Corhampton's Scott Gregory back on England duty

By Post in Golf

CORHAMPTON’S Scott Gregory will be back on England duty over the weekend when he lines up to help his country defend the Seve Ballesteros Trophy, at Valenci’s El Saler Golf Club.

The 22-year-old, who missed the cut on his debut at the Masters earlier this month, has been resting up since returning from Georgia.

His only two competitive rounds came in the Hampshire Hog at North Hants where the British Amateur Champion shook off the jet lag with an excellent second round 68, having started off with a round to forget at the Fleet Club where Justin Rose was a member as a teenager, before finishing 25th.

It was three years ago when a relatively unknown Hampshire teenager came close to landing his first national title over the same fairways where Rose had shocked the amateur golf world by landing the Hog as a 14-year-old in 1995.

Since the rain forced the 2014 Hog to be abandoned Gregory has reached the English Amateur Final, won the British Amateur, finished fourth in the European Amateur, and won a silver medal with England at the Eisenhower Trophy after representing his country in the World Amateur Team Championship.

And Gregory will get the chance to play in an event this weekend which has featured Rose, and Spain’s Sergio Garica in the past.

The pair – who went head to head in the Masters before Garcia finally broke his Majors duck by beating the 2013 US Open winner in a play-off – both played in the Seve Ballesteros Trophy in 1997.

That was also the year that Rose became the youngest player to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup – the amateur game’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup – which Rose and Garcia both went on to play in as professionals for Europe.

Gregory’s season is geared up to ending his time as an amateur with his hopeful selection for the Great Britain and Ireland team that will face America at the Los Angeles Country Club in September.

He will join forces with Goodwood’s Marco Penge – who the Hampshire ace beat in the final of the New South Wales Open in early February – as part of a ten-strong England team made up of the nation’s leading male and female amateurs.

The England 2016 Order of Merit winner will be joined at El Saler by former Hampshire Boys team-mate Jack Singh-Brar, winner of the Selborne Salver at Blackmoor Golf Club last weekend.

The other England men’s picks include Bradley Moore, the 19-year-old Derbyshire player, who was third in the Avondale Amateur, ahead of Gregory, in Australia, back in January, in which Singh-Brar was the runner-up.

The other representatives are current England Amateur Champion Dan Brown, who lead qualifying at the South African Amateur Championship, in March, and Kent’s Alfie Plant, who was a member of the three-man Eisenhower Team, finishing third overall.

They will be paired up with 22-year-old Hampshire Rose winner Gemma Clews, from Cheshire, British Women’s Strokeplay Champion Sophie Lamb, aged 19, from Lancashire, Cornwall’s Georgia Price who was in the top three at both last year’s English and British Amateur Strokeplay championships, and Lancashire’s 18-year-old England Girls international Louisa Brunt.

England have won the biennial contest, which became a mixed event in 2015 when the hosts won at Somerset’s Burnham and Berrow, a total of 14 times.

Spain, who have also featured two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal and fellow European Tour winners Alvaro Quiros, Ignacio Garrido and Pablo Larrazabal, down the years, have claimed the trophy just twice since it began in 1985.

Gregory will then be heading north to the Lancashire coast for next weekend’s Lytham Trophy – preceded by a Walker Cup squad get-together at Royal Lytham.

Then the countdown begins for his return to the USA and his debut at the US Open at Erin Hills, in Wisconsin in the middle of June, which prevents him from defending his crown when the world’s oldest Amateur championship returns to Royal St George’s in the middle of June.