September 2-3, 2023
The Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland
7,313 yards, Par 72
Captains: Stuart Wilson (GB&I) and Mike McCoy (USA)
Weather – AM Cloudy, PM Sunny / Wind 13mph SW / Temp Min 13°C, Max 22°C
Day 1 Foursomes (GB&I players first)
Barclay Brown / Mark Power lost to Gordon Sargent / Dylan Menante 3&2
Calum Scott / Connor Graham beat Caleb Surratt / Ben James 3&2
Matthew McClean / John Gough beat Preston Summerhays / David Ford 1 Hole
Alex Maguire / James Ashfield beat Nick Dunlap / Stewart Hagestad 1 Hole
GB&I – Jack Bigham, Liam Nolan / USA – Nick Gabrelcik, Austin Greaser
GB&I 3.0 – USA 1.0
Day 1 Singles
Barclay Brown lost to Caleb Surratt 4&3
Calum Scott beat Nick Gabrelcik 2&1
Jack Bigham lost to Gordon Sargent 1 Hole
Liam Nolan beat Austin Greaser 1 Hole
Mark Power beat David Ford 1 Hole
Matthew McClean halved with Preston Summerhays
Alex Maguire lost to Stewart Hagestad
John Gough beat Nick Dunlap 6&5
GB&I – James Ashfield, Connor Graham / USA – Ben James, Dylan Menante
GB&I 4.5 – USA 3.5
Day 1: GB&I 7.5 – USA 4.5
Click here to view my – 2023 Walker Cup – Day 1 Match Report
The Old Course (Photo: Ross Parker / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
Weather – AM Cloudy, PM Sunny / Wind 25mph SW / Temp Min 12°C, Max 22°C
Day 2 Foursomes
Matthew McClean / John Gough lost to Caleb Surratt / Ben James 2&1
Connor Graham / Calum Scott lost to Nick Dunlap / Gordon Sargent 1 Hole
James Ashfield / Alex Maguire lost to Preston Summerhays / Nick Gabrelcik 2&1
Liam Nolan / Mark Power beat Dylan Menante / Austin Greaser 4&3
GB&I – Jack Bigham, Barclay Brown / USA – David Ford, Stewart Hagestad
GB&I 1.0 – USA 3.0
Day 2 Singles
Calum Scott lost to Caleb Surratt 3&2
Barclay Brown halved with Nick Dunlap
Connor Graham lost to Stewart Hagestad 3&2
John Gough lost to Gordon Sargent 1 Hole
James Ashfield lost to Preston Summerhays 4&3
Matthew McClean halved with Dylan Menante
Jack Bigham beat Nick Gabrelcik 3&2
Mark Power beat Ben James 1 Hole
Liam Nolan lost to Austin Greaser 3&1
Alex Maguire lost to David Ford 3&2
GB&I 3.0 – USA 7.0
Day 2: GB&I 4.0 – USA 10.0
Match Result: GB&I 11.5 – USA 14.5
Click here to view my – 2023 Walker Cup – Day 2 Match Report
Series Results: USA 39 – GB&I 9 – Halved 1 (after Match 49)
The USA Team (Photo: Oisin Keniry / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
Individual Player Performances
James ASHFIELD, 22 – Wales, Delamere Forest
Jack BIGHAM, 19 – England, Harpenden
Barclay BROWN, 22 – England, Hallamshire
John GOUGH, 24 – England, The Berkshire
Connor GRAHAM, 16 – Scotland, Blairgowrie
Alex MAGUIRE, 22 – Ireland, Laytown & Bettystown
Matthew MCCLEAN, 30 – Ireland, Malone
Liam NOLAN, 23 – Ireland, Galway
Mark POWER, 23 – Ireland, Kilkenny
Calum SCOTT, 20 – Scotland, Nairn
Tyler WEAVER – England, Bury St Edmonds, 18
Caolan RAFFERTY – Ireland, Dundalk, 30
Non-Playing Captain – Stuart WILSON – Forfar, Scotland
The GB&I Team (Photo: Oisin Keniry / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
Nick DUNLAP, 19 – Huntsville, Alabama
David FORD, 20 – Peachtree Corners, Georgia
Nick GABRRELCIK, 21 – Trinity, Florida
Austin GREASER, 22 – Vandalia, Ohio
Stewart HAGESTAD, 32 – Newport Beach, California
Ben JAMES, 20 – Milford, Connecticut
Dylan MENANTE, 22 – Carlsbad, California
Gordon SARGENT, 20 – Birmingham, Alabama
Preston SUMMERHAYS, 21 – Scottsdale, Arizona
Caleb SURRATT, 19 – Indian Trail, North Carolina
Maxwell MOLDOVAN, 21 – Uniontown, Ohio
Neal SHIPLEY, 23 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Non-Playing Captain – Mike MCCOY – Des Moines, Iowa
USA Team (Photo: Oisin Keniry / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
Old Course, St. Andrews – Hole Information
The Old Course is very familiar to most golf fans due to its regular hosting of The Open Championship and Dunhill Links event on the DP World Tour.
Having come in for some criticism in recent years it was interesting to see how the course presented itself for match play competition when compared with the stroke play events we had been more used to seeing.
The R&A announced that the Old Course in St. Andrews would host the 2023 Walker Cup match on 26th February 2018. The 2nd Walker Cup match was played at St. Andrews on 18th and 19th May 1923 so this 49th contest was celebrated as a centenary event. It was the ninth time that the match has been played here; more than any other venue in Walker Cup history.
In a nice piece of symmetry GB&I captain Stuart Wilson won the Amateur Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews in 2004. However, he was unable to break the ‘curse of the Scottish captain’ on his second attempt. GB&I have never won a Walker Cup match with a Scottish captain.
In the run up to the match the GB&I team held two practice sessions, one at the end of March and another prior to the St. Andrews Links trophy in June.
The St. Andrews Links Trophy, an amateur event played annually the week before the Amateur Championship, includes rounds on the Old Course, so most of the GB&I players arrived at the match with competitive experience at the venue.
The R&A announced the 2023 Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team on 21st August 2023. John Gough (ENG) and Barclay Brown (ENG) were automatically selected based on their World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) on 16th August 2023. Gough was ranked 11th and Barclay Brown 25th at the time.
GB&I’s Connor Graham (d.o.b. 24th October 2006) was 16 years, 10 months and 9 days old when the match started and therefore became the youngest player to have ever played in the Walker Cup for either side.
2023 Walker Cup Flag Signed By Both Teams and Captains (Photo: GolfBible)
The USGA’s International Team Selection Working Group (ITS) selected their 2023 Walker Cup team in three stages. 1) The three highest ranked American players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) on 21st June 2023 received automatic selections; these were secured by Gordon Sargent (20) ranked #1, Michael Thorbjornsen (21) ranked #2 and David Ford (20) ranked #3. On 9th August 2023 Thorbjornsen announced that he would be withdrawing from the USA team due to a stress fracture in his back. Nick Dunlap and Caleb Surratt were then added to the USA line-up by the ITS on 31st July 2023 on the back of their strong play over the early summer period. Following completion of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills G.C. on 20th August 2023 the ITS confirmed the remaining six players, Nick Gabrelcik, Austin Greaser, Stewart Hagestad, Ben James, Dylan Menante and Preston Summerhays.
David Ford (rising junior), Austin Greaser (rising 5th year senior) and Dylan Menante (rising 5th year senior) all represented the University of North Carolina (UNC) at the match. USA’s two non-travelling alternates for the match Maxwell Moldovan (rising senior) and Neal Shipley (rising graduate student) are also college teammates at Ohio State University.
Ford joined a small group of left handed golfers that have played in the Walker Cup match in St. Andrews.
Nick Dunlap, Austin Greaser and Preston Summerhays played their way onto the 2023 team as none of them attended the USA’s December 2002 practice session in Florida. To be fair in Greaser’s case this was because he had originally intended to turn pro following the NCAA Championship in May but an injury saw him eventually decide to hold off and use his extra year of eligibility at UNC in 2023/24.
Prior to flying over to Scotland the USA team met up in New York to collect their Walker Cup branded accessories and to be fitted at the Peter Millar store in Manhattan for their team uniforms.
The USA team broke up their practice sessions on the Old Course by visiting nearby Dunbarnie Links (Saturday 26th) and Kingsbarns Golf Links (Sunday 27th) early in their stay. The GB&I team also played at Kingsbarns prior to the match (Wednesday 30th).
It was clear from the outset that the USA team would be well prepared for the contest. They engaged Upgame to provide them with data on how best to play the Old Course and also walked the course with experienced St. Andrews Links Trust caddie Steve Jones.
On Monday 28th August the two teams held a putting contest on the famous Himalayas putting green.
GB&I & USA Teams (Photo: Ross Parker / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
The Opening Ceremony started at 5.00pm on Friday 1st September outside The R&A Clubhouse and was compered by the popular Scottish sports commentator Andrew Cotter. Team photos were taken beforehand and ties and pin badges exchanged afterwards as the players returned to The Old Course Hotel adjacent to the 17th hole.
Ties and Badges Are Exchanged (Photo: GolfBible)
Both captain’s revealed in the build up that as usual a lot of thought had gone into their foursomes pairings with the matching of personalities and hole assessments to the fore. However, the configuration of holes on the Old Course, with 14 par 4’s, two par 3’s (8th and 11th) and two par 5’s (5th and 14th) made it harder to play to a particular team member’s strengths and categorise them as either “odd” or “even”.
The match was played in unusually warm and sunny conditions, with temperatures peaking on both days at 22°C. After a wet British summer the course was relatively soft when the players arrived but firmed up considerably during the week. The winds gusted up to 30mph on Sunday adding to the challenge facing the players.
Before the match started GB&I captain Stuart Wilson was keen to down-play the significance of conditions that many thought would benefit the visitors. “I’d rather see the guys going head-to-head on a nice links day rather than battling the elements. It loses something when it’s howling wind and rain. At least these guys will be able to show what they can do in good conditions. Maybe a club-and-a-half wind would have been nice and a wee bit of bounce on the Old Course, but we’ll take it the way it is.”
The USA team practiced wearing black caps with a large white ‘W’ on the front which caused some comment from the home fans and press, speculating that it may be an indication of an anticipated ‘Win’. Captain Mike McCoy was quick to extinguish any controversy explaining that USA teams had been wearing the caps on and off since 2013 and the ‘W’ referenced Walker (Cup) and / or former President George W. Bush who is associated with the matches through his family.
The R&A reported that 14,320 spectators attended the match over the weekend.
For the first time The R&A used celebrated golf artist Lee Wybranski for their 2023 St. Andrews Walker Cup programme cover. He had previously featured for the USGA on their 2005 Chicago G.C. and 2017 Los Angeles C.C. programmes.
Lee Wybranski’s 2023 Walker Cup Poster
Both teams looked the part with Walker Cup team wardrobes and kit on show throughout the week.
2023 USA Team Bags (Photo: Kenny Smith / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
2023 GB&I Team Bag (Photo: Ross Parker / R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
On 15th September Stewart Hagestad won his third U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Sleepy Hollow C.C., beating Evan Beck 3&2 in the 36-hole Final.
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