County champions line up for Woodhall Spa weekend

Adam chapman

The champions from every English county will descend on England Golf’s headquarters at Woodhall Spa this weekend (14th – 15th September) for their respective national champions event, boys, men and seniors, over the testing Hotchkin Course.

All three championships are over 36 holes, the boys on Saturday, the men on Sunday while the seniors play one round on each day.

The Boys’ event, which kicks off proceedings on Saturday morning, includes two players involved for England in the recent Boys Home Internationals, Adam Chapman (Windermere, Cumbria) and Harry Ellis (Meon Valley, Hampshire IoW &CI). Chapman (Image © Leaderboard Photography), the Cumbrian boys’ champion, made his England debut in this year’s European Boys Team Championships. He also finished runner-up in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters and was joint third in the McEvoy Trophy.

Ellis was English champion in 2012 which earned him selection for last year’s Home Internationals. He earned his first boys cap in this year’s European Boys Team Championships and was runner-up in the Michel Carlhian Trophy in France, second in the Hampshire Hog and third in the McEvoy Trophy.  

Also in the field of 31 boys county champions is Herman Loubser (Mount Murray, Isle of Man) who finished equal fourth in the English Boys under 14 Championship for the Reid Trophy while he made his England debut in the under 16 international with Spain and also played against Wales.

Others competing include Jack Dyer (Rochford Hundred, Essex), the English Schools under 16 champion, and three more under 16 caps, Lewis George (Delamere Forest, Cheshire), Harry Hall (West Cornwall) and Christopher Handy (South Moor, Co Durham).

The 32-strong field for the men’s event includes John Longcake (Silloth-on-Solway, Cumbria), three times a winner of the English Mid Amateur Championship for the Logan Trophy, who will look to improve on his runner-up spot in the County Champions event in 2008.

He faces strong opposition from the likes of Haydn McCullen (Delamere Forest, Cheshire), the Lancashire champion and boys champion and a boy international, who is flying back from representing England in the Canadian International Junior Challenge to compete, and the vastly experienced David Gibson (Cosby, Leicestershire & Rutland), a stalwart of golf in his county.

Another challenger could be Bobby Keeble (Crowlands Heath, Essex), another boy cap and runner-up in the Boys under 18 Championship last year, and Kevin Moore (Douglas, Isle of Man), a former member of the England Youth squad and sixth in this event in 2004.  

The Seniors’ field of 33 includes several internationals, including the current English and Scottish Seniors Open champion Richard Latham (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire), who knows the Hotchin Course well as he is the Golf Manager at Woodhall Spa. Latham won the English title at Bristol & Clifton just three weeks after turning 55.

He also won the Scottish Seniors Open and Lincolnshire Senior titles and was duly called up to represent England in the European Senior Men’s Team Championships in Hungary. 

Other internationals in the seniors event include Latham’s England team-mate Charles Banks (Stanton-on-the-Wolds, Nottinghamshire) and past Seniors champion Chris Reynolds (Littlestone, Kent).

The international theme continues with Welsh senior caps John Whitcutt (Burnham & Berrow, Somerset) and Basil Griffiths (Llanymynech, Shropshire & Herefordshire).