Fans of golf locally, and in particular Kilkenny’s Mark Power, will have their eyes and ears firmly on the happenings at St. Andrews’s this week as the Walker Cup gets underway.
While the US may be firm favourites, 23-year-old Power reckons his Great Britain & Ireland team – who he joins at the Walker Cup for the second time in his amateur career – will be firmly focused on claiming their first tournament win in eight years.
“St Andrews is such an iconic venue, there’s going to be an extra buzz around there and we’re hoping the home crowd will give us an extra bit of support because it’s going to be a strong US side, we’ll need to be firing on all cylinders,” said Power.
“People will try and write us off because of the US rankings (all of the team are currently inside the Top 20). So just trying to ignore those sort of things and embrace that we are playing match play. Anything can happen in match play and obviously, links golf will help us, so just try to focus on what’s in front of you. Don’t be worried about people’s rankings, just try and focus on beating the guy in front of you. And that’s a good motto to have in match play. Things can chop and change throughout the match you just have to beat what’s in front of you. That’s one of the big things I learned.”
Power has a great record in his only appearance at the Walker Cup, he went 3-1-0, two years ago in the defeat at Seminole, and was 2-0-0 alongside John Murphy, the teams only representative inside the Top 20 for the amateur world rankings.
The Ireland international, and former Wake Forest Collegiate star, will look to his Walker Cup experience and potential link with Liam Nolan to help GB&I get across the line this time around.
“Liam and I have formed a pretty good partnership with Ireland in the last few years, we have only lost one match, that was at this year’s Europeans and it was a tough match,” said Power.
“So we will be looking forward to getting the chance to partner up again. It will be great to see two Irish lads partner up. I was with John Murphy last time around, we won two matches and we fed off of each other all week – that could be cool. I played GB&I at the St Andrews Trophy with Barclay Brown last year as well so that could be another possibility. It’s up to the manager so we will see what happens. I will be doing a lot of putting practice because match play, if you can rely on your putter that’s a good weapon to have. So I will just be doing a lot of putting practice and hopefully play a bit of links golf between now and then.
“We are meeting up with the team, we will make sure we have everything done and we’re not having any regrets at the end of the week.”
The 49th Walker Cup takes place this weekend – Saturday and Sunday – on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland.