Eight of England’s leading U16 players will follow in the footsteps of some great names next week when they take on Spain at Preston Golf Club, Lancashire.
Ryder Cup player Matt Fitzpatrick and fellow Tour winners Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, Tommy Fleetwood and Melissa Reid all figured in the international U16 match back in their early amateur days.
This year’s match will be played over the weekend of 27-28 May and the mixed team is Barclay Brown of Yorkshire (image © Leaderboard Photography), Dominic Clemons of Cambridgeshire, Annabell Fuller of Surrey, Tom Gregory from Berks, Bucks and Oxon, Charlie Hilton of Sussex, Lily May Humphreys of Essex, Mimi Rhodes of Somerset and Caitlin Whitehead of Cumbria.
The match started as a curtain raiser to the North of England U16 Championship, with England enjoying much success in the encounters at Pannal and Heswall. It was expanded three years ago into a stand-alone two-day match and since then the Spanish have been all-conquering, winning at Madrid in 2014, at Seacroft, Lincolnshire in 2015 and again in Madrid last year. The England team will be keen to end that run at Preston.
This is the second time Preston has hosted a major junior event in the last two years. In 2015 the club staged the English U14 boys’ open championship for the Reid Trophy, which attracts an international field.
Barclay Brown, 16, (Hallamshire) was 11th in the recent Fairhaven Trophies and eighth in the Peter McEvoy Trophy. His 2016 results including winning the U18 trophy at the North of England Youths’ championship.
Dominic Clemons, 14, (Gog Magog) is the Scottish U14 boys’ champion and also tied third in the English U14s. He was third in the recent Midland U16 championship.
Annabell Fuller, 15, (Roehampton) reached the quarter finals of the French U18 Cartier Trophy and was third individually in the women’s European Nations Cup. She won the 2016 Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters and had six second places.
Tom Gregory, 14, (Stoke Park) was fourth in the Midland U16 championship and 11th in the Fairhaven Trophies. He and Clemons both played for England in a recent international U16 quadrangular match.
Charlie Hilton, 16, (Ifield) won the Midland U16 championship in a play-off, after covering the last three holes in one-under par. He had a string of solid results last season.
Lily May Humphreys, 15, (Stoke by Nayland) is the English U16 girls’ champion and has also won the Fairhaven Trophies and the North of England U16s. She reached the match play in the 2017 French U18 championship and has been runner-up in two top scratch events this season.
Mimi Rhodes, 15 (Burnham & Berrow) won the U16 trophy at the recent Scottish girls’ championship. Last season’s results included a top ten in the sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.
Caitlin Whitehead, 14, (Kendal) is the Scottish U14 girls’ champion and had a string of top ten results in prestigious girls’ events during 2016.