Alex Maguire can cap sensational year with home Walker Cup joy
FINE SEASON: Ireland's Alex Maguire tees off the during day one of The 2023 British Open. Pic: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
St Andrews Links champion, Alex Maguire, says having the Walker Cup on the Old Course this year could be the perfect platform for a home victory.
USA have won every Walker Cup since a five-strong Irish contingent helped GB&I to victory at Royal Lytham in 2015 and Maguire is confident this team can replicate those heroics.
The Laytown and Bettystown clubman had a dream summer which began with winning the East of Ireland before he claimed the St Andrews Links Trophy and subsequently qualified to play in The Open at Royal Liverpool.
And Maguire (22) is excited about returning to St Andrews next weekend in the hope of more silverware to crown a sensational 2023.
“It’s hard to put into words, it’s all gone in the right direction, a direction I couldn’t have possibly ever dreamed of,” said Maguire.
“Getting to play The Open was one of my biggest achievements but playing Walker Cup and being selected among the ten best players in GB&I is something very special and I’m very proud of.
“If you’re going to look back at the summer I have played very well on links golf courses. I was able to win the St Andrews Links, probably the most important event in terms of Walker Cup. I’m going to go back there with fond memories and it wasn’t too long ago I was able to bring a trophy back.
“As players we spend so long and have our mind on making the Walker Cup, just getting onto the team is what we envision in a two-year cycle. But as soon as you get onto that squad your focus is winning your points to bring the trophy home.
“We are not there just to take part, we are there to try and win the Walker Cup. Even saying it is quite surreal, I have an opportunity to win a Walker Cup and it hasn’t been done since 2015.
“To win a Walker Cup would be the pinnacle of my amateur golf career and with it being in St Andrews I don’t think it could be set up any better for us.”
Maguire is one of four Irish players in this year’s selection; he is joined by Matt McClean (Malone), Mark Power (Kilkenny) and Liam Nolan (Galway) while Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) is a reserve.
Apart from Maguire’s successes, the Irish have had some huge wins this season which included the Brabazon Trophy and South American Amateur while McClean won the US Mid-Amateur last year.
Their Men’s team claimed a bronze medal at the European championships and were also just edged in the Home Internationals by England. And Maguire knows having four representatives in the Walker Cup team points towards a bright future.
“The fact we are the most represented country in the Walker Cup is a true testament to how supportive Golf Ireland has been towards their amateurs this year and over the past few years,” said Maguire.
“They have made it so seamless for us to go out and just play our best golf. They have given us so many opportunities to go away to events and travel and gain so much experience. It’s massive for them and the whole of Irish golf that we have got four Irish guys on it.
“The support we are getting from Golf Ireland, the managers and coaches that give us the freedom to go out and play our golf is massive. And I hope they are very proud of us, they can be proud of themselves for putting so much effort in.
“The hard work is definitely paying off.”
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