'It kicks off the season, and is a real credit to the club'
Peter McEvoy is one of Britain’s greatest amateur golfers.
He won back-to-back Amateur Championships in 1977 and 1978 and competed in five Walker Cups, while also becoming renowned for his exploits as a dual-winning captain.
A member at Copt Heath Golf Club since he was 13, McEvoy proposed a 72-hole competition for Under-18 boy golfers when the club invited him to suggest a way of commemorating his achievements.
The first Peter McEvoy Trophy was first staged in 1981 and the competition is run by the club and administered by their staff and member volunteers.
With this year’s event held on April 11 and 12, we asked Copt Heath manager Tony Moon about the tournament.
This is a tournament of exceptional quality…
It’s on the European rankings for junior boys and the likes of Justin Rose have won here.
England Golf use it as part of their team recruitment and it’s a big part of the calendar.
It was the first 72-hole tournament of its type…
The club decided to honour Peter McEvoy’s record and Amateur wins.
He is one of our most famous members and the event has played host to some of the best juniors across Europe.
We had a fantastic party from Germany last year and, as well as Scotland, Ireland and Wales, we’ve had Spaniards and Americans all coming to compete.
Many winners, such as Peter Baker, Lee Westwood and Brian Davis, went on to be really successful professional golfers.
Why has it proved so popular?
It kicks off the season. It’s a tough tournament to make the cut for – it’s usually at 0.2 – and you have to be consistently good.
The tournament always attracts a good field and it fits into the calendar quite well. This year, the standard and type of player is high.
We had more than 120 wanting to play and had to cut that down to 72. There’s a chance we’ll see a future European Tour star… It’s not a question of if but who – because of the type of golfer it attracts.
We encourage our members to come and watch it. We see some epic golf. Some of the stuff these guys play, I can’t believe it. It’s great for the club and a real credit to it.
This year, we have introduced a players’ lounge and there’s no other tournament at this level that has this. We are trying to make it as stylish for the golfers as possible.
Tell me about Copt Heath…
Copt Heath, despite its name, is essentially a parkland course. The current course was designed and built in 1913 by Harry Colt and is predominantly flat but well protected with around 95 deep bunkers.
We have tried to keep very true to the course. Although we have modernised bunkers, we have kept them in the original style.
The essence of the course is if you keep the ball on the fairway and think strategically then you will play the course well.
From major champions to Walker Cup stars…
The honour roll of Peter McEvoy Trophy victors is seriously impressive.
The first really notable winner of the event came in 1983 when Peter Baker lifted the trophy.
Baker, who played in the Walker Cup, was also part of the 1993 European Ryder Cup team – beating Corey Pavin in the singles.
He won three European Tour titles, including the British Masters in 1993.
Lee Westwood claimed victory in 1991, heralding the start of a career which has brought 42 professional victories and 10 Ryder Cup appearances, while Brian Davis, who won a year later, has won twice on the European Tour and been a PGA Tour stalwart.
Steve Webster, the winner in 1993, can count the Portugal Masters among his later achievements, and little needs to be said about Justin Rose.
The 2013 US Open champion, and 2016 Olympic gold medallist, can point to Copt Heath among his early highlights when he triumphed in 1998.
Since then, John Parry (2004) has also tasted European Tour success while Luke Goddard (2006), Stiggy Hodgson (2008), Nathan Kimsey (2011) and Gavin Moynihan (2012) all played in Walker Cup teams.