Double European champion Ashley Chesters and international Sarah-Jane Boyd are England’s top golfers for 2014, each winning their respective England Golf Order of Merit.
Chesters (Hawkstone Park, Shropshire & Herefordshire) was catapulted to top spot in the Titleist/FootJoy men’s Order of Merit when he was crowned European champion for a record second successive season.
Meanwhile, Sarah-Jane Boyd (Truro, Cornwall) sealed her win in the Ascot Golf ladies’ Order of Merit with a fine run of form in the second half of the season, claiming two second places and two thirds, before turning professional.
Chesters, 25, finished the year as England’s most successful male player by a wide margin. “Winning the Order of Merit obviously means I had a good year,” he said modestly.
“I’ve looked at who has won it previously and there are some great players so it is a good title to have won. Obviously the highlight was winning the European title again but I also had a lot of top five finishes.”
At one stage it seemed that Chesters might win the Brabazon at Seaton Carew but he had to settle for joint second spot in the end while fifth place finishes in the Welsh and Portuguese championships boosted his tally.
Although it didn’t earn him any points, Chesters also won all four of his games in the international with France and five out of six in the Home Internationals. He missed the cut by a stroke in the Open Championship but his European win earns him exemption to next year’s event at St Andrews.
Sarah-Jane Boyd, 23, missed out on the 2013 Order of Merit title by a handful of points, but she was a comfortable winner this year. She said: “It was a goal to try and go one better this year, so it’s nice to win. It shows you have played consistently throughout the year.”
She was runner-up in the English mid-amateur and the British stroke play – a title she won in 2012 – and was third when defending the English amateur and also third in the English open stroke play.
“I was knocking on the door for all of them and winning the Order of Merit has topped everything off nicely,” she said. In addition she helped England to win the women’s Home Internationals, taking 4.5 points from five matches.
Sarah-Jane’s next big date is the final qualifying school for the Ladies European Tour. “I’ve learned a lot from being in England Golf squads and it’s brought my game on. Now I’m looking forward to taking that into the pro ranks and hopefully improving and getting better.”
Leading final placings
Titleist Footjoy Order of Merit
1 Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park) 136,788 pts
2 Nick Marsh (Huddersfield) 99,530
3 Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale) 80,081
4 Adam Chapman (Windermere) 74,653
5 Toby Tree (Golf at Goodwood) 62,982
6 Ryan Evans (Wellingborough) 58,185
7 Scott Gregory (Corhampton) 56,472
8 Oscar Granstrom-Livesey (Royal Mid Surrey) 55,061
9 Ben Stow (Rushmore) 54,682
10 Luke Johnson (King’s Lynn) 49,943
Ascot Golf Ladies’ Order of Merit
1. Sarah-Jane Boyd (Truro) 915.500
2. Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough) 793.583
3. Alex Peters (Notts’ Ladies) 742.700
4. Sammie Giles (St Mellion) 729.700
5. Annabel Dimmock (Wentworth) 682.500
6. Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest) 551.250
7. Gabriella Cowley (Hanbury Manor) 493.875
8. Inci Mehmet (Wentworth 482.833
9. Hayley Davis (Ferndown) 481.667
10 Bronte Law (Bramhall) 452.500
Source: England Golf