71. Todd Clements Wins The English Men’s Amateur

7th August 2017

Todd CLEMENTS yesterday won the English Men’s Amateur Championship at The Berkshire Golf Club near Ascot.

In a match befitting the Final he eventually beat Staffordshire’s Jack GAUNT 2&1 in a rollercoaster affair where momentum swung from one side to the other.

Todd qualified in tied 3rd place on -9 after rounds of 66 (Blue) and 68 (Red).

David LANGLEY medalled after rounds of 61 and 68 respectively for a superb -14 score. Unfortunately the curse of the medalist struck him in his first match play game.

Prior to the Final the man from Braintree Golf Club in Essex reeled off a sequence of tight match play wins on the Red Course on route to securing the title at the famous heathland course: –

Round 2 Sam TURNER – 1 Hole
Round 3 Timothy SHIN – 3&2
Round 4 Joe LONG – 2&1
Quarter Final Jake BOLTON – 1 Hole
Semi-Final Nick POPPLETON – 1 Hole

Whilst by no means a favourite at the start of the week CLEMENTS has been building up to a breakthrough win so his victory was not a huge surprise.

For the last few years he has wintered in Dubai and produced a number of notable finishes on the professional MENA Golf Tour. His best came in October 2016 in the MENA Golf Tour Championship where he finished tied 5th.

Back home in 2017 he has produced some other reasonable finishes too – tied 7th at the Lytham Trophy, tied 25th at the Brabazon Trophy and tied 24th at the St. Andrews Links Trophy – but this prestigious title is clearly a big step forwards for him.

For more information on the English Men’s Amateur Championship please click these links – Stroke Play Qualifying Results and Match Play Results

Todd Clements (Photo: Leaderboard Photography) 

Todd, now 20, has risen to 207th in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking. However, as the now 34th best Great British and Irish (GB&I) and 16th best English player in this list he is clearly too far back to make a late burst for the 2017 Walker Cup team. I trust he will be rewarded with a place in the England team for the upcoming Men’s Home Internationals though.

The English Men’s Amateur in some respects was notable for those players who chose not to compete. These included Matthew JORDAN, Alfie PLANT, Harry ELLIS and Harry HALL. From a Walker Cup perspective, particularly if you already have some good results in the bag, as the first three players do, there can clearly be as much to be gained from not playing as actually teeing it up.

So let’s have a look at how those leading English players – those in the Walker Cup squad and current selection mix – that did make their way to The Berkshire got on (in order of success): –

Tom SLOMAN – SP 69 65 (-9) T3 / MP SF Lost to Jack Gaunt 1 Hole
Scott GREGORY – SP 64 72 (-7) T10 / MP QF Lost to Tom Sloman 1 Hole
Bradley MOORE – SP 71 70 (-2) T32 / MP Rd 4 Lost to Nick Poppleton 2&1
Gian-Marco PETROZZI – SP 71 71 (-1) T45 / MP Rd 4 Lost to Jack Gaunt 4&2
Daniel BROWN – SP 66 71 (-6) T13 / MP Rd 3 Lost to Bradley Moore 3&2
Josh HILLEARD – SP 70 68 (-5) T18 / MP Rd 3 Lost to Scott Gregory 4&2
Jack SINGH BRAR – SP 65 70 (-8) T6 / MP Rd 2 Lost to Harry Bayley 2 Holes
James WALKER – SP 71 73 (+1) T76 / MP DNQ
David WICKS – SP 73 71 (+1) T76 / MP DNQ
Jake BURNAGE – SP 71 73 (+1) T76 / MP DNQ
Marco PENGE – SP 73 77 (+7) T178  / MP DNQ

Somerset’s Tom SLOMAN continues to impress, following up his Amateur Championship Last 32 and recent Dutch U22 Open victory with another good performance here.

Scott GREGORY is clearly finding some form with a solid European Amateur Team competition and PGA EuroPro Top 5 followed up with a good run at The Berkshire. Is a Quarter Final result enough to force him into the Walker Cup reckoning though ?

Both Scott and Jack SINGH BRAR would do their chances the world of good by making the Match Play stage of the US Amateur Championship next week.

It was a shame to see JAKE BURNAGE come up short at the English Men’s Amateur given the run of form he’s been on. He will no doubt be selected for the England team at the Men’s Home Internationals so will get a further chance to show what can do then.

My current thinking re. English players in our 2017 GB&I Walker Cup team are that Matthew JORDAN, Alfie PLANT and Harry ELLIS are already assured of their places, that Jack SINGH BRAR is all but there and that SCOTT GREGORY still has every chance. It’s hard to see anyone else getting a look in at this stage given the competition for places.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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57. USA Win The 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup Match

13th June 2017

USA beat Europe 19.5 – 10.5 to win the Arnold Palmer Cup (APC) at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

Team USA (Photo: @GolfChannel)

The APC is a team golf competition played annually between American and European college golfers. USA now lead the all-time match series W11 – L9 – H1.

The 2017 match was clearly lost by Europe on Day 2 when USA managed to win the Singles 9.5 – 0.5. The Day 1 Foursomes / Fourballs and Day 3 Singles were both halved 5.0 – 5.0

In a Walker Cup year the APC represents an interesting ‘warm up’ for the main event.

Whilst I believe the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team will be very different to Europe’s in September the USA team should prove to be fairly representative. I expect at least six of the USA’s APC team to be in their Walker Cup team.

The European APC team contained 6 GB&I players – Harry ELLIS (ENG), Rory FRANSSEN (SCO), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Harry HALL (ENG), Richard MANSELL (ENG) and David WICKS (ENG).

We learnt two things from the match: –

1) I wrote last week in News Article 54. that I could see a scenario where none of our US College players would make the GB&I Walker Cup team. This match didn’t really help their cases with none of the six players listed above making a material impression that would have resonated back home with the selectors.

2) Stating the obvious USA will be formidable opponents in Los Angeles, playing at home on a parkland course. Their Walker cup team, even allowing for the inclusion of one or two mid-amateurs, should also be stronger than their Arnold Palmer Cup one. For example Braden Thornberry, the NCAA Division I Champion, didn’t play; he was busy finishing tied 4th at the Fed Ex St Jude Classic on the PGA Tour.

Here is the full individual performance analysis that I produced for the 2017 APC match: –

As can be seen from the above table Richard MANSELL did the best out of the GB&I group, halving a fourball on Day 1 and winning his second Singles game.

For those wanting the full hole-by-hole detail:-

Click here to view the – Day 1 AM Foursomes Results

Click here to view the – Day 1 PM Fourballs Results

Click here to view the – Day 2 Singles Results

Click here to view the – Day 3 Singles Results

Click here to see more detailed information on the APC – The Arnold Palmer Cup – 2017 Preview, Reports & Results

ME.

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

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54. Will Any of Our US College Players Make The Walker Cup Team ?

3rd June 2017

With an away Walker Cup match before them I am sure the Great British & Irish (GB&I) selectors will be considering the claims of our United States (US) based College players carefully.

Who better to beat the American’s than those guys who are familiar with US course set ups and are used to playing with and against our opponents week in and week out ?

So with the NCAA Men’s Division I National Championship having been completed this week now seems a good time to review the credentials of our leading US College players.


The easiest way to assess 2016/17 performances is to use the GolfStat Head-to-Head Player Standings. This is the primary ranking of US College golf players and performances.

GB&I’s Top 10 players in the Division I ranking (with their Adjusted Scoring Average) are shown below alongside their current Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking SPWAR (with GB&I position): –

Harry HALL – GS 33rd (71.76) / SPWAR 80 (11th)

Sam HORSFIELD – GS 38th (71.56) / Turned Pro on 22nd May

Harry ELLIS – GS 53rd (71.82) / SPWAR 189 (26th)

David WICKS – GS 76th (71.38) / SPWAR 111 (16th)

Paul MCBRIDE – GS 79th (71.91) / SPWAR 72 (8th)

Rory FRANSSEN – GS 81st (72.03) / SPWAR 285 (34th)

Ryan LUMSDEN – GS 97 (72.19) / SPWAR 145 (21st)

Euan WALKER – GS 125 (72.11) / SPWAR 288 (35th)

Jake STOREY – GS 183 (72.22) / SPWAR 405 (44th)

Daniel SUTTON – GS 225th (72.78) / SPWAR 305th (38th)

In Division II GB&I had two players in the top 25 of the GolfStat standings: –

Richard MANSELL – GS 4th (71.01) / SPWAR 371 (40th)

Sam BROADHURST – GS 21st (72.08) / SPWAR 1361 (154th)

Harry Hall (Photo: UNLV Men’s Golf)

If one looks at the GB&I SPWAR positions alone, which fully reflect US College performances, then clearly Paul MCBRIDE and Harry HALL are right in the mix with David WICKS, and to a lesser degree Ryan LUMSDEN and Harry ELLIS, also knocking on the door.

The reality is I am not sure any of our US College players would make the team if I had to be pick it today. Perhaps Harry HALL would just sneak in but it would be close.

Certainly to my eyes all five of the above players could do with another ‘result’ or two in the coming weeks to draw the selectors towards them.

However, a possible twist to this story comes next week in the form of the Arnold Palmer Cup. This match between College players from the United States and Europe is being played at the Atlantic Athletic Club.

As a result of their performances this year Harry ELLIS, Rory FRANSSEN, Harry HALL, Richard MANSELL and David WICKS have all been selected for the European team. Stuart GREHAN, who is studying at Maynooth University in Ireland, is also playing for Europe.

The United States Arnold Palmer Cup team probably contains 6 or possibly 7 of their likely Walker Cup team so if one or more of the GB&I players in Europe’s team can deliver a standout performance it will undoubtedly raise their profiles.

There can be no better way to show you belong in the GB&I Walker Cup team than by delivering in what will effectively be a dress rehearsal for it.

What ever happens with the Walker Cup team in the coming months all of these lads have enjoyed good seasons over in America and have clearly shown they can compete at the highest level.

______________________________________________________

Appendix 1 – Additional Leading Division I Player Notes

Harry HALL (UNLV, Sophomore)
– 2016/17 stats: 14 events, 43 rounds (low 65), T2nd best finish, 71.63 average score.
– Harry led the way for GB&I in the 2016/17 Division I College season.
– His UNLV team reached the Nationals having finished first in the Indiana Regional where Harry secured 6th in the Individual.
– At Rich Harvest Farms he finished tied 39th in the Individual Stroke Play. Seeded 16th UNLV did well to qualify for the Top 8 Team Match Play but lost their Quarter Final to Vanderbilt 3-2. Harry lost his match with Patrick Martin (SPWAR 12) by 1 hole.

Harry ELLIS (Florida State, RJ Junior)
– 2016/17 stats: 13 events, 39 rounds (low 65), 2nd best finish, 71.62 average score.
– Harry had a very good season leading his Florida State team through to the Nationals with a tied 5th result in their Washington Regional.
– He finished T43 in the Individual Stroke Play at the Nationals, his team failing to make the Match Play Stage.

David WICKS (Jacksonville, Senior)
– 2016/17 stats: 12 events, 34 rounds (low 66), 1st best finish, 71.00 average score.
– David did very well for Jacksonville all year. He delivered in the Louisiana Regional with a tied 7th place and then helped his Team to a play off win over a Northwestern team containing Ryan LUMSDEN, who finished 16th in the Individual.
– At the Nationals he narrowly missed the Individual 54 hole cut.

Paul MCBRIDE (Wake Forest, Junior)
– 2016/17 stats: 11 events, 32 rounds (65 low), T2nd best finish, 71.69 average score.
– Paul played reasonably well during the season but will be disappointed with his finish to the year.
– His +12 tied 57th finish at the Texas Regional, where two of his three rounds were discounted, clearly played it’s part in Wake Forest’s surprise failure to qualify for the Nationals.

Appendix 2 – Links

Click here to view the – GolfStat Head-to-Head Player Standings

Click here to view the current – Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings

Click here to view the – Arnold Palmer Cup website.

ME.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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45. GB&I Amateur Golf Rankings – 31st March 2017

7th April 2017

The table below summarises the ranking positions of the Top 30 GB&I amateur golfers as at the end of March 2017.

The Golf Bible Combined Amateur Ranking (GBCAR), shown in the blue columns on the right, uses the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WGAR – yellow) and the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking (SPWAR – green) to produce a composite ranking based on the average of the two main rankings.

As I have stated before my preference is for the SPWAR, which I consider to be far more accurate and therefore useful for team selections.

The table below looks at the Top 30 GB&I players listed in the SPWAR and reviews their ranking trend for the last 12 months.

I have expressed the opinion in previous articles that Connor SYME, Robert MACINTYRE and Scott GREGORY are already as good as selected for the GB&I Team for me.

In Quarter 1 Robin DAWSON, Liam JOHNSTON and Jack DAVIDSON have stepped forward most impressively.

Other players trending well in the SPWAR Top 20 include Craig HOWIE, Stuart GREHAN, Marco PENGEAlex GLEESON, Jack SINGH BRAR, Daniel BROWN and David WICKS.

Whilst many factors go into selecting the 10 man GB&I Walker Cup team there is no question that the two world ranking lists provide an important foundation for the future discussions that will take place around the Committee table.

For more information on the Amateur Golf Rankings please click here – Golf Bible’s Rankings Page.

Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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