JORDAN Smith (Bowood G&CC, Wiltshire) faces a tough task in defence of the Brabazon Trophy he won last year when the English Men’s Open Strokeplay Championship takes place at Seaton Carew Golf Club in County Durham on June 25-28.
Amateur Smith, who made an impressive debut on the European Tour by making the cut and finishing just outside the top 30 at last weekend's Lyoness Open in Austria, was won the title at Formby a year ago, finishing four strokes ahead of Ireland’s Brian Casey with four players, including internationals Ben Taylor (Walton Heath, Surrey) and Jimmy Mullen (Royal North Devon) a further stroke behind.
Most of those will be in action again in a field of 150 that includes internationals and many title winners from home and abroad, a host of talent that befits England’s leading strokeplay championship.
The Derry Hill 21 year old, a member of last year’s GB&I Walker Cup team, faces the greatest threat from his England teammates such as Ryan Evans (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire), Toby Tree (Golf at Goodwood, Sussex), Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park, Shropshire & Herefordshire) and Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire) as well as Taylor and Mullen.
The Brabazon Trophy could also be won by other England caps such as SMith's Wiltshire 22 year old teammate Ben Stow (Cumberwell Park), Harry Casey, 21 (Enfield, Middlesex), or Tomasz Anderson, 22 (Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire).
The overseas entry is strong on quality and one to watch could be Thriston Lawrence, South African Amateur champion for the past two years. He underlined his credentials by winning the Lytham Trophy at the start of May and would love to emulate his fellow Springbok Charl Schwartzel, who won the Brabazon at Royal Cinque Ports 12 years ago and the US Masters in 2011.
Lawrence is one of three South Africans in the field while France has the largest foreign entry with 11 of the 23 non-British and Irish competitors. The last non-English player to win the Brabazon was Niall Kearney from Ireland, who won at Moortown in 2009.
Play begins at 7am on the first two days and 7.30am on the last two.
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