• Jack McDonald prepared for 'tough' Lytham test
• "It tests every aspect of your game," said the 22-year-old
• Also hails the current state of Scottish amateur golf
JACK MCDONALD | THE WALKER CUP
Jack McDonald says the Walker Cup is taking place on ‘one of the toughest courses you’ll ever play’ but is relishing the prospect of representing GB&I for the first time.
The Kilmarnock Barassie man, who reached the semi-finals of the Amateur Championship this year, is preparing to lock horns with the USA alongside fellow Scots Ewen Ferguson and Grant Forrest at Royal Lytham & St Annes this weekend, and believes the Open Championship track will take no prisoners as GB&I target only their ninth win in the 45th staging of the match.
“It’s a really difficult course and a real challenge,” said Jack McDonald, who achieved respectable T13 finishes at the Lytham Trophy both this year and in 2014. “It’s one that I’ve found you really have to learn how to play it, especially from a strokeplay point of view. I’ve never played it in matchplay but in strokeplay, you can either be very conservative or very aggressive.
"It tests every aspect of your game" - Jack McDonald
“In my opinion, it’s probably one of the toughest courses you’ll ever play. It tests every aspect of your game. The bunkering is so good, it makes you think a lot and positioning off the tee is absolutely key.”
McDonald, who graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in Applied Mathematics earlier this summer, is one of five GB&I players aged 22. And with Ferguson the youngest in the squad at 19 and Ashley Chesters the oldest at 26, the 2012 Scottish Amateur Golfer of the Year believes the team is very close-knit which can only benefit them as they attempt to take down the Americans.
“I know the rest of the lads well, just through playing tournaments and being paired with them. I know Cormac very well because I went to university with him – we even lived together for our final three years – and through him I’ve got to know most of the other Irish guys pretty well.
“I’ve played with Ashley a lot and I’ve got to know Jimmy more recently as well so it’s a good bunch of guys. It’s a good strength to have, everyone knowing each other and getting on well, and even though it’ll be slightly different because I’ve never competed in the GB&I setup before, we’re sure to have a great team spirit and I’ve no doubt it’ll be a great experience.
But does he believe the closeness in ages of the GB&I squad is a significant advantage over their US rivals, whose squad features mid-ams Mike McCoy, 52 and Scott Harvey, 37?
“I don’t think it’ll necessarily give us an advantage over American guys, no. I’m sure the older mid-am guys in their team will be great players, there’s no doubt about that, and if I’m honest, I don’t really know them too well to make any kind of judgement.”
McDonald, though, was quick to pass judgement on the current state of Scottish golf, after an excellent recovery from two years ago where no Scots were selected for the 17-9 defeat on US soil.
“Ever since that slight setback of having no one in the team, we have performed really well, said McDonald. “We’ve won the Nations Cup, while the European Team Championship a couple of months ago was brilliant and to come out on top capped an amazing week.
“It’s safe to say Scottish golf is in good shape at the moment – there are eight guys in the top 100 in the rankings – and for such a small nation it’s pretty impressive. And now to have three of us in the Walker Cup team is a great achievement.”
Jack McDonald :: Walker Cup hero
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