The starting list for this year's European Amateur Championship is close to being finalised and the event is set to have one of the strongest fields in its 33-year history.
17 of the world's top-50, and 35 of the world's top-100 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) will tee it up at Diamond Country Club from 26 to 29 June this year.
As the championship receives more entries than the 144 spots that are available, the WAGR is used to determine the starting list. This year, excluding those with an exemption, or nomination from their country (participating EGA member federations receive one nomination each), the lowest ranked player to make the field was in 282nd position in the WAGR, a figure that has been consistently lowering each year.
Players to Watch:
Reigning Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion, Takumi Kanaya, is currently ranked 6th in the WAGR. The Japanese player also finished runner-up on the individual leaderboard at last year's Eisenhower Trophy.
Stefano Mazzoli, the 2015 European Amateur Champion, is the only former winner set to compete. The Italian player recently finished tied for first in the NCAA Austin Regional.
Akshay Bhatia is one of the highest ranked players in the field. The U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team player was named the American Junior Golf Association player of the year in 2018 and has already won twice this season.
The 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion, Stewart Hagestad, went on to make the cut at The Masters following his invite, and has also competed in the U.S. Open the last two years.
Ireland's Conor Purcell won the Australian Men's Amateur Championship in January, and recently finished runner-up in the Irish Amateur Open.
Jerry Ji will be hoping to go one-better this year after finishing tied for second in last year's event. The Dutch player represented the Continent of Europe in the Jacques Léglise Trophy in 2018 and finished runner-up in this year's Murat Cup.
Tom Sloman claimed one of the biggest victories in the amateur game so far this season. The English player won the individual prize at the European Nations' Cup (Copa Sotogrande) in April.
Marc Hammer played an important role in the Continent of Europe's victory in the St Andrews Trophy last year. The German player has also represented Europe in the Bonallack Trophy.
Spanish duo, Eduard Rousaud Sabate and David Puig Currius are 48th and 49th respectively in the WAGR. The pair helped Spain to the European Boys' Team Championship title last year, and were also selected for the Continent of Europe Jacques Léglise Trophy team and the Junior Ryder Cup.