Fitzpatrick headlines GB&I Walker Cup selections
U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick is the headline act in a Great Britain & Irish Walker Cup team that features another six Englishmen, two Irish players, a Welshman and no Scottish amateurs.
Fitzpatrick, British Amateur champion Garrick Porteous, English Amateur champion Callum Shinkwin, St. Andrews Links Trophy winner Neil Raymond, Max Orrin, Nathan Kimsey and Jordan Smith comprise the seven English players.
The Walker Cup is set for Sept. 7-8 at National Golf Links in Southampton, N.Y.
PHOTOS: Matthew Fitzpatrick, U.S. Am champ
Matt Fitzpatrick will face Oliver Goss in the U. S. Amateur finals. View images of Matt Fitzpatrick during the week of match play at the U. S. Amateur.
East Tennessee State’s Rhys Pugh is the only Welsh member of the team. He is the only returnee from the team that won at Royal Aberdeen two years ago. Pugh earned three points to help GB&I to victory.
North Florida player Kevin Phelan is one of two Irish players in the side. Gavin Moynihan, the 2012 Irish Amateur champion, joins Phelan in the team.
It is the first time since 1949 that no Scots have been featured in the biennial match.
“We believe we have selected a strong team which includes some of the best amateur players in the world,” GB&I captain Nigel Edwards said. “The players have all competed at the highest levels of the amateur game and will relish the challenge of facing the Americans on their home soil.
“There will be some who are disappointed not to make the team, but it is the job of the selectors to carefully consider the players available and select the strongest team they can. We are very much looking forward to what promises to be a great match next month.”
Despite winning the British Boys’ Championship last year, at the start of this season many didn’t expect Fitzpatrick to make this year’s team. However, the 18-year-old has had an outstanding summer that has seen him win the silver medal in the Open Championship at Muirfield and become the first Englishman since 1911 to win the U.S. Amateur. He was also runner-up in the English Amateur Championship, and will ascend to No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
At 27, Raymond is the oldest member of the GB&I squad. The Englishman won the English Amateur Stroke Play Championship (the Brabazon Trophy) in 2011 and 2012.
Porteous became an automatic pick when he won this year’s British Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports, where he defeated Finland’s Toni Hakula.
It is the second time in the space of three matches that English players have dominated the GB&I side. Seven players lined up for GB&I at Merion four years ago.
A player-by-player look at the GB&I team:
• • •
Matthew Fitzpatrick, 18, England
Fitzpatrick won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at The Open Championship at Muirfield and became the first Englishman since 1911 to win the U.S. Amateur Championship with a 4-and-3 victory over Australian Oliver Goss. The 2012 Boys Amateur Champion reached the final of the English Amateur Championship but lost to Callum Shinkwin. He will play collegiate golf at Northwestern University in Chicago from September.
• • •
Nathan Kimsey, 20, England
Kimsey represented England in the 2012 Men’s Home Internationals and became the first English player in 15 years to win all six matches. This year, he finished T-3 at the Brabazon Trophy, T-2 at the St. Andrews Links Trophy and also enjoyed top-10 finishes in the Scottish Stroke Play Championship and the Lytham Trophy. He was a member of the winning English team at the European Men’s Team Championships in Denmark.
• • •
Gavin Moynihan, 18, Ireland
Moynihan became the youngest player to play in the Irish Open in June. The 2012 Irish Amateur Open Champion finished joint runner-up in this year’s event at Royal Dublin. The former Junior Ryder Cup player represented Ireland in the European Men’s Team Championships in Denmark. He represented Ireland in the recent Men’s Home Internationals at Ganton.
• • •
Max Orrin, 19, England
Orrin was a member of the winning England team at the European Men’s Team Championships in Denmark in July. He reached the semi-final of the Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports, where he is a member, and finished T-2 in the St. Andrews Links Trophy. Orrin reached the second round of match play at the recent U.S. Amateur Championship. He won the Titleist Footjoy Boys Order of Merit in 2012 as the leading English player.
• • •
Kevin Phelan, 22, Ireland
Phelan played in his second U.S. Open at Merion in June and made the cut finishing T-62. Phelan is currently studying at North Florida. He won his first collegiate tournament earlier this year and played on the Palmer Cup team which lost to the USA at Wilmington Country Club, Delaware. He represented Ireland in the recent Men’s Home Internationals at Ganton.
• • •
Garrick Porteous, 23, England
Porteous won the Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports, Deal in June and secured a place in The Open Championship at Muirfield, a place in next year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst and a traditional invitation to the Masters. This year, he won the Scottish Stroke Play Championship at Southerness and was runner-up at the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship. He was sixth in the European Nations Cup.
• • •
Rhys Pugh, 19, England
Pugh was a member of the victorious GB&I Walker Cup team in 2011, where he won all three of his matches. The Welshman played in this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield after securing a place by winning the 2012 European Amateur Championship in Dublin. Pugh also played in the Irish Open on the European Tour and won the Welsh Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship at Royal Porthcawl. He played in the recent U.S. Amateur Championship where he reached the first round of match play. In 2009, at the age of 15, he became the youngest player to represent Wales at the Men’s Home Internationals.
• • •
Neil Raymond, 27, England
Raymond won the St. Andrews Links Trophy this year over the Old and Jubilee courses at St. Andrews. He lost in the quarterfinals of the Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports to eventual champion Garrick Porteous. He performed well at the Brabazon and Lytham trophies with top 20 finishes in both events and was runner-up in the Spanish Amateur Championship in February. Raymond reached the quarterfinals of the recent U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass.
• • •
Callum Shinkwin, 20, England
Shinkwin won the English Amateur Championship at Frilford Heath in August with a victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick in the 36-hole final. He made his England debut against France last year and was a member of the winning English team in the European Men’s Team Championships and the Men’s Home Internationals at Ganton. Shinkwin won the South American Amateur Championship in Colombia in January and finished T-2 at the Scottish Stroke Play Championship.
• • •
Jordan Smith, 20, England
Smith won the Brabazon Trophy in June by four shots from Ireland’s Brian Casey. A good season has seen him finish eighth in the St. Andrews Links Trophy, T-9 in the French Amateur Championship, T-5 in the Spanish Amateur Championship and T-7 in the Portuguese International Amateur Championships. Smith is currently ranked 17th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.