Archive for May, 2008

Lagonda Trophy

If you ever thought that today’s amateurs are doing anything other than playing golf – think again! The season is incredibly hectic for the top players and this week has already seen another tournament; The Lagonda Trophy at The Gog Magog Golf Club in Cambridge just finished today with some excellent scoring. I guess the 6398 yard course is bound to provide some birdie opportunities for these guys and Dale Whitnell was the one who converted most of them, or at least scored the best. 269 is 11 shots under par which is an impressive score on any course. Top 10 in the Lagonda Trophy below:

1 D WHITNELL Five Lakes +4 67 68 135 63 198 71 269
2 L GODDARD Hendon +3 68 72 140 67 207 65 272
3 L YEARN Ely City +2 68 67 135 67 202 71 273
4 C COSSINS Bath +2 68 71 139 65 204 70 274
5 J PALMER Kirby Muxloe +2 66 69 135 69 204 70 274
6 P WAUGH Hexham +2 66 68 134 74 208 67 275
7 B LOUGHREY Wrag Barn +1 69 71 140 64 204 72 276
8 B HEMSTOCK Teignmouth +3 68 70 138 69 207 69 276
9 J ABBOTT Fynn Valley +3 68 69 137 66 203 73 276
10 F KEENAN Sunningdale +3 71 68 139 68 207 70 277

GB&I squad and more wrapping up

The R&A selectors have nominated what they call an Initial GB&I squad for the St Andrews Trophy. Seen through the eyes of English golf supporters it is a pretty good squad. Eight out of the 16 players in the squad are English which could be an indication of what the team might look like. There is still a lot of golf to play though before the team is picked, and of course even more before it is time to think about the Walker Cup 2009. The squad includes the following English players: 

Andrew Cooley – Chobham
Matthew Haines – Rochester & Cobham Park
Sam Hutsby – Liphook
Chris Paisley – Stocksfield
Eddie Pepperell – Drayton Park
Steven Uzzell – Hornsea
Dale Whitnell – Five Lakes
Chris Wood – Long Ashton

My apologies to Gary King for not mentioning his outstanding win in the Skandia Junior Openin my Sunday wrap up. Must be because he won in Sweden… Gary’s 68 on the last day was in a league of its own and to win by 6 shots is pretty impressive.

New week

Tuesday morning and courtesy of the Bank Holiday Monday it does feel like the week has had a bit of a slow start. In Arizona the AJGA Thunderbird Invitational finished with Matt Haines as the top English player in 7th place. His fellow country man, Eddie Pepperell, fell back with a less successful last round but no doubt they will both return to England with a bundle of experience from playing in a tournament with one of the best fields in junior golf in the world. Plus they will know what playing golf in the desert heat is like.

This week it is time for Daniel Willet to make his debut as a professional. The World’s number one amateur has moved on to the next stage and thanks to the invite to the Wales Open he is given a good chance to measure himself against some of the best players on the European Tour. With good finishes in the Open de Andalucia and the Spanish Open as an amateur he has already proved that he is ready to compete and by turning professional now Dan is giving himself two chances to secure his card for next year. Hopefully he will get his maximum of 7 invites to events and if he handles those well that could be enough to finish in the top 115 that gains automatic exemption for next year’s tour. If he doesn’t he can always go to Tour School and hopefully make it through there. As sad as it is that Dan will not be playing for England in the Eisenhower Trophy I think he has made the right decision which both he and English Golf will benefit from in the future. 

Sunday wrap up

Sunday night and it is time to close the books on this weekend’s tournaments. Most of them anyway, as there are still a few hours of golf left to be played in the US. As I write this Phil Mickelson and Rod Pampling are battling it out in one of my favourite tournaments on the PGA Tour, The Colonial. The Colonial Country Club is something as unusual as a fairly short, classical golf course that still provides a challenge for today’s long hitters. It is definitely a big advantage if you can work the ball in all directions at Colonial!

Two English juniors, Matt Haines and Eddie Pepperell are playing the AJGA Thunderbird Invitational in Scottsdale, AZ. That tournament does not finish until Monday but so far they are both very much in the hunt. Follow the action on http://www.ajga.org/2008thunderbird/ajgalive.asp#.

The weekend’s golf in Wales and the Welsh Amateur has come to an end though. Three English players lead the way with Chris Wood winning ahead of Sam Hutsby and Jamie Abbott. All three members of the EGU Elite Squad. See the final results at http://www.golfbox.dk/livescoring/leaderboard.asp?tour={8CA0BE8C-CF4A-4E37-8F70-FD08F930FD0A}&clubOnly=1&color=1&lang=1033.

On the European Tour the PGA Championship concluded with a two way tie and a play off between England’s Oliver Wilson and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez. Oliver came as close as a horse shoe away from winning his first tournament when his 6 footer refused to go in on the first play off hole. On the second Jimenez 4 gave him the victory and Oliver will have to wait a little bit longer for his maiden top finish.

Elite Squad graduate Gary Boyd also had a good weekend, and especially a great Sunday where his come from behind 63 took him to within two off the pace and second place. With that Gary stormed to first place on the Challenge Tour ranking which of course is excellent news. Top 20 at the end of the year earn their tour card for 2009.

 

What a difference a day makes

One of the last people I spoke to before leaving Wentworth late last night was Robert Dinwiddie. He was disappointed after a round where he hadn’t played all that well. His tee shots weren’t great and he complained a bit about his putting. He also wasn’t very comfortable with his swing. We talked a bit about what he normally does when he plays well and how is decision making had been. I suggested that when things aren’t great it is even more important to be specific in decision making and to make sure that those decisions are carried out in a positive way. After that Robert must have had something strong for dinner and a very good night’s sleep just to come back in the afternoon today and shoot 63! Low round of the day, thank you very much, and instead of going home Robert now has some work to do over the weekend to move further up the leaderboard. Follow the scores here:

http://scores.europeantour.com/default.sps?pagegid={8455C601-B598-43F0-AE27-8559DC7985DD}&eventid=2008042&optsel=pos&infosid=2&iTourID=1

In Wales and the Welsh Amateur there are still a lot of golf left to be played. Sum Hutsby is leading after the first round after a 67 that put him one shot clear of young Oscar Sharpe and slightly more experienced Nigel Edwards. For the weekend scores go to:

http://www.golfbox.dk/livescoring/leaderboard.asp?tour={8CA0BE8C-CF4A-4E37-8F70-FD08F930FD0A}&clubOnly=1&color=1&lang=1033

 

At Wentworth

The week when the European Tour return to its home base is always a special occasion. There can’t be many places as pretty as Wentworth this time of the year and it is almost like the whole golfing industry in the UK have been waiting all winter for this chance to come out. Everybody is here, both inside and outside the ropes, and the field is probably the best in a European Tour event so far this year. I am trying my best to fit in numerous meetings with the opportunity to catch up with players. Three players that more or less just left the EGU Elite Squad have already made it to this level and are in the field – Robert Dinwiddie, Oliver Fisher and Ross McGowan. That is obviously nice to see and it is great to watch them make this kind of impact in the professional game reasonably quick. One of the things that I want to make sure that we become better at is to keep the links with these players as well as to build the links with the rest of the top English players. Having a relationship with the players is the best way for us to understand the demands and challenges of golf at this level. If we can get them to give of their time to the EGU, Counties and/or clubs the knowledge and inspiration the younger players can get out of it is invaluable. My experience is that the players are very good with this and most supportive. We have already had Ross Fisher, David Howell, Robert Dinwiddie and Paul Waring visit some of our training sessions. With the right relationships a lot more of them will make themselves available!

How weird a sport is golf?

Last weekend Steven Uzzell could hardly walk around a golf course and the idea to carry a bag of clubs with him probably seemed quite distant. After having to miss out most of the England vs France match due to a bad back he got in his car on the Monday to try and make it to the next stop – the Brabazon Trophy. Today he has just been handed the trophy after some outstanding golf that gave him a four stroke victory. There is something about injured players and winning! As a much younger version of myself I remember watching the Scandinavian Masters on site in 1994. Way before he was the worldbeater he then went on to become Vijay Singh played but struggled quite severely during the practice days due to an injured shoulder. How the tournament ended? Singh won three shots clear of Mark McNulty and still struggled with his shoulder. So what is all that about? I wonder if it has got to do with expectations, focusing on what I can control and staying in the present. I bet that if you I am injured quite a lot of my focus will be on trying to make the next shot without the pain becoming unbearable. Perhaps that can keep me away from thinking too much about how many shots clear I am or how good I am going to look walking up the 18th fairway. Read the article on the Brabazon Trophy on the English Golf Union website:

http://www.englishgolfunion.org/newsdesk.asp?code=000100020001000300010001&id=2598

Richard Finch by the way must have looked great as he walked up the 18th fairway in the Irish Open. Apparently he fell in the water(!) as he hit his third shot and had to be fished up by his caddie. Three putts later he walked away with 416.000 Euros and Richard has now won twice on the European Tour. The fall does look great on film: (European Tour footage)

http://www.europeantour.com/default.sps?pagegid=%7BBD7389F6%2D98D4%2D415E%2DB3A8%2D6AB545448F8C%7D&playertype=2&assetid=611062


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