Shelton, Niebrugge among last 5 selected to Walker Cup team


Alabama sophomore Robby Shelton. (Getty)

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – The finals of the U.S. Amateur also brought to an end a two-year race for the U.S. Walker Cup team.

The USGA announced Sunday the remaining five players who will fill out the 10-man squad: Alabama junior Robby Shelton, Oklahoma State senior Jordan Niebrugge, former Virginia standout Denny McCarthy, and mid-amateurs Scott Harvey and Mike McCoy. 

The biennial event will be held Sept. 12-13 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England. 

The U.S. team will convene for the first time Thursday in Latrobe, Pa., where it will meet with Arnold Palmer and address a few housekeeping items such as apparel and travel arrangements.

"I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead a team with these great players," captain Spider Miller said Sunday while walking around Olympia Fields. "I've promised them we're going to have fun, and we're going to do it the right way." 

Shelton and Niebrugge were locks to make the team after their performances this summer. Shelton recently tied for third at the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship, while Niebrugge, who was on the 2013 team, tied for sixth at the Open Championship. 

McCarthy’s spot seemed to be up for grabs this week at the Amateur, though with the USGA’s secretive selection process no player really knew where he stood.

The USGA almost always selects an American Amateur winner if he isn’t already on the team, and McCarthy’s former teammate and roommate at Virginia, Derek Bard, reached the finals here at Olympia Fields. Bard lost to Bryson DeChambeau, 7 and 6, and was not selected. 

McCarthy represented the U.S. at the World Amateur Team Championship last fall, won the Porter Cup this summer and remained amateur to try and make the team.

Two years ago, the USGA decided that at least two mid-ams (age 25 or older) must make the roster. That rule allowed Harvey, the 37-year-old reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, and McCoy, a 52-year-old with 45 USGA championships of experience, to make their first Walker Cup squads.  

Among the notables who won’t make the trip across the pond: Players Amateur champion Matt NeSmith, NCAA freshman of the year Scottie Scheffler, Wake Forest sophomore Will Zalatoris and former Baylor standout Kyle Jones. 

NeSmith and Scheffler were named the first alternates. 

NCAA Player of the Year Maverick McNealy, three-time U.S. Open participant Beau Hossler, former first-team All-American Hunter Stewart, Georgia standout Lee McCoy and SMU's DeChambeau were the first five players selected. 

“It’s been a two-year process, and I wish I could have taken another six to 10 players,” Miller said. “The field was that good this year.” 

The U.S. leads the overall series, 35-8-1, including a 17-9 victory in 2013 at National Golf Links of America. 

The R&A will announce its 10-man GB&I squad on Monday.