James White and Paul Shields named in GB&I squad for St Andrews Trophy
A MASS exodus to the professional ranks following last year’s Walker Cup win at Royal Aberdeen has opened the door for two Scots to lay down early markers in a new-look Great Britain & Ireland set up.
Lundin’s James White, last year’s Scottish Order of Merit winner, and Paul Shields, the two-time Scottish Boys Championship runner-up from Kirkhill, have been named in a 12-man preliminary squad for this year’s St Andrews Trophy against Continent of Europe at Portmarnock on 31 August and 1 September.
Welshman Rhys Pugh and Ireland’s Alan Dunbar are the only members of the winning side at Balgownie still in the amateur ranks, but GB&I captain Nigel Walker is upbeat about the new wave of talent at his disposal.
“We have based our preliminary selection on performances throughout 2011 and will look to add to this squad following the Amateur Championship at Royal Troon in June,” he said.
Joining the aforementioned quartet are Rhys Enoch (Truro), Ben Loughrey (Wrag Barn), Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Kevin Phelan (Waterford Castle), Garrick Porteous (Bamburgh Castle), Neil Raymond (Corhampton), Jason Shufflebotham (Prestatyn) and Ben Taylor (Walton Heath).
Yesterday, Shields and White both won their singles matches as Scotland overturned a morning deficit to lead South Africa 6½-4½ at the halfway stage in a Test match at Leopard Creek.
Shields beat Haydn Porteous, the newly-crowned South African Stroke-Play champion, 3 and 2, with White winning on the last against JP Strydom.
Fraser McKenna, Brian Soutar and Scott Crichton were also afternoon winners for the Scots, the latter producing the best performance of the day as he covered 17 holes in five-under to beat Brandon Stone, the top-ranked South African, 2 and 1.
On the professional front, Tiger Woods has added the Honda Classic in Florida in early March to his schedule. It will mark a first for the former world No 1, who lives nearby the PGA National at Jupiter Island.
Also playing that event will be Open champion Darren Clarke, who has appointed Phil ‘Wobby’ Morbey as his new caddie. Morbey, who takes over Clarke’s bag from Irishman John Mulrooney, spent 14 years as caddie for Ian Woosnam and was with the Welshman when he won the 1991 US Masters.
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