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US Walker Cup Team Almost Finalized

USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. ' Two collegiate champions, a USGA champion and three who have qualified for a U.S. Open are among the eight chosen as part of the 10-man squad to represent the United States of America team for the 2007 Walker Cup Match that will be played Sept. 8-9 at Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Ireland.
The remainder of the squad will be selected following the U.S. Amateur Championship, which is scheduled to conclude Aug. 26 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. Chosen by the International Team Selection Committee of United States Golf Association, the squad will face an amateur team representing Great Britain and Ireland.
NCAA champions Jonathan Moore, 22, of Vancouver, Wash., and Jamie Lovemark, 19, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and three-time Walker Cup pick Trip Kuehne, 35, of Irving, Texas, are among the early selections for the USA squad. Kuehne qualified for the 2007 U.S. Open while Moore played in the 2006 Open.
They are joined on the team by Billy Horschel, 20, of Grant, Fla.; Dustin Johnson, 23, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Chris Kirk, 22, of Woodstock, Ga.; USGA champion Colt Knost, 22, of Dallas, Texas; and Webb Simpson, 21, of Raleigh, N.C. All but Kuehne are collegians or recent graduates who are playing on their first Walker Cup team.
The Walker Cup Match consists of 16 singles and eight foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA reclaimed the Cup with a one-point victory at Chicago (Ill.) Golf Club in 2005. Great Britain and Irelands team had won the three previous Matches, in 1999, 2001 and 2003, twice by scores of 15-9 and by 12 -11 in 2003. The USA leads the series overall, 32-7-1.
George Buddy Marucci, 55, of Villanova, Pa., who played on the USA Walker Cup teams of 1995 and 1997 and was runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1995 U.S. Amateur, will serve as team captain. Marucci, who continues to add his total of having competed in more than 40 USGA championships, is co-owner of luxury car dealerships in the Philadelphia area.
It is a dream come true to be involved with the Walker Cup Match again, said Marucci, who played for the USA team in 1995 and 1997. I know firsthand how truly talented this group of golfers is. I will try to share my passion for this event with them and turn them loose. I know they will represent themselves and all of amateur golf well.
The GB&I team has not yet been announced.
Horschel has been among the top-five finishers at a handful of prestigious amateur competitions in 2007 ' the Azalea Invitational, Northeast Amateur, Porter Cup and Southern Amateur. Already a two-time first team All-American heading into his junior year at the University of Florida, he posted a USGA record 60 in the first round of stroke play at the 2006 U.S. Amateur. He also qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open.
Johnson took recent titles at the Monroe Invitational and the Northeast Amateur, where he was helped by a round of 64 in securing a two-stroke victory. He is a recent graduate of Coastal Carolina University where he was the Big South Conference 2007 Player of the Year.
Kirk won the 2007 Ben Hogan Award as the nations top collegiate golfer, representing the University of Georgia. He was the individual runner-up at the 2006 NCAA Championship and finished ninth in 2007. He played for the USA squad at the 2006 World Amateur Team Championship.
Knost won the 2007 U.S. Amateur Public Links title and played in the EDS Byron Nelson PGA Tour event, where he shot a second round 64 on his way to finishing tied for 67th. A recent graduate of Southern Methodist University, Knost was the 2007 Conference USA Player of the Year.
Kuehne qualified for his fourth U.S. Open in 2007 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 U.S. Amateur. In addition, he was runner-up at the 2006 Sunnehanna Amateur. A 1995 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Kuehne also was named to the 1995 and 2003 USA Walker Cup teams. He lost to Woods in the 1994 Amateur final.
Lovemark became only the eighth freshman to win the NCAA individual title in 2007, representing the University of Southern California. Playing as an invited amateur, he was runner-up at the professional 2007 Nationwide Tours Rochester Area Charities Showdown event, where he lost in a two-hole playoff. In July, he finished tied for 45th at the PGA Tours AT&T National.
Moore won the 2006 NCAA title as a freshman for Oklahoma State University, and shortly thereafter qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open. His NCAA title came by a comfortable four-stroke margin. Moore represented the USA at the 2006 World Amateur Team Championship and the 2007 Copa de las Americas Championship.
Simpson was named to the 2006 USA World Amateur Team and the 2007 USA Copa de las Americas team. He reached the semifinals of the 2006 U.S. Amateur. He won the 2006 Sunnehanna Amateur and the 2007 Azalea Amateur and the 2007 Southern Amateur.