USA Practice Session to Include Four USGA Champions November 18, 2018 | LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. By Pete Kowalski, USGA

2017 USA Walker Cup team member Stewart Hagestad (left) will participate in December's practice session. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Updated on November 25, 2018

The USGA's International Team Selection Committee selected 16 players who will attend a practice session Dec. 14-18 in advance of the 2019 Walker Cup Match. While the site of the practice session is still to be determined, the following players will be in attendance:

John Augenstein, of Owensboro, Ky.; Akshay Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C.; Will Gordon, of Davidson, N.C.; Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, Calif.; Cole Hammer, of Houston, Texas; Brandon Mancheno, of Jacksonville, Fla.; Bryson Nimmer, of Bluffton, S.C.; Kevin O’Connell, of Cary, N.C.; Matt Parziale, of Brockton, Mass.; Chandler Phillips, of Huntsville, Texas; Trent Phillips, of Inman, S.C.; Isaiah Salinda, of South San Francisco, Calif.; Alex Smalley, of Wake Forest, N.C.; Tyler Strafaci, of Davie, Fla.; Matthew Wolff, of Agoura Hills, Calif.; and Brandon Wu, of Scarsdale, N.Y.

Four USGA champions are among the 16 invited players and include Hagestad (2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Hammer (2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball); O’Connell (2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur) and Parziale (2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur).

The 47th Match will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, Sept. 7-8, 2019. 

Hagestad is the only member of the 2017 USA Team who will attend this initial practice session. Six of the 16 players from the 2017 Walker Cup practice session were named to the 10-man USA Team and nine of the 16 from the practice sessions for the 2013 and 2015 Matches were selected.

“This practice session presents an excellent opportunity for the players, the captain and the USGA to become familiar with each other as we begin the process of team selection,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships. “Individual personalities show through and we see the beginning of a sense of team spirit.

“While these 16 talented individuals represent the first pool of potential team members, we expect many others will be considered as the selection process moves toward its conclusion next August,” said Bodenhamer.

USA captain Nathaniel Crosby, who played on the victorious USA Team in the 1983 Match at Royal Liverpool two years after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship, and members of the International Team Selection Committee will also attend the practice session.

In July of 2018, the USGA announced revisions to the international team selection process which now includes automatic selections to the USA Walker Cup Match Team for: the 2019 U.S. Amateur champion, the Mark H. McCormack Award winner (WAGR world No.1 immediately after U.S. Amateur) and the top 3 USA players in the WAGR (as of early August). The remaining players will be decided by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee.

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland, selected by The R&A. The Match, which was first contested in 1922, is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches. The USA leads the series, 36-9-1, but the GB&I side has won seven of the last 15 meetings.

The 2017 USA Team defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 19-7, at The Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club in the 46th Walker Cup Match.