HOYLAKE, England – World No. 1 Cole Hammer has been left out of the United States’ lineup in the opening foursomes session of the 47th Walker Cup. He and Steven Fisk sit on the bench as the U.S. sets out to defend the trophy it won at Los Angeles Country Club two years ago.
U.S. Walker captain Nathaniel Crosby said Hammer is set to lead the singles matches both days, and that Hammer will play in Sunday’s foursomes.
“We’re going to have Cole lead off the singles both days,” Crosby said. “There’s not a weak link, and there’s not a player who’s extraordinarily superior to the other. We felt all 10 players had an equal shot and we wanted to pair certain alternate shot players together. We just wanted to keep the alternate shot teams together and went with the team we have right now.
“Everybody’s going to play three times and four are going to play four times but we wanted to lock in the alternate shot teams. We’ve got great chemistry with those guys they know each others’ games. I just didn’t want to make it fluid. I wanted to set the schedule from the get go.
“It wasn’t a reaction to Cole not playing exceptional. Everybody’s in form. Steven as well.”
U.S. Amateur winner Andy Ogletree and runner-up John Augenstein lead the U.S. charge. They play England’s Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell of Ireland in the first foursomes match.
John Pak and Isaiah Salinda tee off 10 minutes later against the all-Scottish due of Sandy Scott and Euan Walker.
Crosby has teamed the oldest and youngest members of his team in the third match. Twenty-eight-year-old Stewart Hagestad, the only member of the victorious 2017 side in Crosby’s team, will chaperone 17-year-old Isaiah Salinda around Royal Liverpool. They face the English duo of Harry Hall and Conor Gough, the world number three.
Brandon Wu and Alex Smalley complete the U.S. line-up. They face tried and tested English twosome Tom Sloman and Thomas Plumb, a pairing that has competed many times for their country in foursomes golf.
Hammer stressed the importance of the first foursomes session during a pre-tournament press conference on Friday.
“It’s really important to get off to a good start and keep the pedal down because that can put you up to a good advantage and get them behind the 8-ball pretty quickly,” the Texas player said. “It’s going to be important for us to get off to a good start tomorrow morning and hopefully keep that going.”
Hammer will have no influence on helping his team gain momentum. He better hope his teammates can get the away team off to a fast start.
Irish pair Caolan Rafferty and British Amateur champion James Sugrue sit on the bench for GB&I.
Saturday foursomes draw
U.S. players list first. Time is local.
8:30 a.m.: John Augenstein & Andy Ogletree vs. Alex Fitzpatrick & Conor Purcell
8:40 a.m.: John Pak & Isaiah Salinda vs. Sandy Scott & Euan Walker
8:50 a.m.: Stewart Hagestad & Akshay Bhatia vs. Harry Hall & Conor Gough
9 a.m.: Brandon Wu & Alex Smalley vs. Tom Sloman & Thomas Plumb
There is no live TV coverage of the 2019 Walker Cup, but there will be highlight shows at Golf Channel at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.