Day 3 came from the Scandinavian players in the team. Richard MANSELL secured the other. He beat fellow Division II player John COULTAS 2 Up. Two down with four to play Mansell birdied the par 3 15th before Coultas capitulated bogeying the final three holes and allowing Mansell a fighting comeback win.

The other four GB&I players lost their matches: –

Stuart GREHAN lost 2&1 to Doug GHIM

Harry ELLIS lost 3&2 to Nick HARDY

Rory FRANSSEN lost 8&7 to Maverick MCNEALY

David WICKS lost 3&2 to Sean CROCKER

Doug GHIM was the only player to win all four of his matches. He became the 19th player to achieve this feat in the history of the match.

Here is the full individual performance analysis:-

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 20.18.32

David WICKS and Maverick MCNEALY were named winners of the Michael Carter Award which is presented to the players from each team that best represent the qualities and ideals of sportsmanship and integrity.

Collin MORIKAWA was selected by both teams to receive the Arnold Palmer Cup exemption into the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Nathan Peterson, his junior caddie, will also be on the bag at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The match was clearly a sobering experience for the European team and a reminder to all of us of the challenge that the GB&I Walker Cup team will face in Los Angeles in September.

As I said in my Preview below the opportunity was there for the six GB&I players in Europe’s Arnold Palmer Cup team to lay down a Walker Cup marker. Unfortunately none of them were able to do so.

Click here to view the – Day 3 Singles Results

ME.

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10th June 2017

The Day 2 Singles proved to be a disaster for Europe with the 9.5-0.5 reverse effectively ending the match as a contest.

All six of the GB&I players lost their matches to an inspired US team: –

Richard MANSELL lost 4&3 to Norman XIONG

Harry HALL lost 7&5 to Doug GHIM

Harry ELLIS lost 3&2 to Jimmy STANGER

David WICKS lost 5&4 to Nick HARDY

Stuart GREHAN lost 2&1 to Sam BURNS

Rory FRANSSEN lost 3&2 to Collin MORIKAWA

It looked for most of the afternoon as if USA would complete a clean sweep. However, Maverick MCNEALY, who was 3 Up with 5 to play, surprisingly bogeyed three of the final holes to let Viktor HOLLAND in to secure a half.

Scant consolation for Europe. Their 9.5-0.5 loss was the worst Singles series result in the history of the event. The previous worse being USA’s final day 8.5-1.5 collapse at Walton Heath in 2014.

Click here to view the hole-by-hole – Day 2 Singles Results

ME.

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9th June 2017

Day 1 of the Arnold Palmer Cup finished all square, USA and Europe having 5 points each.

USA won the morning Foursomes Series 3.5-1.5 with Europe coming back well in the afternoon to reverse the score in the Fourballs.

In the Foursomes Rory FRANSSEN and Stuart GREHAN halved their match with Sam BURNS and Chandler PHILLIPS. However, they were two up with three to play so will be a little disappointed not to hold on for the win, particularly as the 17th was lost to a USA par.

Europe’s only morning win came from Harry ELLIS and Harry HALL who beat Nick HARDY and Norman XIONG by 1 hole.  Having got to 3 Up after 11 holes the USA pairing fought back well with three birdies but the two Harry’s ultimately prevailed.

Richard MANSELL and David WICKS lost the final game of the series 2&1 to arguably the USA’s strongest pairing Maverick MCNEALY and Collin MORIKAWA. The American pairing got to 3 UP after three holes and despite a European fightback on the front nine quickly reasserted their dominance as the match moved into the back nine.

Click here to view the – Day 1 AM Foursomes Results

Captain Inglis chose to send out the same European pairings, albeit in a different order, in the afternoon Fourball games. He was ultimately rewarded for not tinkering with a good team comeback.

Richard MANSELL and David WICKS beat a disappointing Sam BURNS and Chandler PHILLIPS in game 1 3&1.

Stuart GREHAN and Rory FRANSSEN halved again, this time in a tight match against Nick HARDY and Norman XIONG. In what must have been an exciting finish both pairs could only manage bogey 5’s on the final hole.

Harry ELLIS and Harry HALL were unable to follow up their morning win, going down 3&2 to Doug GHIM and Maverick MCNEALY.

Click here to view the – Day 1 PM Fourballs Results

Whilst GREHAN and FRANSSEN halved their two Day 1 games the remainder of the team managed to win one and lose one.

The USA’s Doug GHIM and Maverick MCNEALY are the only two players to retain 100% win records at the end of day 1.

ME.

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6th June 2017
The Arnold Palmer Cup is a team golf competition played annually between American college golfers and European college / university golfers.

Europe convincingly beat USA 18.5-11.5 in the 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup played at Formby Golf Club in England.

The 2017 match, the 21st in the series, is being played this coming weekend, 9th-11th June, at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia.

More information on the history of and future plans for the match can be found in an Appendix at the end of this article.

Arnold Palmer Cup Logo

The 2017 Teams

Both teams were announced on 16th March at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando on the opening day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

I have added each team member’s current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR) to the lists below to give you a feel for the relative strengths of the two teams.

Europe

The first 6 players were automatically selected from the Arnold Palmer Cup European Ranking. These were (in order): –

Hannes RONNEBLAD (Texas Tech) – Sweden / SPWAR 132
Fredrik NILEHN (Texas Tech) – Sweden / SPWAR 85
Kristoffer VENTURA (Oklahoma State) – Norway / SPWAR 40
David WICKS (Jacksonville) – England / SPWAR 107
Harry ELLIS (Florida State) – England / SPWAR 184
Rory FRANSSON (Missouri) – Scotland / SPWAR 279

The next two spots were allocated by Committee Selection: –

Stuart GREHAN (Maynooth) – Ireland / SPWAR 93
Viktor HOVLAND (Oklahoma State) – Norway / SPWAR 39

Finally a Captain’s pick was made: –

Richard MANSELL (Nova Southeastern) – England / SPWAR 364

Subsequently Stuart Grehan went on to win the R&A Scholars Tournament on 3-4 April at St. Andrews. Having already been selected the allocated spot for the winner of this event reverted to a Committee Pick. This was awarded on 10th April to: –

Harry HALL (UNLV) – England / SPWAR 78

Europe’s Captain this year is David INGLIS (Northwestern, Head Coach / Scotland). He will be supported by Alan MURRAY (Washington, Assistant Coach / Ireland).

Arnold Palmer Cup 2016 Europe

Team Europe – Winners of the 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup (Photo: Formby GC)

USA

The first 6 players were automatically selected from the Arnold Palmer Cup United States Ranking. These were (in order): –

Sam BURNS (LSU) – SPWAR 12
Chandler PHILLIPS (Texas A&M) – SPWAR 49
Collin MORIKAWA (California) – SPWAR 5
Jimmy STANGER (Virginia) – SPWAR 22
Maverick MCNEALY (Stanford) – SPWAR 11
Norman XIONG (Oregon) – SPWAR 51

The next three spots were allocated by Committee Selection: –

John COULTAS (Florida Southern) – SPWAR 206
Sean CROCKER (Southern California) – SPWAR 9
Nick HARDY (Illinois) – SPWAR 14

The Captain’s pick went to: –

Doug GHIM (Texas) – SPWAR 4

The USA’s Captain is John FIELDS (Texas, Head Coach) and Assistant Captain is Andrew DIBITETTO (North Carolina, Assistant Coach).

Stuart Grehan and Doug Ghim both played in last year’s match at Formby GC. Maverick McNealy played in 2015 but withdrew from the 2016 match having been selected.

All but Stuart Grehan have played their golf in the US collegiate system this season.

In this Walker Cup year all of the players will be looking to make a positive impression and to hopefully catch the eye of the USGA and R&A selectors ahead of September’s match at Los Angeles CC.

Format / Schedule

This week’s match play format consists of foursomes, fourballs and singles matches: –

Friday 9th June AM – Foursomes x 5, starting at 7.30am
Friday 9th June PM – Fourballs x 5, starting at 1.30pm
Saturday 10th June – Singles x 10, starting at 9.00am
Sunday 11th June    – Singles x 10, starting at 9.00am

With a maximum total of 30 points available and one point awarded for each match a team will be required to accumulate 15.5 points to secure an outright victory.

Venue – The Atlanta Athletic Club

The Atlanta Athletic Club (AAC) was founded in 1898.

In 1967 it moved 23 miles north of the city of Atlanta, selling it’s East Lake course which had been the home of the great Bobby Jones, and setting up at a much larger Johns Creek site.

AAC has two par 72 courses, the Highlands (7,613 yards) and the Riverside (7,428 yards). Both were used to stage the 2014 US Amateur Championship. The Highlands course is being used to host the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup.

img_7657Highlands Course Scorecard (Photo: Rees Jones Inc)

Weather Forecast

As at Tuesday 6th June the weather forecast for Atlanta looks near perfect: –

Fri 9th June  – Sunny. Wind 5 mph SW. Temp. Max. 26°C / Min 18°C.
Sat 10th June  – Sunny. Wind 6 mph SE. Temp. Max. 28°C / Min 19°C.
Sun 11th June  – Sunny. Wind 7 mph SE. Temp. Max. 29°C / Min 20°C.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Exemption

In 2015 Mr. Palmer agreed to allocate an Arnold Palmer Cup amateur invitation to his prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) tournament played annually at Bay Hill in Florida.

Prior to the match commencing each of the 20 players is asked to vote for a member of each team (excluding themselves) who they think best represents the “Arnold Palmer Legacy,” that is, the values that Arnold Palmer has exhibited during his legendary career.

The player from the winning team who receives the most votes is awarded the API invitation. To take up his place in the field at Bay Hill the selected player must remain a collegiate amateur golfer up until the tournament.

Prior to the match commencing there is also a caddie draw involving young, local players. The caddie for the selected Arnold Palmer Cup player is also invited to Bay Hill to caddie for them again.

The two previous recipients of the Arnold Palmer Cup API Exemptions were Maverick McNealy (2016, with caddie Zach Urwiler) and Matthias Schwab (2017, with caddie Kieran Oates).

The Michael Carter Award

This award is presented in honour of former GCAA Arnold Palmer Cup intern Michael Carter who tragically died in a car accident in 2002 aged 19.

It is presented to the player from each team who best represents the qualities and fun-loving ideals that made Michael Carter unique.

Charlie DANIELSON (USA) and Robin PETERSSON (Europe) were honoured at the 2016 match.

Past Results & Future Venues

As one would expect the match has been played on some of most famous courses in the world.

Europe’s 2016 win represented the sixth consecutive home victory and in the 20th Match reduced USA’s series lead to W10 L9 H1.

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Appendix – History and Future

The match was established by the Golf Coaches Association of America and first played in 1997. Known as simply the Palmer Cup back then it was originally played between 8-man teams from the USA and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I).

With the USA winning 4 and halving 1 of the first 6 matches a decision was taken after the 2002 match in Doonbeg, Ireland to extend the GB&I team to include Europe. A decision which of course helped to further differentiate the match from the biennial Walker Cup as well as increase it’s international appeal and competitiveness.

In 2013 the teams were extended to 10 players.

In 2014 the Golf Coaches Association of America announced that they had entered into a formal agreement with Arnold Palmer and his group of companies to jointly operate and expand the Palmer Cup.

In 2015 the name of the match was changed to the Arnold Palmer Cup, effective from the 2016 match in Formby.

It was also announced in 2015 that with effect from 2018 the match would become a mixed event with 12 men and women competing for each side.

Following Arnold Palmer’s death on 25th September 2016 the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation agreed to support the event into the future.

ME.

Copyright © 2014 – 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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