Jack Davidson’s jump from Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup player to European Tour professional didn’t get off to the best of starts.
Welcome to reality, Jack.
Davidson returned a four-over-par 75 in the opening round of the KLM Open on his debut as a professional golfer. The 20-year-old Welshman is nine shots behind joint leaders Bernd Wiesberger and Richard Finch in a tie for 107th, and needs a low second round score to make the cut.
It was always going to be a big ask to expect Davidson to pick himself up from a miserable experience at Los Angeles Country Club and play well in his first professional event. Davidson lost all three matches in the 46th Walker Cup. He and countryman David Boote were hammered twice in foursomes, losing 5&4 on Saturday and 6&5 on Sunday. Davidson then lost 3&2 to Will Zalatoris in the final single’s session.
Not the best preparation life as a professional.
Whether Davidson or the other six GB&I players turning professional make it on the European Tour remains to be seen. Chances are most of them won’t.
The GB&I hopefuls need look no further than the leaderboard of First Stage of European Tour Qualifying School at The Roxburghe for proof that a Walker Cup spot is no guarantee of European Tour success. The field is full of ex-Walker Cuppers still trying to gain a foothold on the European Tour.
England’s Sam Hutsby leads the race for one of the 20 spots into second stage. Yes, second stage. Those at the bottom of the food chain need to play three tournaments over 14 rounds just to try to gain one of the 25 cards for the 2018 European Tour.
Hutsby played on the 2009 GB&I team at Merion and is still trying to gain a European Tour card. Former Augusta State player Jamie Elson lies in joint 8th place. He played on the victorious 2001 team that won at Sea Island. Elson’s now 36 years old and still looking for European Tour success.
Ireland’s Colm Moriarty is on the bubble for one of the 20 spots from The Roxburghe. He played in the 2003 GB&I team that won at Ganton. He’s making his 13th European Qualifying School appearance.
James Byrne missed the 54-hole cut. The former Arizona State player played in the 2011 GB&I team. He’s spent the last few years on the Asian Tour.
Byrne was two shots better than Lloyd Saltman, who also missed the cut. Two-time Walker Cup player Saltman, 2005 and 2007, finished 10 over par in a tie for 76th place. The Scot was earmarked for greatness after an outstanding amateur career that saw him win the Lytham Trophy, Brabazon Trophy, St Andrews Links Trophy, Irish Stroke Play Championship and finish 15th in the 2005 Open Championship at St Andrews to take the silver medal as low amateur. Ten trips to the European Tour Q School prove he’s the “can’t miss kid” who’s missed big time.
Hopefully Davidson will fare better than the above Walker Cup alumni. However, don’t be surprised if he and other 2017 GB&I Walker Cuppers are repeat European Tour Q School students.