138. Bandon Dunes To Host The 2029 Walker Cup Match

20th July 2021

The USGA has announced that the 2029 Walker Cup match will be staged at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.

Neither the course – Bandon has five – or the match dates have been confirmed.

18th Hole, Bandon Dunes Course (Photo: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort)

The USGA has entered into a partnership with Bandon Dunes which will see 13 of its championships / international matches staged at the resort between 2022 and 2045.

The Walker Cup will be played in 2029 and the Curtis Cup in 2038.

Bandon Dunes has previously hosted the 2006 Curtis Cup (Pacific Dunes), the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur (Bandon Dunes), the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links & U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (Old Macdonald & Bandon Trails), the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four Ball (Pacific Dunes), the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (Old Macdonald & Pacific Dunes) and the 2020 U.S. Amateur (Bandon Dunes & Bandon Trails).

John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships, said “With five championship-caliber courses and incredible support from the resort’s ownership, Bandon Dunes is the perfect location for these USGA championships. Mike Keiser has been an incredible advocate for amateur golf and his ongoing support for the USGA and our mission served as the vision for this partnership. We are excited to work together for years to come.”

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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137. 2021 Walker Cup – Day 2 Results

Sunday 9th May 2021

USA ran out 14-12 winners against GB&I in the 48th Walker Cup match played at Seminole GC in Florida. It was USA’s third consecutive win in the biennial contest.

The USA’s narrow advantage was primarily secured due to the efforts of 20-year-old Ricky Castillo and second time Walker Cupper Cole Hammer. Castillo was unbeaten becoming just the seventh player on either team to post four wins in a single Walker Cup match this century. Meanwhile Hammer, the University of Texas junior standout, won three and halved one of his games.

From GB&I’s perspective Matty Lamb, Mark Power and Jack Dyer put up the most resistance, all taking the fight to the Americans. Perhaps critically Alex Fitzpatrick, their highest ranked player and the only one with Walker Cup experience, lost all four of the games he played in.

Sunday saw great playing conditions with temperatures peaking in the mid 80°’s. The wind was slightly stronger than yesterday with gusts as high as 22mph seen.

Day 2 Foursomes (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,212 yards

Game 1 – 8.20am
Pierceson Coody / John Pak lost to Mark Power / John Murphy by 1 Hole

The Irish pair made a great start to their foursomes game on Sunday, opening with two birdies and an eagle to a take a 3Up lead. It was a lead they held until the 17th, the par 3 whose green has proven almost impossible to hold throughout the match. As has happened more often than not to date USA were able to get up and down whilst GB&I were not. Nevertheless Power and Murphy were not to be beaten, the former hit the 18th fairway before Murphy hit a clutch 5 iron to the heart of the green. After Coody missed the green left, rolling down the steep incline on to the range, the best they could do was a 5. Power judged his 20 foot downhill putt to perfection to enable GB&I to pick up the first point of the day whilst also maintaining his 100% record.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 8.35am
Ricky Castillo / William Mouw beat Alex Fitzpatrick / Barclay Brown by 1 Hole

Taking his individual record to P3-W3 Ricky Castillo is proving to be the surprise star man for USA at this Walker Cup. The Yorkshire pairing of Fitzpatrick and Brown did well to fight back having gone 3Down after six holes. Unfortunately having taken a 1Up lead on the 16th Fitzpatrick missed both the 17th green and 18th green and despite excellent recoveries by his partner was unable to hole putts to save the day when it was most required.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 8.50am
Davis Thompson / Cole Hammer halved with Angus Flanagan / Ben Schmidt

If GB&I do go on to make a real match of this in the Singles later today it will be this Foursomes that will be seen as the turning point. 3Down with four holes to play most observers had already given the point to the American side. However, Flanagan and Schmidt had other ideas and a storming finish saw them miraculously secure a half. It must be said that the Americans found really poor lies on the final two holes but it is one thing having a bit of luck, it’s another to be good enough to take advantage of it. Flanagan’s bunker shot and pitch on the final two holes were top class in this regard.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 9.05am
Stewart Hagestad / Tyler Strafaci lost to Matty Lamb / Jack Dyer by 6&5

GB&I’s Lamb and Dyer pairing, who had lost on the opening day, played beautifully this morning to thrash Hagestad and Strafaci by 6&5, the biggest winning margin seen in the match to date. I am confident the four birdies and no bogeys in their opening 13 holes would have been too good for any of the American pairings.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

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

In another tight Foursomes series GB&I will be delighted to have come out on top. With a number of the American players looking nervy down the stretch this morning and their lead now reduced to just 1-point it’s certainly all to play for going into the final 10 Singles.

Day 2 Foursomes Score: USA 1.5 – GB&I 2.5

______________________________________________

Day 2 Singles (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,198 yards

Game 1 – 2.15pm
Austin Eckroat beat Mark Power by 7&6

A disappointing finish to the match from Kilkenny’s Mark Power who had previously been unbeaten. Perhaps mentally and physically exhausted after his earlier exertions the fresher Austin Eckroat, who was rested in the morning, got off to a good start and to his credit kept pushing with some very solid play.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 2.26pm
Pierceson Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick by 3&1

Pierceson Coody was too good for Alex Fitzpatrick for the second day running. Whilst the Englishman, who has now lost all four of his games, battled to the end he was found wanting down the stretch with a number of mistakes that enabled Coody to see the match out in relative comfort.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 2.37pm
John Pak lost to Joe Long by 1 Hole

2up with two holes to play the reigning Amateur Champion Joe Long made hard work of securing GB&I’s first point in the Singles. It took an unbelievable 18th hole for the Gloucestershire man, playing in his only game of the match due to illness, to secure his point. Having won the 17th Pak confidently hit the middle of the 18th fairway. In reply Long duck hooked his into the shoreline cabbage. Having taken a drop he then found the green side bunker in three. With a half virtually in his hands Pak misjudged the wind with his won approach and found the lateral hazard to the left of the green. Having taken a drop the experienced American then duffed his chip into a bunker before taking three to get down. A disbelieving Long gratefully secured a half in six to take the point for GB&I. If only Long had been able to play a few mores sessions wondered the GB&I supporters.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 2.48pm
Davis Thompson lost to Matty Lamb by 2 Holes

Matty Lamb won GB&I’s second point in the Singles with an impressive win over an out of sorts Davis Thompson. His magnificent tee shot and birdie on 17, the hardest hole on the course, and controlled par on 18 should give him a great deal of confidence for his future career in the pro ranks. Lamb was one of the few GB&I players to look comfortable in these rarefied surroundings, largely in control of both himself and his game throughout.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 5 – 2.59pm
Quade Cummins halved with Barclay Brown

A half was arguably the right result in this close game albeit Brown who had won three holes in a row from the 15th to take the lead on the 17th will be disappointed to have given up a full point with a bogey on the last. Nevertheless the Stanford player should be pleased with his unbeaten Singles record over the weekend.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 6 – 3.10pm
William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan by 1 Hole

Despite holding the the lead throughout his match against the competitive William Mouw Angus Flanagan had to dig deep to finally get the job done. 2Up with two to play he needed a clutch 35 foot par putt on the home hole to close out the Californian.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 7 – 3.21pm
Ricky Castillo beat John Murphy by 2&1

Ricky Castillo finished the match as the only player to record a 100% record, played 4, won 4. Like his compatriot Mark Power, Murphy look spent from his earlier exertions. He quickly handed Castillo the advantage in the opening holes and never really looked like being able to turn it around against an opponent playing with confidence and freedom.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 8 – 3.32pm
Tyler Strafaci lost to Jack Dyer by 1 Hole

Jack Dyer made it two wins out of two on Sunday with a memorable win against the 2020 US Amateur champion. Tyler Strafaci reported that he had lost 15lbs as a result of the virus in the last few days. The Essex player, who only made the starting line up when Sandy Scott withdrew due to injury, took control early in the back nine. However, despite being 3Up with four holes to play it looked like he would end up halving after losing both the 15th and 17th and then hitting a poor tee shot on 18. Thankfully he was ultimately able to scramble a half in bogey to seal the full point.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 9 – 3.43pm
Cole Hammer beat Ben Schmidt by 4&3

Having lost to Ricky Castillo by 5&3 in the Saturday Singles Ben Schmidt was again soundly beaten; this time 4&3 by Cole Hammer. As the scores below show Schmidt doesn’t appear to have played that badly but Hammer was simply at his imperious best. 18 year old Schmidt’s lack of experience and recent competitive play was always going to make this Walker Cup a tough ask for him.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 10 – 3.54pm
Stewart Hagestad beat Ben Jones by 4&2

Despite being handed the early initiative Ben Jones sadly lost his way on the back nine against Stewart Hagestad who was clearly determined to contribute at least one point to the USA team’s cause in his third Walker Cup match. Like Schmidt in the preceding game Jones looked undercooked. Perhaps the virus that had hit them both particularly badly meant they were simply unable to summon the fight that is normally required to be competitive at this level.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Day 2 Singles Score: USA 5.5 – GB&I 4.5

Day 2 Score: USA 7 – GB&I 7

Final Result: USA 14 – GB&I 12 

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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136. 2021 Walker Cup – Day 1 Results

Saturday 8th May 2021

Play on Saturday took place in near perfect conditions with temperatures quickly rising to 80°. Winds speeds were relatively modest for Seminole rising from 5mph to 15mph as play progressed throughout the day.

DAY 1 SCORE: USA 7 – GB&I 5

Day 1 Foursomes (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,272 yards

Game 1 – 8.20am
Cole Hammer / Davis Thompson beat Alex Fitzpatrick / Barclay Brown by 1 Hole

Amazingly after halving the first two holes the following 15 were all won outright in what became a see-saw game. Having won the 8th and 9th the GB&I pair turned 1Up but three bogeys on the first four holes of the back nine saw the advantage quickly handed back to Hammer and Thompson. However, just when it looked like the game may peter out Yorkshire’s Brown and Fitzpatrick got on a roll themselves winning the next three holes. However, Thompson then found the difficult 17th green and, despite a superb fairway bunker shot from Fitzpatrick on the last, Hammer holed out for birdie from 25 feet to secure an opening win for the home team.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 8.35am
Quade Cummins / Austin Eckroat lost to Mark Power / John Murphy by 1 Hole

The Irish pairing of Mark Power and John Murphy showed great resilience to come back from 3 Down after 10 holes to secure GB&I’s first point at Seminole. 1-under for their last 8 holes proved too much of an ask for the Americans. Power was quick to praise Murphy afterwards: “The old head in the group, he calmed me down and just said, look, just hit the fairways, hit greens and we’ll wear these guys down, and that’s what we did.”

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 8.50am
Mac Meissner / Ricky Castillo beat Jack Dyer / Matty Lamb by 2 Holes

Due to the virus USA called upon their first alternate Mac Meissner in the Saturday foursomes. Paired with University of Florida debutant Ricky Castillo the pair secured a second point helped in no small part by three birdies in their last five holes. A delighted Meissner said after the match: “I was so nervous on that first tee ball that I hit it on to the second hole, but after that we both calmed down and we played some awesome golf coming in.”

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 9.05am
Stewart Hagestad / William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan / Jake Bolton by 1 Hole

This was the fourth foursomes game that required the full 18 holes to reach a result. However, it proved to be a much tighter affair than those that had proceeded it with just 7 holes changing hands. In the end the difference proved to be the determined GB&I 1st reserve Jake Bolton. His clutch left-to-right swinging 30 foot par putt on 17 and towering iron into the 18th to 8 feet from the adjacent driving range secured the point that enabled GB&I to head into lunch level in the match at 2-2.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

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

Day 1 Foursomes Score: USA 2 – GB&I 2

The Saturday Foursomes was the first time in the history of the match that reserves or alternates had been used during a Walker Cup match. Interestingly they both contributed to their respective sides winning a point in the opening session.

With such tight matches Captain Wilson was frustrated with some of his team’s course management: “Three of our guys knocked it in the water at No. 10 and all the matches went up the last. That may have changed the outcome.”

______________________________________________

Day 1 Singles (USA Team first)
Par 72 – 7,188 yards

Game 1 – 2.30pm
Pierceson Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick by 2 Holes

In a competitive opening match Alex Fitzpatrick made a great start before being reeled in by Pierceson Coody, one of the strongest players on the American team. The key hole proved to be the par 3 17th where Coody pulled his tee shot into one of the left hand green side bunkers. With the players all square and the door ajar Fitzpatrick failed to find the green and after two bunker shots his double bogey five was never going to be good enough. A wild tee shot from Coody on the home hole briefly offered some hope before a superb recovery closed the door on the Sheffield man.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 2 – 2.41pm
Davis Thompson lost to Mark Power 3&2

An outstanding result from Mark Power who took down the current WAGR #3 and former #1 to record his second win of the day. Power played beautifully, hitting fairways and greens and holing numerous long putts. Having created a 3Up lead after birdies on 10 and 11 the Wake Forest sophomore ultimately saw out the match comfortably.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 3 – 2.52pm
Ricky Castillo beat Ben Schmidt by 5&3

Ricky Castillo recorded his second win of the day against a clearly under the weather Ben Schmidt. The 18 year old Yorkshireman struggled to get anything going and was easily taken down by the Californian by the biggest score of the match so far.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 4 – 3.03pm
William Mouw beat Ben Jones by 4&3

Shortly after the announcement that Joe Long would not be able to take part in Game 5 it became clear that Tyler Strafaci was also not feeling well enough to play this afternoon. William Mouw was drafted in as his late replacement. Mouw bounced back well from his morning foursomes defeat and as Jones unwound on the back nine he pulled away to record an impressive 4&3 win.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 5 – 3.14pm
Quade Cummins lost to Matty Lamb by 2&1

Joe Long was initially selected for GB&I for this game but due to continued illness he was deemed unfit to play. Matty Lamb, who had lost his foursome earlier, was called up and after Quade Cummins got off to a slow start he went about earning a notable victory. A 12 foot par putt on the 17th saw him home.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 6 – 3.25pm
Austin Eckroat beat Angus Flanagan by 1 Hole

Angus Flanagan did exactly what Alex Fitzpatrick had done on the 17th an hour or so before him. Followed his opponent into a bunker on the par 3 and then found it impossible to get the ball back on the green. After a nervous start which saw him bogey three of his first four holes Flanagan settled well and a string of pars got him back into the match. He fought all the way to the end but GB&I’s nemesis, the 17th, proved too much for him.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 7 – 3.36pm
John Pak lost to Barclay Brown by 2&1

Barclay Brown beat John Pak with some great play this afternoon. Pak, who won all three of his games at Hoylake in 2019, was clearly not 100% but nevertheless this was a notable scalp for the Stanford sophomore. What was particularly impressive was his ability to come back again over the closing holes having lost a 3Up lead early on the back nine.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Game 8 – 3.47pm
John Murphy lost to Cole Hammer by 3&1

Starting with two birdies out the gate Cole Hammer built up a 5Up lead by the turn against Kinsale’s John Murphy who had enjoyed foursomes success earlier in the day. Murphy battled back well on the back nine reducing the deficit to 2Up before once again the 17th hole struck.

Walker Cup 2021 Score Report (Photo: USGA)

Players Rested
USA – Stewart Hagestad, Mac Meissner (Reserve), Tyler Strafaci
GB&I – Jake Bolton (Reserve), Jack Dyer, Joe Long

Day 1 Singles Score: USA 5 – GB&I 3

One can’t help feeling that the match just started to slip away from the GB&I team this afternoon. A 5-3 Singles loss is by no means disastrous against a strong USA team but it could have been better. The defeats of Fitzpatrick and Flanagan in tight games may prove to be the difference between having a chance and having no chance. I expect USA to get stronger tomorrow so the challenge for GB&I is only going to get tougher. It will be interesting to see who is up for the fight.

Day 1 Score: USA 7 – GB&I 5

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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135. Best Quotes From The 2021 Walker Cup Press Conferences

Friday 7th May 2021

Due to the food poisoning the pre-match press conferences have been limited in scope. Here’s the most interesting stuff that has been said at Seminole to date: –

PREPARATION

STUART WILSON:
The preparation hasn’t been what we were hoping for. The season was pretty much decimated as far as a full schedule of events, and not just a full schedule of events but events where all the guys would be playing together.  

A number of years ago the whole plan was to — I was the Chairman of Selectors for the boys team and that was a bit of succession planning in there that hopefully I would take over as the Walker Cup captain and have had experience working with the guys before and bringing similar guys into the team. So 50 percent of the team we’ve had playing together in the past on Jacques Leglise teams, have played for GB&I together, and we’re all very familiar with each other to the point that it’s like old friends meeting up in some respects.

STUART WILSON:
We arrived Saturday, and we started to assemble the team from all corners of America and the UK. The first time we were all truly together was Sunday, and that’s when we came up to Seminole for our first look. We played nine holes, and since then we’ve been doing a lot of work with our team preparations on the course and within the team room. It’s been really good so far. 

Everybody is coming together, bonding well, and we’ve had a few kind of special guests along the way. We had a little visit from Matt Fitzpatrick on Monday, so Matt walked the course with the guys, gave us a lot of good constructive feedback, and we had the same yesterday with Paul McGinley. Great resources to tap into and hear what they’ve got to say about the best way to kind of tackle things, not just the course but the match itself. So the prep so far has been really good.

JOHN MURPHY: 
I’m just getting to know the course, I suppose, and getting familiar with our teammates. Thankfully we’ve had a great week so far. Everybody is getting on great. The atmosphere in the team room is amazing. So I think we’re all kind of on the same page where we’re just trying to prepare for the course as best as possible. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
I think it’s such a long week to start with. From the last time at Hoylake, it was kind of like I tried to go out and play most days, and I think I ended up preparing in a way that probably best didn’t suit me, just sort of playing too much golf, and I feel like this time around, I learnt that it’s not all about playing 18 as many times as you can but pacing yourself and maybe playing nine here and there and just making sure that you don’t overdo yourself because by the time come Saturday and Sunday, you’re playing 36 a day, especially in the heat, it’s going to be tough, and you don’t want to be burned out before you even start. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
I think the thing I took from the last one was to understand that there’s going to be a lot of people out there. There’s going to be cameras behind you and there’s going to be people applauding you and there are probably going to be people speaking on your backswing, and I think that’s something you’ve got to realize and get used to. There’s going to be 36 holes a day of all of that, and especially this week rather than last year, there will be a lot more supporters against us than with us, so probably a little less applauding for good shots for our team and more for theirs.

THE 2021 EXPERIENCE

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
This year’s Walker Cup has been a lot different to the one at Hoylake. COVID is such an unfortunate thing. The experience has still been phenomenal and it’s still everything I could have asked for, but just little things like having to sit six feet away from people at dinner and not being able to be with your team all the time is frustrating, but it’s something that you have to do and you have to live with, and the week itself is still going to be amazing.

COLE HAMMER: 
(I’m) really just trying to get the guys fired up to compete for their country because I remember standing on the first tee last time and how cool of an experience it was. I also remember how fast it was over. So I want to kind of encourage the guys to really sit there and soak it in and enjoy it because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and to be ready to go out and represent the United States. 

GB&I’S POSSIBLE MATCH PLAY ADVANTAGE

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
A lot of these (GB&I) guys, if not all of them, have all played some form of match play before, so everyone is used to either playing foursomes or singles, and everyone is used to being in that environment, and I think that’s what’s good about our team is that we’ve all played that, and I feel like some of the Americans just haven’t been in that format and obviously playing foursomes together. 

PLAYING SEMINOLE

JOHN MURPHY: 
There’s obviously a lot of tricks out there. The greens are fairly slopey and wouldn’t be anything like what we’re used to, so we’re just going to try to get a feel for that. We’ve got two days left; I think we’ve put in some great practice so far, so we’re all just getting ready for that first tee shot on Saturday morning. 

(The greens running at 14 on the stimpmeter) is certainly going to add an element of excitement I would say. None of us are used to it. I’d say a lot of Tour pros aren’t even used to it, and then adding wind on top of that slope and green quickness is going to be pretty interesting. Might be a bit of carnage out there at times, so looking forward to that, as well, and hopefully we can manage it to the best of our ability. 

STUART WILSON: 
It’s a second-shot course. You’ve got to be really smart with your approach shots into the green. It has been windy every day we’ve been here. It’s been pretty much the same wind for all the practice days so far, so they’re getting to know it playing this way. There is talk of the wind having a complete shift over the weekend from one day to the next, so that will make it really interesting because we won’t have played it in that condition.

The greens are fast. Like lightning fast. But as far as playing the course, windy, a little bit firm. We’re not too unfamiliar with those kind of conditions, so the guys are coping with it pretty good. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
Yeah, I love it here personally. I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to play here a couple times, so I feel like I have got the experience of playing here a lot. It sets up great for me, and I know it sets up great for a lot of other guys on our team, and it’s a lot of bombs-away drivers really, which makes me a little happy.

COLE HAMMER: 
Seminole is obviously one of the most well-known, and for a good reason, best golf courses in the world. I cannot think of a better course to play a Walker Cup match on. I mean, the strategy involved in it, the little intricacies around the greens, short game is vital. It’s just going to test every aspect of our game, and it’s in unbelievable shape right now, so kudos to the superintendent and his staff for getting it in this good of shape, especially after the rain we had last night. The golf course is going to hold up well, and it’ll be a big part of the storyline. 

THURSDAY’S STORMS

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
The torrential rain that happened yesterday was crazy. We couldn’t get out of our team room. We were stranded in there for about two hours, and we were looking out the window and seeing that the whole course was underwater. Being out there today we were spinning chips back and you could just tell that the course was just a little damp and I’d say it will make it a bit more for target golf, but at the same time that can be a bit dangerous with all the runoffs. Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how much it’s affected play with what you prepared for at the start of the week and what today (Friday) has been.

GB&I HOPES OF WINNING

STUART WILSON: 
We know there’s only been two teams that have been successful over here, which shows it’s not impossible. But we’ve had a look at the numbers, and yeah, there’s been 310 (GB&I) Walker Cup players, 84 of those have played on winning sides but only 20 have played on a winning side in America. We’re trying to make that 30 basically. 

STUART WILSON: 
We’d never say we’re outsiders because certainly with the format of the match and how 18 holes of match play, everybody knows anything can happen at any time. 

As far as kind of being up against it, you’re always up against it when you come, it doesn’t matter what school you generally play in, America is always going to be strong.

We’re going to have very, very few GB&I spectators here cheering us on, so we can use that to our advantage, as well, to kind of spur the guys on to not so much prove a point but use it as a motivation to do as well as they can. 

ALEX FITZPATRICK: 
Putting points on the board early is probably the most important thing you can do, making sure that the guys behind you can all see that you’re getting that blue on the board as early as you can and getting the points, and I guess just trying to rack up enough points to make sure that you win. 

Golf is a funny game, and all you can do is go out there, and if you give your best, that’s all you can do really. So yeah. 

JOHN MURPHY: 
Once that first tee shot comes around it doesn’t really matter who you are or what you’ve done, just a matter of going head-to-head with whoever you’re against, so yeah, we’re looking forward to that. 

FOOD POISONING

JOHN MURPHY (speaking on Thursday): 
Yeah, there were a couple of us that have been unwell a couple of nights ago, but thankfully we’re all good now. Myself and Angus. I don’t know what it was to be honest with you. I think we’re both back feeling okay and ready to play some golf today, and get ready.

ALEX FITZPATRICK:
It’s a stomach bug, and I guess it’s gone around both teams. It’s a little bit of adversity to deal with, but I think it only lasts for 12 to 24 hours or something, so hopefully we have the full team back by tomorrow (Saturday). 

I think it (started) around Tuesday or Wednesday. We had a couple of guys sort of fall ill and I guess we weren’t sure what it was to start with. It was weird, we had two guys from each team apparently go, and the next day we thought people would get better and then suddenly four guys were out.

COLE HAMMER:
It’s obviously unfortunate. All 20 guys have worked really hard over the last two years to make this team, and to kind of have an issue like this is no fun. But everybody is making the most of it. We’re pushing through, and we’re just kind of having to make some decisions on the fly here. 

You know, it’s all been happening so fast that one guy goes down, the next guy goes down. But we’re all trying to rally around each other. But we’ll be just fine. I promise we’ll be ready to go tomorrow no matter what the deal is.

_____________________________________________

It’s now time for the talking to stop and the playing to start.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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134. Virus Outbreak Leads to Walker Cup Re-Jig

Friday 7th May 2021

A serious virus outbreak affecting the players and officials of both Walker Cup sides has impacted preparations for this weekend’s match.

For the first time the in-match use of reserves or alternates, unusually on site due to the COVID-19 protocols in place, has been agreed in case the virus can’t be curtailed before play starts on Saturday.

Initially the issue was unofficially attributed to some chicken the teams consumed at Seminole on Tuesday but the USGA have subsequently discounted this as the source of the problem.

The players have been restricted to Seminole GC and the event hotel, The Breakers in Palm Beach, for the duration of their stay in Florida.

A statement from the USGA and R&A on the eve of the match said: “Over the past 24 hours, a number of players from both the GB&I and USA teams have been treated for gastrointestinal issues and are currently under observation by medical professionals at the teams’ hotel.

“All players from both teams have tested negative in their daily screenings and COVID-19 has been ruled out as the cause. The players have adhered to the strict health and safety guidelines established as a code of conduct for the match.”

“The health and safety of the players and all involved in the match is our utmost priority and we are closely monitoring the situation. At this time, there is no expectation of a disruption to the timing of the matches of the biennial competition.”

A handful of USA players have visited a local hospital in recent days to receive IVs for hydration fluids.

It’s fair to say that having come this far there is no way the USGA and R&A will be leaving Florida without playing this match.

Ricky Castillo, Quade Cummins, (previously unannounced) alternate Cooper Dossey, Austin Eckroat, Stewart Hagestad, Cole Hammer and Davis Thompson were all able to practice fully today. William Mouw joined up with his colleagues later on with Mac Meissner and Tyler Strafaci also playing a few holes. Captain Nathaniel Crosby, Pierceson Coody and John Pak were unable to travel.

Dossey joined up with the USA team as a late replacement for Garrett Reband, the 2nd alternate, who chose not to travel from Oklahoma for the match. Dossey advised the media that he was invited to participate three weeks ago.

For GB&I reserve Jake Bolton, Jake Dyer, Alex Fitzpatrick, Angus Flanagan, Matty Lamb, John Murphy, reserve Joe Pagdin, Mark Power all practiced on Friday. Captain Stuart Wilson, Barclay Brown, Ben Jones (who was ‘celebrating’ his 22nd birthday today) Joe Long and Ben Schmidt stayed at the hotel during the day.

With the exception of USA’s John Pak, the two captains and all of the other players were able to attend the opening ceremony in the early evening suggesting the worst of the stomach bug may be past.

The GB&I Team With President George W. Bush (Photo: Jake Bolton)

To enable late health checks on all of the players the Day 1 lineups will now not be announced at this evening’s opening ceremony which is due to start at 6.00pm (11.00pm BST) local time.

The Captain’s have agreed to submit their foursomes and single selections at 9.00pm (2.00am BST) with the formal draw announcement to be delayed until 7.00am (12.00 noon GMT) on Saturday morning so a final health check can be completed.

Given these unfortunate circumstances both Captains will now also be allowed to sub-in their reserves for illness-related reasons between sessions. However, any reserves that are called upon must be stood down once the original team member returns to health.

At this stage no changes to the traditional match format are anticipated but this can’t be fully discounted at this stage.

Both squads travelled to Seminole with two extra reserve players as part of the match’s COVID-19 planning and they have been practicing alongside their team-mates all week. Whilst the USGA and R&A will be reluctant to see reserves introduced at this late stage – and can of course accommodate two absences from each team on Day 1 – it now appears likely one or two may see some action.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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133. Jack Dyer Replaces Sandy Scott In The GB&I Walker Cup Team

14th April 2021

The R&A has announced that Sandy SCOTT has been forced to withdraw from the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team due to a wrist ligament injury.

Scott first picked up the injury in October 2020 and subsequently underwent minor surgery in January. He had originally been expected to return to competitive action for Texas Tech University in mid-March. However, having missed a number of recent college events it had become clear that his recovery was not going as planned.

The R&A had been obligated to select Scott at the end of March, despite his lack of recent play, due to him being one of the two highest ranked GB&I players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He was 8th in WAGR and GB&I’s highest ranked player when the Selection Committee met.

Jack DYER will now step up from first reserve to take his place in the GB&I side that will play USA in 24 days time at Seminole Golf Club on 8th-9th May. Dyer enjoyed an excellent tour of South Africa earlier this year and should arrive match fit and with confidence.

Jack Dyer – South African Amateur Medalist (Photo: Ernest Blignault / Golf RSA)

Following this change the GB&I team will now consist of 8 English players and 2 Irish with no Scottish or Welsh representation.

Jake BOLTON moves up to first reserve.

Florida-based Englishman Joe PAGDIN (19) has been added to the squad as second reserve. The University of Florida freshman has plenty of experience and has previously successfully represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy and England in the R&A Boys’ Home Internationals and the European Boys Amateur Team Championship.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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132. The R&A Announce The 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Team

30th March 2021

The R&A have today announced their 10-man Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team for the 48th Walker Cup match to be played against USA on 8th-9th May at Seminole G.C. in Florida.

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

Here is a list of the players with their nationalities, ages and current amateur rankings: –

Team

Barclay BROWN – England (20) – SPWAR #65 / WAGR #134

Alex FITZPATRICK – England (22) – SPWAR #18 / WAGR #14

Angus FLANAGAN – England (21) – SPWAR #110 / WAGR #40

Ben JONES – England (21) – SPWAR #86 / WAGR #41

Matty LAMB – England (23) – SPWAR #113 / WAGR #85

Joe LONG – England (23) – SPWAR #31 / WAGR #48

John MURPHY – Ireland (22) – SPWAR #63 / WAGR #99

Mark POWER – Ireland (20) – SPWAR #52 / WAGR #29

Ben SCHMIDT – England (18) – SPWAR #78 / WAGR #31

Sandy SCOTT – Scotland (22) – SPWAR #241 / WAGR #8

Reserves

Jack DYER – England (23) – SPWAR #42 / WAGR #225

Jake BOLTON – England (22) – SPWAR #73 / WAGR #60

Here is my analysis of the 2021 selection: –

There are 7 English, 2 Irish, 1 Scottish and 0 Welsh players in the 2021 GB&I team.

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. They are also the only two players to return from the 2019 match at Royal Liverpool G.C.

The remaining seven players and two 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).

The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the selection process with home-based players largely unable to make their cases with few competitive opportunities in the last 6 months.

It is therefore no surprise to see six of the ten-man team made up of US college players, namely, Barclay Brown (Stanford), Alex Fitzpatrick (Wake Forest), Angus Flanagan (Minnesota), John Murphy (Louisville), Mark Power (Wake Forest) and Sandy Scott (Texas Tech).

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

Jack DYER (ENG) played his way into the picture from outside the Squad with a series of very good results in South Africa early in 2021.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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131. Bob Lewis Jr Has Died Aged 76

28th March 2021

Bob Lewis Jr., who represented USA in the 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1987 Walker Cup matches before captaining the team in 2003 and 2005, died on 23rd March aged 76.

Lewis was born in Warren, Ohio in 1944, and was introduced to the game by his mother, a keen low handicap player.

He went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and played on their golf team between 1963-67.

In 1970 Lewis turned professional and made 26 cuts from the 47 events he played on the PGA Tour between 1971-74. Realising his putting simply wasn’t good enough to compete at the highest level he returned home to work in the family’s still tube manufacturing business.

After a three-year process of reinstatement he returned to the amateur game in 1978. He was well into his 30’s by the time he came to national prominence.

He played in a total of 31 USGA Championships during his career without sadly ever winning one. He recorded three runner-up finishes. He lost 9&8 to Hal Sutton in the 1980 U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club of North Carolina, by 2 Holes to Jim Holtgrieve in the inaugural U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 1981 at Bellerive C.C. near St. Louis and finally 5&4 to Michael Podolak in the 1984 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia. 

USA won all four of the Walker Cups that Lewis played in with the man himself contributing 10 wins in his 14 games at Cypress Point Club, Royal Liverpool G.C., Pine Valley G.C. and Sunningdale G.C. As Captain he had a won 1 – lost 1 record, losing 12.5-11.5 at Ganton G.C. in his first match before winning two years later at Chicago G.C. by the same scoreline.

Lewis also represented USA in two World Amateur Team Championships. Alongside Jim Holtgrieve, Nathaniel Crosby and Jay Sigel USA won in 1982 at Lausanne G.C. with his team finishing second in 1986 at Lagunita C.C. in Venezuela.

Bob Lewis Playing In The Masters (Photo: Augusta National G.C.)

He earned seven invitations to the Masters Tournament, where he finished as low amateur in 1987, and qualified for three U.S. Opens in 1978, 1983 and 1986. 

In his later years he volunteered as the head golf coach at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio.

Lewis was inducted into the Ohio Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the Northern Ohio Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2003. He was the recipient of the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honour, in February 2021.

After losing his long battle with lung cancer Lewis leaves a wife, Patricia, and two children, Tiffany and Tristan.

Bob Lewis managed to combine being a fierce competitor with a friendly demeanour and a high level of sportsmanship. He leaves a legacy as one of the most well liked and respected people in the history of amateur golf and the Walker Cup.

ME.

Copyright © 2015-2021, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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130. My 2021 GB&I Walker Cup Team With 50 Days To Go

19th March 2021

With 50 days to go until the 2021 Walker Cup match starts at Seminole G.C. here are the 10 players I would currently select for the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team.

In the spirit of fairness I have tried to find a balance between players who have been performing well overseas and those that have been unable to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic but were previously trending towards selection.

My selection is primarily an objective one based on playing results, preferably recent as I would prefer a ‘match fit’ team. I do not know the players well enough to take into account personalities and team dynamics which I accept would be a part of a wider selection decision.  

On 20th October 2020 I wrote an article entitled ‘My Current GB&I Team And Squad With 200 Days To Go’ which listed the leading 20 players at that time. I have assessed all 20 players again. 

This is not a prediction of what The R&A Selection Committee will do. Indeed if it were a few names would be different, particularly as the Chairman Pádraig Hogan has publically stated they will automatically be including the two highest ranked WAGR players at the end of March.

I have included extracts from each player’s SPWAR and WAGR playing records so you can view their form and results for yourself. Unfortunately due to some recent IT issues the SPWAR is still catching up on some events in March. I consider the SPWAR to be far more accurate so always favour it’s ranking over that of WAGR.

Here are my leading 10 players: – 

1. Alex FITZPATRICK (ENG) ⇑18
SPWAR #24 / WAGR #24

I didn’t pick Alex for my 2019 team (which he made) and back in October I had him in 19th place in my 2021 team list. All I’ve ever wanted was results to back up his longstanding reputation as a great prospect. I have been pleased to see that he’s consistently delivered them over the last 6 months. With two wins, including this week’s Valspar Collegiate (not yet shown in the tables below), the in form Wake Forest man has separated himself from the pack.

Alex Fitzpatrick – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Alex Fitzpatrick – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

2. Mark POWER (IRL) ⇑1
SPWAR #44 / WAGR #28

Mark enjoyed a strong summer back home playing very well in the Amateur Championship and Brabazon Trophy. He has continued to play well for Wake Forest on the US College circuit in his sophomore year and finished T16 in the Valspar Collegiate this week (not shown below). He has plenty of match play experience representing Ireland and GB&I in boys and men’s tournaments.

Mark Power – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Mark Power – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

3. Jack DYER (ENG) ⇑11
SPWAR #31 / WAGR #238

Jack has backed up his good summer on the British amateur circuit by performing very well in South Africa in recent months. To feature prominently in five big events over there, including medalist and runner-up honours in the South African Amateur Championship, gives me a lot of confidence. I have a much higher regard for South African golf and golfers than the WAGR does. He offers what few other GB&I potential players can at the moment – U.S. experience from his college days (the first two years of which were in Fort Lauderdale, Florida), recent match play results and competitive form.

Jack Dyer – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Jack Dyer – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

4. Ben SCHMIDT (ENG) ⇑6
SPWAR #63 / WAGR #31

Ben secured his place in my team with his T11 result at the Jones Cup in February which showed he had lost none of his ability or competitive spirit during the COVID-19 lock down. He has been one of our better players since 2019 and deserves his chance on the biggest stage in May.

Ben Schmidt – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Ben Schmidt – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

5. Joe LONG (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #18 / WAGR #47

Joe returned to South Africa again during the winter. After a couple of disappointing European Tour pro events in late 2020 he only played in one of the South African amateur events where he was disqualified. As the reigning Amateur champion and on the back of an impressive couple of seasons he must be selected for the GB&I team but his lack of recent outings are a concern. We will see where his game is when he takes up his Masters invitation at Augusta in a few weeks time. 

Joe Long – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Joe Long – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

6. Matty LAMB (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #90 / WAGR #86

Matty proved to be one of our better players in 2020 when play recommenced after lockdown winning both the Tillman Trophy and North of England Amateur. It was encouraging to see him also perform well against a strong field at the Jones Cup in February. With a 2021 EuroPro Tour card already earned he deserves his Walker Cup amateur send off.

Matty Lamb – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Matty Lamb – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

7. John MURPHY (IRL) ⇑13
SPWAR #76 / WAGR #117

John has played his way on to my team on the back of his T6 at the Jones Cup and continued solid play for Louisville University. Not shown below he also finished 2nd at the V1 Sports General Hackler Invitational in South Carolina this week. If he can follow that up with another solid outing at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational in Florida on 28-29 March the experienced Irishman must be worth a go.   

John Murphy – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

John Murphy – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

8. Jake BOLTON (ENG) ⇓2
SPWAR #58 / WAGR #59

Limited competitive action in 2021 has seen Jake slide a little but for me it would be unfair for him to miss out on the Walker Cup team due to the pandemic. Since winning the Scottish Open Amateur in 2019 Jake has played consistently well. He reached the semi-finals of the Amateur and South African Amateur Championships last year and also has two top 5’s finishes to his name in Florida in recent years which bode well for him.

Jake Bolton – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Jake Bolton – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

9. Angus FLANAGAN (ENG) ⇓5
SPWAR #95 / WAGR #41

Angus performed very well in the Western Amateur last summer – 72 hole medalist honours there shows his class – and has a number of recent wins in Minnesota where he continues to study. He now has lots of experience in big events but would help his case further with the men that matter if he could produce a top 10 for the Gophers in The Goodwin event in California next week. 

Angus Flanagan – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Angus Flanagan – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

10. Barclay BROWN (ENG) ⇓3
SPWAR #70 / WAGR #133

Barclay produced a string of fine results in the English Amateur, the Brabazon Trophy and The Amateur last summer. Whilst he hasn’t quite made his mark at Stanford yet, not always making their starting line up, he is playing regularly in the U.S. and hopefully his T5 at Bandon Dunes in early March will boost his confidence. He may still need a high finish in the Cardinal’s home event, The Goodwin, on 25-27 March to seal the deal.   

Barclay Brown – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Barclay Brown – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Looking at the rest of the players I originally selected in my 20 man squad: –

11. Tom MCKIBBIN (IRL) ⇑2
SPWAR #118 / WAGR #108

A well known name and reputation but are the recent results really there to justify his selection after a positive Winter 2020 touring Australia and South Africa ?  Whether relevant or not I was also disappointed to read in a Golf channel article in December that he had chosen not to complete his school exams and in the process had chosen to forego his 2021 scholarship to the University of Florida. Tom’s playing in the Azalea Invitational this week in South Carolina and hopefully can get that good 2021 finish under his belt.

Tom McKibbin – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Tom McKibbin – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

12. Sandy SCOTT (SCO) ⇓4
SPWAR #216 / WAGR #6

Sandy was GB&I’s star player in the 2019 match at Hoylake and has huge amounts of experience. However, accepting he has been playing an elite schedule for Texas Tech, his results haven’t been good enough to make my 2021 line up. Worse still he hasn’t played competitively since 18th October having injured his wrist during Round 1 of the Maridoe Collegiate invitational. He is due to make his comeback around now following minor surgery. Texas Tech are scheduled to play in the Old Waverley Collegiate in Mississipi on 26-28 March. It won’t be easy for him to make his university team, who have been doing well in his absence, but let’s hope he’s fit enough to give it a go. He may be our highest ranked player in the WAGR but sadly that says more about its accuracy than it does about his current standing. 

Sandy Scott – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Sandy Scott – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

13. Haider HUSSAIN (ENG) ⇓8
SPWAR #79 / WAGR #111

I thought Haider was very unlucky not to be included in the formal R&A Squad given his 2020 results which were arguably as good collectively as anyone else’s. Unfortunately he hasn’t appeared since the European Amateur last September so has fallen down the pecking order.  

Haider Hussain – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Haider Hussain – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

14. Ben JONES (ENG) ⇓5
SPWAR #52 / WAGR #42

In my opinion Ben should have been selected in 2019 but his case for inclusion this time is weaker. I had him 9th in October but his late withdrawal from the Jones Cup and his lack of action in recent months means I reluctantly can’t find a place for him.

Ben Jones – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Ben Jones – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

15. Olly HUGGINS (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #105 / WAGR #134

Olly enjoyed a good 2020 season and must have been close to inclusion in the official R&A squad. However, the pandemic has snookered him in 2021 and by not finding any competitive action has now missed the chance to play at Seminole.

Olly Huggins – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21

Olly Huggins – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

16. Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) ⇓4
SPWAR #116 / WAGR #222

Arron is another very good English player who has performed consistently well for a few years now. He has recently played in the Spanish International Amateur and in a few events on the Evolve Pro Tour but sadly another one who has been deprived of the chance to make a run at the team in 2021.

Arron Edwards-Hill – SPWAR Playing Record 2020-21

Arron Edwards-Hill – WAGR Playing Record 2020-21