Walker Cup selection crucial to O'Hara plans

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The Independent Online

Steven O'Hara, the 20-year-old winner of the Scottish Amateur Championship, said yesterday that he will turn professional at the end of next season, if he is selected for the 2001 Walker Cup match in the United States.

Steven O'Hara, the 20-year-old winner of the Scottish Amateur Championship, said yesterday that he will turn professional at the end of next season, if he is selected for the 2001 Walker Cup match in the United States.

The Motherwell youngster must already be pencilled in for that squad by the Great Britain and Ireland selectors, who named him in a four-man squad to defend the Eisenhower Trophy in Berlin at the end of the month.

O'Hara has already abandoned plans to take up a two-year golf scholarship in Texas in the autumn as he feels being out of the country might jeopardise his Walker Cup selection prospects. Winner of the Scottish and British boys' titles in 1998, O'Hara added this national championship to his impressive collection when he beat the defending champion, the 23-year-old Craig Heap, from East Kilbride, in a 36-hole final that went all the way before O'Hara clinched the match by one hole.

In the English equivalent at Royal Lytham, Paul Casey beat Walker Cup colleague Gary Wolstenholme four and two in the 36-hole final of the English Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham to become only the seventh golfer in the 76-year history of the event to win back-to-back titles.

Casey's victory was tinged with a little sadness. "It's fantastic to win the title again but I feel for Gary," he said. "I can only guess what it means to him and if I couldn't have won it then he would have been my choice.

The 39-year-old Wolstenholme was seeking to emulate his late father Guy, who won the title at Royal Lytham in 1956. I was giving holes away rather than Paul winning them and you can't afford to do that."

The Welsh Amateur Championship at Royal St David's Links in Harlech went to the 56-year-old John Jermine, who became the oldest winner of the tournament. He beat Richard Brookman and said: "I am absolutely delighted."

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