Sport U.S. Walker Cup team is set for May matches at Seminole; includes 8 collegians, 3 returners from 2019

15:25  04 april  2021
15:25  04 april  2021 Source:   golfweek.com

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With just more than two months until the 2021 Walker Cup match at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, the U.S. team has taken shape. On Monday, the U.S. Golf Association announced the full 10-man squad that will compete in the first Walker Cup to be held in the spring on U.S. soil.

a person holding a baseball bat: 2019 U.S. Amateur © Provided by Golfweek 2019 U.S. Amateur

Davis Thompson, Ricky Castillo and John Pak, as the three highest-ranked Americans in the WAGR, earned their spot on the team after the World Amateur Golf Ranking was updated on Feb.10 to reflect results from the previous weekend’s Jones Cup, a prestigious amateur event at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Georgia. The trio joined reigning U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci as the first selections to the team.

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The remaining six players were later chosen by the USGA’s International Team Selection working group. Those players are Pierceson Coody, Quade Cummins, Austin Eckroat, Stewart Hagestad, Cole Hammer and William Mouw.

College Rankings

Men’s team | Men’s indiv. | Women’s team | Women’s indiv.

Hagestad, Hammer and Pak all return from the 2019 U.S. team that defeated Great Britain & Ireland at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England. Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Am champ, and Strafaci, who did not return to Georgia Tech this spring, are the only non-collegians on the team.

Pak was arguably the man of the matches in 2019, going 3-0-0 (the only player on either team to go undefeated). The Florida State senior, who has since won two college events and finished as low amateur at the 2020 U.S. Open, came to the Walker Cup team in a decidedly different way than he did in 2019 in that he secured his spot early. A year and a half ago, Pak made six starts in a 10-week stretch, hitting all the major amateur events to make his case for inclusion. Ultimately he was one of the final selections, revealed after the end of the 2019 U.S. Amateur.

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Castillo, now a sophomore at Florida, and Mouw, a sophomore at Pepperdine, seemed to be in the running for much of the summer of 2019, and likely were among the players who just missed a selection that year. Both were junior golfers then, on the cusp of college golf.

Castillo has spent time as the top-ranked player in the WAGR, but currently checks in at No. 6. He won twice in his abbreviated freshman season and has made the semifinals at the Western Amateur the past two years. Mouw set Pepperdine’s freshman record with five top-10 finishes and came back this fall with a pair of top 10s individually.

As for Thompson, a Georgia senior who finished runner-up in his Jones Cup title defense last month, a Walker Cup pick has been all but guaranteed as he has maintained his position at or near the top of the WAGR for the past several weeks. He is currently ranked No. 1.

Thompson has won two college titles in the past two years, including the 2019 NCAA Athens Regional title, and was stroke-play medalist at the 2019 Western Amateur. He finished in the top 25 at the 2019 RSM Classic on the PGA Tour.

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Cummins is the only fifth-year senior on the squad and is finishing up his career at the University of Oklahoma. He won the 2019 Pacific Coast Amateur and logged top-5 finishes at the 2019 Sunnehanna Amateur and in Western Amateur stroke play that year.

Coody, who is a teammate of Hammer’s at the University of Texas, won the Western Amateur in July 2020. Austin Eckroat, a junior at Oklahoma State, is ranked No. 15 in the WAGR and scored a top-15 finish at the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.

McClure Meissner, a junior at SMU and the reigning Southern Amateur champion, and Garett Reband, another Oklahoma fifth-year senior, are the first and second alternatives, respectively.

Nathaniel Crosby, who in addition to guiding the 2019 victory also played on the winning U.S. team in the 1983 Walker Cup match, will return as captain.

“It is once again a great privilege to serve as the USA captain and to work with a group who represent the best of amateur golf,” said Crosby. “The 10 team members have a notable list of accomplishments on the collegiate, national and international levels. They will represent the United States in the spirit and tradition of the Walker Cup Match.”

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