The European Tour’s First Qualifying Stage started yesterday with the two Section A events.
Cawder’s Jamie SAVAGE, who was 22 on the 24th July, turned Pro ahead of The Roxburghe qualifier in his Scottish homeland.
Prior to the event commencing Jamie was ranked 100th in the SPWAR and 261st in the WAGR. The highlights of his 2016 season being a 2nd place at the inaugural African Amateur Stroke Play Championship and a tied 2nd at the Lytham Trophy.
Jamie’s biggest amateur win came in 2014 when he won the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin.
He was subsequently named in the 2014 GB&I St. Andrews Trophy team and the initial 2015 Walker Cup squad. However, he struggled to recapture his form from the previous season and was ultimately omitted from our final 10-man Walker Cup team.
Best wishes to Jamie who follows in the recent footsteps of Jack MCDONALD and Ewen FERGUSON and represents the loss of another experienced Scottish amateur to the Pro game.
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.