Golf: Scots seek Lytham Trophy glory

Since Michael Bonallack became the first winner of the Lytham Trophy, champions have included Geoff Marks, Charlie Green, George Macgregor, Peter McEvoy and Ian Hutcheon.

There are 20 Scots in the field at Royal Lytham. Picture: AP
There are 20 Scots in the field at Royal Lytham. Picture: AP

The roll of honour, in fact, is a Who’s Who of amateur golf and this weekend marks the 50th staging of the 72-hole stroke-play event at Royal Lytham.

There are 20 Scots in the field for an event that has seen success for a number of their compatriots in Lancashire in the past.

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Green, fittingly perhaps, and Jim Farmer were the first Scots to get their hands on the trophy, figuring in a three-way tie in 1970. Green won again in 1974, the year before Macgregor put his name on the trophy. Brian Marchbank triumphed in 1978, Hutcheon in 1980 and Stephen McAllister in 1983 before a drought was ended by Stephen Gallacher in 1995.

Graham Rankin and Lorne Kelly then recorded back-to-back in 1997 and 1998 and more Scottish success has been delivered by Stuart Wilson (2003) and Lloyd Saltman (2007).

Six stagings have come and gone now without a tartan triumph, though, and that should spur on the likes of Jack McDonald, Bradley Neil and Ewen Ferguson in the next three days.

So, does the Scottish contingent contain the next Stephen Gallacher, now the highest-ranked male golfer in the home of golf? That remains to be seen but the aforementioned trio – and others, too – certainly have bags of potential. Lancashire proved a happy hunting ground last year for Ferguson, who won the British Boys’ Championship at Formby. He’s since added the Scottish Boys’ title and, though this is undoubtedly a step up, it’s an opportunity he should be relishing.

Also in the field for today’s opening round are Scottish champion Zander Culverwell, double Champion of Champions winner Scott Borrowman and Graeme Robertson, who secured a top-ten finish 12 months ago as Finland’s Albert Eckhardt beat Irishman Jack Hume in a play-off to secure the title. Grant Forrest, Scotland’s highest-ranked amateur, is still over in America fulfilling college commitments, as is James Ross, who was also named in the recent GB&I squad for the St Andrews Links Trophy later this year.