USGA reveals 16 players invited to Walker Cup practice session at Bay Hill

The Walker Cup moves from its traditional fall dates in 2021 to a new spot on the calendar in May. That means that this past summer’s amateur calendar – and the spring college season – are very much in play for the selection of the 10-man United States team that will try to retain the cup on May 8-9 at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida.

The USGA has announced its 16-man practice squad, which will come together Dec. 16-18 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge and Lake Nona Country Club, in Orlando, Florida. The site is strategic considering that eight of the 16 players are competing in the Palmer Cup, also at Bay Hill, which will help to limit travel for the invitees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The practice squad includes:

  • Ricky Castillo, of Yorba Linda, California
  • Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas
  • Quade Cummins, of Weatherford, Oklahoma
  • Cooper Dossey, of Austin, Texas
  • Austin Eckroat, of Edmond, Oklahoma
  • Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, California
  • Cole Hammer, of Houston, Texas
  • McClure Meissner, of San Antonio, Texas
  • William Mouw, of Chino, California
  • John Pak, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey
  • David Perkins, of East Peoria, Illinois
  • Garett Reband, of York, South Carolina
  • Cameron Sisk, of San Diego, California
  • Tyler Strafaci, of Davie, Florida
  • Davis Thompson, of St. Simons Island, Georgia
  • Michael Thorbjornsen, of Wellesley, Massachusetts

Captain Nathaniel Crosby, who guided the U.S. team to victory in 2019 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club and played on the winning U.S. team in the 1983 Match, will also attend the practice session.

Hagestad, Hammer and Pak, the low amateur in this year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, were on the winning U.S. squad in 2019. Seven of the 16 players from the 2019 Walker Cup practice session made the 10-man U.S. team.

Among the 16 men invited to next month’s practice session, four are USGA champions. That includes Hagestad (2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Hammer (2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball); Strafaci (2020 U.S. Amateur) and Thorbjornsen (2018 U.S. Junior Amateur).

All but Hagestad are currently on a college roster, though Cummins (Oklahoma), Dossey (Baylor), Perkins (Illinois State) and Reband (Oklahoma) are all fifth-year seniors who returned to their respective rosters after last spring’s championship season was wiped out because of COVID. Strafaci completed four years on the Georgia Tech roster but remains an amateur. Courtesy of his U.S. Amateur win, he has an invitation to the Masters and U.S. Open waiting in 2021 and has presumably already earned his spot on the Walker Cup team, per recently updated selection criteria.

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