Mark Power will lead Great Britain and Ireland out in the opening foursomes match of the 49th Walker Cup at St Andrews while Matthew McClean and Alex Maguire will also make their debuts.
Kilkenny’s Power will partner Barclay Brown on Saturday at 08.30 as Captain Stuart Wilson opts to lead with his two players who played in Seminole in 2021.
The pair will face world number one Gordon Sargent and Dylan Menante.
Malone’s Matthew McClean will be in the third match alongside Irish Amateur Open champion John Gough against Preston Summerhays and David Ford while Laytown & Bettystown star Maguire will do battle in the anchor match with Welshman James Ashfield against US Amateur champion Nick Dunlap and Stewart Hagestad.
The fourth member of Ireland’s ‘Fab Four,’ Liam Nolan hasn’t been selected for the opening session nor has England’s Jack Bigham but both will appear in the afternoon singles. Nolan will tackle world number ten Austin Greaser while Bingham takes on Sargent.
An all Scottish pairing of Calum Scott and the youngest ever Walker Cup player Connor Graham (16) are in the second foursomes match.
Power, Maguire and McClean are set to play both sessions with singles ties to come against Ford, Summerhays and Hagestad respectively.
Team GB&I captain Wilson feels his charges have prepared well and admits he had some selection headaches.
“The team has done a fantastic job this week of preparing. It’s been a long week. I don’t think there’s many weeks like this in the golfing calendar when there’s so much preparation, but we had our two practice rounds early in the week and then we had a little break over to Kingsbarns, which was a bit more of a social kind of relaxed day, and then rounding them up Thursday and Friday here for the official practice days,” explained the Scotsman who was also captain in 2021.
“Preparations have gone well, and the guys are all playing well, which is great to see. Playing well and practising creates a nice situation but a difficult situation, as well, gave us a little bit of a headache as to pairings, and obviously we’ve got to leave two players out each of the first three sessions, so the guys have made my job difficult by deciding who to leave out.”
Power won three out of four matches in Seminole in 2021 while Brown – GB&I’s second highest ranked player at 26 – earned 1.5 points but lost both of his foursomes ties.
Careful not to fall into the ‘exhibition’ trap Rory McIlroy fell into in 2009 when discussing the Ryder Cup, Wilson insists the 49th Walker Cup will be a serious competition this weekend.
“It’s very much a competition as far as the players are concerned, absolutely. It’s a great exhibition for golf and amateur golf, but as far as the players are concerned, it’s competition at its fiercest, I think.”