Selection headache for Dalgleish

By Brian Keogh

Walker Cup skipper Colin Dalgleish admits that Ireland's European Team Championship win has given him a selection headache.

The Scot was at Western Gailes last weekend as Ireland ended a 20-year title wait with victory over France.

And the performances of Irish heroes Richard Kilpatrick, Jonathan Caldwell and Shane Lowry have made it even tougher for Dalgleish to pick his 10-man team to face the US from September 8-9.

Dalgleish said: "We we picked the squad earlier in the year we tried to be reasonably inclusive in that. Obviously guys that are in the frame now and we recognise as being in the frame would be Richard Kilpatrick for instance, who was not in the squad before. He has been recognised as that.

"England's John Parry was another guy who was not in the squad before and all I can say at the moment is that a number of guys have played well and we are trying to look at the complete picture in terms of individual results and team performance."

Dalgleish and his selectors will not announce the Great Britain and Ireland side for Royal County Down until Sunday, August 5.

But while Rory McIlroy looks almost certain to bow out of amateur golf with a Walker Cup cap at the Newcastle links, there could still be room for at least one more Irishman on the side.

Dalgleish added: "Well that's the thing. Every week something different happens and we are just trying to hang fire and wait and see what the complete picture is on August 5. Anything before then is a little premature.

"It is a possibility that there could be a few Irish lads on the team but I don't want to be premature. There is still a lot of golf to be played and it is all in the mix."

Banbridge revelation Kilpatrick, 25, is regarded as the most likely to join McIlroy on the GB&I side bidding to win the title for the fifth time in seven attempts.

After several years in the doldrums, he has scorched back into the amateur limelight this season with a string of high profile performances.

Runner up to Lloyd Saltman in the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin, he then romped to a massive eight-shot victory in the East of Ireland Championship at Co Louth last month.

Irishman Mark Gannon is amongst the R&A selectors who know what Kilpatrick is capable of and Dalgleish was impressed by him and Irish Close winner Lowry.

Dalgleish said: "Richard was watched fairly well over the course of the week. I rate him very highly. He has had some good results this year and played well at Western Gailes.

"He was a rated player before and lost form a little bit for whatever reason. But his year he has bounced back and had a great performances there in Dublin finishing second to Lloyd and then winning the East as well.

"We watched a fair bit of Shane and he is a quality player. The great thing is that we are picking from a position of strength and there are guys that are going to get left out that it is tough to leave out.

"You would rather have that situation where you are picking 10 strong guys from a greater number than wondering how you are going to fill ten spots."

Favourites Scotland and England, who are expected to take the lion's share of the Walker Cup places, bowed out in the semi-finals at Western Gailes.

France beat the Scots and England fell to Ireland and Dalgleish is happy to have such a difficult Walker Cup selection choice to make over the next few weeks.

He added: "It was a great win for Ireland there. The boys played great because France, far from being a surprise, were identified fairly early on as a very strong time.

"Scotland couldn't stop them and it was great, great play from Ireland, I must say.

"For a while it wasn't looking too good but Jonny Caldwell's game looked like being the decisive one and he pulled through very well. It was a great team effort.

"We are going to announce the team on Sunday August 5 and pick it between now and then.

"There is still the home championships for Scotland, England and Wales. The Irish Close has already passed.

"The South of England at Walton Heath has already been identified as a a good four-round event that a good few of the guys will play in and the selectors will be represented.

"We will pick the team as feasibly late as possible and clearly there are a number of factors coming into it.

"We are not trying to take it one week at a time but assess the whole picture when it is complete. We have our work cut out, no question about it."