Irish Walker Cup contenders aim to press their claims at US Amateur

Paul Dunne, Cormac Sharvin and Gary Hurley among those in action at Olympia Fields

Paul Dunne: produced an amazing display at the British Open where he was co-leader with a round to go.  Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Paul Dunne: produced an amazing display at the British Open where he was co-leader with a round to go. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

 
Nigel EdwardsWalker Cup

When the 10 names are announced on Monday – and Ireland have high hopes of having five on the team – it will be the calls to those who didn’t get picked that will weigh heaviest on his mind.

High expectations and unbridled ambition are part and parcel of the story when it comes to top amateurs these days – the recent British Open at St Andrews, where Greystones’ Paul Dunne was co-leader with a round to go and one of four amateurs in the top 30 is a prime example.

“They all have a lot of confidence in themselves because performances generate confidence. They expect to do well now,” Edwards says at Olympia Fields clubhouse where he has spent the day watching the likes of Dunne, Cormac Sharvin and Gary Hurley and the other five English and Scottish contenders.

Leading amateur

Jordan NiebruggeAshley ChestersOllie Schniederjans

“I know Paul was disappointed he didn’t do better on the last day even after everything he did. That’s the way these kids think now,” says Edwards.

Edwards is quietly confident as he counts down to the matches at Royal Lytham and St Annes from September 12-13 , despite the fact that the USA will send over a team of hotshots similar to 2007 when Rory McIlroy and Co lost to Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel and Colt Knost or 2011 when Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Russell Henley, Patrick Rodgers and Peter Uihlein were shocked 14-12.

“I think we will do just fine,” he said. “Why? Because we will have a very good team that will play passionately for each other. They want to be in it to win it and I think the golf course will suit us.”

When it comes to picking the side, Ireland have an advantage in that the heart of the team has been together for three years, winning back to back Home Internationals and contending regular for all the big titles.

“Cormac’s played very well,” Edwards said. “His game has been in order… he has pushed forward and young Moynihan has been producing results for years.

“Likewise Paul has come on strong since he played in the St Andrews Trophy last year, likewise Gary Hurley and Jack Hume has been playing nicely. And Dermot is certainly much more consistent this year than he has been.”

In contrast, England have lost 20 squad players to the professional ranks since the 2013 Walker Cup alone.

“It is a concern for the game,” said Edwards, who is also director of coaching for England Golf.

“But the Walker Cup can give so many other people so much. For many it is the pinnacle of their careers.”

Sole survivor

Gavin Moynihan

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