England Golf will field a team of champions in a bid to regain the European Nations Cup at La Reserva in Spain on 18th – 25th February.
Double European Amateur champion Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park, Shropshire & Herefordshire), last year’s South American Amateur champion Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire), English champion Nick Marsh (Huddersfield, Yorkshire), and English Stroke Play champion Ben Stow (Rushmore, Wiltshire), will form the side aiming to complete a sixth victory in the early-season event.
Chesters, 25, not only became the first English player to win the European Amateur title since 2004 when he triumphed at El Prat in Spain in 2013 but became the first player from any nation to win it twice when he successfully defended the title in St Andrews last summer.
That success helped steer the England international to top spot in the Titleist/FootJoy England Golf 2014 Order of Merit following his joint second place in the Brabazon Trophy, third in the Hampshire Salver and fifth in the Welsh Open Stroke Play. He also won all four of his matches against France having made his England debut in 2012.
Howard, 24, (image © Leaderboard Photography) won the South American title in Colombia last January and, like Chesters, enjoyed a successful 2014 on the fairways. He tied second in the Hampshire Salver, joint third in the St Andrews Links Trophy, equal seventh in the Lytham Trophy and the Welsh Open Stroke Play and reached the Amateur Championship quarter finals. It saw him finish third behind Chesters on the Order of Merit.
Marsh, 20, won the 2014 English title at Saunton in August and it put the icing on a successful season in which he finished second on the Order of Merit. His other successes included runner-up in the Portuguese Amateur and the Scottish Open Stroke Play while he was a regular in the England team after making his debut in the 2013 Home Internationals.
Stow, 23, currently at college in Kentucky, won the Brabazon Trophy at sunny Seaton Carew last June having also tasted victory on the US college circuit as well as sixth place in the Jones Cup. A full international for the past four years, he won the individual prize in the European Men’s Challenge Trophy in Iceland in 2012 and helped England to third place in last year’s European Men’s Team Championships in Finland.
The European Nations Championship is contested over 72 holes of stroke play, with the best three cards each day counting towards the team event. An individual competition runs simultaneously with the Nations Championship.