Walker Cup watch list

From left: Patrick Cantlay, Scott Langley, Peter Uihlein, Russell Henley, John Peterson
From left: Patrick Cantlay, Scott Langley, Peter Uihlein, Russell Henley, John Peterson ( Golfweek photo illustration )

Monday, June 27, 2011

Last week's Northeast Amateur is one of the summer's top events. Peter Uihlein won in record-setting fashion at Wannamoisett. While he didn't need help with his Walker Cup candidacy, several players boosted their chances of making the team. Remember, this watch list isn't a ranking of the game's hottest players. It ranks Walker Cup candidates based on the criteria the USGA uses when picking the team. The USGA looks at results over a two-year period, with an emphasis on amateur results and finishes in USGA events.

• • •

T-1. Patrick Cantlay, Los Alamitos, Calif. (UCLA)*

Last ranked: 2

Recent results: T-24, Travelers Championship; T-21, U.S. Open

The skinny: Consecutive top 25s on the PGA Tour are Cantlay’s latest impressive finishes. He now owns the lowest round by an amateur in PGA Tour history.

• • •

T-1. Peter Uihlein, Orlando, Fla. (Oklahoma State)*

Last ranked: 1

Recent results: Won, Northeast Amateur; MC, U.S. Open

The skinny: The Northeast Amateur is one of the top amateur events in the country. Its winner is virtually assured of making the team, not that Uihlein needed the help.


Russell Henley, Macon, Ga. (Georgia)*

Last ranked: 3

Recent results: T-42 U.S. Open

The skinny: Henley’s U.S. Open finish wasn’t as strong as last year, but he did get inside the top 10 on the weekend. He and Cantlay teamed at the Palmer Cup. Could they do it again at Aberdeen?


Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh (Mid-Am)*

Last ranked: 4

Recent results: Won, Sunnehanna Amateur

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.


Scott Langley, Manchester, Mo. (Illinois)*

Last ranked: 5

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.


David Chung, Fayetteville, N.C. (Stanford)*

Last ranked: 6

Recent results: T-28, Northeast Amateur

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.


John Peterson, Fort Worth, Texas (LSU)

Last ranked: 7

Recent results: 20th, Sunnehanna Amateur

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.


Jordan Spieth, Dallas (Texas)*

Last ranked: 8

Recent results: T-41, Northeast Amateur; T-17, Sunnehanna Amateur

The skinny: Spieth is looking to become the first incoming freshman to make the team since Rickie Fowler in 2007.


Blayne Barber, Lake City, Fla. (Auburn)*

Last ranked: 10

Recent results: 3rd, Northeast Amateur

The skinny: Barber is amateur golf’s Mr. Consistency. Another summer like the one he had in 2010 could get him on the team.


Harris English, Thomasville, Ga. (Georgia)*

Last ranked: 9

Recent results: T-13, Northeast Amateur

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.



James White, Acworth, Ga. (Georgia Tech)

Last ranked: 14

Recent results: 2nd, Northeast Amateur; T-8, Sunnehanna Amateur

The skinny: White, a first-team All-American, has come on strong with top 10s at the NCAA East Regional, NCAA Championship, Sunnehanna and Northeast.

• • •

Bank Vongvanij, Bradenton, Fla. (Florida)

Last ranked: 11

Recent results: T-5, Northeast Amateur

The skinny: A strong Palmer Cup performance helps the candidacy of this first-team All-American.


Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. (Stanford)

Last ranked: NR

Recent results: 4th, Northeast Amateur

The skinny: Rodgers hasn’t won one of amateur golf’s biggest titles, but he consistently contends. He was fourth at the Northeast and third at both the Azalea and Jones Cup. He also was runner-up in stroke play at the 2010 U.S. Amateur, and advanced to the second round of match play.


Andrew Putnam, University Place, Wash. (Pepperdine)*

Last ranked: 13

Recent results: 10th, Northeast Amateur; T-17, Sunnehanna Amateur

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.


Brad Benjamin, Rockford, Ill.

Last ranked: NR

Recent results: T-28, Northeast Amateur; 72nd, U.S. Open

The skinny: Benjamin has a USGA title under his belt (the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links) and added several strong finishes last year – third at Sunnehanna, second at Northeast and Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur. Making the cut at the U.S. Open is a big boost to his hopes.


Others to watch (alphabetical order):

J.T. Griffin; Luke Guthrie; John Hahn; Gregor Main; Cameron Peck; Jordan Russell; Justin Thomas; Chris Williams; Cory Whitsett; Bobby Wyatt; Andrew Yun


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)

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