Hurley and Dunne out of Home Internationals, heading for US Amateur

Hurley and Dunne out of Home Internationals, heading for US Amateur

The race to impress Walker Cup skipper Nigel Edwards is well and truly on with Paul Dunne receiving a "provisional place"  from the USGA to compete in the US Amateur, where he will be joined by his regular foursomes partner Gary Hurley and Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin.

The knock on effect is that both world No 38 Dunne and No 24 Hurley are out of Ireland's defence of the Home Internationals at Royal Portrush, supported by Fairstone Financial Management, from 12-14 August and will be replaced by Faithlegg/Maynooth University's Robin Dawson and Hermitage's Rowan Lester. Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan is now first reserve.

Hurley had entered the US Amateur, which will be played at Olympia Fields in the Chicago suburbs, from August 17 – 23.

Unlike world No 14 Sharvin, who decided to play in Chicago following his Brabazon Trophy win, Hurley opted to remain at home instead to play at Royal Portrush.

But the scenario appeared to change this week with the USGA keen to see Open Championship hero Dunne in their event following his heroics at St Andrews, where he joint led the Open after 54 holes, eventually finishing tied 30th despite a closing 78.

With Great Britain and Ireland skipper Nigel Edwards also committed to being in Chicago to see his prospective team members (and the opposition) in action, the Irish players may have felt under pressure to impress him as they battle for one of 10 places in the Walker Cup side to face the USA at Royal Lytham and St Annes from September 12-13.

As a foursome partnership, Greystones' star Dunne and West Waterford man Hurley are unbeaten over the past two years having won eight and half points out of nine for Ireland in the Europeans, St Andrews Trophy and the Home Internationals.

County Down native Sharvin is considered by many a certainty to make the team alongside The Island's Gavin Moynihan, who is the only member of the GB&I squad with experience having played in the 2013 matches in the US.

Explaining the decision to support (Sharvin), Dunne and Hurley playing the US Anateur, the GUI said in a statement: 

"Paul Dunne & Gary Hurley have withdrawn from the Ireland Home Internationals team and are replaced by Robin Dawson (Faithlegg/Maynooth University) and Rowan Lester (Hermitage).

Both players are expected to travel to the US Amateur Championship in Chicago instead with Dunne securing a provisional place in the field.

This will bring to three the number of GUI panel member in the US Amateur field, with Cormac Sharvin already confirmed to be competing.

"The US Amateur Championship is one of the two major amateur championships in the calendar and the GUI is delighted to have so many panel members exempt from qualifying" said GUI General Secretary Pat Finn.

"A decision was taken early this year to support our panel members in participating in the US Amateur, despite the clash with the Home Internationals, and we wish them well in representing Ireland on the biggest international stage".

Irish Team Captain, Tony Goode said "We'll miss Paul & Gary off the Home Internationals team, but in terms of the bigger picture it is great for Irish amateur golf to have our players competing at the US Amateur. I am confident that the two replacements we have brought in will do a fine job for Ireland."