Just five years ago Scott Gregory and Harry Ellis were members of the same Hampshire Boys team.
Now they have been selected to play in the same GB&I team that will defend the Walker Cup won at Royal Lytham two years ago, when they travel to Los Angeles Country Club for the 18 singles and eight foursomes matches – played over the two days on September 9 and 10.
In the past Walker Cup selectors have looked to partnerships built up playing the alternate shot format for the opening two sessions of play on each day, normally based on the players’ performance for their respective Home Nations.
Certainly as far as the England players picked by Scotland’s Craig Watson, who will captain the 10-man GB&I team for the first time in LA, there has been some form to go on.
Harry Ellis teamed up successfully with Kent’s Alfie Plant, winner of the Silver Medal at The Open, at Royal Birkdale, last month, at the European Team Championships in Austria, in July where England lost to Spain in the final.
While Watson was not present for the epic Ellis victory in the final of The Amateur at Royal St George’s in June, he had seen his imperious displays in two of the earlier rounds.
And there was some talk he had witnessed enough at Sandwich to have the Meon Valley man pencilled in, regardless of whether he went on to win.
With Ellis having spent the past three years playing for Florida State University, he has still featured for Hampshire during the summer – but more recently it has been when Gregory has been on international duty with England, so they have not played together.
Corhampton’s Gregory has a peerless record in matchplay – having won The Amateur in 2016.
He has reached the quarter-finals of the English Amateur in three of the last four years and won the New South Wales Amateur in February.
When coupled with the experience he has gained playing in three majors since last summer – including the 2017 Masters and US Open – he also reached the last 32 of the US Amateur at Oakland Hills – a Ryder Cup venue – last year, he will give a great deal of reassurance to his playing partners.
Great Britain will need Ellis and Gregory to be at their mighty best to have any realistic chance of retaining the trophy in California.
– Andrew Griffin