2005: Walker Cup - GB&I has bright future with young squad

Wheaton, Ill.

Fisher, Saltman and Davies might not have been familiar names to the U.S. Walker Cup team before the competition began, but they undoubtedly were after the threesome posted seven points for Great Britain & Ireland.

And these players might very well be on the GB&I roster in 2007 at Royal County Down. In fact, there could be as many as five members of this year’s GB&I team back in action in Northern Ireland.

At just 16, Oliver Fisher seems a certainty to be back. It appears the pro ranks are waiting, but it is doubtful he’ll answer the call before the next Walker Cup. So the Americans will have to face a more seasoned Fisher when they meet again.

“He’s hard as nails,” GB&I captain Garth McGimpsey said. “He’s got the game, he’s focused, he’s got everything you would want in a golfer. Peter McEvoy (former GB&I captain) said he wishes he could have just 10 percent of his future earnings.

“He’s the best young player I’ve seen for a long time. He’s got a huge future.”

Lloyd Saltman also is on course to remain in the amateur ranks for another two years, even if management companies try to sign him.

“The pressure on Lloyd to turn professional is going to be enormous,” said Gary Wolstenholme. “Of the guys I’ve seen, he’s got one of the best opportunities to make it to the top. I cannot only see him being a star on the European Tour, but in America as well. He’s the real deal.”

Wolstenholme praised Fisher as well.

“I call him Robin,” Wolstenholme said. “He’s the Boy Wonder.”

Wolstenholme, who has played in six Walker Cups, envisions Saltman and Fisher as GB&I mainstays in ’07.

“The backbone of any successful team needs guys who are going to be leaders, and these are two leaders, even at their young age,” he said.

Throw in Rhys Davies, who in two years should be rounding out his career at East Tennessee State, and the GB&I team at Royal County Down could have a familiar look.

“The nucleus is definitely there with the young players from this team,” Wolstenholme said. “I’ll be looking to play too, and so will Nigel (Edwards) so potentially you have five players returning.”

Saltman emerged as the top points-earner for GB&I, winning three matches and losing one. The winner of the silver medal for low amateur at the British Open was expected to shine in Chicago, and he didn’t disappoint. Afterward, he hinted that this might not be his last Walker Cup.

“It’s serious consideration,” Saltman said. “After getting a taste of this weekend, and just falling short, it makes you want to come back and be on a winning side. There is nothing written down so I’m kind of keeping my options open.”

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