Andrew Coltart will rely on three Scottish countrymen to help win the Palmer Cup when he captains the European team to face the United States at Walton Heath Golf Club, England, on June 26-28.
Grant Forrest of San Diego, James Ross of Houston and Jack McDonald of the University of Stirling are the three Scots selected to the European side. They join Spaniards Jon Rahm (Arizona State) and Pep Angles (Central Arkansas), Sweden’s Erik Oja (Arizona), Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia (Central Florida), Belgium’s Thomas Detry (Illinois), Ireland’s Paul Dunne (Alabama-Birmingham) and England’s Louis Tomlinson of Myerscough College.
“I’ve got a really strong team, and I’m looking forward to the match,” Coltart said. “Walton Heath is a sensational venue. You couldn’t ask for a more quintessential British golf course. It’s a true championship test that’s hosted the Ryder Cup (1981) and European Tour events.
“Although it’s not a links, it should play like one because it’s a classic heathland course. The ball will need to be played down, and I’m hoping that will favor my team over the Americans.”
Rahm, Gouveia, Oja, Detry, Angles and Ross made the team automatically, based on their Golfstat rankings. Dunne and Forrest were committee picks. Tomlinson earned his place by winning the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament at St. Andrews. Coltart used his captain’s pick to select McDonald.
Coltart brings a wealth of team golf experience to the captaincy. The Edinburgh native was a member of the 1999 Ryder Cup team, and he played for Scotland on five Alfred Dunhill Cup and five World Cup teams. As an amateur, he played on the 1991 Walker Cup team, as well the 1990 Scottish Eisenhower Trophy side.
Coltart did not have the option of choosing such experienced players as England’s Greg Eason (Central Florida) and Denmark’s Sebastian Cappelen (Arkansas), a three-time Palmer Cup player. Both have decided to turn professional as soon as the college season ends. Eason earned his Canadian Tour card recently and is ranked third on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
“It’s always hard to get players to wait to turn professional once they’ve finished college golf,” Coltart said. “You can’t blame them. They want to get started in the professional game as soon as possible. But I’m extremely happy with the team I’m taking to Walton Heath.”
The U.S. leads the series, 9-7-1.
Here’s a look at the European team:
Jon Rahm, Freshman, Arizona State, Spain
Rahm was an obvious choice after winning the Thunderbird Invitational and finishing second in the Redhawk Invitational in back-to-back tournaments recently. He’s 14th on the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Ricardo Gouveia, Senior, Central Florida, Portugal
Gouveia owns three college victories, most recently in the FAU Slomin Autism Invite. He led from start to finish and posted a career-best 6-under 65 in the second round. No. 26 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Erik Oja, Senior, Arizona, Sweden
Has been Arizona’s No. 1 player this season, with 19 rounds at or below par. No. 53 on the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Thomas Detry, Sophomore, Illinois, Belgium
Detry is the highest world-ranked player on the European team, at 12th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He placed fourth at the 3M Augusta Invitational, his fourth top-5 of the season. No. 36 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Pep Angles, Junior, Central Arkansas, Spain
Angles takes his place on the team after winning the Ole Miss Reunion Intercollegiate by three shots. It was his second victory of the season, following the Louisiana Tech Argent Financial Classic. No. 80 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
James Ross, Senior, Houston, , Scotland
Ross finished second to Angles in the Reunion Intercollegiate to match his best finish with the Cougars. He also owns five more top-10 finishes this season. No. 83 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Paul Dunne, Junior, Alabama-Birmingham, Ireland
Dunne earns his place after four top-5 finishes this season, including three in his past four tournaments. He recently finished fifth in the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate. No. 75 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Grant Forrest, Junior, San Diego, Scotland
Recently won his third tournament of the season when he defeated Rahm by three shots in the Redhawk Invitational. It follows victories in the Farms Collegiate in February and the Saint Mary’s Invitational in the fall. No. 32 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
Louis Tomlinson, Myerscough College, England
Earns his place on the team courtesy of winning the R&A Scholars Foundation tournament at St. Andrews, defeating McDonald by a shot. He won the Formby Hare last year. No. 629 in World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Jack McDonald, University of Stirling, Scotland
McDonald is a former Scottish Boys Stroke Play champion (2009). In 2012 he reached the semifinals of the British Amateur Championship at Royal Troon. He studies applied mathematics. No. 101 in World Amateur Golf Ranking.