New champion Stow heads strong line-up for Euro Championships

Ben Stow

Newly-crowned English Stroke Play champion Ben Stow (Rushmore, Wiltshire), and joint runners-up Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park, Shropshire & Herefordshire) and Ryan Evans (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire) have been named in the six-man England team that will defend the European Men’s Team Championship at Linna Golf Club in Finland on 8th – 12th July.

The rest of the squad is Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire), Jordan Smith (Bowood G&CC, Wiltshire) and Toby Tree (Golf at Goodwood, Sussex).

Stow (Image © Leaderboard Photography) won the Brabazon Trophy in impressive style at Seaton Carew last Saturday, finishing a shot clear of Chesters and Evans. The 22 year old from Wiltshire held off his England team-mates with a closing round of seven-under-par 66, matched by Chesters, while Evans closed with 67.

Stow, studying at the University of Kentucky, tasted victory on the US college circuit earlier in the year while he has been a member of the England squad for the past four years.

Chesters, 24, became European champion at El Prat in Spain last August. This year, he won all four of his games in the international with France at Fontainebleau and represented Europe against Asia/Pacific in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy in India.

He also finished joint second in the Selborne Salver, tied third in the Hampshire Salver, fifth in the Welsh Open Stroke Play and joint seventh in the South East of England Links Championship.

Evans, 27, who made his full England debut in last year’s Home Internationals, won two titles in Australia earlier this year. He also represented Europe in the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy, England in the European Nations Championship in Spain, and was in the winning England team against France. In individual events, he tied second in the Selborne Salver and fifth in the Scottish Open Stroke Play.

Howard, who also made his full England debut in last year’s Home Internationals and played against France recently. He won the South American Amateur in Colombia last year and scored five points from six in helping Lancashire to the County Championship.

This year, the 23 year old has finished second in the Hampshire Salver, joint third in the St Andrews Links Trophy, equal fourth in the Hampshire Hog and reached the Amateur Championship quarter finals.

Smith, 21, a Walker Cup player last year and an England international for the past two years, won the Brabazon Trophy last year and was also a quarter finalist in the Spanish Amateur. He was a member of Wiltshire’s winning County Championship teams in 2011 and 2012, and reached the semi-finals of the English Amateur in the latter.

This year, he has won the Selborne Salver and the Hampshire Salver, was unbeaten in his games against the French and reached the last 32 of the Amateur Championship.

Tree, 20, a former English under 14 champion, under 16 and boy cap, has been a full international since 2012. He helped England win the European Nations Championship in 2013 and is the only member of the squad who was in last year’s victorious European team in Denmark. This year, he has won the IGT Series in South Africa and the Welsh Stroke Play Championship and reached the last 16 of the Amateur Championship.

England has won the European title on 11 occasions. Last year in Denmark, after qualifying, they beat the Danes 5-2, the Netherlands 6-1 then overcame Scotland 4.5-2.5 in the final.

The first two days of the European Championships is devoted to stroke play qualifying before the match play knockout over the final three days.