This year’s prestigious South East of England Links Championship (SEELC) to be contested by leading amateurs from the UK and overseas at Royal St George’s and Royal Cinque Ports Golf Clubs will be held between August 30th and September 1st.
The South East of England Links Championshp (SEELC) is contested over the links at Royal St George’s and Royal Cinque Ports and is recognised by England Golf as an Order of Merit event and by the R&A as a World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
The event which was first held in 2010 has, until this year, taken place in May. It has been moved to a late August slot this season to better fit in with the elite amateur calendar, with a view towards attracting more top amateur golfers from this country and overseas to this prestigious event. Importantly, it will also mean the competition is played at a time of year when the courses at St George’s and Cinque Ports are in peak condition.
The SEELC is open to any male golfer with a handicap of 1.4 or below and entry will be limited to 90 competitors who will play one round at Royal St George’s on Thursday 30th August and one round at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club on the Friday. The top 40 lowest scores over the 36 holes, and any tying for 40th place, will qualify for the final 36 holes to be played at St George’s on the Saturday. Last year’s SEELC winner was Will Poole of Mendip Spring GC.
The event may be relatively new, having begun life in 2010, but it incorporates two historic competitions: The St. George’s Champion Grand Challenge Cup and The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup, to be held at St George’s and Cinque Ports respectively within the SEELC.
The St George’s Grand Challenge Cup (The GC) together with The Open Championship are the only stroke play events open to non-members at Royal St George’s. It will be awarded to the player with the best 36-hole aggregate score at Royal St George’s on the Saturday.
First contested in 1888, the inaugural Grand Challenge Cup was won by the great John Ball. Other early winners included Golf Monthly founding editor Harold Hilton (pictured above on the roof of The Savoy,) Francis Ouimet and Roger Wethered. In 1959 Jack Nicklaus was champion and Sir Michael Bonallack was also a winner. In 1992 Lee Westwood took the title.
Founded in 1887, Royal St George’s was the first English course to play host to The Open Championship, which it did in 1894. The club has welcomed golf’s most prestigious tournament 13 times in all, with Darren Clarke the most recent Open champion at St George’s, in 2011. The club has also hosted The Amateur Championship on 13 occasions.
Dating from 1892, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club has twice played host to The Open Championship. In 1909 J.H. Taylor picked up the fourth of his five Open titles there then, in 1920, George Duncan ran out as the winner. It’s a course that has welcomed numerous other significant competitions over the years including The Amateur Championship and the Brabazon Trophy. Each year, the club plays host to the Halford Hewitt Public Schools competition.
For more information on the SEELC and to enter the tournament, go to the Royal St George’s website.