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Wales amateur golfers back on the international stage

Matt Roberts

Wales’s top amateur golfers are returning to global competition after a gap of almost two years caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Despite competing within the UK and a small amount in Europe, plus those on the college circuit in the United States, the Welsh players entering the Jones Cup are the first group to take on such international competition since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

With some of the top women competing at the Portuguese Amateur Championship last week, and the Men’s event taking place in mid Feb, the top Wales players can start experiencing the increased level of competition which is a key part of their development.

The Jones Cup Invitational is a three-day event starting on February 4 in Georgia in the US. Many of the world’s top players such as Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed played in it as amateurs.

Wales players Luke Harries Matt Roberts and James Ashfield will play in this year’s event. Harries will have a shorter journey as he is based at university in Tennessee and is a winner on the American college circuit.

“Experiencing the highest levels of international competition is a crucial part of the development of players to become the best amateurs they can and potentially move into the professional ranks,” said Wales Golf director of performance Gillian O’Leary.

“For obvious reasons those opportunities have been extremely limited in the last two years, so it is good to see a return to global competition.

“Hopefully everything will continue to open up internationally and we can continue to see a return to more international competition.

“Our players have been missing events like these around the world over the last two years and many of the top European events as well.

“Fingers crossed this summer will see Wales players doing well at the big events once again.”

The women’s teams will return to European action this summer, having been limited to events held in the UK in the last two summers.

The highlight will be hosting the European Team Ladies Championships in Conwy in July, with selection for the team taking place early in June.

The World Amateur Team Championships (Espirito Santo Trophy) is being held in France in August, with selection towards the end of July.

Wales’s top male golfers will also have a full summer to follow the Jones Cup, including events in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Germany.

The European Mens Team Championship will be held in England in July, with the Boys event in Germany.

The European Young Masters in Finland is also on the schedule, along with the World Amateur Team Championship (Eisenhower Trophy) in France.