Listen: Road to Hoylake continues with Castillo, Bhatia
Ricky Castillo and Akshay Bhatia
Ricky Castillo and Akshay Bhatia

As U.S. Amateur continues, so does The Back of the Range podcast’s “Road to Hoylake” series.

As the U.S. Walker Cup team fills out for the Sept. 7-8 matches at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England, half the fun is getting to know the players in consideration for a team pick. Ben Adelberg at The Back of the Range podcast is telling those stories, two by two.

This week, Adelberg features two up-and-comers in the game. But teenagers Ricky Castillo, 18, and Akshay Bhatia, 17, sure don’t play like teenagers.

Castillo is playing in his third U.S. Amateur the week. He played his way to the semifinals of the Western Amateur two weeks ago. Before that, he was stroke-play co-medalist at the North & South (also played at Pinehurst) as well the U.S. Junior. Experience is not an issue for a player who will begin his freshman season at the University of Florida in the fall.

Bhatia is already on the team, having earned his pick courtesy of his position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. The North Carolina native has had a whirlwind summer, but the next step is clear: Bhatia will turn professional following the Walker Cup and begin his road to the PGA Tour.

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ABOUT THE The Walker Cup

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland and selected by The R&A. It is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches.

The first United States Walker Cup Team, which in 1922 defeated the GB&I side, 8-4, at the National Golf Links of America, is considered among the best teams ever and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have taken part in Walker Cup competition, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.

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