ERIN, Wis. – The Walker Cup offers a game within the game this week at the U.S. Amateur.
With three spots still open on the American team, there’s pressure on players still trying to make the 10-man team that will meet Great Britain/Ireland on Sept. 10-11 at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland.
Observers who follow this most intensely make NCAA champion John Peterson and two-time U.S. Junior champ Jordan Spieth strong candidates to claim two of the three remaining spots. They both made the U.S. Amateur cut to match play.
Also viewed as strong contenders are Auburn junior Blayne Barber, U.S. Amateur Public Links champ Corbin Mills, Pepperdine senior Andrew Putnam and Stanford junior Andrew Yun. They all made the cut to match play.
Notably, Barber could make a big impression in the second round. If he and Peterson win their first-round matches, they’ll meet on Thursday.
U.S. Amateur medalist Gregor Main is among those players looking to make late bids to gain a spot. Main won medalist honors this week. The U.S. Amateur winner come Sunday, if he’s American, should be a lock to make the team.
“I’m on the outside looking in,” Main said. “In match play anything can happen. The 64th seed can win. I am trying to make that Walker Cup team, so I am trying to play my best every chance I get.”
Seven players have already been named to the American team: Patrick Cantlay, 19, Los Alamitos, Calif.; Harris English, 22, Thomasville, Ga.; Russell Henley, 22, Macon, Ga.; Peter Uihlein, 21, Orlando, Fla.; Patrick Rodgers, 18, Avon, Ind.; Nathan Smith, 33, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Chris Williams, 20, Moscow, Idaho.