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2021 U.S. Walker Cup team begins to take shape with four of 10 spots decided

February 09, 2021

Davis Thompson is expected to secure an automatic spot on the 2021 U.S. Walker Cup team when the World Amateur Golf Ranking is updated on Wednesday.

Jamie Squire

It wasn’t the ending Davis Thompson was hoping for on Sunday at the Jones Cup Invitational. The 21-year-old University of Georgia senior held the lead on the back nine at Ocean Forest G.C. in Sea Island, Ga., as he attempted to defend his title at the prestigious amateur event, only to bogey two of his last three holes. That allowed Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg to swoop in and claim a one-shot victory when he birdied on the 18th hole, shooting a closing 72 and a two-under 214 total overall.

There was consolation, however, for Thompson in knowing that his performance would still come with a reward, namely a spot on this year’s U.S. Walker Cup team. The top three Americans in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after the event would earn automatic spots on the 10-man squad that will compete at Florida’s Seminole Golf Club in May. And Thompson, the top-ranked American and No. 2-ranked golfer overall, had done nothing to dimmish his status.

Indeed, when the updated WAGR standings came out on Wednesday, Thompson remained No. 2, grabbing one of the three automatic spots. Behind him were Ricky Castillo, a sophomore at Florida, at No. 4, and John Pak, a senior at Florida State who also ranks No. 1 in the PGA Tour University standings, at No. 7 in the WAGR. Pak wound up moving up one spot in the ranking despite not playing at the Jones Cup. In the process, the veteran of the 2019 Walker Cup team bumped out Pierceson Coody, a junior at Texas who was ranked No. 6 the week prior to the Jones Cup, but after finishing T-28 in the event fell to No. 8 in the ranking, missing out on the last automatic qualifying spot.

Editor’s Note: An original version of this story projected that Coody would keep the third automatic qualifying spot.

The American who helped his Walker Cup cause the most over the weekend was Cole Hammer. The University of Texas All-American and former top amateur in the world was ranked 22nd entering the Jones Cup and moved up to No. 19 after grabbing a share of second place on Sunday along with Thompson and Alex Fitzpatrick. With his experience on the 2019 Walker Cup team, Hammer has made himself an attractive candidate for an at-large spot on the team.

Other Americans ranked inside the top 20 in WAGR standings that were updated Wednesday who are considered contenders for this year’s team include Stewart Hagestad (11), Austin Eckroat (13), Garett Reband (14) and Quade Cummins (17).

With his U.S. Amateur win last August, Tyler Strafaci was the first player to secure a spot on the 2021 U.S. Walker Cup squad.

Steve Dykes

A fourth spot on the 2021 roster is already accounted for as well as Tyler Strafaci earned his place by virtue of his U.S. Amateur victory at Bandon Dunes last August.

The remainder of the team could be finalized as early as the end of February.