Saturday, January 17, 2015

A practice session for U.S. Walker Cup hopefuls at Frederica Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia last month did not include several major names in the squad of 16.
The absentees included Ollie Schniederjans, No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and 2013 Walker Cupper Jordan Niebrugge.
Schniederjans, 21, from Powder Springs, Georgia, is finishing up his senior year at Georgia Tech, and was contacted by the U.S. Golf Association and USA captain Spider Miller about being on the practice squad. 
Schniederjans informed them that he was "probably, 90 percent at least," sure he wouldn't stay amateur until September.
"They were really nice about it," Schniederjans said. "They let me know if I did decide to stick around, this would not affect my chances of getting a spot on the team."

Schniederjans won't turn professional right after the NCAA Championship. As the winner of the 2014 McCormack Medal, awarded to the world's top-ranked amateur, Schniederjans is exempt into the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
 He also told Golfweek that he is seeking a sponsor exemption into the Scottish Open for a second consecutive year. That event this year, the week before the Open, is at Gullane. 
Schniederjans finished tied for 41st at Royal Aberdeen last July.
After the Open Championship at St Andrews from July 16 to 19,, Schniederjans would play in any US PGA Tour event for which he could get an exemption. Otherwise, he wants to rest his body to prepare for the start of the US PGA Tour's wraparound 2015-16 season. 
He doesn't want to put too much pressure on himself to make it onto the US PGA Tour right away.
"I want my mind and body rested to do something great," he said.
Niebrugge, meanwhile, didn't receive such a call from the USGA. He just wasn't one of the 16 players named to the squad.
"I don't think I played well enough this last summer to earn a spot, to be honest," Niebrugge said. "I was just mediocre. I had nothing to show for."
Niebrugge, who battled a wrist injury for most of the summer, did receive an email from Miller after the announcement was made in which Miller told him to "keep working hard."
Despite the injury, the junior (third year student) at Oklahoma State University was still able to compete in a few tournaments. He finished second at the Northeast Amateur, tied for 27th in the US PGA Tour's John Deere Classic and made it to match play at the U.S. Amateur.
In 2013, Niebrugge, ranked 46th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, essentially was the only player to play his way onto the team throughout the summer. He was not one of the 16 players invited to that practice session, either. 
That just gives the Mequon, Wisconsin native more motivation to get back to where he was in 2013.
"It's a long season this spring, and I plan on playing well and playing my way on," Niebrugge said. "You just have to go into the spring and this summer, and not worry about that, and let the golf take care of itself.
"That's all you can do. If you play well you will get your rewards." 

 The players named in United States provisional 2015 Walker Cup squad (US colleges in brackets).
  • Charlie Danielson of Osceola, Wisconsin. (Illinois)
  • Bryson Dechambeau of Clovis, California (SMU)
  • Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Illinois. (Texas)
  • Scott Harvey of Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga, California. (USC)
  • Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, California (Texas)
  • Kyle Jones of Snowflake, Arizona (Baylor)
  • Denny McCarthy of Rockville, Maryland. (Virginia)
  • Lee McCoy of Clarkesville, Georgia (Georgia)
  • Mike McCoy of West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley, Caliornia. (Stanford)
  • Byron Meth of San Diego, California (Pacific)
  • Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Alabama (Alabama)
  • Nathan Smith of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Hunter Stewart of Lexington, Kentucky (Vanderbilt)
  • Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas. (Wake Forest)
Harvey, McCoy and Smith are mid-amateurs. At least two mid-ams must be be a part of each Walker Cup team, according to a USGA mandate.
Harvey (2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur), McCoy (2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur), Meth (2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Smith (2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur) and Zalatoris (2014 U.S. Junior Amateur) are USGA champions. 
Dechambeau, Hossler and McCarthy combined to win the World Amateur Team Championship in Japan last autumn
Only Smith has past Walker Cup experience (2009, 2011, 2013). In fact, he won the clinching point for the American team in 2013 at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York



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