U.S. announces half of its Walker Cup squad
On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Golf Association announced five of the 10 players who will comprise the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup team: California's Max Homa and Michael Kim, Alabama's Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett and Stanford's Patrick Rodgers.
U.S. captain Jim Holtgrieve will lead the team in the 44th Walker Cup match against Great Britain and Ireland that will be played Sept. 7-8 at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y. This is the first time the National Golf Links will host the Walker Cup since the inaugural match in 1922.
“I appreciate the commitment on the part of these talented players who were chosen and those who are still being considered," Holtgrieve said in a release from the USGA.
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Max Homa, 22, 2013 Cal graduate
Homa won the 2013 NCAA and Pac-12 individual titles. A Valencia, Calif., native, he finished in the top 10 eight times and earned first-team All-America status in his senior season. He qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. Homa, who is No. 16 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, tied for fourth at the 2013 Trans-Mississippi Amateur and tied for fifth at the Northeast Amateur.
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Michael Kim, 20, California, junior
Kim won the 2013 Haskins and Jack Nicklaus awards after posting 10 top-10 finishes in 14 events, including four victories. He was the 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year and a first-team All-American. The Del Mar, Calif., native, earned low-amateur honor at the U.S. Open, tying for 17th at Merion. He was one of three finalists for this year’s Ben Hogan Award. He is No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Kim took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to say: "Feel blessed and honored to be selected by the @USGA to represent the USA in the Walker Cup. Let's go!!! #cantwait #USA"
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Patrick Rodgers, 21, Stanford, junior
Rodgers played on the 2011 U.S. Walker Cup team that lost to GB&I, 14-12, at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland. Rodgers, a two-time first-team All-American, had six top 10s for the Cardinal in the 2012-13 season, including three victories. Rodgers tied for 15th at the PGA Tour’s recent John Deere Classic. He is ranked No. 8 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. The Avon, Ind., native won the 2011 Porter Cup.
Rodgers also took to Twitter, posting "Feel very fortunate to be representing the United States this fall for the Walker Cup. Thank you to @USGA for the selection. What an honor!"
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Justin Thomas, 20, Alabama, junior
Thomas, who swept the 2012 Haskins, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Michelson awards in college golf, will play in his first Walker Cup. This spring, Thomas was part of Alabama’s first men's golf national championship. He compiled six top-10 finishes during his sophomore campaign, including two victories. Thomas, from Goshen, Ky., became the second player in Alabama history to be named a two-time first-team All-American. The No. 4 player in the WAGR has competed in two Palmer Cups.
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Cory Whitsett, 22, Alabama, senior
Whitsett, a native of Houston, was named the 2012-13 SEC men’s golfer of the year. He had eight top-10 finishes, including a stretch in seven spring events in which he won three times and didn’t finish worse than seventh. Whitsett won the 2013 Northeast Amateur and finished second at the Sunnehanna Amateur. He is No. 3 in the WAGR.