2021 – Seminole

May 8-9, 2021
Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Florida
7,256 yards, Par 72

Captains: Nathaniel Crosby (USA) and Stuart Wilson (GB&I)

Day 1 Foursomes (USA players first)
Cole Hammer / Davis Thompson beat Alex Fitzpatrick / Barclay Brown 1 Hole
Quade Cummins / Austin Eckroat lost to Mark Power / John Murphy 1 Hole
Mac Meissner* / Ricky Castillo beat Jack Dyer / Matty Lamb 2 Holes
Stewart Hagestad / William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan / Jake Bolton* 1 Hole

*Both USA and GB&I called upon an alternate / reserve for the first series.

Players Rested
USA – Pierceson Coody, John Pak, Tyler Strafaci
GB&I – Ben Jones, Joe Long, Ben Schmidt

USA 2 – GB&I 2

Day 1 Singles
Pierceson Coody v. Alex Fitzpatrick by 2 Holes
Davis Thompson lost to Mark Power by 3&2
Ricky Castillo beat Ben Schmidt by 5&3
William Mouw beat Ben Jones by 4&3
Quade Cummins lost to Matty Lamb by 2&1
Austin Eckroat beat Angus Flanagan by 1 Hole
John Pak lost to Barclay Brown by 2&1
Cole Hammer beat John Murphy by 3&1

Players Rested
USA – Stewart Hagestad, Tyler Strafaci
GB&I – Jack Dyer, Joe Long

USA 5 – GB&I 3 

Day 1: USA 7 – GB&I 5 

Day 2 Foursomes  play will start at 8.20am (1.20pm BST)
Pierceson Coody / John Pak lost to Mark Power / John Murphy 1 Hole 
Ricky Castillo / William Mouw beat Alex Fitzpatrick / Barclay Brown 1 Hole
Davis Thompson / Cole Hammer halved with Angus Flanagan / Ben Schmidt
Stewart Hagestad / Tyler Strafaci lost to Matty Lamb / Jack Dyer 6&5

Players Rested
USA – Quade Cummins, Austin Eckroat 
GB&I – Ben Jones, Joe Long

USA 1.5 – GB&I 2.5 

Day 2 Singles play will start at 2.15pm (7.15pm BST)
Austin Eckroat beat Mark Power 7&6
Pierceson Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick 3&1
John Pak lost to Joe Long 1Hole
Davis Thompson lost to Matty Lamb 2 Holes
Quade Cummins halved with Barclay Brown
William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan 1Hole
Ricky Castillo beat John Murphy 2&1
Tyler Strafaci lost to Jack Dyer 1 Hole
Cole Hammer beat Ben Schmidt 4&3
Stewart Hagestad beat Ben Jones 4&2

USA 5.5 – GB&I 4.5 

Day 2: USA 7 – GB&I 7

Match Result: USA 14 – GB&I 12 

Series Results To Date: USA 38 – GB&I 9 – Halved 1 (after Match 48) 

The USA Team Celebrate Their Win (Photo: Chris Keane / USGA)

Individual Performance Analysis

Match Notes

A serious food poisoning / virus outbreak affecting the players and officials of both Walker Cup sides impacted preparations for this match. Due to the COVID-19 protocols in place everyone had been restricted to Seminole GC – widely accepted as the source of the problem – and the event hotel, The Breakers in Palm Beach, for the duration of their stay in Florida. As a result for the first time the in-match use of reserves or alternates, unusually on site due to the global pandemic, was agreed. Mac Meissner (USA) and Jake Bolton (GB&I) were both called upon in  the Day 1 Foursomes and both contributed to a victory for their team.

2021 was the first time since 1938 that the Walker Cup and Curtis Cup were played in the same year. Following World War II the Walker Cup restarted in 1947 and the Curtis Cup resumed in 1948 setting these two team amateur events on different courses.

United States of Amercia Team

Ricky CASTILLO 20 (b. 19/02/01) of Yorba Linda, California
– Florida sophomore / 24/2/21 WAGR #6.

Pierceson COODY 21 (b. 07/01/00) of Plano, Texas
– Texas junior / 24/2/21 WAGR #9.

Quade CUMMINS 25 (b. 06/03/96) of Weatherford, Oklahoma
– Oklahoma senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #18.

Austin ECKROAT 22 (b. 12/01/99) of Edmond, Oklahoma
– Oklahoma State senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #15.

Stewart HAGESTAD 30 (b. 10/04/91) of Newport Beach, California
– USC graduate / 24/2/21 WAGR #11.

Cole HAMMER 21 (b. 28/08/99) of Houston, Texas
– Texas junior / 24/2/21 WAGR #19.

William MOUW 20 (b. 05/09/00) of Chino, California
– Pepperdine sophomore / 24/2/21 WAGR #23.

John PAK 22 (b. 18/12/98) of Scotch Plains, New Jersey
– Florida State senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #5.

Tyler STRAFACI 22 (b. 23/07/98) of Davie, Florida
– Georgia Tech graduate / 24/2/21 WAGR #13.

Davis THOMPSON 21 (b.05/06/99) of St. Simons Island, Georgia
– Georgia senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #1.

Reserves
1. McClure MEISSNER 22 of San Antonio, Texas
– SMU senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #22.

2. Cooper DOSSEY 23 of Austin, Texas
– Baylor University 5th year Senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #28.

Withdrawal

Garett REBAND 21 of York, South Carolina
– Oklahoma senior / 24/2/21 WAGR #16

Garett Reband ultimately decided not to travel to Florida for the match with Cooper Dossey invited to take his place. No formal announcement was made in this regard by the USGA albeit Dossey confirmed he had received his invitation to participate three weeks earlier.

Tyler STRAFACI won the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes G.C. on Sunday 16th August 2020 securing the first playing spot on the 2021 USA Walker Cup team.

In line with the USGA’s announcement on 21st December 2020 Davis THOMPSON #2, Ricky CASTILLO (20) #4 and John PAK #7, the three highest ranked USA players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) released on the 10th February 2021, received automatic exemptions onto the USA team.

Pierceson COODYQuade CUMMINSAustin ECKROATStewart HAGESTAD, Cole HAMMERWilliam MOUW and John PAK were added to the USA roster by the USGA’s International Team Selection working group on 1st March 2021.

McClure MEISSNER and Garett REBAND were announced as the USA Reserves on 1st March 2021.

USA Team (Graphic: USGA)

Great Britain & Ireland Team

Barclay BROWN 20 (b. 23/01/01) of Hallamshire GC, England
– Stanford University sophomore / 30/03/21 SPWAR #65, WAGR #134

Jack DYER 23 (b. 02/03/88) of Boyce Hill GC, England
– Cal State Fullerton graduate / 30/03/21 SPWAR #42, WAGR #225

Alex FITZPATRICK 22 (b. 02/01/99) of Hallamshire GC, England
– Wake Forest University junior / 30/03/21 SPWAR #18, WAGR #14

Angus FLANAGAN 21 (b. 31/03/99) of St. George’s Hill GC, England
– University of Minnesota senior / 30/03/21 SPWAR #110, WAGR #40

Ben JONES 22 (b. 07/05/99) of Northamptonshire County GC, England
– 30/03/21 SPWAR #86, WAGR #41

Matty LAMB 23 (b. 28/03/98) Hexham GC, England
– 30/03/21 SPWAR #113, WAGR #85

Joe LONG 23 (b. 21/05/97) of Lansdown GC, England
– 30/03/21 SPWAR #31, WAGR #48

John MURPHY 22 (b. 12/06/98) of Kinsale GC, Ireland
– Louisville University redshirt senior / 30/03/21 SPWAR #63, WAGR #99

Mark POWER 20 (b. 09/06/00) of Kilkenny GC, Ireland
– Wake Forest University sophomore / 30/03/21 SPWAR #52, WAGR #29

Ben SCHMIDT 18 (b. 30/07/02) of Rotherham GC, England
– 30/03/21 SPWAR #78, WAGR #31

Reserves

Jake BOLTON 22 of Ogbourne GC, England
– 30/03/21 SPWAR #73, WAGR #60

Joe PAGDIN 19 of Lake Nona, Florida
– 30/03/21 SPWAR #198, WAGR #91

The GB&I Team (Photo: Golf Ireland)

GB&I Team (Graphic: The R&A)

Withdrawal

Sandy SCOTT 22 of Nairn GC, Scotland
– Texas Tech University 5th year senior / 30/03/21 SPWAR #241, WAGR #8

Sandy Scott was originally selected but withdrew from the GB&I team on 14th April 2021 due to a wrist injury. As a result Jack Dyer stepped up from first reserve to the playing team. Jake Bolton became the new first reserve and Joe Pagdin was added as the new second reserve.

The 2021 GB&I 10-man team consists of 8 English players and 2 Irish players.

The R&A Men’s Selection Committee announced their 10-man GB&I team on 30th March 2021. Here’s a summary of the rankings information at that time for all of the players likely to have been under consideration: –

Joe LONG (ENG) earned his place on the team by winning the 125th Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale G.C. in August 2020.

Sandy SCOTT (SCO) and Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) secured their places as the two highest ranked GB&I players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the time of selection.

The remaining seven players and three reserves were selected by the four-man Selection Committee which comprised Pádraig HOGAN (Chairman / Ireland), Stuart WILSON (Captain / Scotland), Nigel EDWARDS (England) and Carl ROWE (Wales).

Callum FARR (ENG), Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) and Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) who were all in the 15-man GB&I Walker Cup Squad announced on 2nd December (see below), missed out.

The GB&I 2021 Squad (Graphic: The R&A)

The GB&I selectors had a tough task in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This saw much of the 2020 European season cancelled including the St. Andrews Trophy, World Amateur Team Championship and Men’s Home Internationals.  In 2021 golf course closures and travel bans saw most GB&I-based players unable to play competitively from September 2020 onwards. Early season trips to Australia, South Africa, Spain and Portugal were in most cases cancelled. The only exception being that a number of GB&I’s leading players did manage to travel to USA for the Jones Cup Invitational.

It was therefore no surprise to see GB&I players attached to US colleges lead the way. Seven of the 13 selected, Barclay Brown (Stanford), Alex Fitzpatrick (Wake Forest), Angus Flanagan (Minnesota), John Murphy (Louisville), Mark Power (Wake Forest), Sandy Scott (Texas Tech) and Joe Pagdin (Florida) came from this category.

Seminole Golf Club (Photo © Carlos Amoedo)

Weather Conditions

The weather was superb for the duration of the 2021 match with sun throughout and only moderate breezes blowing.

Sat 8th May – Sunny / Wind 14 mph E / Temp. Min. 21°C, Max. 31°C.
Sun 9th May – Sunny / Wind 18 mph SE / Temp. Min. 20°C, Max. 30°C.

Seminole Golf Club

Seminole Golf Club was designed by Donald Ross and constructed in 1929. It opened for play on 1st January 1930.

“In these days of steam shovels and modern improvements, it is possible to do wonderful things on flat, level country. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer to lay out a course on level land. The Seminole course near Palm Beach is an example of what can be done with that type of terrain. I don’t say it is the best I have ever designed. Nevertheless, I like it very much.” – Donald Ross

Subsequent renovation work was undertaken primarily on the fairways, sandy waste areas, greens and green side bunkering by architects Dick Wilson in the 1950s, Brian Silva in the 1990s and Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore between 2016-18.

There are two parallel sand ridges which run north to south across the 140 acre site separated by a number of lakes in the centre of the course. The ridges provide some minor elevation changes to the beach side location and allows some green surrounds to be lifted without looking completely out of place.

With the greens now playing firm and fast Seminole has become a strategic course. Precise approaches can only be played from the correct sides of the fairways and ideally need to be left below the hole on the undulating greens. The course is a challenge off the back tees but requires the wind to blow to really bear it’s teeth. The routing cleverly forces players to face a different wind direction on each hole.

Golf at Seminole is seasonal with play commencing in late October and ending in mid-May.

PGA Tour Seminole Golf Club Flyover

Despite the course’s outstanding reputation the Club had historically valued its exclusivity and steered well clear of any publicity.

It has hosted the George L. Coleman Amateur Invitational for mid and senior amateurs since 1992 and a renowned Pro-Member in early March, featuring many of the world’s best players, was re-instated in 2004.

In 2013 it decided to open the doors a little wider to the outside world. A provisional agreement was reached with the USGA for it to stage the 2021 Walker Cup match, a decision first reported by Tim Rosaforte of Golf Digest on 11th November 2013 and officially confirmed by the USGA on 15th December 2016.

On 17th May 2020 it made it’s television premiere when it staged the TaylorMade Driving Relief COVID-19 charity match between Rory McIlroy & Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler & Matthew Wolff.

It will also be the first time Seminole will have hosted a USGA event and the first time the match has been contested in Florida. The stormy Autumn East Coast weather not lending itself to this traditional end of season event. As a result of the above 2021 will also be the first time the match will be played in the Spring in USA.

Tickets

On 29th March 2021 the USGA announced that they would be making available a limited number of three day Trophy Club ticket packages for the match.

At a cost of $500 each they included entry to the practice day, the two competition days, complimentary parking as well as on site food and drinks. The Opening Ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at 6.00pm (11.00pm BST) on Friday evening, was not included in the package.

Attendance on site is to be limited to a maximum of 1,850 people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tickets went on sale on 1st April 2021 and sold out within two weeks.

The original 2021 Walker Cup logo, designed by Lee Wybranski, and featuring Seminole’s red indian at its heart was quietly removed from most of the match’s marketing in early 2021 when presumably it was pointed out to the USGA that the use of indigenous people’s imagery and branding was increasingly being frowned upon by polite society.Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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