Whilst to my knowledge no official announcement has been made yet Jamie Bower‘s exclusion from the England Men’s Squad clearly signalled that he will be turning pro imminently. [Jamie officially signed with Georgia Golf on 7th December].
Yorkshireman Bower had a great 2016 winning the Gauteng North Open Amateur (RSA), Southern Cape Open Amateur (RSA) and most notably the English Open Amateur Stroke Play (Brabazon Trophy). Jamie also reached the last 16 of the 2016 Amateur Championship.
Jamie Bower with the Brabazon Trophy (Photo: Leaderboard Photography)
Compatriot Adam Chapman made his pro debut yesterday on the Algarve Pro Tour.
In addition to many high finishes Cumbrian Chapman won a number of amateur events in recent years. These included the South of England Open Amateur in 2014 and the North of England Open Amateur in both 2014 and 2015. He reached the last 32 of the 2016 Amateur Championship having beaten Ireland’s highly rated Jack Hume in Rd 1.
Adam Chapman with the North of England Open Amateur Trophy (Photo: Driving PR)
Prior to being removed last weekend Jamie Bower and Adam Chapman were ranked 36th and 113th in the SPWAR. As of this week they still remain in the WAGR; ranked 12th and 370th respectively.
Both players, and clearly Bower was currently very well placed, would certainly have had a chance of making the GB&I Walker Cup team if they had remained amateur.
The list of GB&I amateurs that have turned pro in 2016 continues to grow.
I thought it was worth recording the two biggest wins in Great British and Irish (GB&I) amateur golf in 2016 to date.
These being Alfie Plant (ENG) in the Lytham Trophy and Conor O’Rourke (IRE) in the St. Andrews Links Trophy.
Both are notable because of the quality of the fields that contested the events and because of the Open Championship venues that staged them. Rarely does anyone win a 72-hole stroke play competition at Royal Lytham or St. Andrews without being some player.
There were some similarities in the wins too. Both players came into the events relatively unheralded and both proceeded to get off to good starts before happily leading throughout.
Alfie Plant (Photo: Darren Plant)
Alfie Plant won the Lytham Trophy by 7-shots in what were largely awful playing conditions. Rounds of 67, 73, 74 and 70 gave him a +4 total and enabled him to overcome compatriot Bradley Moore (ENG) who had pinched the Rd. 3 lead on the morning of the final day. Moore finished T2 on +11 with Ugo Coussard (FRA) and Jamie Savage (SCO) after a disappointing final back-9.
Other GB&I Top 10 finishers were James Walker (ENG) and Grant Forrest (SCO), both +12 tied 5th, and Ashton Turner (ENG) and Gian-Marco Petrozzi (ENG), +13 and tied 8th.
The Lytham Trophy results can be viewed in detail by clicking this link – Results
Conor O’Rourke won the Links Trophy yesterday with a magnificent performance. He showed admirable composure and no shortage of game to complete a famous wire-to-wire victory at The Home of Golf.
Conor shot 65 on the New Course on Friday and followed it up with weekend rounds of 69, 71 and 70 on the Old to pick up by far the biggest title of his amateur career with a 275 (-12) total.
More so than Plant this win seemed to come from absolutely nowhere. Prior to play commencing O’Rourke was ranked 1,245th in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR). Admittedly he was a lower, at 549th, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) but either way this was one of the biggest amateur competitions in the world with a field to reflect it’s status.
Scottish players were very well represented in the final standings with seven appearing in the top 20. Sandy Scott (-11 / 2nd), Ewen Ferguson (-10 / 3rd), Calum Fyfe and Jamie Savage (both -9 / tied 5th) -9 all standing out.
Ireland had Dermot McElroy (-8 / 7th) and Colm Campbell (-2 / 20th) in the Top 20. However, England will be disappointed that they only had Adam Chapman (-6 / tied 9th), who continues to show a welcome return to form in 2016, to shout about. Joshua Davies (WAL), a regular winner at home, finished tied 21st on -1 showing he’s capable of mixing it with the best on his day too.
The Links Trophy results can be viewed in detail by clicking this link– Results
The question now is can Alfie Plant and Conor O’Rourke build on these two outstanding performances in the coming weeks to stake a strong claim for inclusion in the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy team squad and who knows possibly the 2017 Walker cup one.
England defeated France 14-10 at Formby Golf Club in a hard fought contest played in near perfect conditions.
The English Team Celebrate Their Victory Over France (Photo: GolfBible)
The following table shows the Individual Contributions of all of the England team members. Scott Gregory and Josh Hilleard enjoyed impressive W3 / H0 / L1 records and given their two Singles performances were joined by Bradley Moore and Alfie Plant as England’s star men this weekend.
In what was an impressive performance against a reasonable French side it was pleasing to see each member of the team contribute at least a point to the win.
Grégoire Schoeb and Victor Veyret stood out for the French and certainly can take no blame for their team’s defeat.
8th May 2016
Any Home Nation team match needs to be studied carefully. Selection, pairings and performance all provide useful information.
Every year England play Spain or France in biennial international amateur team matches.
Last year England beat Spain 19-11 at Burnham & Berrow G.C. in Somerset. This victory, for the first time contested as a mixed match, extended their winning record against Spain to 14-2. Ashley Chesters and Jimmy Mullen, who went on to play in the 2015 Walker Cup, starred for England winning all four of their matches.
This year it’s the turn of France who England will take on at Formby G.C., Lancashire, on 14th-15th May. The match against France dates back to 1934 with England leading the series 28-5.
Four foursomes and eight singles will be contested on each day.
The French team will consist of Edgar Catherine, Ugo Coussaud, Andoni Etchenique, Jeong Weon Ko, Adrien Pendaries, PierrePineau, Grégoire Schoeb and Victor Veyret.
On 3rd May England confirmed their 8-man team:-
Jamie Bower (23) – Meltham G.C., Yorkshire
Jamie has risen up the world rankings in 2016 after a successful early season tour of South Africa where he won both the Gauteng North Amateur and the Southern Cape Open. He was also third in the African Open.
Scott Gregory (21) – Corhampton G.C., Hampshire
Scott was runner-up in the 2016 Spanish Amateur and helped England win the Costa Ballena Quadrangular tournament earlier this season.
Paul Kinnear (22) – Formby G.C., Lancashire
Paul represented England on their tour of South Africa earlier this season and will hopefully bring some home course knowledge to the Team.
Bradley Moore (18) – Kedleston Park G.C., Derbyshire
Bradley was joint runner-up in the Lytham Trophy earlier this month and helped Europe beat Asia Pacific in the 2016 Bonallack Trophy.
Alfie Plant (23) – Sundridge Park G.C., Kent
Alfie won the 2016 Lytham Trophy by 7-shots and toured South Africa with England earlier this year.
Ashton Turner (20) – Kenwick Park, Lincolnshire
Ashton helped Europe beat Asia Pacific in the Bonallack Trophy and toured Australia with England earlier this season.
James Walker (22) – The Oaks G.C., Yorkshire
James has been in good form this year winning the Selborne Salver and reaching the semi-finals of the Spanish Amateur championship, unluckily losing to eventual champion Romain Langasque on the 19th hole following a series of chip-ins from the Frenchman. He was 6th at the Lytham Trophy.
It’s difficult to argue with the above selection.
Marco Penge is the most obvious omission but as he celebrates his 18th birthday on 15th May he probably asked not to be considered. Marco has also been ploughing his own furrow this year playing in both the PGA EuroPro Tour Q-School and Junior Invitational at Sage Valley recently instead of more obvious GB&I amateur events; the Lytham Trophy being his most obvious miss.
Jonathan Thomson has been recovering from a back injury for a few months. Daniel Brown, Adam Chapman, Ryan Cornfield, JJ Grey, Sam Horsfield, Andrew Wilson and Jack Yule may also have been discussed by the selectors but are either finishing off the US College season or probably need a few more results to break in to the current 2016 England Men’s Team.