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Lytham Trophy Celebrates 50th Anniversary

by Colin Callander - April 28, 2014

English amateur golf reaches a major milestone this week when the Lytham Trophy is played for a 50th time on the venerable links at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

The celebrations start with a 50th anniversary dinner on Thursday night and continue the following morning when Fraser Moore, Rory McNamara and Jack Singh Brar lead out what is one of the strongest fields assembled in recent years.

This year’s field is headed by Finland’s Albert Eckhardt, who claimed the title 12 months ago after beating Ireland’s Jack Hume in a playoff to win one of the most prestigious trophies in British amateur golf.

Hume also returns this year after winning last week’s West of Ireland Championship, and he is joined by several other in-form players including world No. 2 Matt Fitzpatrick, who made the cut at last week’s RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour; his Walker Cup colleague Jordan Smith, who captured the Selborne Salver; Duncan Putter winner Jimmy Mullen; Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson, who has just become the first player for 16 years to hold both the British and Scottish Boys’ titles at the same time; 2014 R&A Foundation Scholars tournament winner Louis Tomlinson; plus Haydn McCullen, who last week claimed the biggest title of his young career at the Peter McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath.

McCullen has been drawn alongside Brazil’s André Tourinho and precocious German teenager Dominic Foos, who finished tied 16th alongside the professionals at this year’s Qatar Masters at Doha. Just ahead of them Eckhardt is partnered by Scottish international Daniel Young and Spaniard Javier Ballesteros, who makes an emotional visit to the venue where his father Seve won the Open Championship in 1979 and 1988.

This year’s field also includes Ryan Evans, Ashley Chesters, Paul Howard, Gary Hurley, Nick Marsh, Jack McDonald, Dermot McElroy and Bradley Neil, who were picked alongside Fitzpatrick, Hume, Smith and Mullen in the 21-strong GB&I squad for this year’s St Andrews Trophy. The foreign entry is boosted by the appearance of 2014 South African amateur champion Thriston Lawrence, plus Holland’s Robbie van West and Germany’s Max Röhrig, who both featured alongside Eckhardt, Evans, Chesters, Foos and McElroy in the winning European team at this year’s Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy in India.

Bonallack shares with Clive Clark the distinction of being the joint winner of the first Lytham Trophy and he returns this year to be the main guest speaker at the 50th anniversary dinner on the eve of the tournament. The five-time Amateur champion will be joined on the podium by Lytham member Colin Maclaine, who together with club colleagues Tony Nickson and Ross Milne was responsible for coming up with the idea of staging a major 72-hole stroke-play event for amateurs at a time when, apart from the Brabazon Trophy, no such event existed in England, Scotland or Wales.

In its early days the tournament was dominated by British golfers, with the likes of Peter Townsend, Charlie Green, Warren Humphreys, George MacGregor, Peter McEvoy, Ian Hutcheon, Paul Broadhurst and Warren Bennett all winning before Australia’s Matt Carver became the first foreign champion in 1996. Subsequently, Germany’s Tino Schuster became the first Continental winner in 1999, followed by Dutchman Daan Huizing in 2012 and Eckhardt 12 months ago.

The tournament record is held by Englishman James Heath, who back in 2004 put together rounds of 67, 68, 66 and 65 to finish eight shots ahead of compatriot Ross Fisher. That remains seven shots better than the next best total, recorded by Huizing when he won by an 11-shot margin two years ago.

Hume will head to the Lytham Trophy in fine fettle after winning his first major amateur title at the West of Ireland Championship at Rosses Point.

The 20-year-old from Naas beat West Waterford’s Gary Hurley, 3 and 2, in the semifinals and then got the better of his 35-year-old strength and conditioning coach, Robbie Cannon, after fighting back from a two-hole deficit to win the final with a 10-foot par putt on the 18th hole.

The win makes up for Hume’s near miss at last year’s Lytham Trophy, where he was beaten by Finland’s Eckhardt in a playoff, and was all the more sweet because last summer he double-bogeyed the last to miss out on a playoff at the Irish Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Royal Dublin. Cannon went on to win that championship after beating Gavin Moynihan and Graeme Robertson in extra time.

Hume won all four boys’ provincial titles in 2010 but was relieved to claim his first big victory in the men’s arena. “I was close in the Irish Amateur and the Lytham Trophy last year and learned from those experiences,” he told Brian Keogh of Irish Golf Desk.

“I don’t think I would have recovered from a bad start like that last year but I’m a year older, a year smarter and a year more experienced and hopefully I can pick up another couple of trophies.

Cannon upset Mourne’s Reeve Whitson in the semifinals before succumbing to Hume later in the day.

“If I had to lose, I’m glad it was to Jack,” he said. “He’s probably the nicest kid who plays on the circuit so I’m truly delighted for him.”

Cannon’s consolation is that he is part of the 18-strong GB&I team that will contest this week’s Concession Cup at the Concession Golf Club in Florida, where he will be joined by compatriots Garth McGimpsey (captain), Adrian Morrow, Arthur Pierse, Maurice Kelly, Eoghan O’Connell and Harry Diamond.

The Concession Cup is a biennial contest inspired by one of golf’s most heralded acts of sportsmanship when Jack Nicklaus conceded a 2-foot putt to Tony Jacklin to ensure the 1969 Ryder Cup match at Royal Birkdale would end in a halve.

Each team comprises 18 players separated into three categories with eight mid-amateurs (25 to 54) being joined by eight seniors (55-64) and two super seniors (65 and over). The full GB&I team for the inaugural match includes Global Golf Post’s James Bunch, Matthew Clark, Cannon, Diamond, O’Connell, Ed Richardson, Ben Westgate and Martin Young (all mid-amateurs) as well as Richard Latham, Richard Partridge, McGimpsey, Ian Brotherston, Kelly, Morrow, Pierse and Andrew Stracey (all seniors) plus super seniors Peter Hedges and Hutcheon.

The American team is captained by Vinny Giles and also includes 35-year-old Nathan Smith and 45-year-old Todd White, who played on the winning US team at last year’s Walker Cup. The 2011 and 2013 Walker Cup captain, Jim Holtgrieve, is also in the team as one of its super seniors.

Jordan Smith is another who will travel to the Lytham Trophy in good spirits after claiming his first silverware of the season by winning the Selborne Salver at Blackmoor Golf Club.

The English Walker Cup player also collected the Hampshire Salver the following day after posting a 72 at the Hampshire Hog at North Hants to give him the best combined aggregate at the two events.

Smith’s fine weekend started when he produced two rounds of 68 to finish one shot ahead of fellow internationals Chesters and Evans at Blackmoor.

Twenty-four hours later, the Hog was won by 21-year-old Sam Edwards, from Bigbury, a former English Under-16 cap, who carded an opening round of 3-under par 67 and then saw the event cut to 18 holes due to torrential rain. That meant he finished one shot ahead of Meltham’s Jamie Bower and two in front of Daniel Brown from Bedale. Edwards joins an illustrious list of champions that includes Sandy Lyle and Justin Rose.

“It’s an honour to have my name on that board and I’ll certainly try and follow in their footsteps,” he said. “Hopefully I can get another win over the summer.”

Smith’s victory in the Selborne Salver means that he has now completed the Hampshire double after winning last year’s Hog.

“It’s been quite a year since winning last year’s Hampshire Hog, the highlight being the Walker Cup,” said Smith. “Although the results didn’t go our way in America, it was an amazing experience. I will try and build on that on the amateur circuit this year before another go at the Qualifying School.”

Scottish international Jamie Savage will hope he can go one better when he heads across the border to compete in this week’s Lytham Trophy.

The Scottish international from Cawder travels south to Lancashire fresh from a second-place finish at the Battle Trophy at Crail, where he carded rounds of 74, 73, 71 and 68 before losing out in a playoff to Nick MacAndrew, a law student at Aberdeen University.

Savage is not the only Lytham entrant who performed well in the East Neuk of Fife because Graeme Robertson recorded rounds of 68, 77, 74 and 68 to miss out on the playoff by one shot while fellow international Jack McDonald, from Kilmarnock Barassie, closed with a flawless 63 to share fourth place with 2013 Scottish Boys’ champion Neil, another Scot bound for Lytham.

Savage and Robertson have an added incentive to do well at Lytham because both were recently left out of the GB&I squad for this year’s St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe in Sweden. Five other Scots – McDonald, Neil, Grant Forrest, James Ross and Ewan Scott – were named in the squad.

Guido Migliozzi and Virginia Carta completed an impressive Italian double when they won major international junior titles last week in France. Migliozzi maintained the form that won him the individual title at this year’s Nations Cup at Sotogrande when he beat France’s Augustin Hole by two holes in the 36-hole final of the French International Boys’ Championship at Golf du Medoc while compatriot Carta beat Spain’s Cecilia Barquin Arozamena by 2 and 1 in the final of the French International Lady Juniors Amateur Championship at St Cloud.

Guido Migliozzi

The pair’s successes maintain Italy’s excellent start to 2014 with Renato Paratore also having won the Portuguese International Amateur title in February and Alessandra Braida emerging victorious in the Italian International Girls’ Championship the following month.

“It’s great news that Italy has achieved two international victories in the same week,” said Migliozzi. “I’m also hoping for a call for the next Junior Ryder Cup.”

Carta is the fourth Italian to lift the Edmund Trophy after Ragher Eva (1973), Joan Leaf (1974) and Stefania Croce (1987). In the match-play stages she beat France’s Emma Broze, Denmark’s Nanna Madsen, England’s Annabel Dimmock and Spain’s Marta Martin on the way to the final.

Julie Brown made a dream start to her career in the senior ranks when she won first time out at the English Senior Women’s Championship at Sandy Lodge Golf Club near Watford.

The former Ladies European Tour player won the 36-hole stroke-play qualifier by seven shots and beat Jane Bennett (8 and 7), Linda Hunt (6 and 5) and Debbie Richards (4 and 3) before defeating four-time champion Chris Quinn (Hockley) by 2 and 1 in the final.

Brown was an English international prior to turning professional at the same time as Laura Davies back in 1985. That year she won the German Ladies Open just one week after Davies had claimed her first tour title in Belgium but was reinstated as an amateur in 2006.

“I’m county junior organiser for Staffordshire and I told the girls I was going to win,” she said. “I’m thrilled I won’t have to live it down.”

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


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