English golf is on top of the world!
At the end of the 2018 season congratulations are due to World Number Two Justin Rose, Major winner Georgia Hall – and 14 more great champions.
It’s been a year of outstanding highlights, such as:
- Justin Rose twice getting to World Number One and underlining his status with wins in the US and Turkey and in the season-long FedEx Cup. Our flashback picture, right, shows Justin after winning the McGregor Trophy back in 1995.
- Georgia Hall’s two-stroke victory in the Ricoh Women’s British Open. She’s also just been crowned Europe’s No 1 for the second year in a row and she’s eighth in the world.
- Richard McEvoy winning an emotional first European Tour victory at the 285th attempt.
- Lee Westwood winning for the first time in four years.
- Danny Willett returning to the winners’ circle – 953 days after winning The Masters.
- And don’t let’s forget Dame Laura Davies. Her 87 global wins include this season’s clean sweep of majors on the Legends Tour.
Almost all have the season’s winners have been involved with England Golf, either as squad players, internationals or champions. And they’re a huge inspiration to today’s young players who are making their way through the amateur ranks.
Each year, hundreds of youngsters seek to follow in the footsteps of their heroes by applying to move up from county coaching and join an England regional training squad.
They’re in good company. Georgia Hall, Meghan MacLaren, Danny Willett and Eddie Pepperell are among the 2018 Tour winners who set out on the regional pathway, before joining national training programmes.
Willett and Rose both praised the system when they were honoured at the inaugural England Golf Awards:
“I received so much help from England Golf through coaching programmes, representing my country and travelling all over the world to play for England. That type of experience was unbelievable at the time and stood me in good stead for my professional career,” Justin Rose.
England Performance Director Nigel Edward commented: “Obviously, success is all down to the player and whether they have the determination and the desire to put in the hard work.
“But other people do contribute and many players talk about the value of that support, whether it’s from their club, county or regional and national coaching.
“Opportunities like these and, for the best amateurs, the chance to compete around the world, can have a huge impact on their development.”
Let’s take a look at who’s done what in 2018…
- Chris Paisley scored his first European Tour win at the BMW SA Open.
As an amateur Chris, 27, worked his way up from a regional training squad to become an England international, Czech amateur champion and a Walker Cup player.
- Tommy Fleetwood won the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Tommy, 27, joined an England training squad as a 14-year-old and moved through the ranks over the next five years, representing England at all levels, winning the Scottish amateur and playing in the Walker Cup
- Eddie Pepperell notched up his first European Tour victory in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Eddie, 27, played his way into regional training as a 13-year-old, quickly scoring his first national junior win. He became a full England international and won the Welsh and Portuguese titles before turning pro.
- Meghan MacLaren scored her first win on the Ladies European Tour in the Women NSW Open.
Meghan, 24, came through regional and national squads, representing England at all levels. Her individual wins included British and Irish stroke play titles and she holed the winning putt in the 2016 Curtis Cup.
- Paul Casey won the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour.
Paul, 41, won the English amateur championship in 1999 and 2000. He played in the winning ’99 Walker Cup team, winning all four of his matches and playing his foursomes with Luke Donald.
- Matt Wallace won his second European Tour title in the Hero Indian Open.
The 28-year-old won a place in the England squad with good results in 2010. He had two near misses in 2011, finishing runner-up in the Berkhamsted Trophy and at the Czech amateur.
- Ian Poulter – Houston Open on the PGA Tour
- Justin Rose won the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour
Justin, 38, was a prolific amateur winner. He represented England at all levels and was the second youngest Walker Cup player when he played in ’97 (17 years, 10 days). He won the Silver Medal as low amateur at the ’98 Open Championship and turned pro the next day
- Matt Wallace won again, this time taking the BMW International Open in Germany.
- Richard McEvoy scored an emotional first European Tour victory at the 285th attempt at the 2018 Porsche European Open.
The 39-year-old, represented England and was a member of the 2001 GB&I Walker Cup team, which won in the USA. He won the Lytham Trophy in the same year.
- Dame Laura Davies won the inaugural US Senior Women’s Open.
Dame Laura played for England and GB&I in the early 1980s.
- Georgia Hall won her first Major with a two-shot victory in the Women’s British Open.
Georgia, 22, began her England training in a regional squad as a 12-year-old and went on to win national junior titles and two Youth Olympics gold medals. She was British girls’ and women’s champion, played for England at all levels and was a member of the 2014 Curtis Cup team. All before she left her teens!
- Paul Waring won his first European Tour title on his 200th start at the 2018 Nordea Masters, having played on Tour since 2008.
Paul, 33, trained with England squads and won titles including the English amateur. He captained England in the Home Internationals.
- Matt Wallace won for the third time, at Made in Denmark.
- Matt Fitzpatrick collected his fifth European Tour win in four years when he claimed the Omega European Masters.
Matt, 24, trained with England squads from the age of 15. By the end of his amateur career he was world number one, having won the 2013 US Amateur – the first English champion in 102 years. He was also a Walker Cup player and British boys’ champion.
- Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for the second time.
Tom, 27, joined an England U16 squad and represented his country around the world. He won the British boys’ and the Carris Trophy and played in the winning Walker Cup team of 2011.
- Eddie Pepperell won again, this time capturing the Sky Sports British Masters.
- Dame Laura Davies won again in the Senior LPGA Championship.
- Justin Rose added the Turkish Airlines Open to his collection of victories
- Lee Westwood won for the first time in four years at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player
Lee, 45, played for England in the early 1990s.
- Danny Willett returned to the winners’ circle with victory in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – 953 days after winning The Masters.
Danny, 31, first joined a regional boys’ squad and he moved right through the England training system and teams. Before turning pro in 2008 he became a Walker Cup player, English and Spanish amateur champion and was world number one amateur.
Photo Credits: Meg MacLaren – Tristan Jones, Ladies European Tour | Georgia Hall – The R&A