2017 Walker Cup: Team GB&I preview, roster, player capsules

2017 GB&I Walker Cup ony Marshall/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

2017 Walker Cup: Team GB&I preview, roster, player capsules

Amateur

2017 Walker Cup: Team GB&I preview, roster, player capsules

As predicted by Golfweek, five Englishmen will spearhead Great Britain & Ireland’s attempt to try to successfully defend the Walker Cup.

Harry Ellis, Scott Gregory, Alfie Plant, Matthew Jordan and Jack Singh Brar comprise half the GB&I team to play the United States at Los Angeles Country Club September 9-10. Scots Connor Syme and Robert MacIntyre make the side along with Welshmen David Boote and Jack Davidson. Paul McBride is the only Irish player to make the team. All 10 players will be making their debuts in the biennial match.

“We’ve been very impressed with the performances of many of the GB&I players so far this season, and it has been a difficult decision to select only 10 players,” said GB&I captain Craig Watson.

English players have always made up the bulk of GB&I teams, with seven making the 2009 side that lost at Merion. So, no surprise with five making this year’s team. They are all strong players with good match play credentials.

Ellis proved just how good a match play competitor he is by winning this year’s British Amateur. The Florida State player came from four down with five to play to win in extra holes.

European Amateur Champion Plant is a natural alongside Ellis. Aside from winning the silver medal as low amateur in the Open Championship, he and Ellis are England foursomes partners. They won all three matches as a pairing in the European Team Championships.

Expect Jordan and Gregory to pair together, too. They partnered together in the European Teams to help England finish second to Spain. Singh Brar won this year’s Lytham Trophy and was second in the Brabazon Trophy.

What is perhaps surprising is that only one Irish player made the team. Five  Irish players were part of the 2015 GB&I team that won at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Stuart Grehan was in the original 20-man squad but narrowly missed out after two wins in his homeland this season.

McBride, meanwhile, should be a good fit since he plays for Wake Forest and will be comfortable with the conditions at LA Country Club. McBride sealed his place by making the quarterfinals of the British Amateur Championship, and then putting together four wins out of five to help Ireland win the recent Home Internationals.

The two Scots were a no brainer choice for Watson and his team of selectors. They are the next highest ranked players on the World Amateur Golf Ranking after Gregory. MacIntyre proved how gritty a competitor he is by reaching the final of last year’s Amateur Champion. Syme, who qualified for this year’s Open Championship, guaranteed his spot by reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Boote has a great year without actually winning. He narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. Open after losing in a playoff, and was close to qualifying for the Open Championship. Davidson is the youngest member of the team but has shown his match play credentials this year by winning the Welsh and Spanish Amateur Championships. He also compiled a 4-1-1 win/loss/half record the Home Internationals.

Here is a look at the GB&I roster with capsules on each player:

David Boote

Wales

Age: 23

World ranking: 37

Home club: Walton Heath, Surrey

Skinny: Played college golf for Stanford so is used to American style golf.


Jack Davidson

Wales

Age: 18

World ranking: 54

Home club: Llanwern, Newport

Skinny: Has three wins this year, including match play victories in Welsh and Spanish Amateur Championships.


Harry Ellis

England

Age: 21

World ranking: 72

Home Club: Meon Valley, Hampshire

Skinny: Sealed his place with impressive comeback win in British Amateur Championship.


Scott Gregory

England

Age: 22

World ranking: 5

Home club: Corhampton, Hampshire

Skinny: Won last year’s British Amateur and has delayed turning pro to play in this year’s match.


Matthew Jordan

England

Age: 21

World ranking: 30

Home club: Royal Liverpool, Hoylake

Skinny: Won this year’s St Andrews Links Trophy and has had a string of top 10s


Robert MacIntyre

Scotland

Age: 21

World ranking: 12

Home club: Glencruitten, Oban

Skinny: A gritty match player as he proved in reaching last year’s British Amateur Championship final.


Paul McBride

Ireland

Age: 21

World ranking: 60

Home club: The Island, Dublin

Skinny: Plays for Wake Forest, so should be comfortable with conditions of LA Country Club.


Alfie Plant

England

Age: 25

World ranking: 40

Home club: Sundridge Park, Kent

Skinny: Took silver medal in Open Championship and won European Amateur to ensure trip to LA.


Connor Syme

Scotland

Age: 22

World ranking: 11

Home club: Drumoig, Fife

Skinny: Ensured his place by reaching quarterfinals of U.S. Amateur Championship.


Jack Singh Brar

England

Age: 21

World ranking: 73

Home club: Remedy Oak, Dorset

Skinny: Lowest ranked GB&I player but very self-assured character. Made match rounds of U.S. Amateur but lost in first round.

 

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