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GOLF: Jordan delighted with Walker Cup call
DERRY Hill youngster Jordan Smith reckons a three-day vow of silence was a small price to pay for his historic place in Great Britain & Ireland’s Walker Cup team for next month’s match against the United States.
The 20 year old, based at Bowood Golf & Country Club near Calne, received the news that he would be featuring in the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup in a phone call from team captain Nigel Edwards last Friday, but initially had to restrict himself to breaking the news to just family members, with the team not officially unveiled until Monday.
Wiltshire county player Smith will become only the second golfer from Wiltshire to play in the Walker Cup, following in the footsteps of Swindon’s David Howell who helped a Great Britain & Ireland team, also including three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, to beat a USA side containing current world number one Tiger Woods at Royal Porthcawl in 1995, before embarking on a successful professional career.
Smith, who clinched the English strokeplay title (Brabazon Trophy) earlier this year and is 17th in amateur golf’s world rankings, will join the 10-strong travelling team at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York on September 7-8, defending the trophy they won two years ago at Royal Aberdeen.
He told the Gazette & Herald: “After the US Amateur Championship (he was eliminated after the opening two rounds earlier this month), I didn’t have a clue if I was going to get picked because there are a lot of strong players so I’m absolutely over the moon.
“I got the phone call on Friday night, but I had to keep it quiet until Monday. I told my mum (Emma), who broke down and then my dad (Martin) and that was it.
“It’s a great feeling and I’m really looking forward to going back to America to try and win the trophy for Great Britain and Ireland again.’’
Smith, coached at Bowood by Simon Shanks, jets across the Atlantic a week today in preparation for the match and reckons his first experience of golf in America at the recent US Amateur will prove invaluable.
“It really opened my eyes to how they set courses up over there and being at the US Amateur was an awesome week,’’ he added.
“I played two solid rounds and it looked like I might reach the matchplay stages but I just got edged out in a play-off.
“The (Walker Cup) course is a lot more links-style, which I think may probably suit our team a bit more than America.
Newly-crowned US Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, from Yorkshire, and British Amateur champion Garrick Porteous, from Northumberland, are also in the Great Britain and Ireland team that will be aiming to maintain European golf’s stranglehold on the team prizes they contest with the United States.
The European professional women’s Solheim Cup victory in Colorado on Sunday means that trophy, plus the Ryder, Walker and Curtis (women’s amateur) Cups currently reside this side of the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, Marlborough’s Ben Amor has been picked for the Great Britain and Ireland team to face the Continent of Europe for the Jacques Leglise Trophy at Royal St David’s Golf Club in Wales on August 30-31.
Marlborough junior captain Amor, 18, won the England Boys’ U18 title last month and then won six matches out of six as he helped England win the Boys’ Home Internationals series against Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Great Britain and Ireland will be aiming to win back the trophy after suffering a 13½-10½ defeat at Portmarnock last year.
European Ryder Cup stars Sergio García and Luke Donald are among those to have featured in the event in the past.
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