English golfers will spearhead Great Britain and Ireland’s Walker Cup side. They comprise half the 10-man team along with three Irishmen and two Scots to face the United States at Royal Liverpool on Sept. 7-8.
Conor Gough, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is the highest-ranked player on the GB&I side and the youngest member at age 16. He was on the initial 26-man squad, but left off the revised 16-man squad named July 23 after taking much of the British domestic season off to concentrate on his school studies. However, he takes his place after winning the English Amateur Championship earlier this month.
Wake Forest’s Alex Fitzpatrick joins brother Matthew in earning a Walker Cup spot. Five-time European Tour winner Matthew played in the 2013 match at the National Golf Links on Long Island.
Harry Hall, Thomas Plumb and Tom Sloman are the other English players. Plumb and Sloman make the side as a ready-made foursomes pair. They’ve played the alternate shot format many times together.
Hall has just graduated from UNLV after winning two tournaments in his senior year. He was also runner-up in this year’s Brabazon Trophy.
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James Sugrue, Conor Purcell and Caolan Rafferty are the Irish players. Sugrue made the team when he won the British Amateur at Portmarnock. The R&A has an unwritten rule that its Amateur champion automatically makes the GB&I team. Sugrue is worthy of his spot as a seasoned match play competitor and experienced links player.
Rafferty is the oldest player on the GB&I side at age 26. He won the West of Ireland Championship this summer. Like Sugrue, he’s an experienced links player. Purcell is the current Australian Amateur champion. He was runner-up in the West of Ireland Amateur Open and Irish Amateur Open Championship this summer.
Texas Tech player Sandy Scott and Euan Walker are the two Scots on the team.
Walker is the second-highest ranked player named to the team at world No. 14. He’s had an excellent year with victory in the South African Amateur and runner-up finishes in the British Amateur and European Amateur Championships.
Scott will probably partner with Walker in foursomes play at Hoylake. The rising Texas Tech senior earned his first college victory in the El Macero Classic in April. He’s ranked 51st on the WAGR table.
GB&I Walker Cup captain Craig Watson said: “It has been a very difficult decision to select ten players for Great Britain and Ireland from a strong squad, but we have been very impressed with the results of those we have picked. We believe they will give us the best chance of regaining the Walker Cup against a strong American team.”
The U.S. won the 2017 match at Los Angeles Country Club and hold a 36-9-1 advantage over GB&I.
The GB&I Walker Cup team with age and WAGR:
Alex Fitzpatrick, England, 20, No. 41
Conor Gough, England, 16, No. 2
Harry Hall, England, 21, No. 76
Thomas Plumb, England, 20, No. 138
Conor Purcell, Ireland, 21, No. 16
Caolan Rafferty, Ireland, 26, No. 23
Sandy Scott, Scotland, 20, No. 51
Tom Sloman, England, 22, No. 35
James Sugrue, Ireland, 22, No. 62
Euan Walker, Scotland, 24, No. 14