- Euan Walker and Sandy Scott make their Walker Cup debuts
- Strong season for Walker with runner-up berths in Amateur and European Amateur championships
- Scott looking to repeat team success experienced in Arnold Palmer Cup win
It was one of the most memorable photographs of The Amateur Championship at Portmarnock in June. Two Scottish players smiling, shaking hands and displaying deep respect for each other at the end of a classy quarter-final. Friends and foes.
While Euan Walker was the victor, edging out Sandy Scott at the first extra hole, both proved winners. Their respective runs in Ireland – Walker went all the way to the final before losing an epic match to home favourite James Sugrue in front of 3,000 fans – ultimately helped seal their Walker Cup selection from captain Craig Watson.
Having played together for Scotland, they will now pull on the Great Britain and Ireland jersey. Pals and potential partners.
“It was tough to play against Sandy at Portmarnock as we are obviously good friends,” recalled Euan. “I think we both played well in the quarter-final and it was a shame for either of us to lose. I get on well with Sandy and I think we could do well in the foursomes if we are paired together. We have a lot of links experience and hopefully can show that at Hoylake.”
Walker is attached to Kilmarnock (Barassie) on Scotland’s west coast and Scott to The Nairn Golf Club in the Highlands. While both have experienced US college golf – Walker a graduate from the University of Missouri and Scott currently at Texas Tech University – they are both links exponents. Home turf should suit them this week.
“In Great Britain and Ireland, on a links course, I think our chances are always going to be good, regardless of what American team is put out,” notes Walker. “They are always very strong but it is certainly an advantage playing at home and I think our chances are really good.”
Scott added, “I’m extremely excited to represent Great Britain and Ireland. It has been a goal of mine ever since the Walker Cup was held at Nairn in 1999. With Hoylake being a traditional links that plays fairly firm and fast, I think it suits our game well. We all grew up playing that kind of golf and we will certainly feel right at home.”
Walker, impressively the fourth player from the Barassie club to play in the Walker Cup after Jim Milligan, Gordon Sherry and Jack McDonald, speaks with confidence after an eye-catching year.
His runner-up placing at Portmarnock was swiftly followed by the same finish at the European Amateur Championship in Austria, building on his African Amateur Stroke Play victory to tee off the year. By early July, the 23-year-old was the highest-ranked European in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR™).
“This season has been amazing,” he beams. “I didn’t have any expectations but I’ve played as well as I could have hoped for. I’ve controlled the ball better in my long game and that’s made the difference, turning top-20 results into top-5s.
“The Amateur was something I’ll never forget. At the time I was gutted but it helped me realise that I could compete regularly at the top end of elite amateur tournaments. I’ve played really well and was confident I was going to make the Walker Cup team but it was still quite a relief to get the phone call and have it confirmed. It’s the realisation of a goal since I started playing golf really.”
Scott shines through
Scott, 21, has shone in the Texas sun. The former Scottish Boys Open Stroke Play champion claimed a breakthrough win at the El Macero Classic in April and then showed his team pedigree by helping the International team defeat the United States of America in the Arnold Palmer Cup.
“The United States have a great side with great players,” he said. “I’ve come across many of the players on the college circuit so I’ve a good feel for the standard of golf we are going to face. All the American players are great but our side is made up of great players too. I can’t wait to get things rolling and show some fight to win the cup back.”
Following in Scottish footsteps
Walker and Scott also emulate their former amateur compatriots McDonald, Grant Forrest, Ewen Ferguson, Connor Syme and Robert MacIntyre in adding Walker Cup selection to their growing CVs.
“It’s really cool to be following in the footsteps of great players and friends such as Ewen, Connor, Bob and Grant,” said Scott, of watching his countrymen in action at the 2015 and 2017 contests.
“To go from playing most amateur events with these guys to seeing them on Tour now, and using the Walker Cup as a bounce board, it gives me great belief and ambition to join them.”
“It’s good to see all your friends playing in it but it makes you feel a little bit left out at times,” added Walker. “So it’s nice to join that Walker Cup club now, which is pretty special for both myself and Sandy.”
The friends look forward to being reunited at Hoylake.
For more information on the Walker Cup visit walkercup.org