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.
The AUSTRALIA team, consisting of Cameron DAVIS, Harrison ENDYCOTT and Curtis LUCK, won the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship in Mexico. Their 72-hole score of 534 (-38) equalled the best ever team score and helped them to a massive 19-shot win.
ENGLAND (-19) collected the silver medal with AUSTRIA and IRELAND (-18) sharing bronze. It is the first time that both ENGLAND and IRELAND have medalled since the home nations started competing individually rather than under the Great Britain & Ireland banner.
England – Nigel Edwards, Kevin Tucker, Scott Gregory, Jamie Bower, Alfie Plant, and Graham Walker Celebrate their Silver Medals (Photo: Darren Plant).
SCOTLAND (-11) finished a disappointing 11th given their strong team and great start to the event – they led after Round 1 on -10. WALES (-8), on the other hand, will be pleased with their encouraging T16 result.
1. AUSTRALIA -38
2. ENGLAND -19
T3. IRELAND -18
11. SCOTLAND -11
T16. WALES -8
AUSTRALIA’s Cameron DAVIS (269 / -17) recorded the Championship’s lowest individual score. His compatriot Curtis LUCK (271 / -15) finished second, helped in no small part by a 63 (-9) in Friday’s third round.
Looking ahead to the 2017 Walker Cup it is of course interesting to reflect on which of the 12 GB&I players performed in this elite company.
T3. Alfie PLANT (ENG) -12
9. David BOOTE (WAL) -9
T11. Jack HUME (IRE) -7
T20. Paul MCBRIDE (IRE) -5
T27. Robert MCINTYRE (SCO) -3
T38. Connor SYME (SCO) Ev
T38. Grant FORREST (SCO) Ev
T38. Scott GREGORY (ENG) Ev
T48. Stuart GREHAN (IRE) +2
T53. Jamie BOWER (ENG) +3
T71. Owen EDWARDS (WAL) +5
T100. Joshua DAVIES (WAL) +11
Clearly Alfie PLANT (-12), David BOOTE (-9), Jack HUME (-7) – reportedly now turning pro – Paul MCBRIDE (-5) and Robert MCINTYRE all played very well, finishing under par in the Top 30 Individual standings.
Ireland – Paul McBride, Neil Manchip, Tony Goode, Stuart Grehan and Jack Hume – Bronze Medalists (Photo: GUI Website).
Alfie PLANT – who holed a 9-foot birdie putt on the last green to secure second place for England – and David BOOTE both increasingly look probables for the 2017 Walker Cup team. Both seem to be playing consistently well at the moment with their potential selections having the aded benefit of bringing some experience and maturity to the team room.
Curtis LUCK (AUS) won the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion, beating Brad DALKE (USA) 6&4 in today’s 36-hole Championship match at Oakland Hills CC, in Detroit.
Whilst Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) are not celebrating a U.S. Amateur win this year the 2016 Championship proved to be a reasonably successful one for us.
I certainly can’t recall six of our players making the Top 64 cut in the stroke play qualifying before and therefore progressing to the match play stage. It was also good to see at least one of the six coming from each of the four home nations.
In exactly 12 month’s time the R&A will announce their 2017 Walker Cup team. So lets look at who put an early marker down at this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship and showed they have the ability to compete at the highest level.
11 GB&I players qualified for the 116th U.S. Amateur Championship: –
David BOOTE 22 (WAL) – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Jamie BOWER 23 (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Ewen FERGUSON 20 (SCO) – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Grant FORREST 23 (SCO) – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Scott GREGORY 21 (ENG) – 2016 Amateur Champion Sam HORSFIELD 19 (ENG) – 2016 US Open, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Jack HUME 22 (IRE) – 2015 Walker Cup, Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Robert MACINTYRE 20 (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Bradley MOORE 18 (ENG) – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16 Jack SINGH BRAR 19 (ENG) – Qualifier at Ada, Michigan (05/07/16) Connor SYME 21 (SCO) – Top 50 WAGR 29/6/16
Stroke Play Qualifying Stage – 15th-16th August
The U.S. Amateur starts with a 36-hole stroke play qualifying event to identify the 64 players who will contest the match play stage that will ultimately determine the champion.
Alex SMALLEY (USA) earned medalist honours with a 133 (-7) total after two impressive rounds at Oakland Hills; a 65 on the North Course, followed on Day 2 by a 68 on the tougher South Course.
56 players automatically qualified on +1 with 23 others on +2 having to endure a sudden death play-off for the remaining 8 spots.
18th hole, South Course, Oakland Hills CC (Photo: Oakland Hills CC)
Here are the GB&I stroke play qualifying scores: –
T6 Scott GREGORY 21 (ENG) -3 69 NC, 68 SC
T11 Sam HORSFIELD 19 (ENG) -2 66 NC, 72 SC
T30 Connor SYME 21 (SCO) Ev 70 SC, 70 NC
T41 Jack HUME 22 (IRE) +1 72 SC, 69 NC
T57 David BOOTE 22 (WAL) +2 70 SC, 72 NC
T57 Bradley MOORE 18 (ENG) +2 71 NC, 71 SC
Scott GREGORY was our leading stroke play qualifier finishing a very creditable tied 6th. He recorded just three bogeys over his 36 holes which must have been amongst the lowest in the whole field.
Sam HORSFIELD set himself up for qualification with a five birdie 66 (-4) on the North Course. A satisfactory 72 (+2) on the South on Day 2 saw him qualify as the 17th seed.
Connor SYME qualified with two symmetrical par rounds. On Day 1 he had one birdie and one bogey on each side of the South and on Day 2 he had three bogies on the front nine before recovering his qualification with three birdies on the back.
Jack HUME left himself some work to do on Day 2 after a 72 over the South on Day 1. The fact he was able to shoot a 69 on the North when he needed it bode well for his chances later in the week.
David BOOTE and Bradley MOORE both showed strong resolve to battle their way to +2 and a shot at the 23-into-8 match play play-off. Within a few minutes of each other on the morning of Day 3 they both holed long birdie putts on the second play-off hole (11th on the North Course) to progress.
So in summary Sam HORSFIELD, Scott GREGORY, Connor SYME, Bradley MOORE and Jack HUME all qualified for the match play stage and therefore in my view could all leave Oakland Hills with their heads held high. When one considers the quality of the field at the U.S. Amateur and looks at our historic record in achieving this feat you have to say this is the right hurdle for defining a good GB&I Championship performance.
By the same definition those GB&I players who missed the match play cut have to accept that they fell short: –
Jack SINGH BRAR looked nicely on track when he posted a 71 (+1) on the South Course and followed it with a 34 (-1) over his first nine holes on the North on Day 2. Unfortunately three bogeys over his last 5 holes saw him drift from comfortable qualification (+1) to a missed cut position (+3).
Ewen FERGUSON started nervously bogeying and double bogeying his first two holes on the North Course. Three late birdies on Day 1 helped him recover to a 72 (+2) but with the South to come the odds were always going to be stacked against him. He managed a 71 on Day 2 to his credit but it in reality it was too little too late for the Scotsman. Not helped by injuries this is proving to be a season to forget for the 2015 Walker cup man.
I had high hopes for Robert MACINTYRE heading into the week. He backed them up for me with a 68 (-2) on the North Course to start the week off. Unfortunately five bogeys and two double bogeys on his way to a 76 (+6) on the South saw him tumble down the leaderboard.
Grant FORREST and Jamie BOWER, who were both a long way off the pace, will both be disappointed with their performances this week.
Match Play Stage – 17th-21st August
Here’s is a summary of all of the GB&I match play results: –
Quarter Finals – Friday 19th August 2016 David Boote 62 (WAL) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)
Round of 16 – Thursday 18th August 2016 Dylan Meyer 33 (USA) WON 19th hole v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG) David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 2&1 v. Collin Morikawa 14 (USA)
Round of 32 – Thursday 18th August 2016 Doc Redman 49 (USA) LOST 5&4 v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG) Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) LOST 19th Hole v. Nick Carlson 41 (USA) David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 3&1 v. Ben Schlottman 35 (USA)
Round of 64 – Wednesday 17th August 2016 Connor Syme 32 (SCO) LOST 2 Up v. Dylan Meyer 33 (USA) Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG) WON 3&1 v. Hugo Bernard 48 (CAN) Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) WON 7&5 v. Raymond Knoll 56 (USA) Dawson Armstrong 2 (USA) WON 1 Up v. Bradley Moore 63 (ENG) Bryson Nimmer 23 (U SA) WON 1 Up v. Jack Hume 42 (IRE) Gavin Hall 3 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. David Boote 62 (WAL)
David BOOTE (WAL) was the most successful GB&I player at the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship reaching the quarter-finals of the match play stage.
David Boote made few mistakes in the match play stage and his consistent play enabled him to see off Gavin Hall, Ben Schlottman and most impressively Collin Morikawa. He saved his best till last too, playing very well against Brad Dalke, where despite giving nothing away he ended up losing his quarter final match to an inspired opponent on the day. Boote has been playing consistently to a high level this summer and is now right at the top of the GB&I amateur game. If he chooses to remain amateur and can maintain this form he will surely secure a place in next year’s Walker Cup team.
Sam HORSFIELD beat Hugo Bernard, winner of the Canadian Amateur title last weekend, 3&1 in the Round of 64. He then played his very best golf to beat Doc Redman, shooting 29 on the front nine before finishing the match 7-under par on the 14th. Dylan Meyer, who just a few week’s ago beat Sam in the final of the Western Amateur, was next up. In a tight match Horsfield missed a short 3 footer for par on their 19th hole to allow Meyer to get the better of him again. It says everything about Horsfield, who this week moved to No. 1 in the SPWAR rankings, that the fact he didn’t reach at least the semi-finals this week has to be viewed as both a disappointment and a surprise.
Scott GREGORY had an easy first match with Raymond Knoll bogeying 7 of the 13 holes they completed. Scott played well in his final match – he was 3-under for the 19 holes contested, with just one bogey – but simply came up against an in form Nick Carlson; the local Michigan man playing well above himself all week. Carlson of course went on to reach the semi-finals before losing to Australian Curtis Luck yesterday.
Connor SYME lost to Dylan Meyer, the recent Western Amateur champion and nemesis of Sam Horsfield in Round 1. Syme gave the in form American a good game and will have been disappointed to lose 2 Up, particularly as he lost the last two holes to par.
The tough finish on Oakland Hills South Course proved too much for both Bradley MOORE and Jack HUME in their Round of 64 matches. Moore did well to fight back to All Square against the No. 2 qualifier Dawson Armstrong having been 2 Down with 6 holes to play. However, having birdied the 13th and 16th, he bogied the last two holes to let Armstrong progress. Hume was 1 Up with 3 to play before he bogeyed 16 and 17 to give his opponent, Bryson Nimmer a 1 Up lead which he saw out on the final hole.
You don’t get anywhere near the first tee of the U.S. Amateur without being a very accomplished golfer. So in terms of a stepping stone to 2017 Walker Cup selection it is often a case of looking at who did not perform and understanding why rather than those that did. The six players who made it to the match play stage clearly did very well and confirmed their standing as 2017 Walker Cup ‘probables’. Those that did not will know they need to learn from the experience and work on both their games and consistency to demonstrate they are more than ‘possibles’.
Great Britain & Ireland retained the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy earlier this week in an exciting match against the Continent of Europe.
The 31st contest in the series was halved 12.5-12.5 at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent but as the holders GB&I were able to keep the Trophy on home soil. It was the first time the match had been halved, GB&I winning 25 times and Europe just five times previously.
Great Britain & Ireland (Photo: Darren Plant)
David BOOTE (WAL) proved to be the hero of the day bravely parring the 18th hole to secure a 1Up win in the final singles game of Day 2 against Spain’s Ivan CANTERO GUTIERREZ (ESP).
GB&I had got off to the worse possible start losing the Day 1 foursomes 0-4. A recovery of sorts looked possible for the home team in the afternoon singles but some late reverses saw Europe rescue a 4-4 series result.
Going into Day 2 behind 4-8 few predicted GB&I could recover the situation. However, a 3.5-1.5 result in the Day 2 foursomes gave the team every reason to believe prior to the 9 singles commencing. The singles were again a rollercoaster affair but GB&I managed to sneak them 5-4 to secure a dramatic half.
Whilst it does not take into account the quality of each player’s opposition it is still interesting to review the high level individual player contributions: –
From a GB&I perspective Scott GREGORY (ENG) and Stuart GREHAN (IRE) were our star men this week securing two singles wins and one foursome success.
Connor SYME (SCO), Jack HUME (IRE), David BOOTE (WAL) and Alfie PLANT (ENG) also played important point scoring roles during the competition.
Jamie BOWER (ENG), Grant FORREST (SCO) and Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) will be disappointed with their contributions.
GB&I and new captain Craig WATSON will no doubt be delighted to retain the St. Andrews Trophy. The Team showed real determination and fight to turn around a horrific start.
However, the reality is this was a disappointing performance and result.
Save for the inclusion of Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) and possibly Ewen FERGUSON (SCO) GB&I were able to put out their strongest team. Europe were sadly not in the same position. Adrian MERONK (POL) and Antoine ROZNER (FRA) would certainly have been included if not for the fixture clash with the European Challenge Tour event in France. Ugo COUSSAUD (FRA) and Gregoire SCHOEB (FRA), also playing in France, would probably have been considered too.
Europe have only won five St. Andrews Trophy matches out of 30, with just one of these victories coming away from the Continent. GB&I clearly have an advantage when playing such matches on links courses which they have far more experience of.
So, harsh as it may seem, I for one am not going to get too excited about a halved home match against a weakened Continent of Europe team. Much improvement will be needed if GB&I are going to give a hurt USA team a match on a parkland course in sunny Los Angeles at the 2017 Walker Cup.
Here’s my stab at the 2016 Great Britain & Ireland St. Andrews Trophy Team.
The St. Andrews Trophy has been played biennially between GB&I and Europe since 1956.
GB&I have won 25 times with Europe having just five wins to their name, albeit two of them came recently in 2010 and 2012. GB&I won the 2014 match, played in Barsebäck, Sweden, 14-10.
I anticipate this year’s match being a very close encounter.
With the European Men’s Amateur Team Championship coming to a conclusion at Golf de Chantilly in France on Saturday I expect the GB&I Team to be named by The R&A and Captain Craig Watson early next week.
These are the questions I’ve asked myself before selecting my Team: –
How many players do I need, where are we playing and what’s the format ?
The match is to be contested by a team of 9 GB&I players.
It is to be played on the links of Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st July.
On Day 1 4 foursomes and 8 singles will be played. On Day 2 there are again 4 foursomes but in a change to the recent format all 9 players will then compete in singles this year. I know from past experience that there is always a tendency to prefer pairs from the same country so need to consider that.
Who’s in the frame ?
An 18-man St. Andrews Trophy Squad was announced on 24th March 2016.
This included David BOOTE (WAL), Jamie BOWER (ENG), Owen EDWARDS (WAL), Ewen FERGUSON (SCO), Grant FORREST (SCO), John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE), Alex GLEESON (IRE), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Scott GREGORY (ENG), Jack HUME (IRE), Jack MCDONALD (SCO), Robert MACINTYRE (SCO), Greg MARCHBANK (SCO), Bradley MOORE (ENG), Marco PENGE (ENG), Craig ROSS (SCO), Connor SYME (SCO) and Ashton TURNER (ENG).
There were 7 players from Scotland, 5 from England, 4 from Ireland and 2 from Wales in the initial squad.
We can of course remove Jack McDonald from the above group as he turned pro on 31st March.
Who has performed well this year ?
Here is my 29th June 2016 Rankings Assessment which clearly shows who our leading players have been in the year to date, at least according to the two main Amateur Rankings.
It seems unlikely to me that anyone outside my Combined Top 20 listed above will be selected. Unless of course The R&A go for a completely Scottish team – which given current form is not as outlandish a statement as it may at first seem.
Who’s showing form at this week’s European Men’s Amateur Championship ?
EMATC GB&I Stroke Play Scores
The above table clearly shows who performed well in the stroke play qualifying and how today’s first round match play has gone for our leading players.
In Division 2 David BOOTE was the medalist in the stroke play qualifying with a -9 36-hole total in Luxembourg.
Notable Omissions ?
At the end of June our highest ranked player was Sam HORSFIELD (ENG). I understand that Craig Watson watched and met with him at the Arnold Palmer Cup a few weeks ago at Formby but I don’t envisage him being considered or dare I say making himself available for this event. I am sure Sam will be committed to the series of major amateur events that are played in the United States during July and August.
Ewen FERGUSON (SCO) has been struggling with a wrist injury in recent weeks, withdrawing from three events in succession. I have therefore chosen to exclude him from my thoughts on fitness grounds. This is a shame for Ewen as he has started to show some good form lately with a 3rd place in the St Andrews Links Trophy and a good run at The Amateur.
So excluding Sam and Ewen here’s my team of 9, in order of selection: –
1. Grant FORREST (SCO) – since winning the Battle Trophy in Scotland he has strung to together a series of top quality results. Playing well in France and now back to his very best.
2. Jack HUME (IRE) – the South African SP and European Nations Individual 2016 champion was solid in the 2015 Walker Cup and outstanding in the Bonallack Trophy earlier this year.
3. Connor SYME (SCO) – the 2016 Australian Amateur champion has enjoyed an excellent season and is now undoubtedly one of GB&I’s top amateur players.
4. Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) – has peaked perfectly for this selection. Finalist in The Amateur and has taken that form into his last two events on the Challenge Tour and this week in France.
5. Scott GREGORY (ENG) – having just won The Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl he obviously must play. He’s delivered winning results for England in two international matches this year also.
6. Alfie PLANT (ENG) – a fantastic winner of the Lytham Trophy who has enjoyed good finishes at the French International Amateur (T11) and Brabazon Trophy (T7) since. A Kent-lad too which should help with local support.
7. Jamie BOWER (ENG) – he’s won three events this year including the prestigious Brabazon Trophy in Kent, albeit on an inland course. Jamie also got to the last 16 of the Amateur so has certainly backed up his early season wins in South Africa.
It starts to get a bit trickier from here on in, particularly around foursomes pairings, but I’ve given the benefit of the doubt to: –
8. Stuart GREHAN (IRE) – a strong performance this week for Ireland on the back of a positive contribution at the Arnold Palmer Cup. Stuart seems to be on an upward curve to me.
9. David BOOTE (WAL) – David has enjoyed a good season for Stanford in the US and delivered winning results at the Bonallack Trophy (where he played with Jack Hume) and Arnold Palmer Cup this year. He has also made a good start in Luxembourg this week for Wales at the Division 2 European Men’s Team Championship.
Having put my head above the parapet I have to say it would be hard for me to argue if any of Craig HOWIE (SCO – partnering Connor Syme at the Euros this week), Conor O’ROURKE (Naas GC, IRE – as is Jack Hume), Sandy SCOTT (SCO), Craig ROSS (SCO) or Bradley MOORE (ENG – a possible partner for Alfie Plant) were selected by The R&A based on 2016 performances and potential foursome pairings.
Let me know what you think by commenting below or on Twitter ?
Englishmen Scott Gregory and Jamie Bower have raised their profiles considerably having picked up The Amateur Championship and Brabazon Trophy titles in recent weeks.
Gregory beat Robert MacIntyre (SCO) 2&1 in the 36-hole final of The Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl GC.
Scott Gregory (Photo: Getty Images / The R&A)
He shot 72 at Royal Porthcawl and 71 at Pyle & Kenfig in the Stroke Play Qualifying to finish tied 13th on +1. Seeded 13th 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.
Paul McBride (IRE) and Ewen Ferguson (SCO) also both reached the Quarter Finals of The Amateur.
Just a week later Jamie Bower won the Brabazon Trophy – the English Men’s Open Stroke Play Championship. His 12-under finish at the London Golf Club good enough to pip Cameron Davis (AUS) on the final green. Bower made a great start to the season winning twice in South Africa. Having reached the last 16 of The Amateur and now picked up this title he certainly seems to be back in the groove.
Ryan Lumsden -10 (SCO), Gian-Marco Petrozzi -9 (ENG) and Jamie Li -8 (ENG) finished third, fourth and fifth respectively. Alfie Plant -5 (ENG), winner of the Lytham Trophy, also came a creditable tied 7th. Sandy Scott -2 T12 (SCO), Conor O’Rourke -1 T16 (IRE) and Paul McBride -1 T16 (IRE) continue to feature regularly too.
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.
The R&A and new captain Craig Watson (SCO) yesterday announced an 18-man GB&I Squad for the 2016 St. Andrews Trophy match against the Continent of Europe.
7 players from Scotland, 5 from England, 4 from Ireland and 2 from Wales have been selected. They are listed below in alphabetical order: –
David BOOTE (WAL) Jamie BOWER (ENG) Owen EDWARDS (WAL) Ewen FERGUSON (SCO) Grant FORREST (SCO) John Ross GALBRAITH (IRE) Alex GLEESON (IRE) Stuart GREHAN (IRE) Scott GREGORY (ENG) Jack HUME (IRE) Jack MCDONALD (SCO) Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) Greg MARCHBANK (SCO) Bradley MOORE (ENG) Marco PENGE (ENG) Craig ROSS (SCO) Connor SYME (SCO) Ashton TURNER (ENG)
The current GB&I Scratch Players World Amateur Golf Ranking is shown below: –
The current GB&I World Amateur Golf Ranking is also shown below: –
As one would expect the Squad largely reflects the current rankings.
The obvious omission is Sam HORSFIELD (ENG) who has made a strong start to his freshman year at Florida on the US College circuit and sits near the top of both rankings. It is unclear at the moment whether the R&A have ignored him after his late Walker Cup withdrawal last summer or Sam has simply made himself unavailable. It is interesting to note that he has made himself available for Europe’s Palmer Cup Team and the match taking place against the United States at Formby GC in June.
Jimmy ALLEN (ENG) who was well placed in the rankings turned pro ahead of the MENA Tour opener in Morocco this week and was therefore not considered.
From an analysis of the two rankings – and in particular looking at those players that either sit in the Top 18 or above others that have been selected – the following players may consider themselves unlucky (or additionally motivated for the next few months): Paul KINNEAR (ENG), Jamie SAVAGE (SCO), Paul MCBRIDE (IRE), Robin DAWSON (IRE), Craig HOWIE (SCO) and James WALKER (ENG).
A speedy recovery is hoped for both Jonathan THOMSON (ENG) and Sean TOWNDROW (ENG) who have both been battling injury and health issues in recent months and whose exclusions are understandable.
The match, which will be contested by a team of 9, is to be played at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent, England on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st July 2016. The St. Andrews Trophy has been played for since 1956. GB&I have won 25 times with Europe having just five wins to their name, albeit two of them came in 2010 and 2012.
Looking ahead to July’s match Craig Watson said: “We have a strong group of players to call upon again this year and there is a good mixture of experience and youth in the squad. We know we will be in for a tough match at Prince’s so we have to pick the best team we can and the players will be working hard throughout this season to impress the selectors”.
GB&I won the 2014 match at Barsebäck, Sweden by a 14 – 10 scoreline. Grant Forrest is the only member of that winning team to be included in the 2016 Squad. His fellow Scottish Internationals Jamie Savage and Graeme Robertson are the only other members of the 2014 Team to remain amateur.
A long way to go until the 2017 Walker Cup but nevertheless it is worth recording the players that the R&A currently view as their strongest.