British Amateur Championship

Winners, records and trivia about the R&A's Amateur Championship

British Amateur Championship Trophy
The British Amateur Championship trophy. Warren Little / Getty Images

The British Am, whose official title is simply The Amateur Championship, is one of the two most important amateur men's tournaments each year (the other being the U.S. Amateur Championship). It was first played in 1885, and today is run by the R&A. The tournament rotates among courses in the U.K., many of which (but not all) are also part of the British Open rota. The Amateur Championship is played a month earlier than the Open Championship each year.

Tournament format: After two days of stroke play, 288 golfers are cut to the 64 who continue to match play. Players advance through 18-hole, single-elimination match play until two players remain. The championship match is 36 holes each.

2020 Tournament

  • When: June 15-20, 2020
  • Where: Royal Birkdale Golf Club

2019 British Amateur
James Sugrue of Ireland def. Euan Walker of Scotland, 1-up, to win the championship. Walker never led in the match, while Segrue led by as much as 5-up after the ninth hole of the match. But Walker chipped away over the second 18, and squared the match on the 33rd hole. Segrue, however, won the 37th to go 1-up, then won the title when the two players matched scores on the final hole.

2018 British Amateur
Jovan Rebula never trailed in the 36-hole final, claiming the 2018 Amateur Championship. Rebula became the first South African since Bobby Cole in 1966 to win the trophy. Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson in the title match by a 3-and-2 score.

Official Website

British Amateur Championship Records

Most Wins
8 - John Ball (1888, 1890, 1892, 1894, 1899, 1907, 1910, 1912)

Most Consecutive Wins
3 - Michael Bonallack, 1968-70

Largest Winning Margin in Final
14 and 13 - 1934, Lawson Little def. Jimmy Wallace

British Amateur Championship Golf Courses

The British Amateur rotates among golf courses in Great Britain and, less frequently, visits Ireland (and then Northern Ireland - only once has this tournament been played in the Republic of Ireland). There is not an established, regular rotation as there is with the British Open, but some of the Amateur courses are also part of the Open rota: Muirfield, Turnberry, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool, Royal Troon. The Amateur also visits St. Andrews, but more than just The Old Course.

The British Am also visits courses that are not part of the Open rota, such as Formby, Nairn, Royal Porthcawl in Wales and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

British Amateur Championship Facts and Trivia

  • The winner of the British Amateur receives exemptions to play in the same year's British Open and the following year's Masters (but only gets into The Masters if the golfer still an amateur when The Masters is played).
  • A tournament organized by Royal Liverpool in 1885 is now recognized as the first British Amateur Championship, won by Allen MacFie. The R&A began running the tournament in 1921.
  • John Ball won the most titles with eight, the first in 1888 and the last in 1912. Despite all those wins, Ball never claimed back-to-back championships.
  • Since World War II, the player with the most wins is Sir Michael Bonallack with five.
  • Three of Bonallack's victories were consecutive, 1968-70. Bonallack is the only golfer to win the British Am three straight years.
  • Only three golfers have won both the British Amateur and the British Open in their careers: Ball, Harold Hilton and Bobby Jones.
  • Jones' lone win in the British Am was in 1930, his Grand Slam year. The British Am was the first of the four major tournaments Jones won that year, followed by the British Open, the U.S. Open, and finally the U.S. Amateur.
  • The first American golfer to win the British Amateur was Walter Travis in 1904, but Travis emigrated to the U.S. after being born in Australia. The first golfer born in the U.S. to win the British Am was Jess Sweetser in 1926.
  • Sweetser's victory in 1926 followed a remarkable act of sportsmanship on his part. His opponent in the final, A.F. Simpson, missed the tee time after his car broke down en route to the course. The R&A was set to declare Sweetser the winner by forfeit, but Sweetser insisted they wait for Simpson to arrive. Simpson showed up an hour late (on bicycle), and Sweetser then won the championship match 6 and 5.
  • Lawson Little won both the U.S. and British amateur championships in 1934, and did it again in 1935. He's the only golfer to sweep both events in back-to-back years.
  • The first golfer to win both the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur in the same year was Harold Hilton, in 1911.

British Amateur Championship Winners

Here are recent winners of the British Amateur (full list here):

2019 - James Sugrue def. Euan Walker, 1-up
2018 - Jovan Rebula def. Robin Dawson, 3 and 2
2017 - Harry Ellis def. Dylan Perry, 1-up (38 holes)
2016 - Scott Gregory def. Robert MacIntyre, 2 and 1
2015 - Romain Langasque def. Grant Forrest, 4 and 2
2014 - Bradley Neil def. Zander Lombard, 2 and 1
2013 - Garrick Porteous def. Toni Hakula, 6 and 5