Friday 17 November 2017

Ireland's Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan make Walker Cup team

Ireland's Kevin Phelan in action at the US Open this year
Ireland's Kevin Phelan in action at the US Open this year

Ireland's Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan have been selected in the Great Britain and Ireland squad for next month's Walker Cup at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York.

Matt Fitzpatrick's dream end to the summer continued when he was also selected.

The Sheffield-based teenager on Sunday became the first Englishman to win the US Amateur Championship for over 100 years, beating Australian Oliver Goss 4&3 in the final at Brookline.

It earned him an exemption into the 2014 US Open, provided he remains an amateur, as well as a place in next year's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and a likely invitation to The Masters at Augusta.

The 18-year-old won the Boys Amateur Championship last year and followed that up by claiming the silver medal as low amateur at this year's Open Championship.

And his latest success was followed by inclusion in a 10-man squad to take on the United States at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York on September 7 and 8.

Speaking at a press conference following his win at Brookline, Fitzpatrick said: "I think now there will be a lot of expectation on me from other people.

"I'm pretty sure they'll be expecting me to win pretty much everything that I play in, and the fact is that you can't do that all the time because if I did that, I'd be on Tour already.

"I think I will be under quite a bit of pressure when I play my next tournament. I guess it will be fairly tough to handle, but I'll just try and sort of keep the attitude that I had, that I've come into this week.

"It's not the end of the world if you don't do everything right. I've already had some fairly nice achievements, so I'm certain there's no reason why I couldn't continue hopefully."

For the Walker Cup, the amateur event contested in a Ryder Cup-style matchplay format, Fitzpatrick is joined in the squad by Kevin Phelan, who made an impression at this year's US Open with a first-round 71 on a demanding Merion course.

Gavin Moynihan is the other Irishman included, with Pontypridd's Rhys Pugh ensuring Welsh representation.

The other six places are occupied by Englishmen Nathan Kimsey, Max Orrin, Garrick Porteous, Neil Raymond, Callum Shinkwin and Jordan Smith. With two more English players, Greg Eason and Ryan Evans, named as reserves, Scotland is unrepresented in the 12 players named.

Fitzpatrick, who will be 19 by the time the tournament comes around, will start at Northwestern University in Illinois in the autumn and has no plans to follow Justin Rose, another amateur who made his name by winning the silver medal at the Open, in quickly turning professional.

Rose did so the next day and went on to miss his first 21 cuts in the paid ranks.

Fitzpatrick said: "Obviously you never know what happens. Things might change.

"But I'm pretty sure dad's going to have me under control because I know full well that he certainly didn't want me to turn pro any time soon and wanted me to get an education first.

"We've not even spoken anything about sponsorship deals or anything at all, so that's sort of out of the question for now, so we'll have to see what comes out.

"But certainly with the schedule I'm going to have to be careful. I didn't play that much this year really when I think about it.

"But for me it will be basing myself around the three majors, that's for sure.

"They'll be the most important things that I play in, I think. And I'll just sort of try and plan my way around that and just see how it goes."

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