Ranking the remaining U.S. Walker Cup team contenders

Golf Channel

The U.S. Walker Cup team will be completed Sunday evening after the completion of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.

Cole Hammer, Akshay Bhatia and Stewart Hagestad have already been named to captain Nathaniel Crosby’s team, leaving seven spots up for grabs. Hammer also clinched the McCormack Medal on Thursday, so no extra automatic exemption will go to that recipient this time. However, an invite will be extended to the U.S. Amateur winner, which is likely to be American with only Australia's Karl Vilips as the lone remaining international player in the quarterfinals.

Stanford grad Brandon Wu figures to be a lock to earn one of those seven spots, as well as Florida State’s John Pak and Georgia Southern grad Steven Fisk. After that, there figures to be nine players for four spots, including two – Vanderbilt's John Augenstein and Spencer Ralston – that are still alive at the U.S. Amateur.

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Of course, there's always the scenario that one of the other remaining Americans wins at Pinehurst. In that case Austin Squires, Cohen Trolio, Andy Ogletree, Palmer Jackson or William Holcomb could punch an unlikely ticket to Hoylake.

Here’s a closer look at those players believed to still be in the mix for a Walker Cup spot, listed in order of credentials.

1. Brandon Wu

WAGR: 11

Why he’ll make the team: Qualified for both the U.S. Open and Open Championship this summer, tying for 35th at Pebble Beach, and then was stroke-play medalist at U.S. Amateur.

Other notable results: T-4, Pan Am Games; T-30, Ellie Mae Classic (KFT); 3-0, NCAA Match Play; won, The Goodwin; runner-up, The Prestige; third, Southern Highlands Collegiate

Poor finishes: T-53, NCAA Championship

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 64 – lost to Austin Squires, 2 up; Stroke play – 1st, 65-72

2. John Pak

WAGR: 25

Why he’ll make the team: Won three times in the spring, including the ACC Championship.

Other notable results: runner-up, Porter Cup; Round of 16, Western Amateur; T-4, Sunnehanna Amateur; T-6, Players Amateur; T-13, Northeast Amateur; second, Valspar Collegiate; T-7, Cabo Collegiate

Poor finishes: T-35, Myrtle Beach Regional

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 16 – lost to Austin Squires, 2 and 1; Round of 32 – def. Eduard Rousaud, 1 up; Round of 64 – def. Blake Windred, 3 and 1; Stroke play – T-44, 76-68

3. Steven Fisk

WAGR: 12

Why he’ll make the team: Finished runner-up to Matt Wolff at the NCAA Championship, proving he can compete with the big boys.

Other notable results: T-34, Lincoln Land Championship (KFT); T-8, Players Amateur; won, Sun Belt Championship; won, Schenkel; T-6, Stanford Regional

Poor finishes: MC, Western Amateur; T-37, Jones Cup

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 32 – lost to Karl Vilips, 3 and 1; Round of 64 – def. Devon Bling, 6 and 5; Stroke play – T-9, 71-69

4. Isaiah Salinda

WAGR: 20

Why he’ll make the team: Won the Western Intercollegiate and Stanford Regional before sharing sixth at the NCAA Championship and going 3-0 in match play.

Other notable results: T-5, Pac-12 Championship; T-6, The Goodwin; T-15, Pac Coast Amateur

Poor finishes: MC, Western Amateur; MC, North and South Amateur; T-81, Amer Ari Invitational

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 16 – lost to Palmer Jackson, 2 up; Round of 32 – def. Alex del Rey, 1 up; Round of 64 – def. Travis Vick, 1 up; Stroke play – T-28, 68-75

5. Pierceson Coody

WAGR: 31

Why he’ll make the team: Capped last year with a win at the South Beach Amateur and then backed that up with victory at this summer’s Trans-Miss Amateur.

Other notable results: Round of 32, North and South Amateur; T-16, Northeast Amateur; T-21, Western Amateur; 2-0, NCAA Match Play; T-5, Augusta Haskins Award Invitational; T-8, Austin Regional

Poor finishes: T-47, NCAA Championship; T-37, Southern Highlands Collegiate

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 16 – lost to William Holcomb, 2 and 1; Round of 32 – def. Van Holmgren, 3 and 1; Round of 64 – def. Sahith Theegala, 6 and 5; Stroke play – T-28, 72-71

6. John Augenstein

WAGR: 38

Why he’ll make the team: Didn’t have the best summer but has caught fire at Pinehurst.

Other notable results: T-9, Athens Regional; T-9, SEC Championship; T-19, NCAA Championship; T-3, Mason Rudolph; MC, RBC Heritage

Poor finishes: MC, Western Amateur; MC, Players Amateur; T-34, Northeast Amateur; T-27, Jones Cup; T-24, Cabo Collegiate

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 16 – def. Ricky Castillo, 1 up; Round of 32 – def. Akshay Bhatia, 4 and 2; Round of 64 – def. Ryan Smith, 6 and 4; Stroke play – T-12, 70-71

7. Ricky Castillo

WAGR: 9

Why he’ll make the team: Made the semifinals at the Western Amateur this summer before giving John Augenstein everything he could handle in Round of 16 at Pinehurst.

Other notable results: Quarterfinals, North and South Amateur; Round of 32, U.S. Junior; third, Junior Invitational at Sage Valley

Poor finishes: None

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 16 – lost to John Augenstein, 1 up; Round of 32 – def. Takumi Kanaya, 3 and 2; Round of 64 – def. Chad Sewell, 5 and 3; Stroke play – T-2, 72-66

8. Spencer Ralston

WAGR: 45

Why he’ll make the team: Won the Players Amateur this summer and is making at deep run at the U.S. Amateur.

Other notable results: T-5, Dogwood Invitational; T-8, Jones Cup; won, Linger Longer; T-3, Athens Regional; T-18, Northeast Amateur

Poor finishes: T-32, Western Amateur; T-42, Sunnehanna Amateur; MC, NCAA Championship; T-26, SEC Championship

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 16 – def. Parker Coody, 6 and 5; Round of 32 – def. Julien Sale, 1 up; Round of 64 – def. Brent Ito, 2 and 1; Stroke play – T-12, 69-72

9. Quade Cummins

WAGR: 28

Why he’ll make the team: Won the Pacific Coast Amateur by four shots this summer.

Other notable results: Round of 16, Western Amateur; T-5, Sunnehanna Amateur; runner-up, Patriot All-America; T-7, Southern Highlands Collegiate; T-7, The Goodwin; T-12, Pullman Regional

Poor finishes: MC, Northeast Amateur; T-43, Southern Amateur; T-23, Big 12 Championship; T-47, NCAA Championship

This week at U.S. Amateur: Stroke play – MC, 69-77

10. Chandler Phillips

WAGR: 13

Why he’ll make the team: Made match play at the Western Amateur before bowing out in first round.

Other notable results: Won, Arizona Intercollegiate; third, Valspar Collegiate; T-6, SEC Championship; T-7, Pullman Regional

Poor finishes: MC, Southern Amateur; WD, Trans-Miss; T-42, General Hackler

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 64 – lost to Andy Ogletree, 4 and 3; Stroke play – T-44, 75-69

11. Alex Smalley

WAGR: 18

Why he’ll make the team: Won Sunnehanna Amateur for the second straight year.

Other notable results: T-8, Players Amateur; Round of 32, North and South Amateur; T-12, Jones Cup; T-5, Valspar Collegiate; T-7, Athens Regional

Poor finishes: MC, NCAA Championship

This week at U.S. Amateur: Stroke play – MC, 74-71 (lost in playoff)

12. Sahith Theegala

WAGR: 56

Why he’ll make the team: Missed all of last season with a wrist injury but returned to have a strong summer highlighted by his win at the Southern California Amateur.

Other notable results: Round of 16, Western Amateur (had to WD with sore wrist); runner-up, Sahalee Players; T-12, Sunnehanna Amateur

Poor finishes: T-41, Northeast Amateur

This week at U.S. Amateur: Round of 64 – lost to Pierceson Coody, 6 and 5; Stroke play – T-28, 71-72

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