Champion Dan Brown heads strong Yorkshire challenge in English men's amateur at The Berkshire

YORKSHIRE will have 23 players this week attempt to keep the English men's amateur title in White Rose hands for the fourth year in succession, including defending champion Dan Brown (Masham).

Masham's Dan brown with the English men's amateur trophy after last year's win at Ganton (Picture: Leaderboard Photography).

Two rounds of stroke play qualifying get underway on Tuesday at The Berkshire to find the top 64 and ties who will advance to the match play knockout phase.

England international Brown is looking to retain the title he won last year at Ganton.

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The year previously Hillsborough’s Joe Dean, who recently played all four rounds of the Open at Royal Birkdale, claimed the crown at Alwoodley while representing Lindrick before turning professional.

Huddersfield’s Nick Marsh, who won for the first time on the EuroPro Tour last month, began the sequence of three Yorkshire wins when he triumphed at Saunton in 2014.

Fulford and Hallamshire each provide three entrants, while Moortown, Lindrick, Shipley and Leeds Golf Centre have two apiece.

Charlie Thornton, last year’s England Golf boys’ order of merit winner, is joined by Fulford clubmates Craig Smith and James Cass.

Barclay Brown, who at the weekend helped England to success in the European Young Masters event in Norway, represents Hallamshire along with Yorkshire Boys’ champion Alex Fitzpatrick and Julian Wood.

Last year’s county boys’ winner Tom Gray and David Houlding carry Moortown’s hopes, Lindrick will look to Bernard Darwin Salver holder Bailey Gill and Yorkshire team-mate Nathan Fell for success, while Leeds Golf Centre have Ben Firth and veteran Stephen East in the mix.

Shipley are represented by England B international Will Whiteoak and Calum Hey and clubs with individual entrants are Howley Hall (Yorkshire champion Ben Hutchinson), Huddersfield (Josh Morton), Malton & Norton (England international David Hague), The Oaks (England international James Walker), Pannal (Oliver White), Rotherham (Lewis Hollingworth), Wakefield (Scott MacGregor) and Wath (Nick Poppleton).

In total, 288 players will set out in pursuit of the prized trophy, aiming to follow past winners such as 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett, from Sheffield, six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo, Mark James, Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood.

Among those lining up with defending champion Brown are Matthew Jordan (Royal Liverpool), who won the St Andrews Links Trophy and currently tops the England men’s order of merit; Jack Singh Brar (Remedy Oak), the Lytham Trophy winner; Josh Hilleard (Farrington Park), the French open winner; Gian-Marco Petrozzi (Trentham Park), the Welsh open winner; and Scott Gregory (Corhampton) the 2016 Amateur Champion.