167. Walker Cup 2023 – Day 2 Match Report

3rd September 2023

USA won the 49th Walker Cup match at St. Andrews beating Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) by 14.5-11.5.

The USA dominated Day 2 winning 10 of the 14 points that were available. USA won the morning Foursomes 3.0-1.0 before also taking the afternoon Singles 7.0-3.0.

The USA Team (Photo: Oisin Keniry /R&A / R&A via Getty Images)

The match had echoes of the 2019 clash at Royal Liverpool G.C. where GB&I started well and led going into the the final Singles only to lose that key series badly (USA won that Singles 8-2).

USA have now won the last four Walker Cup matches and have improved their overall match record to W39, L9, H1. Their most recent loss came in 2015 at Royal Lytham when this year’s captain Mike McCoy was a playing member of the USA team.

After picking up the trophy McCoy said “This is a great feeling. I tried to put a lot of effort into this for two years and tried to do anything I could that would help make the team successful. I learned a little bit about what made each of them tick, and it just worked out. But there was a lot of effort by a lot of people to make this happen.”

Having lost his second Walker Cup match a disappointed GB&I captain Stuart Wilson said “The Americans just handled the (windier) conditions slightly better than us, and to be fair to the boys, without being too harsh, I’m sure they’ll be quite disappointed in the way they played themselves. They tried their hardest, but they didn’t turn up with their “A” games this afternoon I would say in some matches.”

In a statistical anomaly GB&I, who have nine successes to their name, have never won a Walker Cup match with a Scottish captain in charge. 2023, with Stuart Wilson in charge was that nation’s 16th attempt.

GB&I will next battle the odds again in September 2025 when they travel to Cypress Point G.C. in California for match number 50.

Gordon SARGENT was the star man winning all four of the games he played in with Mark POWER, unbeaten on Sunday, outstanding for GB&I.

Caleb SURRATT and Preston SUMMERHAYS also made a difference on Day 2 winning both of the games they were involved in in style.

Stewart HAGESTAD, who won both of his Singles today, became the first man since Jay Sigel (1977-87) to play on four consecutive winning teams.

Barclay BROWN was the only player on either side not to be involved in a winning game.

Here is my assessment of the individual player performances over the weekend:-

Here’s the detailed hole-by-hole scores for each game (which should be viewed in the context of match play games with concessions) alongside some of my own observations from being out on the course all day:-


USA came out fighting on Sunday morning winning the second Foursomes series 3.0-1.0.

Day 2 Foursomes – Course Information (Graphic: The R&A)

Day 2 Foursomes – Hole Locations (Graphic: The R&A)

* Due to the strong winds Hole 11 was changed to 12 On / 15 Left when the holes were being cut.

GB&I 1.0 – 3.0 USA

Cloudy skies greeted the players on Sunday morning. The breeze was much stronger and gusting close to 30mph at the far end of the course.

The greens were running at an average speed of 10 ft 3″, 3″ slower than yesterday.

John GOUGH and Matt MCCLEAN both looked a little weary on the course this morning and their play was generally untidy.

The American’s, Caleb SURRATT and Ben JAMES, certainly didn’t require their very best golf to take the first point of the day.

Surratt & James v. Gough & McClean Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Game 2 got off to an inauspicious start with both Connor GRAHAM and Gordon SARGENT spinning their approaches on the 1st hole back into the Barry Burn. Sargent’s was inexcusable given he was playing into the green after the 16 year old Scotsman.

Despite the poor start the players settled down and it proved to be a highly competitive encounter.

Nick DUNLAP‘s 10ft birdie on the 3rd gave USA the early initiative.

On the 4th hole Graham holed from 25 feet for a birdie only to see Sargent immediately follow him from a similar distance.

The 5th was halved in birdie 4’s after both pairs two putted from distance before USA doubled their advantage on the 6th when the Scots three putted.

The holes around the turn were halved, albeit Calum SCOTT holed a tricky 12 footer on the 10th green, after Graham had driven into the right fairway bunker, to keep the American’s honest.

The two Scottish lads were fighting for their lives and eventually they were rewarded for their efforts.

On the short par 4 12th Graham again holed out from 8 foot only to see Sargent follow him in from slightly closer.

On the 13th Dunlap pulled his drive into a gorse bush which resulted in a bogey and on the 15th Sargent fell for the sucker pin and ran into the hidden bunker at the back of the green when a more cautious approach would have served him better when playing to the back hole location. When Dunlap left the ball in the bunker GB&I found themselves All Square with three holes to play.

Dunlap quickly got things back on track on the 16th for the Americans with a superb approach to a tight front right pin. Sargent, who had putted magnificently all morning, confidently delivered the birdie from 6 feet. USA 1Up with two to play.

On the 17th GB&I had great opportunity to get back level. Sargent left his approach short of the green on the left hand side whilst Graham arrowed his iron to 6 feet. Dunlap played a delightful chip that ran out close before Scott just missed his birdie putt to the left.

Both pairs drove to the edge of the 18th green and long putted to 10 feet (USA) and 5 feet (GB&I). Sargent again stepped up and in front of the large gallery holed without issue.

Sargent looked every inch the best amateur player in the world this morning with a superb display of hitting and clutch putting. The two Scottish lads played very well and a half wouldn’t have flattered them by any means.

Dunlap & Sargent v. Graham & Scott Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

The GB&I pair of James ASHFIELD and Alex MAGUIRE will be regretting some poor approaches and missed short putts on the front nine which enabled the USA pairing of Preston SUMMERHAYS and Nick GABRELCIK to quickly build up a 3Up lead in Game 3.

Despite a valiant fight back on the back nine the American’s saw the game out quite comfortably.

Summerhays & Gabrelcik v. Ashfield & Maguire Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

The only good news on a disappointing morning for GB&I was delivered by the all-Irish pairing of Liam NOLAN and Mark POWER.

Four birdies, albeit the 13th clearly a conceded one, turned their game against Dylan MENANTE and Austin GREASER right round.

Greaser struggled on the greens and no doubt Nolan, who will face him again in the Singles, will be testing his putting out fully this afternoon.

Menante & Greaser v. Nolan & Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 


Day 2 Singles – Course Information (Graphic: The R&A)

Day 2 Singles – Hole Locations (Graphic: The R&A)

A determined Caleb SURRATT made few mistakes on his way to getting the better of home favourite Calum SCOTT, who played well again without receiving any reward for his efforts.

Surratt v. Scott Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

Barclay BROWN had a disappointing Walker Cup and his finish this afternoon halted any momentum GB&I were trying to build up behind him. His capitulation from a 3Up with 4 holes to play position was most unexpected from one of our more experienced players. U.S. Amateur champion Nick DUNLAP has also struggled this week so he will have been pleased to finish the match off with a battling half.

Dunlap v. Brown Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)

An inspired Stewart HAGESTAD putted the lights out against a combative Connor GRAHAM who again played with a lot of heart and never once let his head drop.

Hagestad v. Graham Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Gordon SARGENT and John GOUGH played out a tight game with the Englishman edging the front nine before Sargent wrestled the advantage from him. Gough holed his second shot into the par 4 6th hole for eagle but later hit his drive on the 17th out of bounds to hand the initiative to the Alabama man.

Gough will be turning pro tomorrow and making his debut in the Horizon Irish Open at The K Club.

Sargent v. Gough Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Preston SUMMERHAYS despatched an inconsistent James ASHFIELD 4&3 in the fifth Singles game not giving the Welshman any encouragement throughout.

Summerhays v. Ashfield Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Matthew MCCLEAN required all his match play skills to fight back and secure a half against Dylan MENANTE in Game 6, albeit some shaky putting late on prevented him notching up a win.

Menante v. McClean Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Having not featured in the two Foursomes sessions and having lost a close match with Gordon Sargent yesterday Jack BIGHAM was delighted to leave St. Andrews with a point to his name.

The Englishman finished in style playing the 16th perfectly and holing a nice putt to end proceedings against Nick GABRELCIK.

Gabrelcik v. Bigham Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Mark POWER bowed out from amateur golf with a superb victory against Ben JAMES. He played the final three holes magnificently well as James refused to go quietly.

After James had holed from further way on 16 Power missed his own 6 foot birdie putt to move back to All Square. Unaffected he played an outstanding approach into 17 to move back into the lead and a brave drive down 18, just like yesterday afternoon, enabled him to again finish with a birdie and a 1 Hole victory.

Power, like Gough, is planning to turn pro tomorrow and will be debuting in next week’s Irish Open at The K Club.

James v. Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Austin GREASER proved to be too good for Liam NOLAN and an exceptional back nine, with no sign of the putting woes that had afflicted him earlier in the day, saw the American run out a 3&1 winner.

Greaser v. Nolan Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

David FORD secured the point that won the Walker Cup in his game against Alex MAGUIRE as both players traded birdies coming down the home stretch.

Ford v. Maguire Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

166. Walker Cup 2023 – Day 1 Match Report

2nd September 2023

Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) lead USA by 7.5-4.5 after the opening day of the 49th Walker Cup match at St. Andrews.

GB&I won both the morning and afternoon series of games; the Foursomes 3.0-1.0 and the Singles 4.5-3.5.

The home team’s 3-point lead represents their joint best Day 1 performance, matching their efforts 34 years ago at Peachtree G.C. in Atlanta.

John GOUGH and Calum SCOTT both starred for GB&I, each delivering two points for their team. Gordon SARGENT also won both of his games for USA.

The key, as always, was the home team’s ability to hole a few more putts and importantly come out on the right side of most of the tight encounters.

Six games needed to play the 18th hole today with the GB&I team winning four of these and halving another.

A delighted GB&I captain Stuart WILSON said “It’s obviously been a great day result wise for GB&I, but it’s been hard fought. Our guys showed grit and determination and kept fighting and managed to get some points to get us ahead on the board, so well done to our guys.”

American captain Mike MCCOY said” It wasn’t the day we were looking for. The message tomorrow is win some points. We’ve got a talented group of players and I think they’re ready to step up and give us an opportunity.”

GB&I now only require 6 of the 14 points still to play for tomorrow to record a famous win, just their 10th in the 49 matches that have been played to date.

Having arrived at St. Andrews on the back of three consecutive defeats and starting out as massive under-dogs it would be a great achievement if the home team could now see this out.

However, home supporters shouldn’t get ahead of themselves as GB&I also took an early 7.0-5.0 lead at Royal Liverpool in 2019 before collapsing to a 10.5-15.5 defeat on the final day.

Matt McClean Birdies the 18th Hole (Photo: Oisin Keniry / The R&A / R&A via Getty Images)

Here’s the detailed hole-by-hole scores for each game (with the caveat that these were match play games with concessions) alongside some of my own observations from being out on the course all day:-


Day 1 Foursomes – Course Information (Graphic: The R&A)

Day 1 Foursomes – Hole Locations (Graphic: The R&A)

GB&I 3 – 1 USA

Play started under cloudy skies at 8.30am with good crowds surrounding the 1st hole.

The USA pairing of Gordon SARGENT and Dylan MENANTE, who had the honour of hitting the first shot in the 49th Walker Cup match, got off to a dream start. Californian Menante converting from 12ft for birdie after a nerveless approach over the burn from the WAGR No. 1.

However, the opening game quickly returned to All Square when Sargent’s drive found the deep fairway bunker on the left side of the 2nd fairway. With Menante forced to play out backwards and to the left GB&I were able to par their way to a hole win in regulation.

Menante, who seemed to settle the quickest of all four players, holed from 20ft on the third to restore USA’s 1Up advantage.

On the par 5 5th Sargent found one of the left greenside bunkers with his approach whilst Mark POWER impressively found the heart of the green. After playing three shots in various bunkers and still lying 25ft from the hole the Amercan’s picked up, looking like 7 would be the best they could score.

After seeing just one of the first five holes halved the match settled down and a sequence of shared pars followed.

The turning point in Game 1 came at the start of the back nine and in particular on the 10th and 12th holes.

Power, who had looked good on the greens on the front nine, missed what appeared to be a very makeable 6ft winning birdie putt on the 10th after Barclay BROWN had judged his pitch beautifully to the back hole location. Such opportunities can rarely be given up.

After the par 3 11th was halved Power then pulled his drive off the 12th tee into the gorse bushes. Despite a lost ball Brown returned to the tee and indeed finished the hole with a six before the USA team were required to play another shot. Sargent having, despite the breeze being against him, driven over 330 yards into the swale at the front of the green and close to the tucked pin.

With USA 1Up Power misjudged his approach into the 13th green from the fairway, leaving it well short. When Brown played a poor recovery pitch 30ft past the hole USA were left to two putt for an easy win.

With momentum on their side and the GB&I pair starting to struggle with their games it appeared unlikely that Menante and Sergeant would give up their 2Up lead and that proved to be the case.

The win came on the 16th after Sargent hit a huge drive along the out of bounds line, drawing the ball back into the centre of the fairway. Menante pitched in close and Sargent converted from 7 feet with ease. The American’s celebrated a good 3&2 win with Menante looking very solid.

Sargent & Menante v. Brown & Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Game 2 saw an outstanding performance from the Scottish pair, Calum SCOTT and Connor GRAHAM. Two of the most competitive players on the home team were clearly determined to win this point in front of a partisan following.

Six birdies and no mistakes saw them run out comfortable winners in a high quality game against Caleb SURRATT and Ben JAMES. Feeling the pressure after two quick fire GB&I birdies on 14 and 15 the Americans drove out of bounds on the 16th to hand the Scots the win.

Surratt & James v. Scott & Graham Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

After a slow start which saw the American’s Preston SUMMERHAYS and David FORD take an early lead GB&I pair Matthew MCCLEAN and John GOUGH‘s consistent play enabled them to regain parity before seemingly staying just one step ahead of their opponents for the rest of the round.

McClean’s birdie on the 13th and Gough’s fist pumping 7ft birdie putt on the 16th green proved the critical difference coming down the stretch in what was a tight match.

The game could have ended on the 17th but the left-handed Ford played a great shot from the infamous Road Hole bunker to keep the match alive.

Summerhays, who had holed well on the 17th in his contribution to the great sand save, missed a short left to right birdie putt on the 18th green to help see GB&I over the line.

Summerhays & Ford v. McClean & Gough Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

In Game 3 Alex MAGUIRE and James ASHFIELD established a strong lead on the front nine with a superb eagle on the par 5 5th the highlight. Ashfield holing an impressive 35ft uphill putt to the delight of the crowds.

Having been reeled in on the back nine a battling finish, with Maguire’s putting particularly to the fore, enabled the GB&I pair to secure an important win.

Firstly, Ashfield, who was playing with a strapped up right wrist, holed from 12ft on the 16th for par after his approach had overshot the green. Hagestad still had a chance from 7ft to claim the birdie and hole win but his own putt narrowly missed.

Ashfield chipped superbly to 10ft from left of the green on the Road Hole before Maguire converted for a great winning par. After Dunlap’s chip wasn’t so tidy and Hagestad missed his 15ft putt the GB&I pair came to the 18th with a restored 1Up lead.

After Nick DUNLAP‘s eagle putt on the home hole lipped out this year’s St. Andrews Links champion, Alex MAGUIRE stepped up and holed another 10 footer to halve the hole in birdie 3 and secure what could be a critical 1 Hole win for GB&I.

Dunlap & Hagestad v. Maguire & Ashfield Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 


Day 1 Singles – Course Information (Graphic: The R&A)

Day 1 Singles – Hole Locations (Graphic: The R&A)

GB&I 4.5 – 3.5 USA

The sun broke through in the late morning and the Old Course was bathed in warm sunshine for most of the afternoon.

Eight Singles, to newly cut holes, were played in the Day 1 series with GB&I edging them 4.5-3.5 and extending their overall match lead to 7.5-4.5.

Barclay BROWN played steady par golf in Game 1 but Caleb SURRATT, a high quality player and still smarting after his morning defeat, was not going to be defeated again.

In near perfect conditions it was inevitable that birdies would be required to win a Singles and a class act like Surratt delivered them on the 5th, 9th and 12th holes.

Surratt v. Brown Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

The second game proved to be a birdie-fest. I am sure Nick GABRELCIK would have been pleased to accept five birdies standing on the 1st tee. How wrong he would have been. Calum SCOTT arrived in Fife in form and is certainly rising to the occasion. He shot eight birdies, six of which won holes, to secure his second point on a memorable day for the Nairn man.

Gabrelcik v. Scott Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Having not been included in GB&I’s Foursomes line-up Jack BIGHAM will have wanted to impress in his Singles game against Gordon SARGENT.

After slipping to 2Down after 5 Holes matters looked bleak for the Hertfordshire man who is a rising sophomore at Florida State. It was therefore to Bigham’s credit that he was able to turn the match around with a string of birdies.

A 1 Hole lead standing on the 17th tee is never a secure position on the Old Course and so it proved in this game. Sargent’s par and birdie on the closing two holes good enough to regain control of the point.

Sargent v. Bigham Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Austin GREASER will not have enjoyed his afternoon on the Liam NOLAN rollercoaster.

Nolan offset six birdies with five bogeys in his round but came good down the stretch and sealed the deal with a great birdie on the home hole.

Greaser v. Nolan Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

I was not surprised to see Mark POWER start poorly this afternoon after he seemed to lose some confidence on the back nine of his Foursomes this morning.

When David FORD holed a 60 yard bunker shot on the 10th hole for an eagle 2 and a 3Up lead, with Power already close to the hole in two, one feared that a heavy defeat maybe on the cards for the likeable Wake Forest graduate.

The fact he was able to settle himself and start playing high quality golf spoke volumes for his ability and character. It was also a good reminder for us all of why captain Wilson has so much faith in him.

Power won four holes in a row from the 12th to turn his match around; it appears two were won and two were handed to him with Ford bogeying.

A superb drive and birdie in front of a large crowd on the 18th green will no doubt be one of his abiding memories of the week, alongside his Irish flag raising duties at the Opening Ceremony.

Ford v. Power Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Game 6 proved to be one of the best match ups of the Day with big hitting Preston SUMMERHAYS and reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt MCCLEAN playing out an entertaining half.

After McClean had given up a 1Up advantage after he found the Road Hole bunker the two players showed off amazing touches to two putt from significant distance on 18.

Summerhays v. McClean Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Alex MAGUIRE seemed flat from the off this afternoon; perhaps drained from his putting exploits on the closing holes in the Foursomes.

An experienced player of Stewart HAGESTAD‘s quality needs no head start and with Maguire three putting for fun early on the game quickly got away from the Irishman.

Maguire fought as best he could but with his putter cold he fell to a disappointing  4&3 loss.

Hagestad v. Maguire Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

The much anticipated clash between the U.S. Amateur champion, Nick DUNLAP, and GB&I’s long-standing No. 1 John GOUGH proved to be a one-sided affair.

Dunlap got off to a bad start spinning his approach on the 1st back into the burn but nothing could have prepared him for Gough’s putting.

An incredible uphill 40 footer on the 2nd and a 15 footer on the 3rd set the tone with the Englishman demonstrating a sound touch all the way round.

After Dunlap had three putted the 4th and 5th he found himself 5Down. A this point I reminded myself that Scott Hoch has the biggest Singles win in 18 hole Walker Cup history, beating James Buckley by 9&7 in 1979.

Gough hit two poor shots to my eyes in the game; the first coming at the 7th where his short iron ran through the back of the green and for the only time in the round he was unable to get up and down from a tricky spot.

He would win the game on the 13th hole. After Dunlap found trouble off the tee and could only make 5 Gough produced a winning par, albeit he had to work for it. Having badly misjudged the wind he found himself towards the back of the green with a 50 foot left to right swinging and downhill putt. He judged the first effort superbly and without any fuss drilled the second from 6 feet into the back of the hole.

Gough has drawn Gordon Sargent in the Sunday Singles. A tough ask but what better way to end his amateur career than by beating the World No. 1.

Dunlap v. Gough Scoreboard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox) 

Click here to view the – 2023 Walker Cup Tee Times / Results


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

164. 2023 Walker Cup Order of Play & Broadcasting Schedules Confirmed

29th August 2023

The R&A has confirmed the itinerary for the 49th Walker Cup match being played on the Old Course in St. Andrews later this week.

Programme of Events

Friday 1st September 2023

5.00pm – 6.00pm: Opening Ceremony (free to attend)

Saturday 2nd September 2023

8.30am – 9.00am:  4 Foursomes Matches (ticket required)

1.45pm – 2.55pm:  8 Singles Matches (ticket required)

Sunday 3rd September 2023

8.00am – 8.30am:  4 Foursomes Matches (ticket required)

1.15pm – 2.45pm:  10 Singles Matches (ticket required)

c.7.00pm:  Closing Ceremony following completion of play.

GB&I and USA Teams (Graphic: @WalkerCup)

UK Broadcasting Schedule

Saturday 2nd September 2023

There will be no coverage provided of the four opening morning Foursomes.

The eight afternoon Singles will be shown live on Sky Sports Golf and on the R&A’s website (www.randa.org).

Sunday 3rd September 2023

The R&A will provide live coverage of the four foursome matches on it’s website www.randa.org.

The ten afternoon Singles will be shown live on Sky Sports Golf and on the R&A’s website (www.randa.org).

The commentary team across the two days of the match will include Brad Faxon, Steve Burkowski, Gary Wolstenholme, Andrew Cotter, Hally Leadbetter and George Harper Jnr.

USA Broadcasting Schedule

The Golf Channel and Peacock will be providing coverage in the United States of America. It appears they will be picking up the Sky Sports Golf Singles coverage only.

The R&A website stream will not be available in the USA.


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

163. The R&A Announce The 2023 GB&I Walker Cup Team

21st August 2023

The following ten golfers have been selected for the 2023 Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) Walker Cup team for the forthcoming match at St Andrews: –

James ASHFIELD – Wales, Delamere Forest, 22 – WAGR #71
Jack BIGHAM – England, Harpenden, 19 – WAGR #88
Barclay BROWN – England, Hallamshire, 22 – WAGR #25
John GOUGH – England, The Berkshire, 24 – WAGR #11
Connor GRAHAM – Scotland, Blairgowrie, 16 – WAGR #184
Alex MAGUIRE – Ireland, Laytown & Bettystown, 22 – WAGR #149
Matthew MCCLEAN – Ireland, Malone, 30 – WAGR #52
Liam NOLAN – Ireland, Galway, 23 – WAGR #143
Mark POWER – Ireland, Kilkenny, 23 – WAGR #94
Calum SCOTT – Scotland, Nairn, 20 – WAGR #35

The team is made up of four players from Ireland, three from England, two from Scotland and one from Wales.

Connor Graham will be 16 years, 10 months and 9 days old when the 49th Walker Cup starts and will therefore become the youngest player to have ever competed in the match for either side.

Barclay Brown and Mark Power are constants throughout Stuart Wilson’s tenure as first Chairman of the GB&I Boys’ Selection Committee and subsequently GB&I Men’s Captain. Power played in his Jacques Léglise Trophy team against Europe in 2017 and 2018 whilst Brown played in the same match in 2018 and 2019. Both also played for GB&I at Seminole in the 2021 Walker Cup match and at Penati, Slovakia in the 2022 St. Andrews Trophy match.

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

Two reserves were also announced by the selection committee: –

Tyler WEAVER – England, Bury St Edmonds, 18 – WAGR #269
Caolan RAFFERTY – Ireland, Dundalk, 30 – WAGR #60

My own analysis had led me to prefer Caolan Rafferty and James Claridge over Connor Graham and Mark Power but I am confident the latter pair will in no way weaken our overall team.

My 2023 GB&I Team Selection Spreadsheet Extract

Stuart Wilson, GB&I captain, said, “We have selected ten players who we believe will give us the best chance of regaining the Walker Cup against the United States of America.

“This is their opportunity to perform on the biggest stage in amateur golf and have their name written alongside some of the greatest names in the history of the sport by winning the Walker Cup.”

“There is arguably no more iconic venue in the world to achieve that feat than on the Old Course in St Andrews. We look forward to the challenge of winning the match next week and I know these players will give it their all to win back the trophy in front of a home crowd.”

The Great Britain and Ireland Team will play USA in the 49th Walker Cup Match on 2-3 September 2023 at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Here are The R&A’s GB&I captain and player biographies: –


Stuart Wilson
Wilson is captain of the GB&I team for the second consecutive Walker Cup. Twenty years ago, in the Walker Cup in 2003, he was a member of the winning GB&I team at Ganton. In 2004, he won The Amateur Championship over the Old Course at St Andrews with a 4&3 win over Lee Corfield in the Final. He went on to win the Silver Medal as the low amateur in The 133rd Open at Royal Troon later that year and compete in the 2005 Masters Tournament. In addition to leading GB&I in the Walker Cup, he also captained last year’s GB&I team when they beat the Continent of Europe in the St Andrews Trophy and captained European teams in the Junior Ryder Cup in 2012 and 2014. He is the Secretary / Manager of Blairgowrie G.C., the home club of Connor Graham.


James Ashfield
Ashfield is representing GB&I in the Walker Cup for the first time. In 2023, the member of Wales’ national team has finished runner-up in both the Lytham Trophy and European Amateur Championship in Estonia, finished tied third in the Sotogrande Cup in Spain and reached the last-64 in The Amateur Championship at Hillside. In 2022, he won the Welsh Amateur Championship, reached the last-16 in The Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes and represented Wales in the Eisenhower Trophy in France. Two years ago at Nairn, he reached the semi-finals of The Amateur.

Jack Bigham
In 2023, the member of England’s national team has recorded top-12s in both the European Amateur Championship in Estonia and St Andrews Links Trophy, represented his country in both the European Amateur Team Championships and The R&A Men’s Home Internationals and completed his first collegiate season at Florida State University. In 2021, he won the R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports and reached the quarter-finals of the English Amateur at Moortown and the last-16 of The Amateur Championship at Nairn. He makes his Walker Cup debut in St Andrews.

Barclay Brown
Brown makes a second Walker Cup appearance after playing at Seminole in 2021. So far in 2023, the member of England’s national team has earned All-America honours in his senior season at Stanford University, finished tied-fourth in the NCAA Division One Individual Championship and competed in the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club. In 2022, he reached the last-64 in The Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes and after qualifying for The 150th Open at St Andrews, was tied 12th after 36 holes to make the cut. In that year, he was also a member of the winning GB&I team in the St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe. Reached the quarter-finals of The Amateur Championship in 2020 and the semi-finals of The R&A Boys’ Amateur in 2019.

John Gough
Gough has been eager to make the GB&I team given his younger brother, Conor, represented GB&I at Royal Liverpool in 2019. So far in 2023, the member of England’s national team has won both the Australian Master of the Amateurs and Irish Amateur Open, finished runner-up in both the Avondale Amateur and the Sotogrande Cup, reached the last-32 in The Amateur Championship and made the cut in the DP World Tour’s Betfred British Masters. In 2022, he won both the Spanish Amateur and the Lytham Trophy, finished runner-up in the Scottish Amateur Open, reached the semi-finals of The Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes and represented England in the Eisenhower Trophy. Before his defeat to Sam Bairstow in the semi-finals of The Amateur last June, he had gone on a run of only losing one of 24 match play ties. Last year, he was also a member of the winning GB&I team in the St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe.

Connor Graham
At the age of 16, Graham will become the youngest players on either team to ever compete in the Walker Cup. So far in 2023, the member of Scotland’s national team has won the Scottish Amateur Open and finished runner-up in the French Under-18 Amateur Open. In 2022, he won The R&A Junior Open at Monifieth and finished runner-up in the Lytham Trophy, tied third in the Scottish Boys’ Amateur Open and shared seventh in the St Andrews Links Trophy.

Alex Maguire
After winning the first-ever Open Amateur Series to qualify for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool in July, Maguire has achieved another highlight. This year, the member of Ireland’s national team has also won the St Andrews Links Trophy and East of Ireland Amateur Open, reached the quarter-finals of The Amateur Championship at Hillside, finished fourth in the Irish Amateur Open and closed his senior season at Florida Atlantic University with a tie for fourth in his conference championship. In 2022, he won the East of Ireland Amateur Open and reached the semi-finals of The Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes. In 2021, he won the North of Ireland Amateur Open and reached the quarter-finals of the South of Ireland Amateur Open.

Matthew McClean
A Walker Cup debut for McClean. Last year, he won the US Mid-Amateur Championship by defeating Hugh Foley in the final at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. To date in 2023, the member of Ireland’s national team has competed in both the Masters Tournament and the US Open and recorded top-ten finishes in the South African Amateur, East of Ireland Amateur Open and Brabazon Trophy. He also reached the last-64 of the US Amateur and the semi-finals of the Western Amateur. In addition to his USGA championship title in 2022, he also finished runner-up in both the Irish Amateur Open and North of Ireland Amateur Open, reached the last-16 in The Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes and represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy. In that year, he was also a member of the winning GB&I team in the St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe.

Liam Nolan
Nolan makes his Walker Cup debut thanks to a fine season in which the member of Ireland’s national team has won the South American Amateur in Ecuador and Brabazon Trophy and reached the last-64 in The Amateur Championship at Hillside. In 2022, he recorded top-four finishes in the North of Ireland, South of Ireland and West of Ireland Amateur Open championships and finished in a share of tenth in the Brabazon Trophy and tied-14th in the St Andrews Links Trophy. In 2021, he won an R&A Student Tour Series event in Ireland and finished runner-up in both the West of Ireland Amateur Open and Connacht Men’s Stroke Play.

Mark Power
A second Walker Cup appearance for Power who went 3-1-0 in 2021 at Seminole and was 2-0-0 in foursomes with John Murphy. To date in 2023, the Ireland national team player has completed his fourth collegiate season at Wake Forest University and finished tied 13th in the European Amateur Championship in Estonia. In 2022, he reached the last-32 in The Amateur Championship and the last-64 in the US Amateur and represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy. In that year, he was also a member of the winning GB&I team in the St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe. In 2020, he finished runner-up in the Brabazon Trophy, reached the semi-finals of The Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale and represented the International team in the Arnold Palmer Cup.

Calum Scott
In 2019, his older brother Sandy represented GB&I at Royal Liverpool and Scott now joins the family roll of honour. This year, the member of Scotland’s national team finished tied third in the St Andrews Links Trophy, reached the last-64 in The Amateur Championship at Hillside, made the last-32 of the US Amateur and completed his second season at Texas Tech University. In 2022, he finished third in the European Amateur Championship and represented Scotland in the Eisenhower Trophy. In that year, he was also a member of the winning GB&I team in the St Andrews Trophy against the Continent of Europe. In 2021, he reached the quarter-finals of The Amateur Championship over his home course of Nairn and reached the last-16 in both The R&A Boys’ Amateur and Scottish Amateur Open.


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

160. Thorbjornsen Withdraws From The USA Team

9th August 2023

Michael THORBJORNSEN has announced on his Instagram account that he has withdrawn from the 2023 USA Walker Cup team due to a stress fracture in his back.

Michael Thorbjornsen (Photo: Stanford University)

Thorbjornsen, who is a rising senior at Stanford University and the #2 ranked player in the current World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), has been advised to take a 4-8 week break from the game so that the injury can hopefully heal naturally.

Thorbjornsen had been in the three-man group, alongside David FORD and Gordon SARGENT, who had been automatically selected for the 2023 USA team due to them having the three best American WAGR’s on 21st June 2023.

As one of the world’s leading amateurs his loss is equally a blow for the United States team and the match itself where he would have been one of the big draws for the supporters at St. Andrews.

Thorbjornsen’s Instagram Post


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

159. USA Adds Dunlap And Surratt To Their 2023 Line-Up

31st July 2023

The USGA’s International Team Selection Working Group (ITS) have added Nick Dunlap and Caleb Surratt to USA’s 2023 Walker Cup team.

Nick Dunlap and Caleb Surratt (Photo: USGA)

Nick Dunlap, 19, of Huntsville, Alabama has enjoyed an excellent early summer highlighted by back-to-back wins at the Northeast Amateur and the North & South Amateur. As a result he is currently leading the 2023 Elite Amateur Golf Series standings. He is a rising sophomore at the University of Alabama and previously won the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

Caleb Surratt, 19, of Indian Trail, North Carolina came into the summer after a consistent collegiate season where he enjoyed seven top-10 finishes and garnered first-team All-American honours. A rising sophomore at the University of Tennessee he was runner-up to Dunlap at this year’s Northeast Amateur. In 2022 Surratt won the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, became the first back-to-back winner of the Terra Cotta Invitational and won the 2022 Elite Amateur Golf Series.

Whilst Surratt attended the USA’s Squad practice session in Florida in December 2022 Dunlap was not considered in the running at that time so has had to play his way onto the team in 2023.

“Nick and Caleb are excellent additions to further solidify this year’s team,” said Mike McCoy, captain of the USA Team. “These two players have worked tirelessly to put themselves in a position to be selected to this team and I’m thrilled to see their hard work be rewarded. I look forward to having them on our side at the Old Course.”

The pair join David Ford, Gordon Sargent and Michael Thorbjornsen who earned automatic selections to the 10-player roster on 21st June 2023 as the three highest-ranked American players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

All five of the selected players are in the current WAGR top 10 (26th July 2023 Release). The ITS met in the week commencing 17th July to make this decision so Dunlap and Surratt were even more highly ranked at the time.

WAGR Top 10 26th July 2023 Release (Graphic: WAGR)

Click here to view the current – WAGR Men’s Ranking

The winner of the 2023 U.S. Amateur Championship, set to take place on 14th-20th August at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado, and the recipient of the 2023 McCormack Medal, provided they are American, will earn the final automatic spots on the team.

The ITS working group will name final selections to the team and alternates immediately following the U.S. Amateur Championship on 20th August 2023.

The USA Team will compete against Great Britain and Ireland in the 49th Walker Cup Match on 2nd-3rd September 2023 at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Click here to view my earlier articles concerning the USA Team Selection: –
‘155. USGA Provides 2023 Walker Cup USA Team Selection Timetable’
‘157. USA’s Three 2023 WAGR Picks Are Confirmed’


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

156. Notes From The St. Andrews Links Trophy

12th June 2023

The St. Andrews Links Trophy took place at The Home of Golf on 9th-11th June 2023.

There were three main stories from the events of last week: –

Squad Session

With 17 players from his 20-man GB&I squad competing captain Stuart Wilson arranged his second squad session at St. Andrews, inviting his players to practice together ahead of the competition.

I am sure Wilson will have been pleased to see many of his U.S. college based contingent back home and building team spirit with the rest of his squad.

Alongside the golf the squad were all fitted for their team clothes and given some basic media training during their time together. Fanny Sunesson, who was again caddying for 17 year old Frank KENNEDY (ENG), also shared some of her experiences with the players at a team dinner.

The missing squad members were Barclay BROWN (ENG), Josh HILL (ENG) and Matthew MCCLEAN (IRL). Brown, who came through Final Qualifying in California last Monday, and McClean, the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, are both playing in this week’s U.S. Open Championship.

The only other notable player that was missing was Max KENNEDY (IRL), our leading player on the U.S. college circuit in 2022/23, who having been selected for the International team was obliged to play in the Arnold Palmer Cup in Pennsylvania. He tied one match and lost the other three. As a non-squad member I hope he doesn’t come to regret this choice in the coming weeks.

Selection Winners & Losers

Alex MAGUIRE (IRL), a player outside of the initial squad, was the big Walker Cup selection winner.

Having retained the East of Ireland Open Amateur last Monday the Laytown and Bettystown member confirmed his status as GB&I’s most in-form player by running away with the prestigious St. Andrews Links Trophy. After an opening round of 70 on the New Course he shot 66, 66 and 64 on the Old to win on -21 by 5-shots.

Whilst nothing can be taken for granted – ask Jake Burnage who won this event with a similar total in 2019 – this was a very persuasive statement.

I would argue that given the venue and the strength of field the St. Andrews Links Trophy is arguably the most important event, from a Walker Cup perspective, that our leading amateurs will play this season.

Alex Maguire (Photo: St. Andrews Links Trust)

Other players to enhance their selection prospects on the 2023 host course were Calum SCOTT (SCO) -15 3rd, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) -12 7th, Frank KENNEDY (ENG) -11 8th, Charlie CROCKETT (ENG) -11 9th, Archie DAVIES (WAL) -8 16th and Jack BIGHAM (ENG) -8 18th.

Whilst making the top 40 and ties cut at the Links Trophy from a field of 144 players should never be dismissed Rob MORAN (IRL) -6 22nd, Gregor TAIT (SCO) -5 28th, Will HOPKINS (ENG) -4 29th, Sean KEELING (IRL) -3 32nd, Dylan SHAW-RADFORD (ENG) -2 34th, Paul CONROY (IRL) +1 39th and Mark POWER (IRL) +2 40th all arguably needed more to push their individual cases.

Whilst there were selection winners there were also losers too and sadly this included quite a few players who would, pre-tournament, have considered themselves to be very much in the mix. Matt ROBERTS (WAL) -1, Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) -1, James CLARIDGE (ENG) Ev, Josh BERRY (ENG) Ev, Tyler WEAVER (ENG) Ev, Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL) Ev, James ASHFIELD (WAL) +1, Harley SMITH (ENG) +1, recent winners Liam NOLAN (IRL) +3 & Connor GRAHAM (SCO) +4, Hugh FOLEY (IRL) +4 and  John GOUGH (ENG) +4 all missed the 36-hole cut.

As things stand, and I accept it is still relatively early days, the 2023 GB&I Walker Cup team is going to be one of hardest selections for many years with only a small number of players showing any sort of consistency as we enter the home straight.

I have been maintaining my own Walker Cup selection spreadsheet covering all of the events played in 2023. Based on this here’s how I rank my current team / top 20 after the St. Andrews Links Trophy: –

My GB&I 2023 Walker Cup Selection Spreadsheet (Graphic: Golf Bible) 

The Old Course, St. Andrews

Whilst the history and tradition of the Old Course is second to none the St. Andrews Links Trophy, where the final three rounds were played around the 7,171 yard par 72 course, once again confirmed that it no longer presents a challenge worthy of a Championship unless the weather is particularly poor.

The scoring on the Old Course throughout was excellent with 68 or 69 seemingly the effective par and red figures emblazoned across the leaderboard in each round. Alex Maguire shot -20 for his final 54 holes, all played on the Old.

Click here to view the – 2023 St. Andrews Links Trophy Results

I have feared from the minute it was announced that the selection of the Old Course by The R&A may come back to haunt the GB&I team and play into the hands of an always outstanding USA team. I foresee them getting to grips with this course very quickly in September thus negating some of our home advantage.


Copyright © 2015-2023, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

154. GB&I Squad Practice At St. Andrews

31st March 2023

10 Great British & Irish (GB&I) players met in St Andrews on Thursday 30th and Friday 31st March for a two day practice session on the Old Course.

From the original squad, announced in December 2022,  Josh BERRY (ENG), Hugh FOLEY (IRL), John GOUGH (ENG), Connor GRAHAM (SCO), Liam NOLAN (IRL), Peter O’KEEFFE (IRL), Dylan SHAW-RADFORD (ENG), Harley SMITH (ENG) and Tyler WEAVER (ENG) all attended.

Gregor TAIT (SCO), who performed well in Australia and South Africa in early 2023, has been added to the squad and was also invited to Fife by Captain Stuart Wilson.

Gregor Tait Practices at St. Andrews (Photo: The R&A)

10 members of the original squad were unable to attend.

Thanks to the Faldo Series James ASHFIELD (WAL), Arron EDWARDS-HILL (ENG) and Robert MORAN (IRL) have all been playing on the Challenge Tour in India over the last two weeks. Edwards-Hill encouragingly made the cut in both events.

Barclay BROWN (ENG), Archie DAVIES (WAL), Josh HILL (ENG), Mark POWER (IRL) and Calum SCOTT (SCO) continue to represent their colleges in the United States. They will return to these shores in June.

Frank KENNEDY (ENG) lives in Florida and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt MCCLEAN (IRL) is also over in the States preparing for his Masters appearance next week.

Captain Wilson said “It’s a good opportunity for us to get together, bond and gel as a team. The majority of the guys know one another but it’s a different dynamic coming together as a team. It’s about trying to foster all the good relationships and team spirit.”

“It’s also giving them familiarisation with St Andrews, the golf course and the places we might eat at during the week. We also had some local caddies to give us some more insight into how they might play the Old.”

“I think in any sport, whether it is football, golf, rugby, home advantage is something you would always like to have. We’re delighted it’s here at St Andrews and I would think the GB&I support will be pretty strong. Hopefully the guys feel comfortable playing in their own backyard.”

The final ten-man team will be announced in mid-August.


Copyright © Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

141. Walker Cup Moves To Even Years From 2026

21st March 2022

The R&A and the USGA have announced that the Walker Cup match will be contested in even years from 2026 onwards.

The 49th Walker Cup match will be contested in September 2023 at St Andrews and the 50th at Cypress Point in September 2025.

The R&A had not yet announced their 2027 venue but given that this match has now been brought forward to 2026 a statement in this regard can be expected shortly.

The above calendar change means the USGA has confirmed that the matches previously scheduled by them for Bandon Dunes in 2029 and Oakmont Country Club in 2033 will now be played in 2028 and 2032 respectively.The move has been driven by the International Golf Federation moving the World Amateur Team Championship to odd years from 2023, a decision which was announced in 2020. This was in turn caused by golf returning to the Summer Olympic Games schedule in 2016 and now taking place in even years.

Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “We believe that this change creates the best schedule for the players and for the Walker Cup match itself. The Walker Cup is at the forefront of men’s amateur golf and we want to ensure that its status is reflected in its position in the golfing calendar.”

“This is just the next step as we make sure team competitions have a balanced schedule and in this case, encourage participation by the world’s best amateurs without unnecessary conflict,” said John Bodenhamer, Chief Championships Officer at USGA.ME.

Copyright © Mark Eley. All rights reserved.