Uihlein atop Walker Cup watch list
Monday, June 13, 2011
We’re one week into the summer amateur season. Here’s a look at how the race for Walker Cup spots stands after the Sunnehanna, Palmer Cup and U.S. Open qualifying (Note: *-attended Walker Cup practice session):
1. Peter Uihlein, Orlando, Fla. (Oklahoma State)*
Last ranked: 1
Recent results: T-3, NCAA Championship
The skinny: Uihlein remains the biggest name in amateur golf, and for good reason.
2. Patrick Cantlay, Los Alamitos, Calif. (UCLA)*
Last ranked: 2
Recent results: Qualified for U.S. Open; Played for victorious U.S. team at Palmer Cup (1-2-1 individual record); Runner-up, NCAA Championship
The skinny: Cantlay qualified for the U.S. Open out of the ‘Tour’ sectional in Columbus, Ohio, just one day after receiving the Jack Nicklaus Award at the Memorial.
3. Russell Henley, Macon, Ga. (Georgia)*
Last ranked: 3
Recent results: Qualified for U.S. Open; Played for victorious U.S. team at Palmer Cup (1-3-0); T-74, NCAA Championship
The skinny: Henley tied for 16th at last year’s U.S. Open. That result, and his victory earlier this year at the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic, make him a virtual lock for the team.
4. Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh (Mid-Am)*
Last ranked: 9
Recent results: Won, Sunnehanna Amateur; Won, Pennsylvania Match Play Championship
The skinny: Smith’s case for inclusion on this year’s team was built on his three U.S. Mid-Am victories and appearance on the 2009 Walker Cup team. After beating a bunch of the country’s best “kids” at the Sunnehanna, he now seems like a lock.
5. Scott Langley, Manchester, Mo. (Illinois)*
Last ranked: 4
Recent results: T-129, NCAA Championship
The skinny: Langley struggled at NCAAs, but his accomplishments from last year – he won the NCAA title, tied for 16th at the U.S. Open and made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur – still carry plenty of weight. He also represented the United States at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship, which should help his candidacy.
6. David Chung, Fayetteville, N.C. (Stanford)*
Last ranked: 5
Recent results: T-11, NCAA Central Regional
The skinny: Like Langley, Chung has been struggling, but is still high on the list based on his performance in 2010. Chung won the Porter Cup and Western Amateur and was runner-up in the U.S. Amateur. Chung, Langley and Uihlein represented the United States at the World Amateur Team Championship.
7. John Peterson, Fort Worth, Texas (LSU)
Last ranked: 6
Recent results: 20th, Sunnehanna Amateur; Won, NCAA Championship; T-6, NCAA East Regional
The skinny: Peterson started this year on the outskirts of the Walker Cup landscape. No one has won bigger titles in 2011, though. He’s won both the NCAA Championship and Jones Cup.
8. Jordan Spieth, Dallas (Texas)*
Last ranked: 7
Recent results: T-17, Sunnehanna Amateur; T-32, PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship; 5th, Azalea Amateur
The skinny: Spieth is looking to become the first incoming freshman to make the team since Rickie Fowler in 2007. Spieth was in contention at the Nelson, getting within three shots of the lead during the final round, before stumbling on the finishing holes. He also finished runner-up at the Jones Cup and is a former U.S. Junior champion.
9. Harris English, Thomasville, Ga. (Georgia)*
Last ranked: 8
Recent results: T-10, NCAA Championship
The skinny: English is extremely popular with his potential teammates, which helps his cause. He’s playing well enough to make the team, as well.
10. Blayne Barber, Lake City, Fla. (Auburn)*
Last ranked: 10
Recent results: Played for victorious U.S. team at Palmer Cup (2-1-1); T-9, NCAA South Central Regional
The skinny: Barber is amateur golf’s Mr. Consistency. Another summer like the one he had in 2010 could get him on the team. Playing well in the Palmer Cup shows he’s well-suited for team competition.
ON THE BUBBLE
11. Bank Vongvanij, Bradenton, Fla. (Florida)
Last ranked: 11
Recent results: Played for victorious U.S. team at Palmer Cup (3-1-0); T-13, NCAA Championship
The skinny: A strong Palmer Cup performance helps the candidacy of this first-team All-American.
12. Andrew Yun, Chandler, Ariz. (Stanford)*
Last ranked: 15
Recent results: Played for victorious U.S. team at Palmer Cup (4-0-0); T-34, NCAA Central Regional
The skinny: Going undefeated at the Palmer Cup helps his candidacy. Yun was a first-team All-American at Stanford this past season.
13. Andrew Putnam, University Place, Wash. (Pepperdine)*
Last ranked: 12
Recent results: T-17, Sunnehanna Amateur; T-38, NCAA Championship; T-25, NCAA Southwest Regional
The skinny: His older brother, Michael, played on the 2005 Walker Cup team. Andrew has some work to do this summer, but is still a strong candidate. He participated in the Walker Cup practice session earlier this year.
14. James White, Acworth, Ga. (Georgia Tech)
Last ranked: 13
Recent results: T-8, Sunnehanna Amateur; T-8, NCAA Championship
The skinny: White, a first-team All-American, will have to beef up his amateur resume to make this team. His T-8 at the Sunnehanna is a solid start.
15. Gregor Main, Danville, Calif. (UCLA)*
Last ranked: 14
Recent results: T-20, NCAA Championship
The skinny: Main was invited to the Walker Cup practice session at the beginning of 2011, so he’s still on the selectors’ radar.
Others to watch (alphabetical order):
Brad Benjamin; J.T. Griffin; Luke Guthrie; John Hahn*; Cameron Peck; Patrick Rodgers; Jordan Russell; Justin Thomas; Cory Whitsett; Bobby Wyatt
Opting out (turning professional):
• Bud Cauley*, Jacksonville, Fla. (Alabama)
• Morgan Hoffmann, Wyckoff, N.J. (Oklahoma State)
• Lion Kim, Lake Mary, Fla. (Michigan)
• Patrick Reed*, Martinez, Ga. (Augusta State)
• Kevin Tway, Edmond, Okla. (Oklahoma State)