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Walker Cup: A look at amateurs who could help fill U.S. team

Now that the first five players have been selected to the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team, five more spots remain.

As for who will take those spots, that is the burning question.

Two of those spots will go to a mid-amateur, likely some combination of Nathan Smith, Scott Harvey and Todd White, while the other three could go to any of a number of young players. Alabama’s Robby Shelton and Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge figure to be in the thick of the conversation, but there are several other names who deserve to be considered, as well.

Here is a look at some non-mid-amateur candidates to fill out Spider Miller’s squad for the Sept. 12-13 matches at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England:

• • •

Robby Shelton

WAGR rank: 17th

College: Alabama

Buzz: Despite an average sophomore season by his standards, Shelton is arguably one of the most talented amateurs in the world. What he did in match play as a freshman at the 2014 NCAA Championship along with a deep run at last week’s Western Amateur show just how tough Shelton can be in the format. Also hard to ignore a T-3 at the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship last month.

• • •

Jordan Niebrugge

WAGR rank: 21st

College: Oklahoma State

Buzz: Two years ago, Niebrugge earned his way onto the U.S. Walker Cup squad with a torrid summer stretch of golf. This summer hasn’t been quite as spectacular, but it’s hard to complain with earning low-amateur honors at the British Open. Niebrugge’s past Walker Cup experience should be enough to earn him a spot.

• • •

Denny McCarthy

WAGR rank: seventh

College: Virginia (graduated)

Buzz: The recent Virginia grad made the cut at the U.S. Open and then won the Maryland Open and Porter Cup this summer. He held off on turning pro for this opportunity.

• • •

Scottie Scheffler

WAGR rank: 11th

College: Texas

Buzz: After an impressive freshman season at Texas, Scheffler posted top-6 finishes at the Northeast, Players and Pacific Coast amateurs. He is also a past USGA champion, winning the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur. However, after not making match play at the Western Amateur, Scheffler needs a big showing at the U.S. Amateur to make the team.

• • •

Jack Maguire

WAGR rank: 20th

College: Florida State

Buzz: The Florida State junior made the cut at the U.S. Open and qualified for match play at the Western Amateur. If he makes a deep run in match play at the U.S. Amateur, he could sneak onto the U.S. team.

• • •

Kyle Jones

WAGR rank: 11th

College: Baylor

Buzz: Jones is a quiet kid with a sneaky-good golf game. He was runner-up at the Northeast Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Open but hasn’t stood out in any other events this summer. He might need to win at Olympia Fields to make Spider Miller’s team.

• • •

Matthew NeSmith

WAGR rank: 18th

College: South Carolina

Buzz: He was medalist at his U.S. Open sectional and won The Players Amateur, but has also had some not-so-great starts this summer (missed cuts at Northeast and Western). He’ll likely need to win the U.S. Amateur to make the U.S. squad.

• • •

Aaron Wise

WAGR rank: 23rd

College: Oregon

Buzz: The true wild card. Wise, who plays his college golf at Oregon, won the Pacific Coast Amateur and then was runner-up at the Western Amateur. If he wins the U.S. Amateur, it will be impossible to keep him off the team.

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