Robert MacIntyre – Two Years On From The Disappointment Of The 2017 Walker Cup.

Special report by Trevor Peake, Hoylake …..

TWO years ago this weekend Robert MacIntyre was a member of the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team on the end of a 19-7 drubbing by the United States at the Los Angeles Country Club in California.​

The 23-year-old Scot didn’t play in the first morning foursome but then was the only winner in the afternoon singles beating Cameron Champ 6&4 for the biggest win of the day, although GB&I trailed 8-4 overnight.​

On day two MacIntyre, partnered by England’s Matthew Jordan lost in the foursomes, then the young Scot halved his afternoon singles against Champ, who fought tooth and nail after his previous day’s drubbing.​

Now MacIntyre looks poised for his first European Tour victory going into the weekend at the European Open in Hamburg with a four shot lead after adding a seven under par second round 65 to his opening 68 for an 11-under halfway total of 133.​

A then 21-year old Robert MacIntyre competing in the 2017 Walker Cup

Like MacIntyre virtually all his team mates from two years ago moved straight into the professional ranks soon after reaching the pinnacle of the amateur game by playing in the Walker Cup.​

In fact 28-year-old Stewart Hagestad from Newport Beach in California is the only surviving member from either side two years ago, like the home players, most of the Americans have moved into the paid ranks​

The days of the career amateur are a thing of the past with the riches on offer in the pro game too tempting to resist.​

The GB & I Walker Cup team with Robert MacIntrye second right clearly downheartedly in losing 19-7 to the Americans in 2017

Three times major winner Padraig Harrington appeared in three Walker Cups in 1991, 1993 and 1995 before turning pro, but almost without exception all his fellow major winners made just one Walker Cup appearance.​

The clearly dejected 2017 GB & I Walker Cup team (Robert MacIntyre second right) after losing 19-7 to a USA side

Multi-major winner Tiger Woods appeared in the 1995 contest at Royal Porthcawl when he was beaten in the singles by Gary Wolstenholme, who was himself a career amateur, playing in six successive Ryder Cups, before turning pro in 2008 and the age of 48.​

Phil Mickelson played twice, on the losing side at Peachtree in Georgia in 1989, when GB&I won first the first time in 28 years and at Portmarnock two years later when the US gained their revenge.​

Rory McIlroy played in the 2007 Walker Cup defeat at Royal County Down, along with fellow major winner Danny Willett, with Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler on the American side.​

Two years removed from the 2017 Walker Cup and Robert MacIntyre produces his best European Tour score of 65 to storm his way to a four-shot lead on day two of the Porsche European Open. (Photo – European Tour/Getty)

Fowler was also in the winning American side at Merion in Pensylvania two years later when Tommy Fleetwood was in the GB&I team.​

Justin Rose  was on the losing side at Quaker Ridge, New York in 1997 and former Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Paul McGinley both played Walker Cup, Montgomerie in 1985 and 1987 and McGinley in 1991 alongside fellow Irishman Harrington.  ​

Luke Donald played twice, alongside Paul Casey in the 1999 victory at Nairn, when Matt Kuchar was on the opposing side and at Ocean Forest in Georgia in 2001 when Graeme McDowell was one of his team mates.​

Other major winning Americans  who have played in the Walker Cup are Jordan Spieth at Royal Aberdeen in 2011 and Justin Thomas in New York two years later, when Matthew Fitzpatrick was on the GB&I side. ​

Bryson DeChambeau played at Royal Lytham in 2015 and Patrick Cantlay and Harris English played alongside Spieth at Royal Aberdeen.​

Sir Michael Bonallack played in nine successive Walker Cups from 1957 to 1973 and captained the side in ’69 and ’71, Peter McEvoy played in five between 1977 and 1989 and was later captain in 1999 and 2001, but he was the last of the career amateurs.​

Now the young Walker Cup starts can’t wait to get on the pro gravy train. Sadly many disappear without trace.​

The GB& I team this time is Alex Fitzpatrick, Matt’s younger brother, from Hallamshire, along with fellow Englishmen Harry Hall (West Cornwall), Thomas Plumb (Yeovil), Conor Gough (Stoke Park) and Thomas Sloman (Taunton & Pickeridge). They play alongside Ireland’s Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) and James Sugrue (Mallow), with two Scots Sandy Scott (Nairn) and Euan Walker (Kilmarnock Barassie) making up the team captained by their countryman Craig Watsonm from Glasgow.​

The USA team captained by Bing Crosby’s son Nathaniel, himself a former Walker Cup player, is John Augenstein (Kentucky), Akshay Bhatia (North Carolina), Steve Fisk (Georgia), Stewart Hagestad (California), Cole Hammer (Texas), Andy Ogletree (Missouri), John Pak (New Jersey), Isaiah Salinda (California), Alex Smalley (North Carolina) and Brandon Wu (New York).​

Draw for Saturday’s opening foursomes: Fitzpatrick and Purcell v Augenstein and Ogletree; Scott and Walker v Pak and Salinda; Hall and Gough v Hagestad and Bhatia; Sloman and Plumb v Wu and Smalley.​

Singles: Fitzpatrick v Cole; Walker v Fisk; Scott v Ogletree; Purcell v Augenstein; Sugrue v Pak; Gough v Salinda; Rafferty v Smalley; Sloman v Wu. ​

 

 

 



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