Powerful squad to defend Costa Ballena title

Jamie Dick

England Golf has named a powerful six-strong squad to defend the title in the Costa Ballena International Quadrangular Tournament in Spain on 21st – 23rd January.

The Costa Ballena competition is played on a round robin basis against teams from Finland, Germany and hosts Spain, with each match comprising three foursomes and six singles. England’s victory in last year’s event was their first since 2006.

The squad is: Jamie Bower (Meltham, Yorkshire), Jamie Dick (Forest Hills, Gloucestershire), Scott Gregory (Corhampton, Hampshire), Bobby Keeble (Crowlands Heath, Essex), Sean Towndrow (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire) and Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park, Lincolnshire). All are members of the England A squad for 2015.

Bower, 21, who was a member of last year’s winning team, enjoyed a successful second half of last season, finishing runner-up in the Lee Westwood Trophy and the North of England Amateur. He also finished second in the Hampshire Hog. He has twice been a winner of the North of England Youths Championship, while he also won the English Schools title in 2011.

Dick, 18, (Image © Leaderboard Photography) became a boy international in 2014, making his debut in the European Boys’ Team Championships in Norway and helping England win the Boys’ Home Internationals. Victory in the Darwin Salver was followed by second place in the Welsh Open Stroke Play and fourth place finishes in the English Boys’ U18 Championship for the Carris Trophy and the Welsh Youth Championship. He was also a member of the winning GB&I team in the Jacques Leglise Trophy in Sweden.

Gregory, 20, came to the fore when he battled through to the final of the English Amateur Championship at Saunton last year only to be beaten by Yorkshire’s Nick Marsh. Gregory also finished equal fourth in the Berkshire Trophy and ended the season on a high note by winning the Waterford Trophy at Sundridge Park in Kent.

Keeble, 20, was also a member of last year's winning Costa Ballena team.  The former Essex champion reached the British Boys’ quarter finals in 2013 when he also won the County Champions Tournament. He was capped by England for the Boys’ Home Internationals in 2012 and 2013 and in the former lost a marathon five-hole playoff for the Carris Trophy. Last year, when a member of the England ‘A’ squad, he finished fifth in the Duncan Putter.

Towndrow, 23, was a member of the Southport & Ainsdale team that won the English Champion Club at Trentham and helped Lancashire win the County Championship at Minchinhampton in 2013. The tall Lancastrian also reached the Amateur Championship semi-finals last year claiming several notable scalps on the way.

Turner, 18, is a former U16 and current boy international. The Lincolnshire boy champion in 2012 when he also won the Boys’ Champion of Champions Tournament, in 2013 he triumphed in a playoff for the Bernard Darwin Salver, won the Daily Telegraph Junior Championship and finished second in the McEvoy Trophy. In 2014, besides being capped by England, he also represented GB&I against Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy and tied fourth in the Daily Telegraph Junior event.