Leading England amateurs – including Meltham’s Jamie Bower – will follow in the footsteps of US Masters champion Danny Willett when they take on France in next week’s biennial international.
The match – at Formby Golf Club, Lancashire, on the weekend of May 14 and 15 – is a must for talent spotters, who have been richly rewarded in the past when looking for future stars.
Both Danny Willett and Chris Wood were in the 2008 match – and gave ample indication of what was to come.
Willett sealed his final-day singles with five successive birdies while Wood won all four of his matches.
In 2010, Tommy Fleetwood was in the team, playing a memorable singles against Victor Dubuisson. Other players have included Eddie Pepperell, Tom Lewis and Jean van de Velde.
This year’s England team is also packed with promise – and Bower richly deserves his place after superb performances this year in South Africa.
The 23-year-old won twice on an early-season tour there, in the Gauteng North Amateur and the Southern Cape Open, and was third in the African Open.
Last season he was a semi-finalist in the English Amateur and had a series of top-10 finishes in events including the European Amateur, where he was sixth, the French Amateur, the Lytham Trophy and the Hampshire Salver.
Alongside Bower are Scott Gregory of Hampshire, Josh Hilleard of Somerset, Paul Kinnear of Lancashire, Bradley Moore of Derbyshire, Alfie Plant of Kent, Ashton Turner of Lincolnshire and James Walker of Yorkshire.
Plant imressively took the Lytham Trophy at the weekend, while Bower, Moore and Gregory are in the world top 50 with Turner not far behind.
Hilleard, who won four times in 22 days in April, moved up over 100 places in the rankings in one week.
They will play the French line up of Edgar Catherine, Ugo Coussaud, Andoni Etchenique, Jeong Weon Ko, Adrien Pendaries, Pierre Pineau, Grégoire Schoeb and Victor Veyret. Coussaud tied second in the Lytham Trophy.
The fixture dates back to 1934 and England have won 28 of the matches so far, conceding just five. The French team were last successful in 2010 in Chantilly.
The match consists of four foursomes and eight singles on each day and spectators are welcome at Formby, which is renowned as one of the world’s great links courses.
The club has hosted the Amateur Championship on four occasions, producing winners including Jose Maria Olazabal and Matteo Manassero. However, this is the first time that the England v France match has been played at Formby.<p/>