English golfers dominated the headlines in 2013, taking most of the major honours in amateur golf.
The 2013 season was the year Matthew Fitzpatrick came of age. He made the jump from boy’s golf to senior level amateur golf with ease.
The 2012 Boys Amateur Champion qualified for The Open Championship at Muirfield and bettered the other five amateurs to take the silver medal as low amateur. It set him up for an historical achievement.
Fitzpatrick arrived full of confidence for the U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. He outlasted the field, defeating Australia’s Oliver Goss 4&3 in the scheduled 36-hole final. Fitzpatrick became the first Englishman since Harold Hilton in 1911 to win America’s national championship.
The Sheffield teenager ended the season as number one on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, earning the Mark H. McCormack Medal. Fitzpatrick still occupies top spot on the WAGR ranking this week.
Another Englishman shone in the Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports and Prince’s Golf Clubs. Garrick Porteous, who moves one place to world number 10 this week, defeated Finland’s Toni Hakula 6&5 in the final.
Ashley Chesters made it a trio of big wins for England with victory in the European Amateur Championship at Real Club de Golf El Prat in Catalunya, Spain. The Shropshire golfer defeated Spaniard David Morago by a shot to earn a place in next year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Korea’s Chang-woo Lee broke England’s dominance of the major amateur championships with victory in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. Chan-woo, currently world number six, won the title by three shots at Nanshan International Golf Club in Shandong province, China.
The United States earned the plaudits in team golf, with a convincing 17-9 victory over Great Britain & Ireland at the National Golf Links in Southampton, New York.
The fight to succeed New Zealand’s Lydia Ko as World Amateur Golf Ranking number one in 2014 should be a battle between many nations. A close look at the women’s WAGR table as the year draws to a close proves golf is healthy in many nations around the world.
Alison Lee of the United States tops the WAGR table heading into the 2014 season. She is one of 18 Americans in the world top 50. That number is no surprise given the historical strength of amateur golf in the United States. However, the WAGR table reveals that golf is becoming ever more global.
Seven nations are represented in the world top 10. The U.S. and Australia have two representatives each, with Su-Hyun Oh and Minjee Lee flying the Australian colours at numbers two and three respectively. Ireland, Swaziland, South Africa, Denmark and Canada also have golfers in the world top 10.
Ten nations are represented in the world top 20, with England China and Spain joining the above nations in filling out the next 10 spots on the WAGR table.
The top 50 lists golfers from 17 countries, from established golfing nations to countries not normally thought to produce top rank amateurs. Germany, Sweden, France, Wales and Korea have representatives in the top 50, but so too do Thailand and Israel.
Another 16 countries have representation in the world top 100. The list of nations shows a diverse range that includes Mexico, Ecuador, Latvia, India, the Philippines and Malaysia.
So don’t be surprised if the world number one at the end of 2014 comes from a nation not normally associated with the royal and ancient game. If the WAGR table proves anything, it is that amateur golf talent is found across the globe.
Please note: The R&A offices are closed from 20th December to 6th January 2014, week 52 WAGR Rankings will be available during Monday 6th January 2014.