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England’s Evans On A Rare Run Of Form

by Colin Callander - February 24, 2014

Jimmy Walker has recently received a lot of plaudits for claiming three victories in just eight appearances on the PGA Tour.

It is certainly a meritorious achievement but Walker is by no means golf’s only current serial winner because during much the same time span a 26-year-old English amateur has been just as dominant in his own sphere.

Step forward Ryan Evans, from Wellingborough Golf Club in Northamptonshire, who since last May has notched no less than five major victories, including three during a recent ive-week trip to Australia.

Evans has also posted three second-place finishes during the last eight months, which gives further credence to the claim this genial English international is currently the hottest amateur golfer on the planet.

The Englishman’s run started last May when he finished tied third behind Adrien Saddier at the French International Amateur (Murat Cup). Later in 2013 he was also to win both the Berkshire Trophy and the Biarritz Cup, finish tied second in the St Andrews Links Trophy and the South of England Amateur before completing the season by amassing a haul of five points out of six as England regained the Raymond Trophy in the Home Internationals at Ganton.

"I've learnt that I can beat anyone on my day… I'm much more confident than I used to be." - Ryan Evans

Evans was GB&I’s most consistent performer during the latter part of the 2013 season and on his recent trip Down Under he promptly started where he had left off the previous year.

The Englishman warmed to his task by finishing ninth at the Australian Master of the Amateurs tournament before rattling off three victories in less than a month. After earning medallist honors during qualifying for the Australian Amateur, he won the Lake Macquarie Amateur and the Avondale Medal, tying for ifth place at the New South Wales Medal between the latter two victories. It was a run that was to catapult him up to eighth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and to leave him brimming with confidence for the season ahead.

“It was my first trip to Australia and I loved every minute of it,” conirmed Evans just a couple of days after making the long trip home.

“When I went out there I was hoping I might get one victory but I never thought for a moment that I’d do as well as I did. I suppose the highlight was leading the qualifiers at the Australian Open at The Grange although it did put a bit of a dampener on things when I lost in the first round.

“But even then I could take a lot of positives out of it because I was about 3-under par when I lost,” he added. “Ryan (Ruffels) birdied three out of the first four holes. I birdied the sixth, eagled the ninth and birdied the 10th to get back to square before he pulled away again.

“It was a great match. ... Just one of those days when you’ve got to take your hat off to your opponent.”

Evans traces his superb run of recent form all the way back to last year’s St Andrews Links Trophy, where he lost out narrowly to compatriot Neil Raymond.

“That was a big boost to my confidence,” he said. “There was a great ield that week and finishing second behind Neil made me realise I could compete at that sort of level.

“I’ve learnt that I can beat anyone on my day and that’s a good feeling to have. I suppose that’s the big difference between now and this time last year. I’m much more confident than I used to be.”

The Englishman also believes his age and experience give him an edge over many of the players he competes against on the amateur circuit.

“I’m 26,” he said. “I’m not exactly an old man but I have been around for a while and I think my course management is better than some of the younger guys.

“I used to be guilty of going for the money shot by trying to get a birdie out of the trees. But now I’ve realised that it’s better not to force things. Nine times out of 10 it makes more sense to chip out sideways and try to get a par.”

Evans’ form has been such that he is in big demand at both national and international level. This week he will play in the Spanish International Amateur at La Reserva before representing England in the Nations Cup at Sotogrande. Last Wednesday he spent most of the day sorting out a visa for a forthcoming trip to India, where he will be part of the European team taking on Asia Pacific in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy, and he’s also an early odds-on favourite to make the GB&I team for the St Andrews Trophy and the English squad for World Amateur Team Championship (Eisenhower Trophy) in Japan this September.

“My plan this year is to try to win a few more of the big amateur events,” he said. “But my big goal is to try to get into England’s three-man team for the Eisenhower because if you do that you know you’ve had a good year."

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