Popular junior event set to celebrate 35 years this April
By Bryce Ritchie
The Peter McEvoy Trophy will celebrate its 35th anniversary this year when it takes place from April 13-14 at Copt Heath Golf Club in Knowle, Solihull.
Since its inception, the trophy has been fought over by budding youngsters including Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose, and over the last three decades, many of the competitions’ entrants have gone on to achieve success in the top ten of the world golf rankings, the Ryder Cup and the Walker Cup.
Open to boys under the age of 18, the 72-hole event is timed early in the season to give England Golf a last chance to see some of the country’s finest junior talent put through their paces ahead of selection for the England Boys’ team for the European and World Championships. The selectors meet at Copt Heath during the tournament.
The 108-year-old course places a big premium on accuracy, with sand, water, and trees combining with over 100 bunkers to provide one of the most challenging courses open to the junior competition circuit.
The tournament was initiated in 1981 by double Amateur champion, Peter McEvoy, Copt Heath’s most illustrious member, who went on to become one of England’s foremost amateur players, twice captaining successful Walker Cup teams.
Originally, ‘The McEvoy’ took place in August and aimed to give young boys in England a chance to compete against each other in an all-junior competition.
Two years later, the competition was won by Peter Baker who went on to become a regular on the European Tour and played on Europe’s 1993 Ryder Cup Team. The selectors watched the tournament and, two years later, in 1985, the English Golfing Union asked for the event to be shifted to April, the month they traditionally select their team for national duty.
Since then, the competition has attracted players from all across the UK and, more recently, from France, Spain and Russia. Such has been the growth in competition to enter the event that the cut-off has now reduced to just 0.2, with most having a ‘plus’ handicap.
Last year, the gifted 16-year-old Marco Penge from Goodwood, now ranked fourth in Europe (under 21), lifted the trophy with a record-equalling score of 272.
Club president Duncan Waters said: “Over the last 30 years the event has grown to become the premier golfing competition for junior players in England, many of whom are competing for the final places on the national team.
“The fact that the competition has spawned so many big names over the years just adds to the sense of achievement for the youngster that lifts the coveted trophy.
“Every young man that takes part in the event dreams of his place at the top of the world golf rankings, and history tells them that lifting this trophy could bring that dream one step closer.”
NOTABLE FORMER WINNERS
1983 Peter Baker
1991 Lee Westwood
1992 Brian Davis
1993 Steve Webster
1998 Justin Rose, right
2004 John Parry
2006 Luke Goddard
2008 Stiggy Hodgson
2012 Gavin Moynihan
2013 Bradley Moore
2015 Marco Penge