- Brabazon Trophy
The English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy, more commonly referred to as The Brabazon Trophy, is the national amateur stroke play competition for male golfers in England. It was first staged by the English Golf Union shortly after the end of World War II in 1947 before England Golf took over responsibility for the tournament when the Golf Union and English Women’s Golf Association merged in 2012.
Unlike the English Amateur match play competition which is only open to male amateur golfers who were born in England (or have a parent or grandparent born in the country) or who qualify through residency, The Brabazon Trophy is a 72-hole event played over four days that’s open to players of all nationalities in possession of a handicap not exceeding a designated limit (1.4 in 2020).
All competitors play 18 holes on both of the first two days before the leading 60 players and those tying for 60th place play a further 18 holes on the third day, followed by a re-draw and a final 18 holes on the fourth day. If there are two or more golfers tied after 72 holes then a sudden-death playoff takes place. If more than the maximum number of entries is received, a ballot based on exact playing handicaps takes place to include the lowest handicapped players.
More than half the field is granted exemption from the ballot, either through nomination by a golf federation, winning one of a variety of championships the previous year or position in the England Order of Merit or R&A World Order of Merit from the previous year. A reserve list is maintained and players may be called up from this if places become available through withdrawal.
The winner is presented with the Brabazon Trophy and a memento of their achievement. Prize vouchers are awarded to those finishing in the top five places. If a playoff involves more than two players, those eliminated are deemed to have finished second, regardless of the order in which they dropped out and they receive a second place voucher of equal value.
The George Henriques Salver (presented in memory of the EGU President of 1951) is also awarded to the under-20 GB&I player with the best 72-hole score. In addition to the Salver, a memento is also given. In the event of a tie, the golfers are declared joint winners and each receive a memento.
The inaugural championship was held at Royal Birkdale in 1947, with Duncan Sutherland winning the contest. The following year, the current trophy was donated by Derek Moore-Brabazon, 2nd Baron Brabazon of Tara, from whom the competition got its name. Playoffs are a recent development so joint winners were declared at nine editions of the tournament in the past.
Six players have successfully defended their title: Ronnie White (1950-51); Philip Scrutton (1954-55); Michael Bonallack (1968-69); Rodney Foster (1969-70); Gary Evans (1990-91); and Neil Raymond (2011-12). Michael Bonallack won four events in total between 1964 and 1971, while Philip Scrutton (1952, 1954, 1955) and Ronnie Shade (1961, 1963, 1967) each claimed three titles.
The two youngest players to win The Brabazon Trophy as 17-year-olds (before going on to win Majors as professionals) were Sandy Lyle in 1977 and Charl Schwartzel in 2002 but their amateur feats as teenagers were upstaged at Alwoodley in 2019 by 16-year-old Ben Schmidt when he became the youngest-ever winner of the event, finishing on 13-under par for a five-shot margin of victory.
Six clubs have each hosted the tournament five times – Hunstanton, Moortown, Notts, Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and Woodhall Spa – and three others (Formby, Ganton and Saunton) have each staged the championship on three occasions.
Brabazon Trophy Top 100 Leaderboard
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