England Golf to host European Amateur Championship

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McIlroy, Garcia, Dubuisson among former champions

England Golf is to host an amateur tournament that counts Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia among its former champions.

The 2017 International European Men’s Amateur Championship is to be held on Walton Heath’s Old course from June 28 to July 1.

144 of Europe’s leading amateurs, representing around 20 countries, will descend upon the Surrey course, with a place in the Open up for grabs.

This will be just the second time the event is held in England, and England Golf’s championship director James Crampton said: “We are delighted to host this prestigious event and thrilled to be able to hold it at Walton Heath.

“The Old Course is superb and one of the best inland courses in the country. It will provide a great test for the players and will be an excellent venue for spectators.”

Admission for the event will be free, allowing the crowds to watch the professional starts of the future. Former champions include world number one Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Stephen Gallacher, Victor Dubuisson.

‘It’s a great opportunity for players and spectators’ England’s top-ranked amateur, Ashley Chesters, from Hawkstone Park, is the only player to have won back-to-back titles with victories in 2013 and 2014.

England Golf last hosted a European event in 2013 when the European Ladies’ Team Championship took place at Fulford in York and attracted thousands of spectators.

“That was a highly successful championship and made us bring more European golf to England,” said Crampton. “It’s a great opportunity for players and spectators and hopefully will inspire more people to play the game.”

The Old Course at Walton Heath has hosted nearly 90 major amateur and professional championships, including the 1981 Ryder Cup and five European Opens.

Amateur events include the English Amateur and the Brabazon Trophy and club secretary Stuart Christie said: “Walton Heath has a proud history of hosting major amateur and professional tournaments and is delighted to have been chosen to host the European Amateur Championship in 2017.

“We look forward to working closely with England Golf and welcoming the top amateur golfers from around Europe.”

The International European Men’s Amateur Championship was first played in 1986 and has been held just once in England, at Hillside in Lancashire.

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