Golf

Walker Cup 2013: Standout Players to Watch in Coming Years

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  The victorious United States team poses with the Walker Cup after Day Two of the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America on September 8, 2013 in Southampton, New York.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen/Getty Images
Christopher AtkinsContributor ISeptember 9, 2013

The 44th edition of the Walker Cup, played between the best amateur golfers of USA and Great Britain and Ireland, came to its conclusion on Sunday, with Team USA claiming a 17-9 overall victory.

The hosts' success at the National Golf Links of America course in Southampton, N.Y., was sealed on Sunday with a convincing 7-3 victory in the singles competition, securing the Americans' fourth win in the past five editions.

While the amateurs on show are of mixed ages, ranging from 18 to 45, there were undoubtedly some players involved who will look to make a significant impact on professional golf in the coming years.

Who, then, were the standout performers of the 2013 Walker Cup?

 

Michael Kim, 20, USA

World No. 2 Michael Kim was the 2013 U.S. Open low amateur, finishing in 17th place overall at Merion, and he carried that form into the Walker Cup where he won all three of his matches.

Left out of Saturday's morning foursomes, Kim bounced back with two wins in singles action over the weekend, as well as a foursomes victory with fellow Californian Matthew Homa, per USGA.

Kim won the 2013 Haskins Award earlier this year, per Golfweek—a prize handed to the best collegiate golfer in America. Previous winners of the prestigious award include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and, more recently, Hunter Mahan.

Kim is tipped to be a big success in the future and certainly set about proving himself as part of the U.S. team this weekend.

 

Matthew Fitzpatrick, 18, GB and Ireland

It has been some year for World No. 1 Fitzpatrick, finishing as low amateur at the British Open before becoming the first British winner of the U.S. Amateur competition since 1911 last month, according to USGA.

Despite defeat in his opening singles encounter on Saturday, Fitzpatrick showed his class at the Walker Cup to secure three wins from his four rounds, avenging his Saturday defeat to 2012 U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver in Sunday's singles.

The Yorkshireman teamed up with 23-year-old Neil Raymond to secure two foursomes victories over the weekend, to ensure he would leave the competition with a 0.75 point return per match.

With his U.S. Amateur title securing access to the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open in 2014, Fitzpatrick is a name that fans will be seeing much more of in the coming years.

 

Jordan Niebrugge, 20, USA

Winner at the U.S. Amateur Public Links, Wisconsin Match Play, Wisconsin Amateur and Western Amateur this summer, per Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe, Niebrugge won both his singles matches at the competition to help Team USA to victory over their rivals.

Niebrugge is an excellent match-play golfer and, prior to a shock opening-round defeat at the U.S. Amateur last month, had won 10 consecutive matches this summer, according to the Golf Channel.

That class shone through at the Walker Cup, despite two defeats in foursomes action. A final-day 6 and 5 victory over Britain's Jordan Smith was one of the highlights of the competition and a demonstration of the fine golf Niebrugge can play.

An Oklahoma State sophomore, Niebrugge is currently ranked 24th in the world at amateur level.

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