ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND (July 5, 2005) -- Gary Wolstenholme and Nigel Edwards, both members of the 2003 Walker Cup team that successfully defended the Cup at Ganton, have been selected for the match against the United States at Chicago Golf Club, Illinois, on August 13 and 14.
Included in the team of top amateurs from Great Britain and Ireland is Oliver Fisher, who at 16 years of age, will be the youngest player ever to play in the biennial Walker Cup. The previous youngest players were Justin Rose (1997), Ronan Rafferty (1981) and Peter Baker (1985) all of whom were 17.
Peter McEvoy, Chairman of the Selection Committee of The R&A said:
"At the beginning of the season we lost a few players to the professional ranks and I was concerned about the strength of the side. However many players have improved enormously and have had successful seasons as a consequence."
"This team, I believe, is a very, very strong one."
Rhys Davies has spent the last three years in America where he finished ranked No 3 in the 2005 Golfweek Sagarin College rankings. To date his major win on this side of the Atlantic has been the 2003 British Boys Championship at Hoylake which followed his place in the final the previous year at Carnoustie. He was captain of the 2002 Jacques Leglise Team in Lausanne.
Robert Dinwiddie came into Walker Cup reckoning with back-to-back wins in the Scottish and Welsh Stroke Play Championships. Dinwiddie recently graduated from Tennessee State University and with six wins on the 2004 college circuit, was ranked the No 1 English golfer in the U.S. Surprisingly, he was not selected by England for their six-man European team.
Nigel Edwards, Golf Co-ordinator for the Welsh Golfing Union, played in his first Walker Cup match at Ocean Forest in 2001 and followed that with a successful series at Ganton in 2003. It was Edwards' halved match with Lee Williams that secured the retention of the Cup and shortly after, Stuart Manley's win gave GB&I a winning margin of 12½ - 11½. Throughout the current season, Edwards has had many top-ten finishes.
Oliver Fisher, 16, enters the record books as the youngest player for either side. When the match is played next month, he will be 16 years 11 months 0 days old, one month and ten days younger than Justin Rose when he played at Quaker Ridge in 1997. Fisher is a product of English Golf Union coaching and has also been a member of the Nick Faldo Junior Series. In 2004 he won the under-21 section at Burhill by four shots with a score of 133 and the English Boys under-16 title at Didsbury. This year he was runner-up in the Brabazon Trophy but saved his best performance for the Amateur Championship where he reached the semi-finals only to lose the eventual winner Brian McElhinney.
Penrith based Gary Lockerbie currently leads the English Order of Merit as result of outstanding performances in major stroke play tournaments. He won the Lytham Trophy, was joint third in the St Andrews Links Trophy and partnered professional Paul Jenkinson to win the Sunningdale Foursomes. He earned his first full English cap in 2003 following his win in the English Amateur at Alwoodley.
Ireland's Brian McElhinney won the European Championship at Nairn in 2003 and added to that with his victory in the Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale. At the end of a tough week, he had a comfortable win in the final over John Gallagher of Scotland and with that behind him and selection for the Walker Cup confirmed, he can now go into the Irish Amateur Close Championship with renewed confidence, to defend the title he won last year at Donegal.
Over the past two years Royal Aberdeen player Richie Ramsay has been a consistent top finisher in major events. He followed his three wins in 2004 that included the Scottish Stroke Play title with a third place in the same event over his home course this year and a win in the Irish Open Amateur.
Matthew Richardson from Middlesex is a former English Boy cap who made his full English debut against Spain in 2003. Last year was his most successful to date with victories in the Brabazon Trophy and the European Amateur in Sweden. He has already represented GB&I in the St Andrews Trophy team that defeated the Continent of Europe last year at Nairn.
Performances in 2005 have marked Lloyd Saltman as the most consistent player in the British Isles. The 19 year-old from the Craigielaw club won the Brabazon Trophy and followed that by winning the St Andrews Links Trophy the following week. It was no surprise therefore that he reached the semi-finals of the Amateur at Birkdale. Selection for the Walker Cup gives him the opportunity of reacquainting himself with Chicago Golf Club, which, as he states, is best course he has so far played.
Gary Wolstenholme, 44, will be playing in his sixth Walker Cup match and holds the unique record of having played in four Cup winning teams (1995, 1999, 2001 and 2003). Only Sir Michael Bonallack and the late Joe Carr have played in more matches although Gary's record of 17 matches played, nine won and eight lost, stands comparison with the best. He is England's most capped player and this year has won the New South Wales Medal and the Sherry Cup
The Walker Cup was first contested in 1922 when The R&A sent a team to play against the U.S. at the golf Links of America, New York.
Rhys Davies, 20, Royal Porthcawl
Robert Dinwiddie, 22, Barnard Castle
Nigel Edwards, 36, Whitchurch
Oliver Fisher, 16, West Essex
Gary Lockerbie, 22, Penrith
Brian McElhinney, 22, North West
Richie Ramsay, 22, Royal Aberdeen
Matthew Richardson, 20, Buckinghamshire
Lloyd Saltman, 19, Craigielaw
Gary Wolstenholme, 44, Kilworth Springs
Andrew McArthur, 26, Windyhill
Jamie Moul, 20, Stoke-by-Nayland
Garth McGimpsey, 50, Bangor
Peter McEvoy, Chairman of The R&A Selection Committee
Tel: 07836 314911
Garth McGimpsey, Captain of the GB&I Team
Tel: 07973 950497