2005: Competition - Harman makes Walker Cup case

Bluffton, S.C.

Brian Harman says he’s not trying to make a statement. But his play is speaking loud and clear.

Harman, making a strong push to become the youngest member ever of the U.S. Walker Cup team, made his final argument with a six-stroke victory July 17 at the Players Amateur. The American team is expected to be announced early this week by the U.S. Golf Association and Walker Cup captain Bob Lewis.

The 18-year-old Harman, the 2003 U.S. Junior winner who will be a freshman at the University of Georgia this fall, took control with a 7-under 65 in the third round, then cruised to victory with a final-round 70 at Belfair Golf Club’s West Course.

Harman, from nearby Savannah, Ga., finished with a 17-under 271 total to win by six over South Carolina-Aiken senior Scott Brown. Georgia Tech junior Roberto Castro finished third at 10-under 278, followed by Australian Marc Leishman at 9 under and another Walker Cup hopeful, Nicholas Thompson, at 8 under.

In addition to his July 10 victory at the Georgia Amateur, Harman has four top 5s in the five major amateur events he has competed in this year (second to Thompson at the Jones Cup, a tie for fifth at Sunnehanna and a tie for fourth at the Northeast Amateur). His only finish outside the top 5 was a ninth at the Azalea Invitational.

His victory at the Players helped Harman climb five spots to No. 4 in the Golfweek/ Titleist Amateur Rankings.

“I’m just trying to play the best golf I possibly can,” he said. “I’m just going to let them pick (the Walker Cup team) the way they want to pick it.”

Harman, at 18 years, 7 months, would be the youngest player ever selected to the U.S. team. Brian Montgomery, who was 18 years, 8 months for the 1987 Walker Cup Matches, is the youngest player on record, and Casey Wittenberg was 18 years, 10 months in 2003.

Still, Harman seems to think he’s done his part to earn a Walker Cup berth.

“What do you think?” Harman said. “I haven’t finished outside the top 5 but once, and I’ve been right in the hunt in all of these tournaments. I’ve beaten a lot of the (probable) Walker Cup players. But hey, it’s whatever they want to do.

“The best players aren’t necessarily the older players. I think I’ve shown that.”

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