Young guns have chance to shine in Walker Cup

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The Independent Online

While a first British success in the USPGA Championship for 75 years was still deep in the land of fantasy in Springfield, New Jersey, last night, 1,000 miles to the west ten unpaid golfers from the home islands were preparing for their own major battle with the realistic sound of victory ringing ever louder.

Not even a decade ago it would have been inconceivable for a Great British and Irish Walker Cup team to venture over the channel with anything but an overseas experience to gain. Then came Sea Island four years ago and the crushing of a much-vaunted American team 15-9.

At the Chicago Golf Club these next two days, as 16 singles and eight foursomes decide whether the running total will read 32-7 or 31-8 to America, the visitors' excitement will reach new levels as a team described by Peter McEvoy, the chairman of selectors, as on a par with the class of 2001 take on an American side of college boys that palpably isn't.

They include the Northern Irish 16-year-old, Rory McIlroy, and Eric Ramsay, the Carnoustie 24-year-old, who impressed at last month's Open. The Scottish amateur who won the Silver Medal at St Andrews has been included, however, and with Oliver Fisher, the 16-year-old from Essex, Lloyd Saltman will provide the youthful exuberance that will be tempered by Gary Wolstenholme (44) and Nigel Edwards (37).

America have gambled all on youth - their average age being just 23.