Dogwood win boosts Harman's Walker appeal
Monday, July 6, 2009
What’s the best way to state your case for a selection to this year’s U.S. Walker Cup team?
Performance – plain and simple. Let your golf clubs do your talking.
That’s definitely what Brian Harman did last weekend at the Dogwood Invitational at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta.
Harman completed his college eligibility at Georgia following this year’s NCAA Championship, where he tied for ninth, but opted out of turning pro right away in hopes of making another Walker Cup team (he played on the victorious U.S. squad in 2005).
He knew he would have to make something happen. He did just that.
After an opening 1-over 73, Harman surged back and shot 67-64 to put him in the lead, then closed the deal with a final-round 66. His 18-under 270 total gave him a four-stroke win over his Georgia teammate Russell Henley, who finished with a 67. Adam Mitchell, who also ended his collegiate career at Georgia this spring, was third at 12 under.
Like Harman, both Henley, who also tied for ninth at the NCAA, and Mitchell, winner of the 2008 Porter Cup and a semifinalist at last year’s U.S. Amateur, are considered Walker Cup candidates.
But this victory was huge for Harman, whose last big win came at the 2007 Porter Cup.
He showed signs of returning to form this past college season, being a second-team All-American and finishing No. 13 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
A second-place showing at the Sunnehanna Amateur in early June and a tie for 22nd at the Northeast Amateur two weeks later were added pluses to his resume.
But the Dogwood win without a doubt bolstered his stock value toward becoming one of the 10 players who will travel to Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., to face Great Britain & Ireland on Sept. 12-13.
And, Harman is one heck of a match-play competitor. The 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, Harman went 2-0-1 in the 2005 Walker Cup, where he was the youngest member of the U.S. squad.
In the match-play portion of this year’s NCAA Championship, Harman was 1 down with three holes to play against Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler, a two-time first-team All-American and 2008 Hogan Award recipient. All he did was birdie the final three holes, sending Georgia to the semifinals by sinking a clutch 8-foot putt on the final hole for a 1-up victory.
Bottom line is the guy can perform under pressure and has the fire and desire that can spill over on his teammates.