Archive for July, 2008

Golf and the Olympics

What kind of a headline is that in the week of the Open Championship? The truth is that it is actually more than ever before a possibility. Golf has finally come together! Announced today at Royal Birkdale was the news that the various bodies involved in running the game on a World wide basis have united to form a Golf Olympic Committee within the International Golf Federation. As boring as structure and organisation may sound this could be the most important happening in golf in the modern era. Golf’s inability to speak with one voice has always been one of the biggest threats to the game’s development. Well, here is the thing that could change that!

Apart from changing the future of golf the R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson has got a golf tournament to run this week. This year obviously without Tiger Woods most bookmakers seem to agree on one thing; It is difficult to pick a winner! Royal Birkdale is geared up for a thrilling week and unless you are there or in front of the TV I would recommend following the Open on the excellent website.

England secure the bronze medal

England came out victorious in the match for the bronze medal against Portugal in Bled, Slovenia today. Paul Ashwell reports:

Saturday 12th July; European Boys 3rd Place Play Off
England v Portugal
This afternoon Darren Renwick holed a 4 foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to secure the Bronze Medal for England. The day began well with victory in both of the morning foursomes and early singles victories for Tommy Fleetwood and Darren got us over the winning line. The final result was 5 – 2.

In the all Scandinavian final Sweden defeated Norway.
Paul Ashwell,
Lead Coach England U18`s. 

Full details from the European Boys’ Championships can be found here.

England to play for the bronze medal

The World Champions from Norway turned out to be too strong for the England Boys’ Team today. Lead Coach Paul Ashwell reports:



Friday 11th July; Matchplay Semi Final

Despite a spirited fightback in the afternoon singles, England were unable to overcome the loss of both morning foursomes and lost 4 1/2, 2 1/2 to Norway. We now look forward to taking on Portugal for the bronze medal.

Paul Ashwell,
Lead Coach England U18`s.


The final of the European Boys’ Championships will be an all Scandinavian one, played between Norway and Sweden.

Short recap of England-Italy

Back in the hotel after another exciting day, Paul Ashwell reports from the action in Bled;

Thurs 10th July; Matchplay 1/4 Final
Wow what a day!
Today England played Italy who had been joint top score in the strokeplay qualifying.
The two morning foursomes were very closely contested and featured some great golf. Tom Lewis and Tommy Fleetwood were 8 under par when they won on the 18th. Darren Renwick and Stiggy Hodgson also won on 18. Italy fought back extremely well in the singles and were ahead in four of the five singles for most of the afternoon. With the match score at 3-3, Eddie Pepperell, who had been 2 down after 14 holes, eventually won the decisive point with a birdie on the 20th hole. This was his 11th birdie of the afternoon – amazing golf.  We are now looking forward to playing Norway, the current World Champions, in the semi-finals.
Paul Ashwell,
Lead Coach England U18`s. 

The other semi final is played between  Sweden and Portugal. Follow the European Boys Championship here.

England in the semi final

After a very tight match against Italy England are through to the semi final in the European Boys’ Team Championship in Bled, Slovenia. Lead Coach Paul Ashwell’s report will follow but results from today are available on the link below:


European Boy’s, second day

A day of ‘sprint qualifying’ and England managed to make it through to the final 8. England Boys’ Team Lead Coach Paul Ashwell reports from Bled, Slovenia;

Weds 9th July; Strokeplay Qualifying       
On a day of very low scoring England have qualified for the top flight of matchplay in 7th position.
The team score was -8 with Darren Renwick shooting the best score at -4. Eddie Pepperell, playing as the anchor man, completed a very gritty round of -2 which ensured our progression in the event.
Sweden and Italy ended joint top score at -21. England play Italy tomorrow in the matchplay phase.
Paul Ashwell,
Lead Coach England U18`s.

It remains to be seen how much Live Scoring will be in operation in tomorrow’s rounds but hopefully it will be possible to get updates from the Slovenian website. Click here for access.

European Boys’ Team Championship

Stroke play Day 1; Tues 8th July.

We woke to heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightening. At 10.00 AM it was decided that play was abandoned for the day. Qualifying will now be over 18 holes tomorrow. However all was not lost as Stiggy Hodgson and Coach Ashwell were victorious over Darren Renwick and Tom Lewis in a series of driving range skills challenges! Roll on Wednesday.

Paul Ashwell,
Lead Coach England U18`s.

Moving on…

What a weekend it was! England brought home the silver medals in the European Championships after falling short in the final against Ireland and there were a number of other English winners in the golf world. On the European Tour Ross Fisher won in style by 7 shots and on the Challenge Tour David Horsey won for the second time in three weeks. In the order of merit there are now two English players leading the way; Dave Horsey and Seve Benson. Big things happened also in women’s golf where two English players battled it out for the English Ladies Open title. Rebecca Hudson just beat Melissa Read thanks to a stunning last round 64.

This week it is time for the England Boys’ Team to put themselves to the test in the European Championships. I have asked the coach, Paul Ashwell to do a daily report and here is his summary of the first couple of days of practice;

European Boys Team Championship
Bled GC, Slovenia.
Practice Days; Sun 6- Mon 7 July

Please note we visited Bled for a training camp in April so the players already have some experience of the course. On our first practice day we had afternoon tee times so we used the morning for practice. This allowed for some one to one time with each player and to help with any concerns they may have. During the practice round we introduced a simple competitive element to encourage hitting fairways and greens; score a point for each. Then practiced lots of chipping and putting around the greens, playing to a variety of pin positions. The players were encouraged to add useful details to their Course Planner and begin to plan the best way to play each hole.

During the evening we held a team meeting where the players were reminded of their playing achievements to date and we outlined our goals for the week. Last year we won the Silver Medal and believe we can go one better this time. We see the event as three separate stages 1) Practice Days, 2) Stroke play, 3) Match play. Our intention is to complete each stage as well as we can and then re focus on the next stage.

During the second practice day we introduced a competition between our two three balls. First 6 holes; one score on each hole to count. Next 6 holes; two scores to count. Final 6 holes; all three score to count. In addition the players continued to refine their planners and game plans. The team are in good form and looking forward to the stroke play stage.

The Opening Ceremony took place on Tuesday evening.

Paul Ashwell, Lead Coach England U18`s.

If the live scoring is anything like last week it won’t be easy to follow the results but they are supposed to be updated on the following link

If you are in need for some inspiration, why not have a look at this Youtube clip based on Rosevelt’s ‘The man in the arena’ from 1910.

Ireland win the European Championship

England – Ireland 2.5-4.5

Charlie Ford – Gareth Shaw 2/1
Chris Wood – Paul Cutler 3/2
Matt Haines – Niall Kearney 3/2
Sam Hutsby – Jonathan Caldwell a/s
Dale Whitnell 5/3 – Shane Lowry

(subject to confirmation of official scores)

1-1 after the foursomes

The playing field is level going into the singles in the afternoon;

Chris Wood and Sam Hutsby, England 2 holes – Gareth Shaw and Shane Lowry, Ireland

Steve Uzell and Dale Whitnell, England – Paul Cutler and Jonathan Caldwell, Ireland 3/1

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