16th August 2023
In line with The R&A’s stated selection policy John GOUGH (ENG), 24, and Barclay BROWN (ENG), 22, have today been confirmed as the first members of the 2023 Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) team.
The R&A’s Selection Policy (Graphic: R&A Walker Cup Website Page)
John Gough is ranked 11th and Barclay Brown 25th in today’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) making them eligible for the two WAGR-related automatic selections.
John follows in the footsteps of his younger brother Conor, 20, who represented GB&I in the 2019 match at Royal Liverpool G.C.
Nobody would question these selections as the two players are seasoned GB&I and England internationals with plenty of Championship experience. Both represented GB&I in last year’s St. Andrews Trophy match and were in The R&A’s initial 2023 Walker Cup squad.
Whilst both fully deserve their places in the team they will both arrive in St. Andrews with some question marks against them.
Gough has enjoyed an outstanding last 18 months winning the Spanish Amateur, Lytham Trophy, the Australian Master of the Amateurs and the Irish Amateur Open.
However, since the Irish win in mid-May he has struggled to reach these heights and will need to regain his top form quickly if he is to play the leading role everyone has expected of him at St. Andrews for some time.
Brown, a rising 5th year senior at Stanford University in California, enjoyed a fairly uninspiring 4th season in U.S. collegiate golf. His 2022/23 performances were ranked 108th in the GolfWeek Sagarin ranking and 81st in the GolfStat ranking.
To his credit Barclay peaked superbly in late May and early June finishing tied 14th in his NCAA Regional, tied 4th in the NCAA Championship Stroke Play and then qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open Championship at Los Angeles C.C.
He hasn’t played that much over the summer and when he has his form has been a little bit patchy. It is also a little concerning that he has only played two competitive rounds of links golf in the last 12 months – a 78 and 73 (+7) for tied 60th in The Open Championship’s Final Qualifying event at West Lancashire G.C.
Brown’s 2023/24 Collegiate Record (Graphic: Stanford University)
The other GB&I players ranked in the latest WAGR top 100 are Calum SCOTT (SCO) 35th, Matt MCCLEAN (IRL) 52nd, Caolan RAFFERTY (IRL) 60th, James ASHFIELD (WAL) 71st, Max KENNEDY (IRL) 79th, Jack BIGHAM (ENG) 88th and Mark POWER (IRL) 94th.
The full GB&I team is expected to be announced next Monday (21st August) following the completion of the U.S. Amateur Championship and the R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship.
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