THE Scottish contingent in next weekend’s Walker Cup at Royal Lytham has increased to three after Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson earned a step up from first reserve following the withdrawal of Englishman Sam Horsfield due to “personal reasons”.
Ferguson, the 2013 British Boys’ champion, joins Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest and Jack McDonald from Kilmarnock (Barassie) in the ten-strong Great Britain & Ireland team for the biennial clash against the Americans in Lancashire.
“I was really gutted for a few days after I’d got the call to say I wasn’t in,” said 19-year-old Ferguson this morning. “But, since getting another call to say I was in I’ve been buzzing and back to my normal bubbly self.
“I’ve known since Friday and I’ve been practising hard over the weekend. All the time I was hitting balls at the club people were coming up and saying ‘so sorry pal for not getting into the team’. I was dying to say to them ‘you’ll never believe it but I’m actually in’ but I couldn’t say anything until it became official.
“The only people that knew were my mum, dad and brother. I think my dad and brother found it as hard as I did to keep it quiet. Put it this way, it’s been a long weekend waiting for it to come out.”
Ferguson, the 2013 Scottish Boys’ champion, won both the Scottish Champion of Champions and Craigmillar Park Open at the start of the season before helping Scotland lift the European Team Championship in Sweden last month.
“Ewen was close to making the team and I told him that when I rang him a week ago,” said GB&I captain Nigel Edwards. “I’ve got no problems at all about him coming into the team and he is very much up for it and will do a great job for the team.
“He’s got a good pedigree. He won the British Boys and had two wins in Scotland this year as well as a series of other good performances, including being part of the Scottish team that won the European Team Championship.”
Edwards, the winning captain at Royal Aberdeen in 2011 and at the helm for a third time, added: “The Sam Horsfield situation was very much out of the blue. It was a surprise but I can’t really say any more than that. I’ve seen it happen in international teams for a variety of reasons, but it’s the first time I’ve heard of it in the Walker Cup.”
It actually happened in the 1959 match at Muirfield, where Selkirk’s Dick Smith replaced fellow Scot Jimmy Walker after the Irvine player was injured in a car accident. Smith then found himself up against Jack Nicklaus in the singles.
England’s Bradley Moore is now first reserve for the event’s 45th staging.