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Kimsey Gets Through Stage 1 Qualifying

by Colin Callander - October 7, 2013

English international Nathan Kimsey closed with a fabulous 7-under-par 65 to climb into fourth place at the close of the European Tour Stage 1 Qualifying School event at Frilford Heath near Oxford.

The 20-year-old Walker Cup player from Woodhall Spa now progresses to Stage 2 of the qualification process where he will be joined by fellow English internationals, Jamie Rutherford and Ryan Evans.

Rutherford, from Knebworth, who turned professional ahead of Q-School, carded rounds of 71, 70, 66 and 74 to finish T6 at Frilford Heath while Evans, the winner of this year’s Berkshire Trophy, limped home with a 75 but still claimed one of the last available places.

The 2013 St Andrews Links Trophy winner, Neil Raymond, who played alongside Kimsey in this year’s Walker Cup, was among the major casualties at the event.

He turned pro straight after GB&I’s defeat at the hands of the Americans but now will have to plot a more circuitous route to the European Tour after missing out on a place in Stage 2. He was joined on the sidelines by compatriots Harry Casey and Darren Timms, as well as Irish international, Brian Casey.

Another English international, Toby Tree, may well opt for another season in the amateur ranks after failing to claim one of the qualification spots at the concurrent Stage 1 event at Hardelot in France. Tree, who is still only 19, put together rounds of 73, 71, 71 and 72 to miss out on a place in Stage 2 by three shots.

Top French player Thomas Elissalde and former English international Jack Hiluta also failed to qualify, but there are places in Stage 2 for English amateur Robbie Busher and rising South African Haydn Porteous, who both qualified comfortably.

Ireland’s Reeve Whitson’s hopes of qualifying for the European Tour were dashed when he finished T63 at the Stage 1 qualifying event at Ribagolfe in Portugal. However, his international compatriot Kevin Phelan, who like Raymond turned pro after representing GB&I at this year’s Walker Cup, squeezed into Stage 2 with nothing to spare after carding rounds of 70, 73, 76 and 73. Spain’s Javier Gallegos was the only amateur to make it through at that venue.

Both Switzerland’s Joel Girrbach and France’s Clément Berardo came through the Stage 1 qualifying event at Bogogno and the Italian venue also proved to be a happy hunting ground for another Frenchman, Adrien Saddier, who celebrated turning professional by finishing fourth just behind Girrbach. Leading Australian amateur Nathan Holman and Italian Michele Cea were among the casualties at the event.

The four Stage 2 qualifying events will be held Nov. 2-5 at Spanish venues Las Colinas, El Saler, Lumine Golf & Beach Club and Valle Romano. The qualiiers from those events progress to the Ffinal Qualifying School, held Nov. 10-15 at PGA Catalunya, near Girona.

The Scottish Golf Union has decided to channel more resources towards its younger players after two disappointing seasons during which they finished 44th in the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey and then failed to provide a single representatfive in this year’s GB&I Walker Cup team.

Expenses for elite players are to be cut to “a bare minimum” and a “bonus performance scheme,” similar to the one used in England, is also to be introduced in time for next season in an attempt to produce players who have the drive and commitment required to perform consistently at the top level.

Steve Paulding, the Scottish Golf Performance Director, is determined to implement a more rigorous system, similar to those that have brought recent success in sports such as athletics, cycling and rowing.

“Golf has been too woolly, fluffy and nice for too long,” he said. “We’ve been too soft on people – we are scared to tell them how it is. It’s not going to change overnight in golf but I think there’s a big shift happening and we’re going to focus more on youngsters.”

Scottish Golf has named 23 players aged 20 or under out of 29 in its three key elite squads for 2013-2014 and Paulding is quick to applaud the great strides made by teenagers such as British Boys’ champion Ewen Ferguson, Bradley Neil (see below), Ewan Scott and Robert MacIntyre.

“We had a dreadful Eisenhower Trophy last year and it was disappointing we didn’t get anyone in the Walker Cup, especially when I believe we have players capable of that but (who) didn’t commit 100 percent to what was needed to get them in line for selection,” said Paulding.

“After losing a big group of players to the professional ranks at the same time, a pretty poor crop has not delivered in the last few years.

“However, there is a lot of evidence that our programme is working at the bottom end around the academies because players coming through have better attitudes and understand the culture we’re trying to change.

“We are reliant on players being self-driven and motivated,” he added. “Part of the reason for taking what was quite a substantial expenses budget down to the bare minimum, and introduce the performance bonus for players to win additional expenses at key events, is that it will encourage them to realise how important performance is and also give them a cross check of what real life is like if they want to turn professional.”

Bradley Neil

Scottish international Neil has intimated that he has no immediate plans to turn professional. The 17-year-old Scottish Boys’ champion from Blairgowrie made the announcement after making headline news by finishing second alongside America’s Peter Uihlein in the pro-am section of the recent Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

Neil started the week as a late replacement for rock singer Huey Lewis, but found himself at the centre of the action during the second round when Uilhein came within inches of producing the first 59 in European Tour history. He also stood just a few feet away as the American hit his second shot straight into the hole on the 8th on the Old Course on Saturday to take a two-shot lead into the final round and was still on hand as Uihlein battled his way into a playoff with England’s David Howell.

“It was a surreal experience,” Neil admitted to Martin Dempster from The Scotsman. “It was fantastic to be inside the ropes and watching it from a different perspective. I’ve managed to play some pretty good golf myself which was obviously nice.

“The highlight was playing with Ernie (Els) and Peter on Friday and watching him nearly make history at Kingsbarns. That was pretty special.

“Ernie is a great guy and someone I’ve watched as I was growing up so to be able to walk with him and speak to him about anything was fantastic,” he added. “Ernie said to me, ‘If your golf has got you this far, you must be going in the right direction.’ And that gave me such a boost coming from such a world-renowned player.”

Neil went on to state that brushing shoulders with the stars had put into perspective the huge gap that exists between the top professionals and the leading amateurs.

“Stepping into the professional ranks is still far away,” he said. “Watching these guys this week showed me that there’s a lot of things I do that are very similar to them, but there are also a lot of things I really need to work on to get to that stage.

“When I turn pro is down to when I feel ready and the stats in my game compare favourably to the average tour pro.”

It was a case of third time lucky for Glenbervie as they claimed a narrow oneshot victory at the recent TSG Scottish Club Championship at Luffness New.

Twice runners-up, in 2006 and 2007, this year’s trio of Fraser Moore, Colin Mundie and Mark Hislop posted a 10-over-par total of 290 in windy conditions to finish a single shot ahead of Craigie Hill and Southerness.

The victory means the Stirlingshire club will be the Scottish representatfives at the European Men’s Club Trophy, to be staged Oct. 24-26 at Aroeira, Portugal.

Glenbervie led by a shot after the morning round, with Scotland squad member, Moore, battling the wind for a fine 1-over-par 71 and Hislop posting a 73. Moore fired his second successive 71 to cement his side’s lead and it was left to Mundie to seal victory, with a second-round 75 being good enough to clinch the club’s first national success.

“We’ve got a good team and we knew we had a chance of winning coming into the event,” said a delighted Moore, who is about to complete a management degree at the Unfiversity of Stirling. “It’s fantastic to win and we’re all really looking forward to representing Glenbervie and Scotland over in Portugal.”

Lancashire claimed the English County Championship for the third time in the past six years when they won this year’s event at Minchinhampton.

However, the winners had to battle all the way before overcoming a spirited challenge from Devon.

Lancashire went into the final day knowing they needed both to win their last match and to claim more points than their nearest rivals and in the end they did just that when they overcame Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Channels Islands by 6½-2½ and Devon could only beat Leicestershire and Rutland, 5½-3½. The result meant that both teams had won two matches during the contest but Lancashire won the trophy as a result of gaining 15½ points to Devon’s 14.

Captain Paul Williams, was delighted with what was Lancashire’s 11th win in the championship. “It’s been a fantastic experience being involved with a team that’s friendly and full of spirit,” he said. “We knew what we had to do after we tied the foursomes so I loaded my experienced players at the back of the singles and they all produced.”

Reigning Lancashire men’s and boys’ champion Haydn McCullen gave his side a great start with a 3-and-2 win against Hampshire’s Harry Ellis, and Mark Young then battled back from a two-hole deficit to claim a 5-and-3 victory against Ryan Henley. Paul Howard and John Carroll both won, 3 and 2, and Ciaran Doherty defeated Martin Young by one hole which meant Sean Towndrow’s 4-and-2 defeat at the hands of Tom Robson did not affect the overall score.

Lancashire’s most successful player at Minchinhampton was Southport & Ainsdale’s Howard who claimed four points out of five while Doherty amassed just a half-point less. Jimmy Mullen and David Blick both won five points out of six for the runners-up.

Leicestershire and Rutland finished third, a half-point ahead of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.

Nanna Madsen led Smorum Golf Club from Denmark to an emphatic victory at the 2013 European Ladies’ Club Trophy at St Sophia Golf & Spa in Bulgaria.

Madsen put together rounds of 65, 66 and 65 for a 17-under-par total of 196 and a nine-shot victory ahead of clubmate Emily Pedersen in the individual event, while Pedersen carded rounds of 68, 67 and 70 to help the Danish club secure a massive 19-shot victory ahead of France’s Golf de St Cloud in the team event on 25-under-par 401.

Charlotte Lorentzen was the third member of the victorious Smorum team. She opened with rounds of 79 and 74 in an event in which the two best scores out of three count on a daily basis but then was unable to complete the third round.

St Cloud ended the 54-hole event on 6-under-par 420 while third-placed RNCG Basozabal from Spain were the only other team to finish with an underpar aggregate on 425.

Ireland completed a notable international double when they won this year’s Women’s Senior Home Internationals at Llandudno. The Irish won last month’s European Senior Ladies’ Team Championship in Slovenia and they added the GB&I equivalent on countback after a titanic last-day tussle against nearest rivals, England.

The defending champions started the week by whitewashing Scotland, 8-0, and then went on to add a comprehensfive 6-2 victory against Wales. The English also beat Wales 6-2 and Scotland 6½-1½ but their slightly lower point total in those two matches was to prove decisive after the Irish and the English drew the deciding match 4-4.

The Irish are a formidable team at this level and in Cairndhu’s Laura Webb and Laytown & Bettystown’s Carol Wickham, they included two players who emerged with 100 percent records in Wales. That duo were assisted ably by Suzanne Corcoran from Portumna and Sheena McElroy from the Grange, who amassed four points out of five.

England’s Susan Dye also won all five of her games during the week.

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


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