- Boys Amateur
The Boys Amateur championship began in 1921 and the first two editions were staged at Royal Ascot. The club dissolved in 1923 but two of its founders, D.M. Mathieson and Colonel Thomas South, continued to organize the competition. The R&A assumed the responsibility for running the event in 1949 and, naturally enough, the first R&A Boys Amateur was held on the Old Course at St Andrews.
The format is match play over 18 holes, with a 36-hole final. Such is the popularity of the week-long tournament, two courses have been in use since 2010 and all 252 competitors play two rounds of 18 holes, one on each of the two courses. The 64 lowest scores then compete in the match play portion of the contest.
Boys must be under 18 at the start of the year in which the competition is held and the winner earns exemptions to the Amateur Championship and Final Qualifying for The Open.
During the first sixty years of competition, only two golfers from outside the British Isles won the tournament: Eric Scheftel from the USA at Formby in 1928, and Patrick Cros from France at Olton in 1960. That all changed in 1981, when Jesus Lopez became the first of eight young Spaniards – including José María Olazábal in 1983 and Sergio Garcia in 1997 – to win the championship.
Indeed, in the first twenty years of the new millennium, half the finalists have come from continental European countries, though home-based champions such as Rhys Davies (Royal Liverpool, 2003), Tom Lewis (Royal St George’s, 2009) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (Notts, 2012) have gone on to excel in the professional ranks.
Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club has hosted the Boys Amateur a record six times between 1948 and 2010, while Royal Liverpool has staged the event on five occasions since 1947. Four venues have each been used to hold the championship four times: Carnoustie (1933-2002); Dunbar (1923-1995); Moortown (1934-1972); and Royal Burgess (1925-1985).
All told, ten clubs with a Royal prefix have hosted the tournament and the most recent of these to join the roster is Royal Portrush, in 2018.
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