'Gang of five' picked to set record Walker Cup presence for Ireland
Brotherly bonding as much as individual brilliance was the key to Irish golf securing an historic five places in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup side to face the United States at Royal Lytham and St Annes from September 12-13.
Greystones’ Paul Dunne, Naas’ Jack Hume, West Waterford’s Gary Hurley, The Island’s Gavin Moynihan and Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin got the nod from the selectors and broke the record Irish Walker Cup presence of four set by Joe Carr, Cecil Ewing, Jimmy Bruen and Max McCready in the 12-man teams of 1949 and 1951.
The now famous five are joined by English trio Ashley Chesters, Jimmy Mullen and Sam Horsfield and Scotland’s Grant Forrest and Jack McDonald in what will be a difficult bid to win back the trophy after the USA’s 17-9 victory at the National Golf Links of America two years ago.
Yes, Dunne’s brilliant performances in the NCAAs, The Open and the US Amateur were important and so too was the Brabazon Trophy win by Sharvin, Moynihan’s second Irish Amateur Open win, Hurley’s European Amateur runner-up spot or Hume’s rock-like consistency in the past two years and his role in Ireland’s second successive Home Internationals.
But in giving Irish golf half the places in the 10-man team, non-playing captain Nigel Edwards and his selectors have also clearly impressed by the bond this band of Irish brothers has forged amongst themselves and the rest of the GB&I squad over the past few seasons.
“It’s a combination of both,” Edwards said yesterday. “If you look at their individual performances, they have done brilliantly. Yes, they have shone and they do play very well as a team but their individual performances have also been very good. That said, as a group, they have been doing it together for quite some time now. They have obviously built up a great camaraderie and each player’s individual success has fuelled the fire of the others
“All of them have been around the Irish team for the last four years and that creates a great team bond.”
As for the Americans, they are led by recently crowned and somewhat eccentric US Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau. DeChambeau beat Dunne 3&2 in the quarter-finals at Olympia Fields and confessed to writing “cursive backwards” to stay mentally sharp and testing the centre of gravity of his golf balls by floating them in Epsom Salts.
GB&I team – A Chesters (26, Eng) Hawkstone Park; P Dunne (22, Irl) Greystones; G Forrest (22, Sco) Craigielaw; S Horsfield (18, Eng) Davenport, Florida; J Hume (21, Irl) Naas; G Hurley (22, Irl) West Waterford; J McDonald (22, Sco) Kilmarnock; G Moynihan (20, Irl), J Mullen (21, Eng) Royal North Devon; C Sharvin (22 Irl) Ardglass. Res: E Ferguson (19, Sco) Bearsden; Bradley Moore (17, Eng) Kedleston Park.