Top amateur players from England and Spain will face each other next month in an international match at Burnham & Berrow in Somerset – and it’s a must for talent spotters.
Spectators at past matches have watched Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia – who all played in the 1997 teams – as well as players such as Tommy Fleetwood, David Howell, Jose Maria Olazabal, Alvaro Quiros, Pablo Larrazabal and Ignacio Garrido.
This year’s match takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10, and will again feature outstanding players and, for the first time, it will include women.
Each team will be made up of six men and four women, playing five foursomes and 10 singles on both days.
The England team is: Ashley Chesters of Shropshire; Nick Marsh of Yorkshire; Jimmy Mullen of Devon; Michael Saunders of Kent; Sean Towndrow of Lancashire; Ashton Turner of Lincolnshire; Gemma Clews of Cheshire, Alice Hewson of Hertfordshire, Sophie Lamb and Hollie Muse, both of Lancashire.
Chesters, the double European amateur champion; Marsh, the English amateur champion; and Hewson, an international; are all ranked in either the men’s or women’s top 50 in the world. Spain’s representatives include Mario Galiano, who is currently ranked third in Europe and seventh in the world; and Nuria Iturrios, the world’s ninth best woman amateur.
Spectators are very welcome to watch the action unfold on Burnham & Berrow’s links, which is ranked among country’s top courses and has hosted many prestigious tournaments.
England have held the upper hand throughout the history of the biennial match, which started in 1985. The team have won 13 matches to Spain’s two – and never lost at home. However the most recent match, at El Prat in 2013, was won by the Spanish by the narrow margin of one point.
This season’s European Nations Cup, played at La Reserva, Spain, in February, provided a hint of what will be in store at the match. In the men’s event, England, whose representatives included Chesters and Marsh, won the trophy by a stroke after producing a big finish to hold off a charging Spanish side, who will all be at Burnham & Berrow. Spain won the ladies’ championship and two of their three players are heading for Somerset.
Ashley Chesters, 25, (Hawkstone Park) won the European amateur championship last year and in 2013. He was in England’s winning team at the 2015 European Nations Cup.
Nick Marsh, 20, (Huddersfield) is the 2014 English amateur champion and also won the Scottish open youths’ title. He was in England’s winning team at the 2015 European Nations Cup.
Jimmy Mullen, 21, (Royal North Devon) won the Duncan Putter in Wales in 2014 and tied third this year. He reached the last 16 of the US amateur.
Michael Saunders, 24, (Dartford) has just won the Hampshire Salver and is a past winner and runner-up in the Lagonda Trophy.
Sean Towndrow, 24, (Southport & Ainsdale) reached the semi-finals of the 2014 Amateur Championship and helped Southport & Ainsdale to win the English Champion Club title.
Ashton Turner, 19, (Kenwick Park) recently won the Darwin Salver for the second time and has represented GB&I as well as England.
Gemma Clews, 20, (Delamere Forest) helped England win the 2014 ladies’ Home Internationals and recently retained her title in the Delamere Comboy scratch tournament at her home club.
Alice Hewson, 17, (Berkhamsted) has just won the Hampshire Rose and last year helped England win both the girls’ and ladies’ Home Internationals
Sophie Lamb, 17, (Clitheroe) successfully defended the girls’ title at the Fairhaven Trophies in 2014 and has been in England’s winning teams at the girls’ Home Internationals for the last two years.
Hollie Muse,15, (West Lancashire) has just won the Scottish U16 girls’ championship and The Leveret. She helped England win both the women’s and girls’ Home Internationals last year.
Caption: The 17th hole at Burnham & Berrow (image GolfWorking)