Walker Cup: Staff predictions for Saturday's matches

GB&I's Matt Fitzpatrick, the current U. S. Amateur champion poses for pictures with spectators during Friday's practice at the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.

GB&I's Matt Fitzpatrick, the current U. S. Amateur champion poses for pictures with spectators during Friday's practice at the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – The 44th Walker Cup begins Saturday at National Golf Links of America with morning foursomes and afternoon singles matches.

Some interesting pairings that stand out in the morning are Matthew Fitzpatrick and Neil Raymond teaming up for GB&I against Jordan Niebrugge and Nathan Smith.

Americans Patrick Rodgers and Justin Thomas, who are best friends, will take on GB&I’s Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan. All four of these players have played, are playing or will play college golf.

In possibly the most intriguing match of the afternoon, Fitzpatrick will take on 2012 U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver.

Take a look at the matches and some predictions from our crew at NGLA:

• • •

Morning Foursomes

7:15 a.m. Nathan Kimsey and Max Orrin (GB&I) vs. Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt (USA)

Jim McCabe, senior writer

• Whitsett-Wyatt: Winning point in the first match is better than morning coffee.

Cassie Stein, assistant editor Golfweek.com

• Whitsett-Wyatt: Alabama duo has good chemistry that will overpower this GB&I twosome

Julie Williams, assistant editor Golfweek.com

• Whitsett-Wyatt: This is probably the most celebrated pairing on the U.S. side, and a smart lead-off by Holtgrieve.

Alistair Tait, senior writer

• Kimsey-Orrin: Kimsey and Orrin have been a pretty successful duo for England in international matches and I give them the edge in this one.

7:30 a.m. Matthew Fitzpatrick and Neil Raymond (GBI) vs. Jordan Niebrugge and Nathan Smith (USA)

Jim McCabe

• Fitzpatrick-Raymond: Magical summer continues from Fitzpatrick.

Cassie Stein

• Fitzpatrick-Raymond: The youngest (Fitzpatrick) and oldest (Raymond) players on the GB&I team have had much success this summer in match play, so expect that to continue.

Julie Williams

• Fitzpatrick-Raymond: Raymond’s experience and Fitzpatrick’s hot streak make an unbeatable duo.

Alistair Tait

• Fitzpatrick-Raymond: Fitzpatrick's deadly putting and Raymond's experience give GB&I the advantage.

7:45 a.m. Garrick Porteous and Rhys Pugh (GB&I) vs. Michael Weaver and Todd White (USA)

Jim McCabe

• Porteous-Pugh: Interesting team for the visitors, but they come through.

Cassie Stein

• Porteous-Pugh: Pugh has experience from 2011 and will continuing his winning streak, and Porteous won the British Amateur in June.

Julie Williams

• Porteous-Pugh: The visitors bring a lot more strengths to the table in this match.

Alistair Tait

• Porteous-Pugh: Can't see a clear winner in this one.

8 a.m. Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan (GB&I) vs. Patrick Rodgers and Justin Thomas

Jim McCabe

• Rodgers-Thomas: Americans desperately need their big guns to perform.

Cassie Stein

• Rodgers-Thomas: The long-time best friends will finish off the morning session on a high note for Team USA.

Julie Williams

• Rodgers-Thomas: Rodgers will be playing with experience, and Thomas with nothing to lose.

Alistair Tait

• Rodgers-Thomas: Rodgers and Thomas should be too strong for the all-Irish pair unless the wind blows hard.

• • •

Afternoon Singles

1 p.m. Neil Raymond vs. Bobby Wyatt

Jim McCabe

• Wyatt: Alabama kid has been in good form.

Cassie Stein

• Wyatt: Wyatt likes to get out fast in matches. Expect the same in this.

Julie Williams

• Wyatt: Wyatt’s game seems to be on the rise enough to overcome Raymond’s experience.

Alistair Tait

• Raymond: Raymond's experience should swing the match his way.

1:11 p.m. Max Orrin vs. Max Homa

Jim McCabe

• Orrin: Orrin carries over momentum from solid U.S. Amateur.

Cassie Stein

• Homa: Homa won’t play the morning foursomes, so expect him to be fired up for afternoon play.

Julie Williams

• Homa: After sitting out of the morning round, Homa should be champing at the bit by Saturday afternoon.

Alistair Tait

• Orrin: Orrin is a strong player and should have the edge on the NCAA champion.

1:22 p.m. Callum Shinkwin vs. Michael Kim

Jim McCabe

• Callum Shinkwin: First upset, of sorts.

Cassie Stein

• Shinkwin: Both players won’t play in the morning matches, but Kim still is struggling with his game.

Julie Williams

• Shinkwin: Top U.S. college player will see an upset here.

Alistair Tait

• Kim: Shinkwin is a good player, but Kim proved in this year's U.S. Open that he is a class act. He gets the win.

1:33 p.m. Jordan Smith vs. Cory Whitsett

Jim McCabe

• Whitsett: Whitsett makes amends from disappointing U.S. Amateur.

Cassie Stein

• Whitsett: A U.S. Junior Amateur champion, Whitsett knows how to win in match play.

Julie Williams

• Whitsett: Expect Whitsett’s Palmer Cup prowess to continue. He’s a load in match play.

Alistair Tait

• Halve: Smith is widely regarded as a good all-round player and should be an even match for Whitsett.

1:44 p.m. Garrick Porteous vs. Jordan Niebrugge

Jim McCabe

• Porteous: Solid day for the British Amateur champ.

Cassie Stein

• Porteous: British Am champ will go 2-0 on the day.

Julie Williams

• Porteous: British Am champion is a tough, experienced draw for rookie Niebrugge.

Alistair Tait

• Porteous: The British Amateur champion has the advantage due to his experience.

1:55 p.m. Matthew Fitzpatrick vs. Michael Weaver

Jim McCabe

• Fitzpatrick: Ditto the U.S. Amateur winner.

Cassie Stein

• Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick’s magical summer continues as he takes down the 2012 U.S. Amateur runner-up.

Julie Williams

• Fitzpatrick: Foolish to bet against the U.S. Amateur champion in almost any match.

Alistair Tait

• Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick has to have a bad day with the putter to lose this one.

2:06 p.m. Nathan Kimsey vs. Justin Thomas

Jim McCabe

• Kimsey: Spirited upset gives visitors emotional lift.

Cassie Stein

• Thomas: 2012 college player of the year will show why is a dominant player still.

Julie Williams

• Thomas: Kimsey clearly outmatched in this one.

Alistair Tait

• Thomas: Thomas is the stronger player and should win this match.

2:17 p.m. Gavin Moynihan vs. Patrick Rodgers

Jim McCabe

• Rodgers: Team America's best player steadies the ship.

Cassie Stein

• Rodgers: One of two returners from the 2011 team, Rodgers will get his second win of the day and will the Americans to victory come Sunday.

Julie Williams

• Rodgers: Rodgers will take the anchor spot seriously and set the U.S. on an upward path toward Sunday.

Alistair Tait

• Rodgers: Rodgers benefits from having one Walker Cup under his belt and should be burning to make up for losing last time around. He wins.

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