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Top Names Entered In Brabazon Trophy

by Colin Callander - June 24 2013

Neil Raymond has a chance to write his name into the history books when he plays at this week’s English Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Formby Golf Club in Lancashire.

The 27-year-old from Corhampton won the title at both Burnham & Berrow in 2011 and Walton Heath in 2012 and now has the chance to become the first player to complete three successive victories in what is better known as the Brabazon Trophy.

Neil Raymond

Raymond will start out his defence fresh from an impressive victory at the St. Andrews Links Trophy and a good run at last week’s Amateur Championship where he reached the last eight before bowing out to compatriot Garrick Porteous.

Somewhat surprisingly, it is the defending champion’s first visit to the Formby club. “It would be fantastic to win three in a row but I’m not going to put pressure on myself by thinking about it,” said the English international. “I’m just going to treat it like last year and just like any other major championship.

“A lot of people have told me the course is really good so I’m looking forward to going there and getting out to practise,” he added. “I knew a win was close when I went to Scotland. I had a torrid time at the Irish Open Stroke Play and unfortunately made a nine in the second round at Lytham, but winning something like the Links Trophy builds confidence.”

Raymond begins his defence on Wednesday with a 1.20 pm tee time in the company of Coventry’s Sam Dodds and Oxley Park’s Robert Burlison and will be up against a strong 150-man field including all 10 members of the England team that lost to Spain last month and all 10 of players who occupied the top 10 places on the Titleist FootJoy England Golf Order of Merit ahead of The Amateur Championship.

The defending champion topped that list but his nearest challengers, Callum Shinkwin, Porteous, Nathan Kimsey, Max Orrin, Jordan Smith, Harry Casey, Ryan Evans, Jerome Titlow and Paul Howard all will harbour hopes of toppling him, as will reigning English champion Harry Ellis and leading boy international Marco Penge, a winner a few miles away at the recent Fairhaven Trophy.

Local interest will centre around boy international Paul Kinnear, a member of the host club, and Henry Tomlinson from nearby Royal Lytham & St. Annes, runnerup to Ellis at last year’s English Amateur at Silloth. The Scottish duo of Graeme Robertson and Jack McDonald, and Ireland’s Chris Selfridge, Dermot McElroy, Richard O’Donovan and Jack Hume will also be looking to perform well in front of the Walker Cup selectors.

The foreign challenge is led by South African No. 1 Haydn Porteous, and also includes internationals from France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

Formby has staged the Brabazon Trophy on three previous occasions. In 1951, Ronnie White was crowned champion while in 1965, there was a three-way tie among Michael Burgess, Clive Clark and Dudley Millensted. Swedish Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson won on the last visit in 1998. The club has also hosted three Amateur Championships won by Reid Jack (1957), José María Olazábal (1984) and Matteo Manassero (2009).

 

Georgia Hall heads a group of six English players who have been selected to represent GB&I at this week’s Vagliano Trophy against the Continent of Europe at Chantilly Golf Club near Paris.

The 17-year-old reigning British Ladies’ and Girls’ champion is joined by Gabby Cowley, Hayley Davis, Bronte Law, Alex Peters and Amber Ratcliffe as Tegwen Matthews’ side attempts to win the biennial match for the first time since 2005.

The rest of the team is made up by Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow and Welsh duo Amy Boulden and Becky Harries, with Meadow and Boulden the sole survivors from the GB&I team that lost the last Vagliano Trophy match at Royal Porthcawl two years ago.

There have been a lot of changes in GB&I women’s amateur golf in the past 12 months and it is significant that Meadow, Boulden and Law are the only three members of the Vagliano team that also played in last year’s winning Curtis Cup team at Nairn.

Holly Clyburn, Charley Hull, Kelly Tidy and Pamela Pretswell have all turned professional since that historic victory over the Americans and the upheaval was made worse when Ireland’s Leona Maguire made it clear she did not wish to be considered for this year’s Vagliano Trophy side.

Under the circumstances, there were always going to be a large number of new faces in Matthews’ side and the selectors have elected to promote Ratcliffe from GB&I’s 2011 Junior Vagliano Trophy team and to give Cowley, Davis, Harries and Peters their first experience of representing GB&I.

All four newcomers have much to commend them but there will also be some sympathy for the likes of Sarah-Jane Boyd, Meghan MacLaren, Lauren Taylor and Chloe Williams who have all had excellent seasons and must have harboured high hopes of a place on the plane bound for Paris. Boyd will be particularly disappointed given that she recently added the English stroke play title to the British title she won last autumn and it is also dificult to see how MacLaren could have done much better than to win the Irish Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play and three US collegiate titles in the last few months.

Taylor has prior experience of what it feels like to miss out because she was also omitted in controversial circumstances from last year’s Curtis Cup squad.

Matthews and her team will face fierce opposition from an impressive European line-up led by France’s Anne Lanrezac, Spanish duo Natalia Escuriola and Camilla Hedberg, Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen and Emily Pedersen, Germany’s Karolin Lampert and Sophia Popov all were named as members of the European Team a couple of weeks ago and Spain’s Noemi Jimenez and Germany’s Quirine Eijkenboom were added after the recent British Ladies’ Championship at Machynys Peninsula.

There is no doubting the talent of Jimenez and Eijkenboom, but there were also a few eyebrows raised over the omission of Spaniard Luna Sobron, who battled all the way to the final in Wales and only lost out to Hall on the 18th, having watched her English rival claim a hole-in-one on the previous hole.

There will be some disquiet about the composition of both teams but Matthews is convinced she has the talent required to reverse the defeat in 2011.

“I have a magic 2013 team and look forward to the return of the match to the beautiful course at Chantilly where GB&I last won the trophy (in 2005),” she said. “My players will be trying very hard to do the same thing.”

This will be the 28th Vagliano Trophy since the match was inaugurated at St Cloud in 1947. In the early days, GB&I tended to be stronger than their rivals but Europe have won seven out of the past nine contests, including the last three at Fairmont St. Andrews in 2007, Hamburger GC in Germany in 2009 and Royal Porthcawl in 2011.

This year’s match is played across two days and features four foursomes and eight singles on each of the days.

 

England also will provide the majority of the players for the GB&I team that will be competing against the Continent in the Junior Vagliano Trophy, played at Chantilly at the same time the Vagliano Trophy itself is played.

The six-strong Under-16s GB&I team will be captained by Scotland’s Elaine Farquharson-Black and will feature England’s Samantha Fuller, Alice Hewson, Sophie Lamb and Sophie Madden, Scotland’s Fiona Liddell and Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey.

The European team is to be led by Norway’s Kristin Gunhildrud and comprises French duo Mathida Cappeliez and Eva Gilly, Spanish pair Alejandra Pasarin and Covadonga Sanjuan, Hungary’s Rosza Csilla Laytai and Albane Valenzuela from Switzerland.

The Junior Vagliano Trophy was inaugurated in 2011 when a strong European team, led by Gunhildrud and featuring Shannon Aubert, Clara Baena, Eijkenboom, Lampert, Ha Rang Lee and Emily Pedersen, beat their hosts 13-5. The vanquished home side comprised Hall, Hull, Law, Ratcliffe, Clara Young and Williams.

 

Ian Poulter has indicated that he will pay for the best three amateurs in England to fly to Orlando to settle a Twitter dispute.

It follows a series of tweets, written by Poulter, suggesting that 16-year-old Florida-based Sam Horsfield was the best amateur England had at its disposal. Shortly after Horsfield carded a 61 in a U.S. amateur event, the Ryder Cup player tweeted: “I told you this kid is the best young player in the world. Believe me now.”

Sam Horsfield

He went on to risk further controversy by adding: “I told you all @hr59sam is the real deal. He would embarrass every English amateur in the world by a mile” and then responded to criticism with two follow-up tweets. The first said: “I will ask the @EnglandGolf for the best 3 and see if they fancy a trip to Orlando.” The second read: “Further information on the 3 best English players once my management has spoken to see if they fancy a trip over here.”

Horsfield was born in Manchester but moved to Florida with his father Tony, a glazier, when he was four. He had a plus-6 handicap at the age of 14.

“I first met Sam three years ago and he is without doubt the best young golfer I have ever seen,” Poulter told the Daily Mail. “I would say already, if he decided to turn pro and join the European Tour, even at the age of 16, he would be easily good enough to win enough money to keep his card.

“I never played Walker Cup as an amateur, so I don’t know what the selection process is and whether it’s got anything to do with politics. But if he doesn’t play in the Walker Cup this year it will be criminal. They will be off their rockers not to pick him.”

Horsfield has indicated he considers himself to be English despite having spent most of his life in the States. “If it came down to whether I played for America or Europe in the Walker Cup or Ryder Cup I know what I would do. I was born in England and would want to play for Europe. But what is fantastic is having Ian behind me. It’s great to be able to call on him for advice.”

 

Sue Dye, from Delamere Forest in Cheshire, was the runaway winner of the English Senior Women’s Stroke Play Championship at the Shanklin and Sandown club on the Isle of Wight.

Dye, who won the event in 2007, and also has four runner-up finishes to her name, put together rounds of 71, 71 and 74 for a level-par total of 216. Another former champion, Chris Quinn from Hockley, was her nearest challenger on 223, while Bromborough’s Caroline Berry closed with a ine 3-under-par 69 to claim a share of third place with Amanda Mayne from Saltford on 225.

A few days earlier, Sweden’s Helene Maxe, won the European Seniors Championship at the Estonian Golf and Country Club. She recorded rounds of 73, 71 and 77 to beat Finland’s Anna- Maria Lehtonen by three shots.

The European Seniors men’s event, played over the same course, was won by Lorenzo Sartori from Italy, who carded rounds of 72, 74 and 71 to beat Switzerland’s Markus Frank by two shots.

 

Richard Latham completed a dream double when he won last week’s Scottish Seniors’ Open Stroke Play Championship at the Golf House Club, Elie.

That victory came just a couple of weeks after the 55 year-old general manager at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, also won on his debut at English Men’s Senior Championship at Bristol & Clifton.

Latham opened with a level-par 70 at Elie and then produced two rounds of 69 to finish two shots ahead of Richard Partridge from the Wildernesse Golf Club in Kent. Defending champion, Lindsay Blair from Greangemouth, shared third place with West Lothian’s Alan O’Neil and Anthony McLure from Longhirst.

Reproduced with kind permission of Global Golf Post - Subscribe now for free

 




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