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College all-stars added to U.S. Walker Cup team

Cal's Michael Kim
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Michael Kim, the NCAA Division I Player of the Year, was among five players named to the 10-man U.S. Walker Cup squad by the USGA Wednesday, an announcement dominated by the rosters of collegiate golf teams.

Kim, a 20-year-old who will be a junior this fall at Cal, won four events amid a record-setting season for the Golden Bears that ended with a surprising upset loss to Illinois at the NCAA championship. Last month, Kim tied for 17th at the U.S. Open at Merion to earn low amateur honors, and earlier this month made the cut at The Greenbrier Classic, ultimately finishing in a tie for 38th.

He'll be joined at the Walker Cup by Cal teammate Max Homa, who won the Pac-12 conference championship in May and went on to earn individual medalist honors at the NCAA championship. The 22-year-old was a first-team All-American this past season, and like Kim survived sectional qualifying to advance to the U.S. Open last month, where he missed the cut.

While Cal had two players named to September's squad, so, too, did reigning national champion Alabama. Justin Thomas, who was a second-team All-American and contended at the Travelers Championship last month before finishing T-30, will be on the team, as well as Crimson Tide teammate Cory Whitsett. While the 20-year-old Thomas just completed his sophomore season, Whitsett, 21, recently finished his junior campaign, one in which he won three times and was named as a first-team All-American. Whitsett was the only player to win all three matches at the NCAA championship in May and has some USGA championship experience on his side, having won the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur.

The final member announced Wednesday was Patrick Rodgers, who just wrapped up his sophomore season at Stanford. Rodgers, 21, was a member of the 2011 Walker Cup squad, and just last week was in contention at the John Deere Classic, notching a T-15 finish.

“It is an honor to be involved with this prestigious match and these fine young men who will represent the USA in Walker Cup competition,” said U.S. captain Jim Holtgrieve as part of the release announcing the participants.

According to the USGA, the final five members of the team will be named after the U.S. Amateur, which concludes Aug. 18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. According to a new rule instituted for this year's competition, at least two of the remaining five members will need to be mid-amateurs (at least 25 years old).

A biennial, match-play competition pitting a team from the U.S. against a team from Great Britain & Ireland, the Walker Cup will be held Sept. 7-8 at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.