English champion Nick Marsh (Huddersfield, Yorkshire) and English Stroke Play champion Ben Stow (Rushmore, Wiltshire) have been selected in an international trio to contest the key events in Australia early in 2015.
They will be joined by reigning South American Amateur champion Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire) for the five-week trip Down Under.
The trio will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of a number of former internationals who have produced a string of successes in Australia over the years.
Marsh, 20, (image © Leaderboard Photography) a full international for the past two years, won the English title at Saunton in August having lost a playoff for the Portuguese Championship and tied second in the Scottish Open Stroke Play. These top level performances saw him finish runner-up on the Titleist/FootJoy England Golf Men’s 2014 Order of Merit.
Howard, 24, who has also worn England colours for the past two years, won the South American title last January in Colombia. The Lancastrian has enjoyed a string of top finishes this year including second place in the Hampshire Salver, third in the St Andrews Links Trophy, fourth in the Hampshire Hog and seventh in the Lytham Trophy and Welsh Open Stroke Play.
He also reached the quarter finals of the Amateur Championship and finished the season in third place on the Titleist/FootJoy England Golf Men’s 2014 Order of Merit.
Stow, 23, currently at the University of Kentucky, won the Brabazon Trophy in a nail-biting finish at Seaton Carew in June. A full England international since 2011, he won the individual title in the European men’s Challenge Trophy in Iceland in 2012 and this year helped England finish third in the European Men’s Team Championships in Finland.
The trio’s first serious action in Australia will be in the Masters of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne on 6th – 9th January followed by the Lake Macquarie International at Belmont on 14th – 17th January.
Then it’s on to the Australian Amateur Championship at The Australian and The Lakes golf clubs on 20th – 25th January, before the New South Wales Medal at Monash and Killara on 28th – 30th January.
The field for the Medal will play one round each over each course after which there will be a cut with the leading 60 players plus ties playing the final 36 holes. The leading 32 players go forward to the New South Wales Amateur Championship, a match play event, at Monash and Killara on 1st – 3rd February.
Among the successes gained by English players in Australia recently, Tommy Fleetwood had three top ten finishes in 2010 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, a title won by Neil Raymond in 2012.
Also in 2011, Sullivan tied second in the Masters of the Amateurs while Laurie Canter finished joint fourth in the New South Wales Medal along with Stiggy Hodgson.
The long-established 72-hole Lake Macquarie International at Belmont has seen several English winners such as Roger Chapman, Russell Claydon, Ricky Willison, Nick Dougherty and Adam Gee, while Ryan Evans (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire) triumphed last year and also won the 36-hole Avondale Medal.