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First 5 picked for U.S. Walker Cup squad

By Ryan Herrington

Just how challenging is it to going to be to make the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup team? Consider that when the USGA announced the first five members of the squad this morning—picking Max Homa, Michael Kim, Patrick Rodgers, Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett—the list did not include either the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion or runner-up.

Steven Fox, set to play in this week's British Open (the final spoil of his win at Cherry Hills CC last August), and Michael Weaver have a little more waiting to do if they hope to be on captain Jim Holtgrieve's squad at National GL of America when the matches are held Sept. 7-8.

Mind you, it's hard to find any fault in the fivesome that was chosen. Homa just wrapped up his college career at California by winning the NCAA individual title, while his teammate Kim, earned was the consensus national player of the year for the Golden Bears in 2012-13 and also claimed low amateur honors at last month's U.S. Open.

Rodgers, a rising junior at Stanford, brings valuable Walker Cup experience, having played for Holtgrieve and the American team in 2011 when the squad fell to Great Britain & Ireland at Royal Aberdeen.

Thomas and Whitsett, teammates at Alabama, helped the Crimson Tide win the NCAA team title in June and have excellent match-play records that surely bolstered their candidacy.

The question now is who will join this fivesome, with the remaining five spots to be filled after the U.S. Amateur this August at The Country Club. Earlier this year the USGA announced that at least two mid-amateur golfers would be picked for the team, so two of the remaining five players will come from the 25-and-older set (Nathan Smith and Todd White being the odds-on favorites).

If an American wins the U.S. Amateur this August at The Country Club, he surely will receive one of the bids.

Fox's candidacy is bolstered by the fact he helped the U.S. win the Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championship last fall. After winning the Amateur title last year, he has earned spots into eight PGA Tour events, including the year's first two majors, but has failed to make a cut in any of the events.

The potential that Weaver makes the second cut seems high as the rising senior at California had a impressive college season in 2012-13, earning first-team All-American honors, and also made the cut at the U.S. Open.

Another Cal golfer also might be in the mix in Brandon Hagy, who reached the semifinals of last year's U.S. Amateur (losing to Weaver) and was a second-team All-American in college this past semester.

Additionally, there might be a third Alabama golfer on the squad before things are all said and done as Bobby Wyatt was a second-team All-American who had a 5-0-2 record in match play while helping the Crimson Tide win the NCAA title and Team USA claim the Palmer Cup in June.

Suffice it to say, the USGA shouldn't be short on candidates to round out Holtgrieve's squad.