Meet The Great Britain and Ireland Team


By The R & A
August 17, 2011

Steven Brown, 24, Wentworth, England 

   

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Brown made a late burst to get in the team with a 7-and-5 victory over Jamie Clare in the English Amateur Championship at Woburn Golf Club. Brown joined a long list of prestigious champions, including past Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup stalwart Sir Michael Bonallack, and past European Ryder Cup captains Nick Faldo and Mark James.

He also finished runner-up in the European Amateur Championship, losing the title in a three-hole playoff to Austria's Manuel Trappel at the Halmsted Club in Sweden.

He was third leading qualifier in this year’s British Amateur Championship at Hillside and Hesketh in the northwest of England, and runner-up in the Scottish Stroke Play Championship played over the Lansdowne Course in Blaigowrie.

James Byrne, 22, Banchory, Scotland 

 

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Byrne spent four years at Arizona State University, the same school where past Great Britain and Ireland standout Paul Casey of England attended.

He was runner-up in last year’s British Amateur Championship to Jin Jeong of Korea at Muirfield.

He reached the semifinals of this year’s Scottish Amateur Championship at Western Gailes, and played well in the European Team Championships in Portugal, where he was undefeated.

Local knowledge should help Byrne. He lives near Royal Aberdeen and knows the course well.

 

 

Paul Cutler, 22, Portstewart, Ireland  

 

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Cutler learned the game on the links of Portstewart Golf Club, not far from Royal Portrush, the home of 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who also is a past Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup member.

Cutler first made a serious bid to be part of the Great Britain and Ireland Team when he won last year’s Lytham Trophy. He won this year’s Irish Amateur Closed and West of Ireland Championships. He also played well in this year’s Irish Open at Killarney on the European Tour, finishing 21st.

 

 

 

Alan Dunbar, 21, Rathmore, Ireland 

 

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Dunbar was a double winner last year when he won the Irish Amateur Open and the North of Ireland Amateur championships. His best finishes this season are second place in the Brabazon Trophy and runner-up in the West of Ireland Championship.

He also had top-10 finishes in the Irish Amateur Open Championship (T9) and the East of Ireland Championship (T6).

 

 

 

Stiggy Hodgson, 21, Sunningdale, England  

 

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Hodgson is the only remaining Great Britain and Ireland player from the 2009 team at Merion. The diminutive Englishman was the star of the GB&I team two years ago, winning two points out of four.

He began this year by reaching the final of the Spanish Amateur. He finished fourth in the European Amateur Championship, reached the last 16 of the English Amateur and was fifth in the Brabazon Trophy.

Hodgson competed at the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills, where he missed the match-play cut by four strokes. Hodgson also competed in the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

 

 

Tom Lewis, 20, Welwyn Garden City, England  

 

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Lewis announced himself to the world of golf at Royal St George’s this July when he became the first amateur since Sir Michael Bonallack in 1968 to lead The Open Championship.

Lewis compiled an opening 65 to share the lead with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, and went on to finish joint 30th to take the silver medal as leading amateur.

He also won the St Andrews Links Trophy in June. He finished 59th in the Dubai Desert Classic, his first European Tour event. He ended the 2010 season with two outstanding performances on the Australasian Tour, finishing 12th in the Australian Open and losing a playoff to Peter O’Malley in the New South Wales Open.

Lewis also has come to the United States this summer to compete in the Western Amateur in suburban Chicago and the U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills. He failed to qualify for match play at the Western Amateur, but advanced to the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur, beating Kevin Penner in the first round, 1 up. In the round of 32, he defeated 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Cory Whitsett in 19 holes before falling to Patrick Cantlay, the top-ranked amateur according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking, 3 and 1.

Rhys Pugh, 17, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales 

 

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Pugh is the youngest member of the team and the first Welshman to appear in the Walker Cup since Rhys Davies and Nigel Edwards in 2007. Edwards is captaining this year’s team and Davies is currently competing on the European Tour.

Pugh won the Peter McEvoy Trophy and Fairhaven Trophy last year and captained the Great Britain and Ireland Boys team at the Jacques Leglise Trophy. He holds the record as youngest player to represent Wales, an honor he achieved as a 15-year-old in the 2009 Home Internationals.

He won this year’s Irish Amateur Open Championship, reached the final of the Welsh Amateur, and will follow in Davies’ footstepts by attending East Tennessee State University in the U.S.

 

Jack Senior, 23, Heysham, England 

 

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Senior won this year’s Lytham Trophy in appalling weather conditions, so he should be able to handle the wind that often sweeps over Royal Aberdeen.

He began the season by winning the New South Wales Amateur Championship in Australia.

Last year he won the South of England Championship. His regular foursomes partner in the England setup is Andrew Sullivan, and Great Britain and Ireland captain Nigel Edwards might look to the two Englishman as a possible pairing in the alternate-shot format used during the morning sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Senior also went to Erin Hills to compete in the U.S. Amateur, where he qualified for match play and opened with a 6-and-4 win over 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Corbin Mills. He advanced to the semifinals before losing to Kelly Kraft of Denton, Texas, 3 and 2. In the quarterfinals, he eliminated two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jordan  Spieth, at the time, the world's No. 2-ranked amateur.

 Michael Stewart, 21, Troon Welbeck, Scotland  

 

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Stewart underlined his match play credentials by reaching the final of this year’s Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club in northwest England.

He started the season by winning the South African Amateur Championship. He also claimed last year’s Scottish Amateur and is a former Scottish Boys champion.

Stewart attended East Tennessee State University for two years and won two tournaments on the American college circuit.

Stewart also traveled to Erin Hills to compete in the 2011 U.S. Amateur outside of Milwaukee. He qualified for match play, but lost his first-round match to 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up Justin Thomas, 5 and 3. 

 

Andy Sullivan, 24, Nuneaton, England 

 

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Sullivan won this year’s Scottish Stroke Play Championship. He finished sixth in the St Andrews Links Trophy and second in the Brabazon Trophy.

He was the top English points-earner in the recent Home Internationals, winning five matches with just one loss to help England win. Last year he won the 2010 Midland Amateur Championship, the Lagonda Trophy and the Hampshire Salver.