OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Derek Bard’s unlikely run to the finals of the U.S. Amateur has put him back in the mix for one of the final U.S. Walker Cup spots.
It has also created a potentially awkward situation.
The six-person committee has almost always put an American Am winner on that year’s team. Bard has a chance to earn that spot with a victory Sunday over Bryson DeChambeau, who was one of the first five players named to the 10-man squad.
Alabama star Robby Shelton is assured to receive one of the five remaining picks. Jordan Niebrugge, who tied for sixth at the British Open, is a strong candidate for one of the other spots. And the USGA will include two mid-amateurs (age 25 or older) on the team.
What makes this race even more compelling is that Bard’s former roommate and teammate at Virginia, Denny McCarthy, is thought by many to be in line for one of the final selections.
So, in other words, if Bard makes the team, it could come at the expense of his friend.
“Denny deserves to be on that team,” Bard said Saturday. “That’s a scary thought. He stayed amateur this entire summer to try and make it. I hope we both can.”
The Walker Cup was an afterthought for Bard, 20, until he won the Sunnehanna Amateur in June. Even now, he says there should be “at least five guys” ahead of him on the list.
Will simply reaching the finals be enough for Bard to sway the tight-lipped committee? It wasn’t for Michael Thompson in 2007 or Ben Martin in 2009.
The answer could come as early as Sunday night.