DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke senior men’s golfer Alex Smalley is one of 16 amateur golfers nationwide selected by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee to compete in an initial Walker Cup practice session in anticipation of the 2019 Walker Cup matches at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.
The practice session is scheduled for Dec. 14-18, and this year’s invitees include:
John Augenstein (Vanderbilt)
Will Gordon (Vanderbilt)
Cole Hammer (Texas)
Brandon Mancheno (Auburn)
Bryson Nimmer (Clemson)
Chandler Phillips (Texas A&M)
Trent Phillips (Georgia)
Isaiah Salinda (Stanford)
Alex Smalley (Duke)
Tyler Strafaci (Georgia Tech)
Matthew Wolff (Oklahoma State)
Brandon Wu (Stanford)
The Walker Cup is an international golf competition contested in odd-numbered years by leading amateur golfers in two teams -- United States versus Great Britain and Ireland.
Twelve of the 16 men are current collegians, including Smalley, who is currently ranked No. 4 in Golfweek’s men’s college rankings. The senior from Wake Forest, N.C., has a win this season and leads the No. 3-ranked Blue Devils with a 69.08 scoring average. He has three top-5 finishes to his credit this season, and won the Louisville Cardinal Challenge after opening with a 61 and setting the Duke 54-hole scoring record (197, -16).
In 42 career collegiate tournaments, Smalley has played to a 71.35 average with two wins to his credit.
“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."
Earlier this year, the USGA announced revisions to the international team selection process that grant automatic selections to the Walker Cup 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 U.S. players in the WAGR (as of early August). The remaining players will be decided by the USGA’s International Team Selection Committee.
The United States is the reigning Walker Cup champion, and leads the all-time series 36-9.