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Making the grade: Walker Cup report cards
11 Sep 2019
by Julie Williams of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Walker Cup, Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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John Pak, Isaiah Salinda, Alex Smalley and Brandon Wu (USGA photo)
John Pak, Isaiah Salinda, Alex Smalley and Brandon Wu (USGA photo)

Now that the Walker Cup is over – and the U.S. team walked away with the rare victory overseas – it's time to look at this team event through the lens of individual performances. Who lived up to the hype at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England? Who had a lackluster week? Who outperformed and overachieved? Check out our player-by-player highlights below.

United States

Player (record) Grade, Notes
John Augenstein
(2-1-1), A
The man they call the match-play bulldog didn’t disappoint. Said he learned something in opening foursomes loss, and must have – picked up 2 ½ points from there, including the clinching point.
Akshay Bhatia
(2-0-1) A
Made a fun pairing with Stewart Hagestad, and recovered nicely from a slow Saturday start to go undefeated on Sunday – especially impressive considering he drew British Amateur champ James Sugrue, who had a big home following, in the final singles session.
Steven Fisk
(0-3-0) C
Tough week for the Georgia Southern star, but not for lack of intensity. Losses may reflect lack of experience in match-play format – Fisk’s many accolades are mainly in stroke play.
Stewart Hagestad
(2-1-0) A
Hagestad, who went 1-1 in singles in his 2017 appearance, brought the intangibles this time around, in the form of an impassioned Saturday night speech about leaving it all on the links. Has future captain written all over him at this point (but don’t count out another turn on the team first).
Cole Hammer
(1-2-0) B-
Slow start and a disappointing foursomes loss on Sunday morning, but after retreating to the range to find something, Hammer redeemed himself with biggest margin of victory (6 and 5 over Conor Purcell) of the weekend.
Andy Ogletree
(1-2-1) B
Credit the Georgia Tech senior with adapting quickly to this whole Walker Cup idea and running with it just three weeks after his U.S. Am win. Paired well with John Augenstein.
John
Pak

(3-0-0) A+
Only guy on either team to go undefeated. Figured out how to get a better start so he could capitalize on his tendency to finish strong. Gets our man of the match award – for both teams.
Isaiah Salinda
(2-1-0) A
Salinda gets major props for defeating Alex Fitzpatrick, GB&I’s hammer, in the first singles match out on Sunday. That effectively set the tone for the day. Speaking of which, don’t forget his foursomes point with John Pak on Saturday morning.
Alex Smalley
(3-1-0) A
His two Sunday points were a big key in the U.S. comeback.
Brandon Wu
(3-1-0) A
Undefeated on Saturday before taking a tough loss to hard-charging Scotsman Sandy Scott in Sunday singles.


Great Britain and Ireland

Player (record) Grade, Notes
Alex Fitzpatrick
(2-2-0) B+
On a tough week for the GB&I team, Fitzpatrick gave the home team some stability. He was the lead man in every session, and was undefeated Saturday. He just drew some hearty Americans on Sunday and couldn’t match their play.
Conor Gough
(1-3-0) B-
Walker Cup week overlapped Gough’s 17th birthday, which meant he was the youngest player in either lineup. His Saturday singles defeat of Isaiah Salinda was his shining moment.
Harry
Hall

(1-2-0) B
Combined with Gough to win Saturday foursomes match against Stewart Hagestad and Akshay Bhatia but then lost to that pair the next morning, and to Hagestad again in the afternoon.
Thomas Plumb
(1-2-0) B
Plumb and Tom Sloman got a big point off of Cole Hammer and Steven Fisk, two of the top-rated players on either team. Plumb couldn’t keep the momentum for Sunday afternoon, though, and his loss to John Augenstein was the deciding point of the match.
Conor Purcell
(1-3-0) C
Took a big singles loss to Cole Hammer on Sunday, but did get things started well early by combining with Alex Fitzpatrick in opening foursomes to put the very first GB&I point on the board.
Caolan Rafferty
(1-1-0) B-
Made only two starts, but his Saturday singles victory over Alex Smalley produced a much-needed point for the GB&I team on an afternoon that was beginning to get away from them.
Sandy Scott
(2-1-1) A
The only GB&I player with a winning record. The importance of his singles defeat of Brandon Wu cannot be understated, especially as his team was struggling. Scott would be the MVP of the GB&I team.
Tom Sloman
(2-2-0) B+
Defeated Steven Fisk in Sunday to singles to produce one of only two GB&I points in that session, but it was too little, too late.
James Sugrue
(0-4-0) D
Certainly the surprise of the matches was that Sugrue, the reigning British Amateur champion, failed to put a single GB&I point on the board. His loss to John Pak in Saturday singles gave the Americans a big leg up going into the final day, and seemed to be where the momentum started to turn.
Euan Walker
(1-2-1) B
Sole point came against Steven Fisk in Saturday singles, but did also manage to hold U.S. Am champ Andy Ogletree and runner-up John Augenstein to a halve on Sunday morning.



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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