Paul Dunne among five Irish golfers selected for Walker Cup duty
For the first time in the 93-year history of the Walker Cup, five Irish players have named in the Great Britain & Ireland team.
After a phenomenal season for Ireland’s top amateurs, GB&I captain Nigel Edwards has named a record number of Irish players in his 10-man side.
Gavin Moynihan earns his second cap while Paul Dunne, Cormac Sharvin, Gary Hurley and Jack Hume will make their Walker Cup debuts at Royal Lytham & St Annes for this year’s match against the United States on 12 and 13 September. Previously four players - Joe Carr, Jimmy Buren, Cecil Ewing and Max McCready – were chosen in 1949 and again in 1951 when it was a 12-man team, but this year’s crew represent half of the GB&I line-up.
Already this season Moynihan and Sharvin have been in the winners’ enclosure. Moynihan clinched his second Irish Amateur Open title in May while Sharvin captured the English equivalent, the Brabazon Trophy, at Hollinwell. Dunne held the 54-hole lead at the Open Championship and made it to the quartr-finals of the US Amateur.
Hurley was a beaten finalist at the Spanish Amateur and was runner-up for the second successive year at the European Amateur. Hume has been a model of consistency and has been inside the world’s top 50 for most of the season on the back of impressive performances at the Irish Amateur, the Brabazon Trophy (where he was third) and the European Amateur.
Neil Manchip, the GUI National Coach has worked with all of the players on the GUI's High Performance programme and was delighted when the announcement was made.
"What an outstanding achievement for these 5 players to make the Walker Cup team. Each one has played their way on to the team through brilliant performances this season. With Irish players making up half of the team the strength of Irish Amateur golf is well reflected. The GUI can be very proud to have such a strong representation. I am really looking forward to watching the lads play at Royal Lytham next month."
GUI General Secretary Pat Finn expressed his appreciation for the funding received by the Union and players from the respective sports councils. "The Irish Sports Council and Sport NI provide support to the Union and the players for which we are all extremely grateful. Ireland is producing world-class amateur golfers and we have to acknowledge the role of the sports councils in helping our elite players achieve on an international stage".
Nigel Edwards, who will be captaining the GB&I team for the third time, said, “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. The Walker Cup offers these players a tremendous opportunity to display their abilities and gain invaluable experience of playing in international team competition.
“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 but we believe we have selected the best players for the team and are very much looking forward to the match.”
Great Britain & Ireland will be looking to win back the Walker Cup for the first time since 2011, when they beat the US at Royal Aberdeen. Two years ago, America won 17-9 on home soil.
The team in full is:
Ashley Chesters, 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
Dunne enthralled the golfing public at this year’s Open Championship, shooting a third round 66 at St Andrews to take a share of the lead going into the final day. Dunne completed his final year at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in May and was fifth at the NCAA Division 1 Finals. Dunne won back-to-back Irish Boys’ titles in 2008 and 2009 and was Irish Youths champion at Dun Laoighaire in 2010.
East of Ireland champion in 2013, Dunne was Ireland’s leading player at last year’s Home Internationals, winning all six of his matches and combining with Gary Hurley for a perfect return in the foursomes.
Hume first made his name in 2011 when he won all four boys’ provincial championships in Ireland, only the second player to achieve that feat. Runner-up at the Lytham Trophy in 2013, Hume won the West of Ireland title in 2014 as well as the prestigious Nassau Invitational.
Another member of Ireland’s Triple Crown-winning team at last year’s Home Internationals, he was Ireland’s best performer at the European Amateur team championships this season, winning three points from four. A quarter-finalist at the Spanish Amateur in February, Hume was third at the Brabazon Trophy in June.
A winner of the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament in 2013 and the first Irish-based university player to be selected for the European Palmer Cup team, Hurley was runner-up at the Spanish Amateur this season. The Maynooth University student played in his second Palmer Cup in June and was runner-up at the European Amateur in August.
The 23-year-old West Waterford man has developed an impressive foursomes partnership with Paul Dunne in recent seasons and they won both of their matches together at this year’s European Amateur Team Championship.
Irish Amateur Open champion at 17, the young Dubliner added a second title in 2015. During his boys’ career, he won the Peter McEvoy Trophy in 2012. His five-shot victory at Copt Heath was the first Irish victory at the McEvoy Trophy. Since then he has added the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play to his collection, winning at Panmure in 2014.
On his debut at the Walker Cup two years ago in New York, he partnered Kevin Phelan in the foursomes and picked up two points from his four matches.
Since winning the Irish Amateur Close title in 2013, the Ardglass ace has gone from strength to strength. Sharvin went on to win the Stirling Invitational in 2013 and was tied second at the 2014 IrishAmateur Open. Sharvin retained the Stirling Invitational last year and he was runner-up again at this year’s Irish Amateur Open.
Impressive performances at the Lytham Trophy and the Scottish Stroke Play preceded his victory at the Brabazon Trophy. A student at the University of Stirling in Scotland, Sharvin was also a member of the Ireland team that won the Triple Crown at last year’s Home Internationals.