Hodgson only returnee from 2009 as Britain-Ireland picks Walker Cup team

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PGA.com news services

Series: Other Tour

The R&A has announced the Great Britain and Ireland team for the Walker Cup, which is set for Sept. 10-11 at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Aberdeen, Scotland.

“I’m very pleased with the team that has been selected and I’m sure a number of players will be disappointed to miss out,” said Captain Nigel Edwards. “These players represent the strongest group of amateur golfers that GB&I has to offer and I believe that we will do very well at Royal Aberdeen.”

WALKER CUP

The United States will try to extend its three-match winning streak at the 2011 Walker Cup, Sept. 10-11 at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland.

The team members are:

Steven Brown, 24, Wentworth, England. Brown made a late burst to get in the team with victory in the English Amateur at Woburn. He also finished runner-up in the European Amateur, losing the title in a three-hole playoff. He was third leading qualifier in this year’s British Amateur and runner-up in the Scottish Stroke Play Championship.

James Byrne, 22, Banchory, Scotland. Byrne spent four years at Arizona State University, and was runner-up in last year’s British Amateur. He reached the semifinals of this year’s Scottish Amateur, and played well in the European Team Championships in Portugal, where he was undefeated. Local knowledge should help Byrne. He lives near Royal Aberdeen and knows the course well.

Paul Cutler, 22, Portstewart, Ireland. Cutler learned the game on the links of Portstewart Golf Club, not far from Royal Portrush. Cutler first made a serious bid to be part of the team when he won last year’s Lytham Trophy. He won this year’s Irish Amateur Closed and West of Ireland championships. He also played well in this year’s Irish Open on the European Tour, finishing 21st.

Alan Dunbar, 21, Rathmore, Ireland. Dunbar was a double winner last year when he won the Irish Amateur Open and the North of Ireland Amateur. His best finishes this season are second place in the Brabazon Trophy and runner-up in the West of Ireland Championship. He also had top 10-finishes in the Irish Amateur Open Championship and the East of Ireland Championship.

Stiggy Hodgson, 21, Sunningdale, England. Hodgson is the only remaining GB&I player from the 2009 team. The diminutive Englishman was the star of the GB&I team then, winning 2 points out of 4. He began this year by reaching the final of the Spanish Amateur. He finished fourth in the European Amateur, reached the last 16 of the English Amateur and was fifth in the Brabazon Trophy.

Tom Lewis, 20, Welwyn Garden City, England. Lewis announced himself to the world of golf at Royal St. George’s in July, when he became the first amateur since Sir Michael Bonallack in 1968 to lead the British. Lewis compiled an opening 65 to share the lead with Thomas Bjorn, and went on to finish tied for 30th to take the silver medal as leading amateur. He also won the St. Andrews Links Trophy in June, and finished 59th in the Dubai Desert Classic, his first European Tour event. He ended the 2010 season with two outstanding performances on the Australasian Tour, finishing 12th in the Australian Open and losing a playoff to Peter O’Malley in the New South Wales Open.

Rhys Pugh, 17, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. Pugh is the youngest member of the team and the first Welshman to appear in the Walker Cup since Rhys Davies and Nigel Edwards in 2007. Pugh won the Peter McEvoy Trophy and Fairhaven Trophy last year and captained the GB&I Boys team at the Jacques Leglise Trophy. He holds the record as youngest player to represent Wales, an honor he achieved as a 15-year-old in the 2009 Home Internationals. He won this year’s Irish Amateur Open, reached the final of the Welsh Amateur, and will attend East Tennessee State University.

Jack Senior, 23, Heysham, England. Senior won this year’s Lytham Trophy in appalling weather conditions, so he should be able to handle the wind that often sweeps over Royal Aberdeen. He began the season by winning the New South Wales Amateur Championship in Australia. Last year he won the South of England Championship. His regular foursomes partner in the England setup is Andrew Sullivan, and Edwards might look to the two Englishman as a possible pairing.

Michael Stewart, 21, Troon Welbeck, Scotland. Stewart underlined his match play credentials by reaching the final of this year’s British Amateur. He started the season by winning the South African Amateur, was a finalist in last year’s Scottish Amateur and is a former Scottish Boys champion. Stewart attended East Tennessee State University for two years and won two tournaments on the U.S. college circuit.

Andy Sullivan, 24, Nuneaton, England. Sullivan won this year’s Scottish Stroke Play Championship. He finished sixth in the St. Andrews Links Trophy and second in the Brabazon Trophy. He was the top English points earner in the recent Home Internationals, winning five matches with just one loss to help England win. Last year he won the 2010 Midland Amateur Championship, the Lagonda Trophy and the Hampshire Salver.