102. Ben Schmidt Wins The Brabazon Trophy

5th June 2019

Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) won the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, played for the Brabazon Trophy, last weekend at Alwoodley G.C.

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The Schmidt Family (© Yorkshire Golf / Jonathan Plaxton)

The 16 year old from Rotherham G.C. played some great golf to post four under par rounds of 69, 64, 69 and 69 for a 271 (-13) winning total.

Having taken the lead after Round 2 he impressively showed the composure to hold off far more experienced players over the weekend and ultimately deliver a 5 shot victory. He became the youngest ever winner of this prestigious title, overtaking Sandy Lyle who was 17 when he won it in 1977.

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Ben Schmidt’s Scorecard (© England Golf / GolfBox)

Harry HALL (ENG) will have been disappointed with his final round but a course record 63 on Saturday and a 2nd place finish, having only returned from college in the United States a few days earlier, represented an excellent week’s work for the Cornishman.

Euan WALKER (SCO) finished 3rd, David LANGLEY (ENG) tied 5th, Ben JONES tied 7th, Tom SLOMAN (ENG) & Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE) both tied 10th, Ben CHAMBERLAIN (WAL), Conor PURCELL (IRE) & Jake HAPGOOD (WAL) all tied 13th and Jake BURNAGE (ENG), Robin WILLIAMS (ENG) & James SUGRUE (IRE) all tied 18th at Alwoodley. All of them further advanced their Walker Cup chances with top 20 finishes as we move into the key selection month of June.

So what about Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) for the Walker Cup – after all he’s just won a ‘Major’ and in the process moved to the top of the England Golf Men’s Order of Merit ?

Ben rose 337 places in the SPWAR on Sunday to 109th (he’s 106th now after a few leading players subsequently turned Pro) and 1,416 places to 142nd in today’s WAGR release.

A victory in the Brabazon Trophy and such high rankings would normally put a player well in the picture for Walker Cup selection.

However, with important school exams on the immediate horizon and given his previously low WAGR ranking Ben is now going to be sitting out both this week’s St. Andrews Links Trophy and the following week’s Amateur Championship. He is also not playing in the European Amateur Championship which starts on 26th June.

Like James NEWTON (ENG), winner of the Irish Amateur Open a few weeks ago, this in my opinion is likely to greatly reduce his chances of gaining selection for the forthcoming Walker Cup match.

It will be interesting to see if England Golf select him for their Men’s European Team Championship team later this month or whether he will stay with the Boys Team. The former would give him another opportunity to impress.

Time is of course on Ben’s side but in my view circumstances look like conspiring against him with regard to the 2019 match.

For more information on this event, including a link to the full Results, please take a look at my Golf Bible article: Brabazon Trophy – 2019 Preview, Reports & Results 

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With around 75 days to go until the GB&I Walker Cup team is selected how’s our team shaping up ?

Conor PURCELL (IRE), Caolan RAFFERTY (IRE), Tom SLOMAN (ENG) and Euan WALKER (SCO) look certainties today. All have 2019 wins to their names and consistent form to support their selections already.

Harry HALL‘s (ENG) result at the Brabazon Trophy was just what was required from him. His experience could be invaluable to the team too. He’s now a probable for me.

Ben JONES (ENG) is playing well and building up a consistent body of 2019 results. His sound match play record and win in the Duke of York Champions event at Royal Liverpool a few years ago also bode well for him.

Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) has played well for Wake Forest University since the turn of the year and if he can show up well against his GB&I peers – he hasn’t directly played against too many of them over the last year – in the big events coming up he will in my opinion be a strong candidate for selection.

The remaining three places are still open for me. I could currently make a case for Bailey GILL (ENG), David LANGLEY (ENG), Josh MCMAHON (ENG), Tom PLUMB (ENG), Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) and Sandy SCOTT (SCO).

In a year of surprise winners the results of the St. Andrews Links Trophy and Amateur Championship, and to a lesser degree the European Amateur, may not help but they will certainly provide us with more clarity. Will the above players confirm their status as Walker Cup favourites or will new players have come to the fore by the team we reach the end of June ?

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2019, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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9 thoughts on “102. Ben Schmidt Wins The Brabazon Trophy”

  1. Brabazon winner at 16 and beat most of the Walker cup squad playing in the same event??
    How can he not at least get in the squad?
    No exams close to September??
    CAN NOT BE IGNORED SURELY???

    1. Hi Jo,

      Thanks for reading the article and sharing your thoughts.

      It was a fantastic win and as you say he did beat many members of the initial Walker Cup squad in the process.

      The problem Ben has is that having built the foundations for selection with the Brabazon win he can’t now build on them because he is not playing in any of the three defining events of the 2019 selection process.

      The St Andrews Links, the Amateur (both of which will be played on links courses like the match) and the European Amateur will all be played in June and my conclusion was reached on the basis that, just as Ben did at Alwoodley, other players will come through in these bigger Championships.

      Ben certainly won’t be ignored and may very well be in the next GB&I Squad.

      Only once these next three events are completed will we have a clear idea of where Ben stands against his peers for both the next Squad and the Team.

      Mark.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Definitely.

      Matty Lamb and Jake Burnage are the two players making my point this week. I am sure there will be others next week at The Amateur.

      The St. Andrews Links Trophy has a stronger field than The Brabazon and it’s played on a links like the Walker Cup will be.

      It’s tough at the top.

      Mark.

  2. Ben Schmidt’s form looks pretty good – he walked away from the field at the Henry Cooper Junior Masters and had the low score at today’s Open Regional Qualifier at Alwoodley

    1. Hi Mark,

      Agreed – he’s absolutely on fire at the moment.

      I expect Ben to be included in the reduced Walker Cup squad due to be announced very shortly and to push hard for a spot on the team in the coming weeks.

      However, his selection for the England Boys’ rather than Men’s European Team Championships in July (decided last weekend before Alwoodley) is not helpful in that regard.

      All he can do is keep playing well.

      Mark.

        1. Hi Frank,

          Ben’s Carris Trophy win was another excellent result for him. The English Men’s and Boys’ Open Stroke Play double in the same year is certainly an impressive achievement.

          However, we shouldn’t forget that the Carris is an U18 boys’ event and therefore none of his Walker Cup peers were in the field. Whilst any win has to be respected it is not easy to assess this latest result in the context of the GB&I team selection ?

          It is a shame he is not playing in the English Men’s Amateur Championship this week where we could compare him directly with 8 of the 16 (reduced) squad members.

          Ben has very little men’s major amateur championship experience and the Walker Cup is a big step up from there let alone junior golf.

          We also need to think about match play experience / record and foursomes pairings – who is Ben going to play with ?

          In some respects I would have liked to have seen him selected by England for the European Men’s Team Championship on the back of the Brabazon win to give him the opportunity to show us what he could do at that level. As you know he played in the Boys’ event instead. To be fair to England Golf they have huge depth, may have felt they could have (probably should have) won the Boys’ competition and may also have been protecting him.

          He will need a very good Boys’ Home Internationals in Wales next week* followed by, as a minimum, making the match play stage at the US Amateur to force his way into my team as things stand. The U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst will be a great experience for him but in the context of his 2019 Walker Cup ambitions he may well have been better served playing in the Boys’ Amateur at Saunton.

          Another youngster Joe Pagdin has found some form in recent weeks and if he wins the Boys’ Amateur will be very close. Perhaps they could both make it and play together at Hoylake.

          The other question I keep asking myself is who am I going to take out of my existing team to accommodate him ?

          It’s going to be interesting to see how things pan out in the coming three weeks.

          Mark (on 30th July 2019).

          * I subsequently learned that Ben had declined the opportunity to play for his country in this competition. This was something of a surprise given he wasn’t playing in the English Amateur.

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