A talented team of six youngsters, all members of the England ‘A’ Squad, will aim to bridge a six-year gap when they represent England Golf in the annual Costa Ballena Quadrangular Tournament in Spain later this month.
After five successive runners-up finishes, the squad of Oliver Carr (Heswall, Cheshire), Seb Crookall-Nixon (Workington, Cumbria), Paul Kinnear (Formby, Lancashire), Josh Loughrey (Wrag Barn, Wiltshire), Callum Shinkwin (Moor Park, Hertfordshire) and Jordan Smith (Bowood G&CC, Wiltshire) will aim to go one better at the Costa Ballena Ocean Golf Club on 25th – 27th January.
Carr, 18, has been capped at under 16 and boys levels while he was Cheshire Boy Champion in 2010. Last year, when he finished ninth in the Titleist/FootJoy EGU Boys Order of Merit, he was a quarter finalist in the British Boys Championship and the Cheshire Match Play Championship and was equal fourth in the Fairhaven Trophy.
Crookall-Nixon, 18, was the English Under 16 Champion in 2008 and 2009 and has been an under 16 and boy international. In 2011, he finished fourth in the Brabazon Trophy, winning the George Henriques Salver for the best performance by a player aged under 20, and finished seventh in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters and the Tillman Trophy.
Kinnear, 18, is a former Lancashire Boy Champion. He was capped for the first time in the Boys Home Internationals in Wales last year while he also represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy. In individual events, he finished tied fifth in the Brabazon Trophy, eighth in the Fairhaven Trophy and equal ninth in the West of England Stroke Play.
Like Crookall-Nixon, Loughrey, 21, collected an award at last year’s Brabazon Trophy, the Scrutton Jug for the best aggregate from the Berkshire and Brabazon Trophies. He enjoyed a number of high finishes including equal third in the Darwin Salver, fourth in the Duncan Putter and tied fifth in the Berkshire Trophy. When representing England, he was tied fourth in the Chiberta Grand Prix and equal sixth in the Biarritz Cup. He was also a member of the victorious Wiltshire team in the English County Championship.
Shinkwin, 18, (picture © Tom Ward), enjoyed a successful 2010, becoming English Under 18 Champion, making his England debut in the Boys Home Internationals and helping Hertfordshire to the Boys County Championship. Last year, he reached the semi-finals of the English Amateur Championship, finished tied fourth when defending his under 18 title for the Carris trophy, and was eighth in the McEvoy Trophy. He also represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy in Spain.
Smith, 19, has been attending Filton College and developed through their golfing AASE programme. He has won the Intercollegiate Tour Players Championship for the past two years and is an England Schools international. He was another member of the Wiltshire County Championship-winning team at Ganton last year when he also finished fourth in the Faldo Series Grand Final at Lough Erne.
The last occasion an England team emerged as Costa Ballena champions was in 2006 while the title was also won in the previous year.
The Costa Ballena competition is played on a round robin basis over three days, each match comprising three foursomes and six singles.