Walker Cup primer: Cummins, Eckroat ready for amateur showcase this weekend

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JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Oklahoma’s Quade Cummins and Oklahoma State’s Austin Eckroat are set to represent the United States of America this weekend, May 8-9, at the 48th Walker Cup Match contested at the world-renowned Seminole Golf Club.

Austin Eckroat

The biennial match pits the top-10 amateurs from the United States against their counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland as the two teams will battle in a Ryder Cup-style event that will be broadcast on the Golf Channel and Peacock Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s been great being down here at Seminole, and the opportunity to be on a national team is always an honor,” Cummins said. “It hasn’t really set in yet because we’ve only been practicing this week, but when the fans show up on Friday night, it will give it a different feel.”

The match was first played in 1922 at the National Golf Links of America and has been dominated by the Americans, who own a 37-9-1 all-time lead, ever since. The American side is captained by Nathaniel Crosby of Jupiter, Fla., who led the U.S. to a Walker Cup Match title in 2019.

Cummins’ selection to the team was the first for a Sooner since Anthony Kim in 2005 and just fourth in program history following Kim, Hunter Haas and Charlie Coe, who won seven times at the Walker Cup, including twice as the team captain.

The Weatherford, Okla., product was one of six American players selected by the working group after tallying 30 top-20 and 20 top-10 finishes in his ongoing Sooner career. The remaining four players were selected based off WAGR or by winning the U.S. Amateur. Oklahoma teammate Garett Reband was named Team USA’s second alternate.

Last summer, Cummins finished third in the Southern Amateur with a 72-hole score of 283 (-5) and tied for fourth in the Sunnehanna Amateur the following week. In December, he made the 36-hole cut in the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

The OU redshirt senior and three-time All-American is currently sixth in the PGA Tour U rankings, 14th in the Golfweek individual rankings, No. 16 in WAGR and 37th in the Golfstat ranking. He recently finished as the runner-up at the Big 12 Championship at Prairie Dunes, one shot behind fellow Walker Cup teammate, Cole Hammer.

A native of Edmond, Okla., Eckroat has constructed an impressive amateur resumé. He has earned All-America status on three occasions, including second-team recognition a year ago. On four occasions, he has been in the field at the U.S. Amateur Championship and reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship before eventually falling to former Cowboy teammate Matthew Wolff.

Eckroat currently ranks 15th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

This season, Eckroat has a runner-up showing at the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational. Overall, he has a pair of collegiate victories to his credit, winning the 2018 Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate and the 2019 Cabo Collegiate.

Eckroat competed at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. This past December, he tied for 12th place at the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, which was won by former OSU teammate Viktor Hovland, after posting a 14-under total of 270.

Saturday’s action will be comprised of four foursome matches in the morning and then eight singles matches later in the day. Sunday will showcase an additional four foursomes, followed by 10 singles matches. A victory in each match scores the team one point, with a tie producing a half-point to each side. The United States has not lost on American soil since 2001, winning four straight matches inside the U.S.

The 2021 Walker Cup Match will receive at least 12 hours of live network coverage. Dan Hicks will anchor the NBC Universal telecasts with analyst Paul Azinger. The broadcast team includes Notah Begay, a 1995 USA Walker Cup Team member, two-time USA Walker Cup captain and player Buddy Marucci, Curt Byrum, Steve Sands and Steve Burkowski.

TV SCHEDULE

Saturday, May 8, 2021
Foursomes – 9-10 a.m – Peacock
Foursomes – 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Golf Channel
Singles – 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Peacock
Singles – 4:30-6:30 p.m. – Golf Channel

Sunday, May 9, 2021
Foursomes – 9-10 a.m – Peacock
Foursomes – 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – Golf Channel
Singles – 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Peacock
Singles – 4:30-6:30 p.m. – Golf Channel

Meet the Walker Cup teams:

2021 GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND TEAM:

Barclay Brown, 20, of England (born 1-23-01): Brown, who is a sophomore on the StanfordUniversity team, won the Wyoming Cowboy Classic, tied for fifth in the Bandon Dunes Championshipand was eighth in the Western Intercollegiate this spring. He tied for second in the Cabo Collegiate asa freshman. In 2020, Brown was a semifinalist in the English Men’s Amateur Championship, tied forfourth in the Brabazon Trophy, including a third-round 66, and reached the quarterfinals of TheAmateur Championship at Royal Birkdale, losing to eventual champion Joe Long. He has previously represented GB&I in the 2018 and 2019 Jacques Leglise Trophy matches as the playing captain.

Jack Dyer, 23, of England (born 3-2-88): Dyer, who replaced the injured Sandy Scott on the GB&I Team on April 14, was the runner-up in the South African Amateur Championship and recorded top-10finishes in the African Amateur Stroke Play (6th), Cape Province Open (T-7th) and Northern AmateurOpen (T-9th). In 2020, Dyer won the South East of England Links Championship, tied for fourth in theBrabazon Trophy and advanced to the Round of 32 in The Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale.Dyer tied for first in the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational as a senior in 2019-20 on the Cal State-Fullerton team. He posted four other top 10s in a shortened season due to the pandemic and won the Sacramento State Invitational as a junior.

Alex Fitzpatrick, 22, of England (born 1-2-99): Fitzpatrick competed in the 2019 Walker Cup, when heposted victories in singles and foursomes to secure two points for Great Britain and Ireland. In 2020-21at Wake Forest University, he has started strongly, winning the Valspar Collegiate, tying for second atthe Jones Cup Invitational and recording top-5 finishes in the Wake Forest Invitational and ArizonaCollegiate. Fitzpatrick, who is a two-time All-East Region selection, won the Golf Club of GeorgiaAmateur Championship and was a member of the winning International team in the 2020 ArnoldPalmer Cup. Fitzpatrick has played in three U.S. Amateurs and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2018.He is the younger brother of Matthew Fitzpatrick, who owns six PGA European Tour victories. Alex was on the bag for his brother when Matthew won the 2013U.S. Amateur at The Country Club, in Brookline, Mass.

Angus Flanagan, 21, of England (born 3-31-99): Flanagan played for the International team that wonthe Arnold Palmer Cup at Bay Hill and finished second in the Windsong Invitational last year. Headvanced to the Round of 16 at the Western Amateur and received invitations to play in the PGATour’s Genesis Invitational and the 3M Open in 2020. Flanagan, a senior at the University ofMinnesota in 2020-21, was victorious in back-to-back college tournaments in April. He earned thirdteam All-America and first-team All-Big Ten Conference recognition as a junior and won the Macdonald Cup and the Big Ten Championship atPhiladelphia Cricket Club as a sophomore. Flanagan, who has twice been voted All-Midwest Region,fired a final-round 64 to win the Minnesota State Open last July.

Ben Jones, 22, of England (born 5-7-99): Jones advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Amateur at Royal Queensland, reached the Round of 32 in both The Amateur and English Men’s Amateur andrecorded top-10 finishes in the Australian Master of the Amateurs (tie for 7th) and Ghala Open (5th) in2020. He reached the semifinals of The Amateur Championship at Portmarnock, finished third in the European Amateur Championship and represented England in the European Amateur Team Championship and Men’s HomeInternationals in 2019. Jones, who competed in the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & CountryClub, played for GB&I in the 2017 Jacques Leglise Trophy.

Matty Lamb, 23, of England (born 3-28-98): Lamb won the North of England Open AmateurChampionship by three strokes and Tillman Trophy by two shots after carding a final-round 67 last year.He also reached the Round of 32 in The Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale. He has representedEngland in the Men’s Home Internationals and European Amateur Team Championship. Lamb won theEngland Boys Home International Championship in 2014 and 2016. He was a member of the CharlotteUniversity golf team and was chosen to the 2016-17 Conference USA All-Freshman Team.

Joe Long, 23, of England (born 5-21-97): Long was successful on home soil to win The 125th AmateurChampionship at Royal Birkdale, defeating Joe Harvey, 4 and 3, in the 36-hole final. He was the firstEnglishman to win the Amateur since Harry Ellis in 2017. His victory earned him an invitation to theMasters and a U.S. Open exemption in 2021. The win also highlighted a 2020 season that saw him achieve top-10 finishes in the South African Amateur (3rd), African Amateur Stroke Play (4th), SouthAfrican Stroke Play (7th), Tillman Trophy (8th) and Brabazon Trophy (9th). He also advanced to thequarterfinals of the English Men’s Amateur Championship, losing to eventual runner-up Sam Done in 23holes.

John Murphy, 22, of the Republic of Ireland (born 6-12-98): Murphy, a fifth-year senior on theUniversity of Louisville team, has top-10 finishes in the General Hackler Championship (2nd), JonesCup Invitational (tie for 6th) and Mobile Bay Intercollegiate (tie for 7th) this spring. Murphy recordedwins in the GCAA Amateur Series – Georgia and Dorado Beach Collegiate last year. He won the Bearcat Invitational and MullingarScratch Trophy in 2019 and was the 2018 St Andrews Links Trophy winner. A two-time All-EastRegion selection, Murphy received the 2020 Byron Nelson Award. He represented Ireland at the2018 World Amateur Team Championship and European Amateur Team Championship and GB&I inthe 2018 St. Andrews Trophy.

Mark Power, 20, of the Republic of Ireland (born 6-9-00): Power reached the semifinals of The AmateurChampionship at Royal Birkdale and tied for second, losing in three-man playoff, in the BrabazonTrophy. He also recorded top-5 finishes in the Mullingar Scratch Trophy and Connacht Stroke PlayChampionship. Power, a sophomore on the Wake Forest University team, earned second-team All-America and All-East Region honors in 2019-20. He has four top-20 finishes this spring. He was amember of the winning International team in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup. Power has represented GB&Iin the Jacques Leglise Trophy and Ireland in the European Amateur Team Championship and Men’s Home Internationals. His mother, Eileen Rose, wasa member of the 1994 GB&I Curtis Cup Team and his father, Eddie, won three Irish Men’sChampionships.

Ben Schmidt, 18, of England (born 7-30-02): Schmidt won the New South Wales Amateur in Australia,defeating Callum Farr, 7 and 5, in the final, and was second in the Avondale Amateur last year. He wasalso runner-up to Matty Lamb in the Tillman Trophy and reached the Round of 32 in The Amateur.Schmidt also was third in the North of England Open Amateur and tied for ninth in the Australian Master of the Amateurs. He rose to prominence in 2019 after winning the Brabazon Trophy, the Carris Trophyand the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. Schmidt, who claimed the Lee Westwood Trophy in 2018, hasrepresented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy and England in the Men’s Home Internationals.

2021 USA TEAM:

Ricky Castillo, 20, of Yorba Linda, Calif. (born 2-19-01): In 2020, Castillo earned an exemption into the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, advanced to the semifinals of the Western Amateur and was a member ofthe USA Arnold Palmer Cup Team. Castillo received the NCAA Division I Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award and was a first-team All-American at the University of Florida in 2019-20. Additionally, he won two individual tournament titles and was chosen first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC).Castillo has played in three U.S. Amateurs and reached the Round of 16 in 2019 at Pinehurst No. 2. He has also competed in three U.S. Junior Amateurs, advancing to the Round of 16 twice and sharing medalist honors in 2019 withWilliam Moll and 2021 Walker Cup teammate William Mouw.

Pierceson Coody, 21, of Plano, Texas (born 1-7-00): Coody won the 118th Western Amateur last August, defeating Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen, 2 and 1, in the final. Coody and his twin brother,Parker, are juniors on the University of Texas team and are the grandsons of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody. In 2021, Pierceson won the George Hannon Collegiate, owns two runner-up finishesand tied for sixth in the Big 12 Conference Championship. He earned All-Central Region recognition as a sophomore. In 2019, Pierceson advanced to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2.He also posted a two-stroke victory in the 116th Trans-Mississippi Amateur at Maridoe Golf Club in hishome state, joining a list of champions that includes Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Bryson DeChambeau. He was a member of the 2020 USA Arnold Palmer Cup Team.

Quade Cummins, 25, of Weatherford, Okla. (born 3-6-96): Cummins has competed in three consecutive U.S. Amateurs (2018-20). As a fifth-year senior at the University of Oklahoma, he postedthree top-10 finishes, including two runner-up efforts, in the fall of 2020 and tied for second in the Big12 Conference Championship this spring. He was chosen first-team All-American in a COVID-shortened 2019-20 season. Last summer, Cummins finished third in the Southern Amateur with a 72-hole score of 283 (5 under) and tied for fourth in the Sunnehanna Amateur the following week. In December, he made the 36-hole cut in the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic. Cummins won the 2019Pacific Coast Amateur by four strokes with a four-day total of 264 (20 under) and has been a member oftwo USA Arnold Palmer Cup Teams (2019, 2020).

Austin Eckroat, 22, of Edmond, Okla. (born 1-12-99): Eckroat, who played in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, earned second-team All-America recognition as a junior at Oklahoma State University in2019-20. A three-time All-Central Region and All-Big 12 Conference selection, Eckroat was fifthindividually in helping OSU capture the 2021 Big 12 Championship. He finished second in the MaridoeCollegiate Invitational in the fall of 2020. He has played in four U.S. Amateurs and advanced to matchplay in 2019 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. Eckroat tied for sixth in last year’s Southern Amateur.He reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur, losing to fellow OSU player and 2020U.S. Open runner-up Matthew Wolff. Last December, he tied for 12th in the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba GolfClassic with a 72-hole score of 270 (14 under).

Stewart Hagestad, 30, of Newport Beach, Calif. (born 4-10-91): Hagestad was a member of the winning2017 and 2019 USA Walker Cup Teams and has a combined 3-2 record in the two competitions. Hagestad, who has competed in three U.S. Opens, reached the quarterfinals of the 2020 U.S. Amateur.He has played in 21 USGA championships, including 11 U.S. Amateurs. He rallied to defeat ScottHarvey in 37 holes in the 2016 U.S. Mid- Amateur Championship, producing the largest comebackvictory since a 36-hole final was introduced in 2001. Hagestad also won a gold medal in the mixed-team competition of the 2019 Pan American Games, in Lima, Peru, and was the low amateur in the2017 Masters Tournament, becoming the first invited Mid-Amateur champion to make the 36-hole cut.He tied for fifth in the Terra Cotta Invitational in April.

Cole Hammer, 21, of Houston, Texas (born 8-28-99): Hammer helped the USA to victory in the 2019Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. He has competed in 12 USGA championships, including twoU.S. Opens, and advanced to the semifinals in both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur in 2018.Hammer also won the 2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Garrett Barber and was the third-youngest player to compete in a U.S. Open when he played at Chambers Bay at age 15 in 2015. Hammer, a junior at the University ofTexas, was a key figure in the Longhorns’ runner-up finish in the 2019 NCAA Championship. In 2018,Hammer won the Western Amateur and helped the USA to a second-place finish in the World AmateurTeam Championship. Hammer, the 2021 Big 12 Conference individual champion, won the South BeachInternational Amateur last December and tied for second in the Jones Cup Invitational in February.

William Mouw, 20, of Chino, Calif. (born 9-5-00): Mouw has played in three U.S. Amateurs and twiceadvanced to the Round of 16, in 2018 at Pebble Beach and 2020 at Bandon Dunes. He also reached the Round of 32 in two consecutive U.S. Junior Amateurs (2018, 2019) and shared medalist honors in2019 with William Moll and 2021 Walker Cup teammate Ricky Castillo. Mouw, the son of a chicken eggfarmer, was chosen first- team All-American and All-West Region as a freshman at PepperdineUniversity in 2019-20. He set the program’s freshman record with five top-10 finishes. Mouw also recorded a pair of top 10s in the fallof 2020 as a sophomore. Mouw won the 2019 California State Amateur and was a member of the basketball and golf teams at Ontario Christian High School. He was a member of the 2020 USA ArnoldPalmer Cup Team.

John Pak, 22, of Scotch Plains, N.J. (born 12-18-98): Pak won all three of his matches as a member of the victorious 2019 USA Walker Cup Team. He tied for 51st and was low amateur in the U.S. Open lastSeptember at Winged Foot Golf Club. A senior on the Florida State University team, Pak has recorded seven top-10 finishes this spring, including a victory in The Calusa Cup on April 6 and a tie for fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. He earned All-America and All-South Region recognitionfor the third consecutive year in 2019-20. He is tied for first on the school’s all-time list with eight tournament victories, including the 2019 ACC Championship. He has competed in four U.S. Amateurs, reaching the Round of 16 in 2019 at Pinehurst No. 2. Pak, who has played in nine USGA championships, advanced to match play in all four U.S. Junior Amateurs in which he competed,reaching the quarterfinals in 2015 and semifinals in 2016.

Tyler Strafaci, 22, of Davie, Fla. (born 7-23-98): Strafaci won the 2020 U.S. Amateur, edging CharlesOsborne, 1 up, in the final at Bandon Dunes, and claimed the North & South Amateur, defeatingWilliam Holcomb V, 3 and Strafaci, who rallied from an early 5-down deficit in the U.S. Amateur final, is the fourth player to winboth championships in the same year, joining Jack Nicklaus, Hal Sutton and George Dunlap. His grandfather, Frank, won two North & South Amateurs (1938, 1939) and the 1935 U.S. Amateur PublicLinks. Tyler, who competed in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, has played in seven USGA championships, including four U.S. Amateurs. As a member of the Georgia Tech program through Dec.2020, Strafaci earned honorable mention All-American and was a three-time All-East Region and two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) performer. He has competed in the Masters Tournament andPGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open this year.

Davis Thompson, 21, of St. Simons Island, Ga. (born 6-5-99): Thompson nearly made the 36-hole cut in the 2020 U.S. Open after carding a first-round 69 at Winged Foot Golf Club. In 2020, he was aquarterfinalist in the Western Amateur and advanced to match play in the U.S. Amateur at BandonDunes. Thompson, a senior at the University of Georgia, earned first-team All-America and first-teamAll-Southeastern Conference (SEC) honors in 2019-20. Thompson was selected to the 2020 USA Arnold Palmer Cup Team along with several USA Walker Cup teammates. He competed in two PGATour events last year, tying for 23rd in the RSM Classic (10- under 272). Thompson tied for second in the Jones Cup Invitational on Feb. 7 at Ocean Forest Golf Club, site of the 2001 Walker Cup Match, wonAuburn’s Tiger Invitational in March and was third in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship inApril.

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