288 golfers from 35 nations in England's north west England for Amateur Championship

Hillside, Southport, 10 June 2011: The 116th Amateur Championship begins next week at Hillside and Hesketh Golf Clubs, with 288 world-ranked amateur golfers from 35 countries competing for the coveted trophy, a place in this year’s Open Championship and an invitation to the 2012 Masters Tournament.

Former Major Champions and Ryder Cup team members including Jack Nicklaus, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Henrik Stenson and the reigning Open Champion, Louis Oosthuizen, have all played in the Amateur Championship.

Manassero kisses the Amateur Championship Trophy at Formby in 2009.And the last time the Amateur was played in the north west, at Formby in 2009, Matteo Manassero, then just 16, became the event’s youngest-ever champion. He went on take the Silver Medal at The Open Championship and the low amateur Silver Cup at the Masters Tournament, before turning professional and becoming the youngest winner on the European Tour.

This year, Manassero’s fellow Italian, Domenico Geminiani, the youngest player to contest a tournament on the European Tour, will attempt to emulate his compatriot. Geminiani is currently playing in the Italian Open for the second time, at Royal Park I Roveri in Turin.

The last four Boys Amateur Champions are also due to compete. Spaniards Adrian Otaegui (2010) and Emilio Cuartero (2007) will play, along with Pedro Figuiredo (2008) and England’s Tom Lewis, who once again proved his links pedigree in winning the St Andrews Links Trophy, last weekend. His 2009 Boys Amateur Championship victory came at Royal St George’s.

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard is already certain of his place at Royal St George’s in The Open, thanks to his European Amateur Championship victory last year, but he will be attempting to earn a second Major Championship start at Hillside and Hesketh.

“The prospect of seeing golfing legends in the making is a compelling spectacle for golf fans,” said The R&A’s Amateur Championship Director, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton. The opportunity to see these talented, young players taking on the challenge of two great north west courses should not be missed.

“There is always an enthusiastic following, whenever the Amateur comes to this part of the world, and we look forward to welcoming large numbers of spectators to Hillside and Hesketh, next week.”

Jack SeniorAdding local interest is Heysham’s Jack Senior, who is currently ranked 30th in the world and a member of the 2011 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Squad. Joining him will be fellow GB&I squad members including Andrew Sullivan, ranked 12th in the world, Tom Lewis, ranked 21st, and Scotland’s James Byrne, the current world number 24, who finished runner-up to Jin Jeong in last year’s Amateur Championship at Muirfield.

The stroke-play stage of the Championship, on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 June 2011, is played over both Hillside and Hesketh, with 64 players and ties contesting the final match-play stage over four days at Hillside, from Wednesday 15 to Saturday 18 June 2011.

Admission and parking is free at both venues and a frequent train service from Liverpool Central runs direct to Merseyrail’s Hillside station, a short walk from the course. Public catering is available at both clubs, with spectator facilities also available on course at Hillside.

Full details including the draw, leaderboard and end-of-day highlights can be found on RandA.org. Television highlights will be broadcast on Sunday 19 June 2011 on Sky Sports.