Ireland’s Reeve Whitson made a bold statement for inclusion in this year’s Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team with an impressive victory in the Spanish Amateur Championship at La Manga in Southern Spain.
The 23-year-old amateur from Mourne Golf Club upset the formbook by defeating strong English player Neil Raymond. Whitson was the underdog against his 28-year-old opponent. Raymond has won the last two English Amateur Stroke Play Championships (the Brabazon Trophy), played for England in the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey and topped last year’s Titleist & FootJoy Order of Merit as the leading English amateur. Yet Whitson more than held his own.
Two up at lunchtime, the Irish international remained strong in the afternoon round of the scheduled 36-hole final to defeat Raymond 4&3. The victory will have impressed GB&I Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards and his team of selectors.
Whitson climbs 101 places on this week’s World Amateur Golf Ranking to move inside the world’s top 50 to 41st. He is now the third highest ranked Irish amateur behind reigning Amateur champion Alan Dunbar (23) and Kevin Phelan (39).
Raymond moves back inside the world top 100, improving 62 places to world number 70.
Phelan also did his chances of a Walker Cup place the power of good with victory in the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The University of North Florida student returned rounds of 64 and 67 for a 13-under-par total of 131 and a four-shot victory over teammate Sean Dale.
Phelan moves 11 places on this week’s WAGR table, while Dale climbs into the top 20, improving 16 spots to 20th.
Patrick Rodgers of the United States and Denmark’s Sebastian Cappelen also move inside the top 20. Both players improve three places, Rodgers to 18th and Cappelen to 19th.
England’s Hayley Davis recorded her first college golf victory with a touch of panache. The Baylor University student overcame a strong field to win the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans by two strokes thanks to a three-birdie finish.
Now in her second year at Baylor, the amateur from Wimborne, England, recorded a final round of 4-under-par 68 to go with her earlier score of 72 for a 4-under total of 140 in the weather shortened event. Her 68 was the lowest score of the final round and the only score under 70.
Davis finished ahead of Kelsey Vines, Lee Lopez and Sophia Popov. Davis climbs 34 places on this week’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, moving inside the top 100 to 80th. Vines improves seven places to 42nd, Popov moves 15 spots to 85th, while Lopez climbs 28 places to world number 153.
Denmark’s Emily Pedersen moves inside this week’s top 30 following victory in the Spanish Ladies Amateur Championship. The 16-year-old defeated Sweden’s Linnea Strom 5&3 in the final at Pula Golf Club in Majorca.
Pedersen improves 29 places on this week’s WAGR table to 30th. Strom jumps inside the top 20, moving 21 places to 18th.
Mexico’s Gabriela Lopez climbs 31 places on this week’s ranking to 57th following victory in the Westbrook Invitational on the US college circuit. The University of Arkansas player won the title by two shots from Kimberley Kaufman of the United States and Soobin Kim of Canada. Kaufman moves 2 places this week to 20th, while Kim jumps 15 spots to world number 69.
Lindsay McGetrick of the United States takes a massive jump on this week’s table with victory in the Terrapin Challenge. She climbs 560 places to 777th.