77. The 2017 GB&I Walker Cup Team Has Been Announced

21st August 2017

The R&A announced the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup Team earlier today.

The team, which will be captained for the first time by Craig Watson, is (in alphabetical order): –

David BOOTE (23) – Walton Heath GC, Wales
Jack DAVIDSON (20) – Llanwern GC, Wales
Harry ELLIS (21) – Meon Valley GC, England
Scott GREGORY (22) – Corhampton GC, England
Matthew JORDAN (21) – Royal Liverpool GC, England
Paul MCBRIDE (21) – The Island GC, Ireland
Robert MACINTYRE (21) – Glencruitten GC, Scotland
Alfie PLANT (25) – Sundridge Park GC, England
Jack SINGH BRAR (20) – Remedy Oak GC, England
Connor SYME (22) – Drumoig GC, Scotland

Reserves:
1st Conor O’ROURKE (26) – Naas GC, Ireland
2nd Craig HOWIE (22) – Peebles GC, Scotland

Top (l-r): Scott Gregory, Alfie Plant, Connor Syme, David Boote, Harry Ellis   Bottom (l-r): Jack Davidson, Jack Singh Bear, Matthew Jordan, Paul McBride, Robert MacIntyre

This is the Team that I predicted would be selected last Saturday so it is hard to say there are any surprises. The Selection Committee have delivered what most commentators were expecting.

Commenting on the Team announcement Captain Craig Watson said, “We have been very impressed with the performances of many of the GB&I players so far this season and it has been a difficult decision to select only ten players. The Americans will be determined not to lose two matches in a row but we have selected a strong team and I’m sure the players will give it their all to try to retain the trophy.”

A 19-man initial squad had been announced on 23rd January 2017 with two more players added to it in April.

From these David BOOTE, Jack DAVIDSONScott GREGORYRobert MACINTYRE, Paul MCBRIDEAlfie PLANT and Connor SYME have now been selected. Reserves Craig HOWIE and Conor O’ROURKE were also both in the squad.

Harry ELLIS, Matthew JORDAN and Jack SINGH BRAR played their way on to the Team during the season.

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

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70. Sam Locke Wins The Scottish Men’s Amateur

6th August 2017

Sam LOCKE yesterday won the 90th Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship at Prestwick Golf Club, beating Ryan LUMSDEN 9&8 in the 36-hole Final.

The win, and certainly the size of it, was something of a surprise as LUMSDEN, who plays US college golf at Northwestern, entered the final as the favourite being the more experienced and highly ranked player.

Relatively unknown outside Scotland up until this week 18 year old Sam LOCKE is from the Banchory Golf Club in Aberdeenshire. He has been supported by the Paul Laurie Foundation since he was 14 and is coached by his father Andrew.

From a starting field of 264 players Sam finished tied 5th in the Stroke Play Qualifier after rounds of 67 (PSC) and 73 (PGC).

He then beat Duncan MCNEILL (19th hole), Michael SMYTH (1 hole), James WILSON (4&3), Sandy SCOTT (3&2) and Alasdair MCDOUGALL (3&2) before his memorable victory over LUMSDEN.

Sam led 5 Up after nine, helped by Ryan bogeying five of the opening holes. A relaxed Locke then birdied 5 of the holes on the morning back nine to take full control of the Final and a 10 Up lead into lunch. He then saw the match out comfortably in the afternoon.

For more information on the Scottish Men’s Amateur Championship please click – Stroke Play Results and Match Play Results.

After the Final Sam said in an interview with Scottish Golf “It’s nice to get a big win under my belt and hopefully I can kick on from here and enjoy more success. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and practice hard.”

Sam will now be allocated one of the two remaining places in the Scottish Men’s Home Internationals Team for the competition at Moortown Golf Club in two weeks time.

Whilst it is too late for Sam to make his way into the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup selection picture I look forward to following his progress in the coming years, starting in Leeds very shortly.

Sam Locke with his father Andrew Locke (Photo: Andrew Locke)

So getting back down to Walker Cup business let’s look at how the leading Scottish players, those that are closer to the selection discussion than Sam, got on. Here is a quick summary:-

Craig HOWIE – SP 73 72 (+3) T29 / MP Rd 3 to Sandy Scott 1 hole
Sandy SCOTT – SP 66 68 (-8) T1 / MP QF to Sam Locke 3&2
Ryan LUMSDEN – SP 75 64 (-3) T3 / MP Runner Up
Jamie STEWART – SP 82 71 (+11) T112 / MP DNQ
Calum FYFE – SP 67 67 (-8) T1 / MP Rd 4 to Chris Maclean 1 hole
Chris MACLEAN – SP 68 74 (Ev) T14 / MP SF to Ryan Lumsden
Craig ROSS – SP 72 70 (Ev) T14 / MP Rd 4 to Ryan Lumsden 20th hole
Rory FRANSSEN – SP 71 69 (-2) T5 / MP Rd 2 to Darren Howie 3&2
Euan MCINTOSH – SP 69 76 (+3) T29 / MP Rd 2 to NHM Beattie 4&3

Craig HOWIE was the leading Scottish Walker Cup candidate (of those competing) going in to the event and it’s fair to say he could have done with a stronger performance to cement his position in our 10 man team given the increasing competition for places.

Sandy SCOTT has enjoyed a good summer back home from Texas Tech. but needed to win at Prestwick in my opinion to have any chance of forcing himself into the 2017 GB&I Walker Cup selection picture. His time will come.

Ryan LUMSDEN, whilst disappointing in the Final, should be pleased with his overall performance. He continues to impress and like SCOTT should prove to be a strong GB&I Walker Cup candidate in 2019.

Scotland’s three leading players chose not to play in their national Amateur Championship.

Liam JOHNSTON and Connor SYME joined Wales’ David BOOTE in playing in the Western Amateur at Skokie CC in Illinois. After the United States Amateur and the Amateur Championship the Western Amateur nowadays has the third strongest field in amateur golf. Therefore securing a positive result here is not easy.

Liam JOHNSTON did so, enhancing his standing by shooting rounds of 72, 66, 68 and 71 at the Western for a -7 total. Unfortunately his tied 18th finish meant he missed out on a ‘Sweet 16’ Match Play place by 1 shot.

Connor SYME started well with a 68 but a disappointing 75 in Round 2 saw him miss the 36 hole cut in the 72 hole Stroke Play Qualifying stage.

For more information on the Western Amateur Championship please click these links: Stroke Play Qualifying Results and Match Play Results.

Robert MACINTYRE took advantage of a Scottish Golf / Bounce Golf invite to compete on the European Challenge Tour in the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.

The event was reduced to 54 holes today after heavy rain which was disappointing for Robert as his final -5, tied 53rd, finish didn’t really reflect how well he played. His 8, 6, 5 scores (+6) on the 12th, 13th and 14th holes of his third round ruined what looked like being a top 20 finish at worse. He was also -3 after 10 holes of his final round this morning when play was abandoned.

Nevertheless making the cut on the Challenge Tour is no mean feat for an amateur so in my eyes this is another encouraging week for the man from Oban on the west coast of Scotland.

For more information on the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge please click this link: European Challenge Tour Finnish Challenge Results

So in summary, as far as Scottish hopes for the Walker Cup go, good weeks for Liam JOHNSTON and Robert MACINTYRE but not so good for Craig HOWIE and Connor SYME.

The battle for places continues with just the US Amateur Championship and the Men’s Home Internationals to be played.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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16. The 2016 GB&I St. Andrews Trophy Team

10th July 2016

Captain Craig Watson and The R&A have today confirmed their GB&I team to contest the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match to be played at Princes GC later this month.

The nine players are: –

David BOOTE, 22, Walton Heath, Wales

Jamie BOWER, 23, Meltham, England

Grant FORREST, 23, Craigielaw, Scotland

Scott GREGORY, 21, Corhampton, England

Stuart GREHAN, 23, Tullamore, Ireland

Jack HUME, 22, Naas, Ireland

Robert MACINTYRE, 19, Glencruitten, Scotland

Alfie PLANT, 24, Sundridge Park, England

Connor SYME, 21, Drumoig, Scotland

Two reserves have also been named: –

1. Craig HOWIE, 21, Peebles, Scotland

2. Conor O’ROURKE, 24, Naas, Ireland

I am pleased to report my own selection of 7th July 2016 was replicated by the R&A.

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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