Walker Cup Watch List: Morikawa, Scheffler, Harvey boost stock

Cal Athletics/Steven Spavitore

Walker Cup Watch List: Morikawa, Scheffler, Harvey boost stock

Amateur

Walker Cup Watch List: Morikawa, Scheffler, Harvey boost stock

The 2017 U.S. Walker Cup team is taking shape as we enter July.

Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry leads a short list of players who are believed to have already done enough to warrant a spot on the U.S. squad for this year’s edition of the biennial matches will be played Sept. 9-10 at Los Angeles Country Club.

That list also includes Texas’ Scottie Scheffler, Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, Cal’s Collin Morikawa and two mid-amateurs, Stewart Hagestad and Scott Harvey.

Who will make U.S. captain John “Spider” Miller’s 10-man squad this year? We’ll keep tabs on the candidates all year until the team is selected in August.

Here is the latest look at the potential American roster (Note: World Amateur Golf Ranking in parentheses; one of 10 players must be a mid-amateur):

Braden Thornberry (4): Despite what rankings say, he has blossomed into America’s top amateur at the moment. Winner of this year’s Jones Cup, NCAA Championship and Sunnehanna Amateur. He also won five times as a sophomore at Ole Miss and recently tied for fourth at the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. Great character and team guy. He can book his flight for Los Angeles this September.

Scottie Scheffler (22): Came alive at the NCAA Championship before qualifying for his second straight U.S. Open. He then captured low-amateur honors at Erin Hills before a T-36 at the Northeast Amateur, which he opened with a 65 despite running on fumes after a long week at the U.S. Open. His game reaches another level on the big stage. He’s comfortably on the U.S. Walker Cup team, too.

Stewart Hagestad (20; mid-amateur): Defending U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and low amateur at the Masters, Hagestad is a lock. He didn’t play particularly well at the U.S. Open, but he looked better in his T-21 finish at the Northeast. Plus, he brings a great knowledge of LACC to the table. Another great team guy who can make anybody feel like they are his best friend.

Scott Harvey (44; mid-amateur): Despite the mid-am requirement being dropped to one, Harvey should still make the team. He was runner-up to Hagestad at the U.S. Mid-Amateur and he recently qualified for the U.S. Open. Then there were big victories at the Coleman and Thomas invitationals, the latter of which came last weekend at LACC. Harvey hits the ball a mile and his wedge game is just as great. He should have no worries when it comes to whether or not he’ll earn his second straight trip to the Walker Cup.

Collin Morikawa (5): Despite missing NCAA Championship, Morikawa has been stellar so far this summer. He represented the U.S. at the Palmer Cup, lost in a playoff to Braden Thornberry at the Sunnehanna and then won the Northeast Amateur. Great ballstriker who has greatly improved his short game this year. Could pair with anyone.

Maverick McNealy (2): In addition to his world-class golf game, McNealy brings a ton of experience to the table, having also played on the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team. However, some question whether he’s done enough this year to warrant another Walker Cup invite. McNealy won just once last season, and that was in the fall. But he played well at the Palmer Cup and in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. He will also tee it up at the British Open. He might not have the results but he has the reputation to deserve another go for Team USA at the Walker Cup.

Sean Crocker (7): Coming off solid college season at USC and recently made the cut at the European Tour event in Munich, Germany. Also won the Italian Amateur this year. Strong match-play pedigree and possesses a swagger that the U.S. team needs.

Dylan Meyer (3): Last year’s Western Amateur champion won three times in the spring and helped Illinois to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship. He missed the cut at the Sunnehanna, but responded by making the cut at the Web.com Tour’s Lincoln Land Charity Championship. Always a tough out in match play.

Sam Burns (27): Struggled down the stretch at the NCAA Championship and Sunnehanna Amateur, but looked good in the final round at the Northeast, where he finished fifth. He won the Nicklaus Award last season thanks to four victories and he’ll be turning pro this fall. He really wants to make the Walker Cup team and Team USA could use his talent and ability. He’s an intimidating matchup when he’s on his game; just ask the Europeans who played against him three years ago at the Junior Ryder Cup.

John Oda (34): Qualified for the U.S. at Erin Hills and is one of the most underrated amateurs in the game. At this point, he gets the nod for the last spot, but just barely as there are several deserving candidates.

NEXT FIVE

Will Zalatoris (12): Captain Miller is a big fan of Zalatoris’ competitiveness. The Wake Forest senior is a past USGA champion and had a solid year for the Demon Deacons. He recently missed the cut at the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic. Will need a nice finish or two to give USGA confidence to pick him. Has all the other intangibles.

Doug Ghim (14): Nearly qualified for the U.S. Open and then placed fourth at the Northeast. Consistency is his strength and you always know you’re going to get a smart, steady performance from the Texas senior.

Jimmy Stanger (11): Made match play at the British Amateur after a nice season at Virginia. Should give him confidence going into July.

Brad Dalke (52): Still have to give Dalke credit for his U.S. Amateur runner-up finish, and he was able to put together a solid round in both of his major starts this year.

Cameron Champ (36): Can drive his golf ball across time zones and the golf world got to see that at Erin Hills. Champ’s made cut at the U.S. Open puts him on the USGA’s radar, and now it’s up to him to show them more this summer.

SECOND FIVE

Nick Hardy (13), Dawson Armstrong (10), Noah Goodwin (16), Gavin Hall (25), Davis Shore (40)

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