Walker Cup team: Connor Graham to become one of youngest players in event’s history

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Connor Graham playing golf
Scottish teenager Graham is part of a 10-man team which will take on the United States

Connor Graham will become one of the youngest players in Walker Cup history after being selected in Great Britain and Ireland’s team for the matches against the United States in September.

The 17-year-old from Blairgowrie is one of two Scots in the GB&I side, alongside Calum Scott, 20, from Nairn.

Scott’s brother Sandy played in the 2019 Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool.

Captain Stuart Wilson has also named four Irishmen, three Englishmen and a lone Welsh player in his 10-man squad.

The Walker Cup is a biennial match contested between the leading amateurs from GB&I and the US across 18 singles and eight foursomes.

The showpiece of the amateur game is being staged this year over the Old course in St Andrews, marking 100 years since it was first played at the ‘Home of Golf’, on 2 and 3 September.

The US, which leads the overall series 38-9 with one halved match, have won the last three contests as well as seven of the last nine.

“We have selected 10 players who we believe will give us the best chance of regaining the Walker Cup,” said Wilson, who was captain in the defeat at fabled Seminole in 2021.

“This is their opportunity to perform on the biggest stage in amateur golf and have their name written alongside some of the greatest names in the history of the sport.

“There is arguably no more iconic venue in the world to achieve that feat than on the Old course in St Andrews. We look forward to the challenge.”

Graham – a member of Blairgowrie, the club Wilson manages – won this year’s Scottish Amateur Open and finished runner-up in the French Under-18 Amateur Open.

In 2022 he won The R&A Junior Open at Monifieth, finished runner-up in the Lytham Trophy, tied third in the Scottish Boys’ Amateur Open and shared seventh in the St Andrews Links Trophy.

Englishman Oliver Fisher holds the record for the youngster player to feature in the event, having played aged 16 years and 11 months in 2005 at Chicago.

Graham will follow Ronan Rafferty in 1981 and Justin Rose in 1997 – both future Ryder Cup players and European Order of Merit winners – by competing in the Walker Cup as a 17-year-old.

The GB&I side has a youthful look overall, as has become the norm in recent years with only 30-year-old Matthew McClean from Malone in Ireland over the age of 24.

Alex Maguire, Liam Nolan and Mark Power – who played in the 2021 matches – are the other Irish players on the team.

James Ashfield represents Wales, while 19-year-old Jack Bigham, the highly rated Barclay Brown – who also played in 2021 – and John Gough are the three English players.

GB&I Walker Cup team

James Ashfield (Delamere Forest), Jack Bigham (Harpenden), Barclay Brown (Hallamshire), John Gough (The Berkshire), Connor Graham (Blairgowrie), Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown), Matthew McClean (Malone), Liam Nolan (Galway), Mark Power (Kilkenny), Calum Scott (Nairn).

Reserves Tyler Weaver (Bury St Edmonds), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk)

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