TWO Scots - Craigielaw’s Grant Forrest and Jack McDonald from Kilmarnock (Barassie) - have made the Great Britain & Ireland team for the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham in just over a fortnight’s time.
The ten-strong side for the event’s 45th staging contains a record five Irish players, including Paul Dunne, who shared the lead heading into the final round of this year’s Open Championship, as well as three Englishmen.
However, the presence of both Forrest, the beaten finalist in the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie in June, and McDonald is equally pleasing for Scottish golf after the sport’s cradle failed to provide a single representative for the the last clash with the Americans two years ago.
Forrest and McDonald have led the way in a welcome upturn in fortunes since then, the pair both picking up five points out of six in helping Scotland win the European Team Championship in Sweden last month.
Bearsden’s Ewen Ferguson, another member of that victorious side, just missed out on making it three Scots in the GB&I ranks at the Open Championship venue in Lancashire on September 12-13. The 2013 British Boys’ champion is one of two reserves.
“We have selected a talented group of players who compete at the highest levels of amateur golf and, in some cases, have played in major championships and Tour events,” said GB&I captain Nigel Edwards.
“The Walker Cup offers these players a tremendous opportunity to display their abilities and gain invaluable experience of playing in international team competition.”
Ireland’s biggest-ever representation in the event is a just reward for an outstanding season, which was capped by victory over Scotland in the Home Internationals title decider at Royal Portrush just under a fortnight ago.
Joining Dunne, who catapulted himself into the spotlight at St Andrews with a third-round 66 before closing with a 78 to finish joint-30th, are Jack Hume, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan and Cormac Sharvin.
Another amateur to shine in this year’s Claret Jug joust - he ended up in a share of 12th after signing off with a 69 - Ashley Chesters, the world No 6, is the highest-ranked player in the line-up that is completed by two fellow Englishmen, Jimmy Mullen and Sam Horsfield.
“I know there will be players who are disappointed not to have made the team and it has been a difficult decision to make with such strength in depth in the British and Irish game at the moment,” added Edwards, who led GB&I to victory at Royal Aberdeen in 2011 before seeing his side go down 17-9 at the National Golf Links of America two years ago. “But we believe we have selected the best players for the team and are very much looking forward to the match.”
Included among the final five picks for the US team were Jordan Niebrugge, who finished sixth at St Andrews to win the Silver Medal as leading amateur, and 52-year-old Mike McCoy.
Great Britain & Ireland
Ashley Chesters, age 26, Hawkstone Park, England
Paul Dunne, 22, Greystones, Ireland
Grant Forrest, 22, Craigielaw, Scotland
Sam Horsfield, 18, Davenport, Florida, USA
Jack Hume, 21, Naas, Ireland
Gary Hurley, 22, West Waterford, Ireland
Jack McDonald, 22, Kilmarnock (Barassie), Scotland
Gavin Moynihan, 20, The Island, Ireland
Jimmy Mullen, 21, Royal North Devon, England
Cormac Sharvin, 22, Ardglass, Ireland
Ewen Ferguson, 19, Bearsden, Scotland
Bradley Moore, 17, Kedleston Park, England
Bryson DeChambeau, 21, of Clovis, Calif
Scott Harvey, 37, of Greensboro, N.C
Beau Hossler, 20, of Mission Viejo, Calif
Denny McCarthy, 22, of Rockville, Md
Lee McCoy, 21, of Athens, Ga
Mike McCoy, 52, of Des Moines, Iowa
Maverick McNealy, 19, of Portola Valley, Calif
Jordan Niebrugge, 22, of Mequon, Wis
Robby Shelton, 19, of Wilmer, Ala
Hunter Stewart, 22, of Lexington, Ky