Three weeks out from the Walker Cup and Irish top amateurs are already claiming the headlines.
For the first time in the 93-year history of the illustrious tournament, a record five Irish players have been named in the Nigel Edwards’ 10-man Great Britain & Ireland team.
Gavin Moynihan earns his second cap while Paul Dunne, Cormac Sharvin, Gary Hurley and Jack Hume make their Walker Cup debuts at Royal Lytham & St Annes for this year’s match against the US (September 12-13).
Previously four players — Joe Carr, Jimmy Bruen, Cecil Ewing and Max McCready – were chosen in 1949 and again in 1951 when it was a 12-man team, but this year’s selection represent half of the GB&I line-up.
Greystones star Dunne declared on twitter yesterday: “What an honour to make the Walker Cup team this year! To be on the team with four other Irish lads really is special! #high5.”
Already this season Moynihan and Sharvin have been in the winners’ enclosure. Moynihan clinched his second Irish Amateur Open title in May while Sharvin captured the English equivalent, the Brabazon Trophy, at Hollinwell. Dunne held the 54-hole lead at the Open Championship and made it to the quarter-finals of the US Amateur.
Hurley was a beaten finalist at the Spanish Amateur and was runner-up for the second successive year at the European Amateur.
Hume has been a model of consistency and has been inside the world’s top 50 for most of the season on the back of impressive performances at the Irish Amateur, the Brabazon Trophy (where he was third) and the European Amateur. Neil Manchip, the GUI national coach worked with all of the players on the GUI’s high performance programme and was delighted with the announcement.
“What an outstanding achievement for these five players to make the Walker Cup team. Each one has played their way on to the team through brilliant performances this season. With Irish players making up half of the team the strength of Irish Amateur golf is well reflected. The GUI can be very proud to have such a strong representation. I am really looking forward to watching the lads play at Royal Lytham next month.”
GUI general secretary Pat Finn expressed his appreciation for the funding received by the Union and players from the respective sports councils. “The Irish Sports Council and Sport NI provide support to the union and the players for which we are all extremely grateful. Ireland is producing world-class amateur golfers and we have to acknowledge the role of the sports councils in helping our elite players achieve on an international stage”.
Edwards, who will be captaining the GB&I team for the third time, said, “We have selected a talented group of players who compete at the highest levels of amateur golf and, in some cases, have played in major championships and tour events.
“The Walker Cup offers these players a tremendous opportunity to display their abilities and gain invaluable experience of playing in international team competition. I know there will be players who are disappointed not to have made the team and it has been a difficult decision to make with such strength in depth in the British and Irish game at the moment but we believe we have selected the best players for the team and are very much looking forward to the match.”
Great Britain & Ireland will be looking to win back the Walker Cup for the first time since 2011, when they beat the US at Royal Aberdeen. Two years ago, America won 17-9 on home soil. Open Championship Silver Medal winner Jordan Niebrugge is one of five players added to the US team for the clash. Niebrugge, who pipped Dunne to finish as the leading amateur at St Andrews last month, Scott Harvey, Denny McCarthy, Mike McCoy and teenager Robby Shelton have been added to an American squad that already included Bryson DeChambeau, Beau Hossler, Lee McCoy, Maverick McNealy and Hunter Stewart.
WALKER CUP TEAM:
Ashley Chesters, 26, Hawkstone Park, England; Paul Dunne, 22, Greystones, Ireland; Grant Forrest, 22, Craigielaw, Scotland; Sam Horsfield, 18, Davenport, Florida, USA; Jack Hume, 21, Naas, Ireland; Gary Hurley, 22, West Waterford, Ireland; Jack McDonald, 22, Kilmarnock (Barassie), Scotland; Gavin Moynihan, 20, The Island, Ireland; Jimmy Mullen, 21, Royal North Devon, England; Cormac Sharvin, 22, Ardglass, Ireland.
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