University of Texas sophomore earned pivotal point in biennial matches between U.S. and GB&I amateurs

AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 20, 2019) – Golf isn’t often considered a team sport. In the college game, while still based on individual performances, the team results are the ultimate goal at the end of the year.

Not often do amateur golfers get to experience team golf outside of the collegiate setting, but those selected to the Walker Cup team get a unique experience.

Texas sophomore Cole Hammer was selected to the 2019 U.S. Walker Cup team and helped the U.S. secure a victory over Great Britain & Ireland. With the match played at Royal Liverpool in England, this is the first time the U.S. has won the cup overseas in 12 years. 

Practicing with one another through upwards of 15 practice rounds, the team assimilated to playing “alternate shot,” which is the style of golf of 50-percent of the matches in the Walker Cup. The alternate shot requires much more teamwork than traditional golf, a unique feature of this tournament. 

Upon arriving in England, the team played at several historic sites in the area. Hammer described the experience as, “the best week of my life on a golf course.”

Part of what made the experience so memorable was the group of guys with which Hammer joined.

“We’ve all grown up with each other and knew each other pretty well,” Hammer said, again emphasizing the team nature of this event.  “To do something like this as a team, and to be able to come out winners, it was beyond anything I could imagine. I heard from Scottie [Scheffler] and Doug [Ghim], who played two years ago, how special it was to be on a winning Walker Cup team. To experience it myself and do it with a bunch of close friends was special.”

Team USA found themselves down 7-5 heading into the final day. Despite the deficit, momentum was on their side.

“It felt like we were tied,” Hammer reflected. “Every person in the team room felt like we were going to win the next day.”

And they did.

Hammer won the second-to-last singles match, 6 & 5. Team USA finished the Saturday singles matches with an 8-2 record en route to claiming the Cup by a winning margin of 15 ½  – 10 ½.

Hammer now hopes to build off the team experience from the Walker Cup and carry it into the 2019-20 Texas season.

“Team golf is about forming a bond with your teammates. You feed off one another.”

Team bonds will be significant this year as Texas features a young squad.

“I think it’s an advantage to be a young team, honestly. The hunger we have following the way last season ended, mixed with the freshmen’s enthusiasm, will be an advantage for us.”

The Longhorns finished last year as the runners-up in the NCAA finals match, but the team is hungry for more and Hammer knows the freshmen are ready to play.

“I know every guy on our team is looking forward to the year.”

— Contributed by Becca Munson, University of Texas Media Relations

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