Hurley's timing perfect - hits the front as Walker Cup race hots up

West Waterford and Maynooth University's Gary Hurley during the Palmer Cup in the US in June. He didn't have a good week there, making today's final round in Slovakia and the US Amateur crucial for his Walker Cup hopes.

Gary Hurley's second successive 65 for a one shot lead over Lytham Trophy winner Marcus Kinhult of Sweden in the International European Amateur Championship sets up a fascinating battle to capture the heart of Walker Cup skipper Nigel Edwards over the next two weeks.

The Welshman will name his 10-man team to face the USA at Royal Lytham and St Annes after the Home Internationals and the US Amateur and on the evidence of what we've seen over the last year or so, reducing his 20-strong list of contenders to just 10 is going to be a painful exercise.

He is likely to have six or seven fixed names in his head by now but if the grapevine is correct, few have any idea where the stand exactly. 

Ireland's hopes of having six of 10 were always far-fetched, especially after Dermot McElroy's missed the cut at Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia. LIVE SCORING

While irish Amateur Open champion Gavin Moynihan's 67 moved up to tied 10th behind leader Hurley on 14 under, he's considered a certainty for selection as the only player with Walker Cup experience.

The other four Irishmen in the squad all have strong claims for a place but it would be a brave man who would place a hefty bet on a record five Irish team members. It is easy to justify places for all of them, until you have to go through the performances of the players from the other three Home Nations.

Assuming that Cormac Sharvin's Brabazon Trophy win and strong form throughout the year is enough to get him in — he had to battle just to make the cut in Slovakia — it is then down to Jack Hume, Paul Dunne and Hurley. 

Dunne's Open Championship performance would appear to make him a certainty too, leaving Hume and Hurley.

Gary Hurley looks to the gods for solace after a missed putt for Munster. So far, he's playing a blinder representing Ireland in the European Amateur in Slovakia

Neither has won, which could be the determining factor when it comes to Edwards. Clearly, a victory for either in Slovakia would secure their place. If not, Hume will have the Home Internationals to shine while Hurley, whose record of 8.5 points out of 9 in foursomes with Dunne is a clear plus, will join his partner and Sharvin in the US Amateur in Chicago the week after next. 

Walker Cup squad through 54 holes in Slovakia

-18 Gary Hurley (West Waterford)
-14 Gavin Moynihan (The Island)
-13 Adam Chapman (Windermere)    
-13 Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park) 
-13 Jack Hume (Naas)    
-13 Jimmy Mullen (Royal North Devon)
-11 Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock (Barassie))
-10 Daniel Brown (Bedale)    
-10 Paul Dunne (Greystones)    
-6 Tomasz Anderson (Brocket Hall)
-6 Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass)

MC David Boote (Walton Heath)    
MC Nick Marsh (Huddersfield)
MC Jamie Savage (Cawder)

DNP Grant Forrest (Craigielaw)    
DNP Sam Horsfield (Davenport, USA)    
DNP Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale)    
DNP Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie)
DNP Ben Stow (Rushmore)

International European Amateur Championship

1  HURLEY, Gary Westwaterford/Nuim -18  68 65 65    198 
2  KINHULT, Marcus Skaftö Gk -17 64 69 66 199     
T3 ROZNER, Antoine Rcf La Boulie -16  68 66 66 200     
T3 ARNAUS, Adria Can Cuyas Golf -16     65 68 67 200
T3 DETRY, Thomas Royal Golf Club Of Belgium -16  65 67 68 200
T6VECCHI FOSSA, Jacopo Modena -15  67 69 65 201
T6 CEA, Michele Perco Di Roma -15  69 65 67 201 
T6 THOMSON, Jonathan Lindrick -15  69 64 68 201
T6 MAZZOLI, Stefano Monticello -15 65 67 69 201 
T10 MOYNIHAN, Gavin The Island -14  70 65 67 202
T10 BOWER, Jamie Meltham -14  66 65 71 202

T12 DAWSON, Robin Faithlegg -13  65 69 69 203 
T12 HUME, Jack Naas Golf Club -13  65 67 71 203
T21 DUNNE, Paul Greystones -10  69 67 70 206 
T62 SHARVIN, Cormac Ardglass Golf Club 74 69 67 73 283 

MC MCELROY, Dermot Ballymena 72 69 70 211
MC GLEESON, Alex Castle 71 72 72 215