Edwards is Walker Cup key – Inglis

Lothians star David Inglis is backing Nigel Edwards to bring out the best in the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team.

David Inglis, a former Walker Cup star from the Lothians, is backing Nigel Edwards to bring out the best in the Great Britain & Ireland team at this weekend’s Walker Cup clash with the USA.

Inglis played alongside Edwards in this biennial Amateur International at Ganton in 2003 and is convinced the Welshman has all the qualities to be a winning skipper.

“Nigel will be a great captain,” said Inglis, a former British Boys’ champion, ahead of this weekend’s British-Irish battle with the USA in Scotland.

“In 2003, it (the destination of the Walker Cup) all came down to his (Edwards’) match and he made the best putt on 17 I’ve ever seen to clinch the cup.

“He knows how the guys will be feeling out there and his experience will help the players. No-one will want to win more than Nigel.”

One of three Scots in the side for that match seven years ago, Inglis won his singles match on the final day at Ganton, beating Ryan Moore as GB&I recorded a 12½ – 11½ victory.

The Americans have won all three of the encounters since then and are the clear favourites again heading into this weekend’s event at Royal Aberdeen.

But Inglis, today the assistant coach of the men’s golf team at Northwestern University in Chicago where Luke Donald played his college golf, reckons the underdog tag will work well for Edwards and his men

“It looks like the US team is stronger on paper again this year.

Patrick Cantlay is the world’s highest ranked amateur and Peter Uihlein has been up there too so the pair should be the US invaders’s spearhead with Russell Henley and Harris English, both winners on the Nationwide Tour this year, providing back-up with lots of golfing muscle.

“But we were underdogs at Ganton and came out on top so I don’t see why GB&I can’t do the same again this year.

“The home crowd can be a big advantage and hopefully everyone will turn out in big numbers and get behind the GB&I team.

“If that happens, I think we will have a great chance. Of course, some wind and a little rain won’t hurt either.”

Banchory’s James Byrne and Michael Stewart of Troon Welbeck are the two Scots in a GB&I line-up that also includes Englishman Tom Lewis, the leading amateur in this year’s Open.

“I don’t know much about either of the Scots,” admitted Inglis. “I don’t know Michael at all. I saw James at a couple of tournaments this year but never had a chance to watch him.

“I noticed that he played well (in the Johnnie Walker Championship] at Gleneagles recently.”

The match tees off at 9am tomorrow and is being covered by BBC.