Leading boy players will head to Kedleston Park Golf Club in Derbyshire next week in pursuit of one of golf’s most sought after U16 titles.
They’re aiming to follow in the footsteps of such golfers as Justin Rose and Eduardo Molinari and lift the McGregor Trophy, as the English U16 boys’ open championship is better known.
It’s always a hugely popular event and this year is no exception. The championships was heavily over-subscribed, with an entry of 200 players for 144 places.
Those with handicaps of 2.9 and better were accepted, while players with handicaps up to 3.6 went on to a reserve list and the others were balloted out.
The final field includes competitors from 14 countries, with an especially strong challenge from English players.
Among them is Max Hopkins (Bishops Stortford) who, at the age of 14, was last year’s runner-up. Twelve months on, he’s an England boy international who’s on duty at this week’s European team championships.
He’s also been named in one of two England teams to defend the Nations Cup at the McGregor Trophy. The other five players are also key contenders in the championship.
Conor Gough, 15, (Stoke Park) won the boys’ title at the Fairhaven Trophies and is also in playing at the Europeans this week. Ben Pierleoni, 16, (Berkhamsted) was joint runner-up in the men’s Berkhamsted Trophy. Dominic Clemons, 16, (Hanbury Manor) tied third in the Midland U16 boys’ championship; Tom Gregory, 15, (Stoke Park) tied fifth in last year’s McGregor Trophy; and Taylor Paul, 16, (Stoke Park) won the Midland U16 boys’ championship.
The Nations Cup is played over the first two rounds of the championship, with the best two scores counting in each round. England’s teams took first and second place in last year’s competition.
Kedleston Park (pictured) was one of this year’s regional qualifying courses for The Open and will provide the boys with an excellent test of their golfing skills. It’s a mature parkland course and is set within the grounds of Kedleston Hall, an 18th century mansion.
The championship takes place from Tuesday to Thursday, 17-19 July. The full field plays 18 holes on each of the first two days. Then the leading 40 competitors and ties qualify to play the final 36 holes on the third day.
Image copyright Leaderboard Photography