England’s Eisenhower Trophy team that finished eighth in Turkey last month will form the basis of a four-man squad for the annual championship tour of Australia early next year.
Craig Hinton (The Oxfordshire, BB&O), Garrick Porteous (Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland) and Neil Raymond (Corhampton, Hampshire, IoW &CI) were in Turkey for the World Amateur Team Championship and will be joined Down Under by Nathan Kimsey (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire). The quartets first action will be the Masters of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne on 8th – 11th January followed by the Australian Amateur Championship at Commonwealth and Woodlands Golf Clubs on 15th& 20th January.
They will move on to the Lake Macquarie International at Belmont on 24th – 27th January, before the New South Wales Medal at The Coast and Bonnie Doon Golf Clubs on 30th January & 1st February. If they qualify from that, they will contest the New South Wales Amateur Championship at Royal Sydney on 3rd – 5th February and finish with the Avondale Medal on 8th & 9th February.
This will be Raymond’s third successive visit to Australia and he will defend the New South Wales Medal he won in a playoff at Mona Vale in early 2012. The 26 year old’s only other win of the year came when he successfully defended the Brabazon Trophy at Walton Heath following his initial victory at Burnham & Berrow in 2011. However, that and reaching the quarter finals of the English Amateur saw him top the Titleist/FootJoy England Golf Men’s Order of Merit for 2012. Raymond was also an England international regular during the year, the most successful player in the Eisenhower Trophy and represented GB&I against Europe in the St Andrews Trophy.
Hinton, (image © Tom Ward) 24, who finished less than three points behind Raymond in the order of merit, won the Welsh Open Stroke Play Championship and was joint fourth in the St Andrews Links Trophy. He was capped against France and was in the victorious England squad in the European Men’s Challenge Trophy in Iceland. Like Raymond, he also played for GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy.
Porteous, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday during the Australian Amateur, also represented GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy and was a member of the England team in this year’s Home Internationals in Scotland. The Northumberland player finished tied third in the individual rankings in the European Challenge Trophy, joint seventh in the Brabazon Trophy and reached the last 16 of the Amateur Championship.
Apart from Raymond, England players have enjoyed some success in recent trips to Australia. In January 2010, Tommy Fleetwood had three top ten finishes including runner-up in the New South Wales Amateur, while in 2011, Jack Senior won the New South Wales Amateur, beating Andy Sullivan in an all-English final and tied second behind Sullivan in the New South Wales Medal. Sullivan also tied second in the Masters of the Amateurs while Laurie Canter finished joint fourth in the New South Wales Medal alongside Stiggy Hodgson.
The Masters of the Amateurs tournament has an international field. The opening round is played with club professionals and guests with a shotgun start. The other three rounds comprise only the amateurs.
The long established 72-hole Lake Macquarie International at Belmont Golf Club has seen several English winners such as Roger Chapman, Russell Claydon, Ricky Willison, Nick Dougherty and Adam Gee.
The field in the New South Wales Medal will play one round each over The Coast and Bonnie Doon courses after which there will be a cut with the leading 60 players plus ties playing the final 36 holes. The leading 32 players from that will enter the match play knockout competition for the NSW Amateur at Royal Sydney.