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Collegians Begin Chase For Walker Cup Berths

The 2012-13 college golf season is winding down, and the story of the University of California men’s golf team is one of the best feel-good stories in the game in some time. It’s also one the mainstream sports media has mainly ignored. What coach Steve Desimone’s troops have done is truly remarkable, not the least of which because his guys actually have to go to class and study. When the NCAA Championships conclude early next month, a 10-week sprint begins that will determine the makeup of the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup team. Two years ago, it was clear by this time that at least four players had locked up berths on the 2011 team that traveled to Royal Aberdeen. That is clearly not the case this time around; the team-selection process is as wide open as it has ever been. There has been no dominant college player this year, although a few have enhanced their prospects a bit. Three of the four Cal guys who were invited to the team practice session last December – Max Homa, Brandon Hagy, and Michael Kim – have had outstanding campaigns, recording six wins among them. Kim has four on his own and is a player of the year candidate. Alabama’s Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett each have multiple wins and have been consistent and solid for most of the year. Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers has been equally consistent, posting three wins and six top-10 finishes. On the mid-amateur side of the ledger, you have to think that Nathan Smith has one spot nailed down. If he plays as well as he typically does this summer, the four-time and reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion is a lock for his third consecutive Walker Cup appearance. Todd White has neither helped nor hurt his chances so far this year, but nobody else has really made a move. Mike McCoy is one to keep an eye on, however. He won the Coleman Invitational two weeks ago and has been in great form all year. The newly minted 50-year-old is going to go after a spot; if his form holds, don’t be surprised to see him on the team next fall. With the team makeup being so wide open, and the college season proving to be inconclusive, I have a radical idea for the USGA to consider: select the entire Cal golf team, now.


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