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Walker Cup: Alternates get call for both teams in Saturday foursomes

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JUNO BEACH, Fla. – A stomach virus will keep three U.S. players and three Great Britain and Ireland players on the sidelines Saturday morning at Seminole Golf Club.

Pierceson Coody, John Pak and Tyler Strafaci will all sit out the opening foursomes session of the 48th Walker Cup while first alternate Mac Meissner fills in alongside Ricky Castillo. For the visitors, they will be without Englishmen Benjamin Schmidt, Ben Jones and Joe Long while their countryman Jake Bolton subs in to pair with Angus Flanagan in the anchor match.

The Walker Cup committee altered the terms of the match on Friday, allowing teams to employ alternates for illness-related reasons only. Original team members will be able to sub back in once healthy, and representatives for both teams expect all original 20 players to tee it up in Sunday singles.

“It's obviously unfortunate,” U.S. player Cole Hammer said. “All 20 guys have worked really hard over the last two years to make this team, and to kind of have an issue like this is no fun. But everybody is making the most of it. We're pushing through, and we're just kind of having to make some decisions on the fly here. But everybody has been great, trying to get healthy, but everybody is chipping in for the better of the team. There really hasn't been any issues in the team room whatsoever, and everybody is just excited to get going tomorrow no matter what capacity they're in.”

Coody and Pak played alternate shot in practice with Davis Thompson and Hammer, respectively, but with Coody and Pak out for at least the morning, Hammer and Thompson have linked up. They will play Alex Fitzpatrick and Barclay Brown, two U.S. college standouts (Fitzpatrick at Wake and Brown at Stanford), in the first match.

Strafaci appeared to be teaming with Stewart Hagestad, but Hagestad, a three-time Walker Cupper, will get Pepperdine sophomore William Mouw, who originally looked as if he'd pair with Castillo. They will play Flanagan and Bolton.

Irishmen John Murphy and Mark Power will face Oklahoma State's Austin Eckroat and Oklahoma's Quade Cummins in the second match, followed by Meissner and Castillo versus Jack Dyer and Matty Lamb.

Here are the complete matchups and tee times:

  • 8:20 a.m. – Alex Fitzpatrick and Barclay Brown, GB&I vs. Cole Hammer and Davis Thompson, USA
  • 8:35 a.m. – Mark Power and John Murphy, GB&I vs. Quade Cummins and Austin Eckroat, USA
  • 8:50 a.m. – Jack Dyer and Matty Lamb, GB&I vs. Mac Meissner and Ricky Castillo, USA
  • 9:05 a.m. – Angus Flanagan and Jake Bolton, GB&I vs. Stewart Hagestad and William Mouw, USA

Lineups for Saturday afternoon singles will be announced at 12:30 p.m. The first afternoon singles match will begin at 2:30 p.m.