Players to watch: 2018 Eishenhower Trophy

WATC 2016
WATC 2016 canal
Steven Gibbons/USGA Museum

NUMBER OF TEAMS – A record-tying total of 72 teams have entered the 31st World Amateur Team Championship, tying the mark set in Turkey in 2012.

DEFENDING CHAMPION – Australia is vying to become the first team to win consecutive WATC titles since the USA in 2012 and 2014. They stand second on the list of gold medals won to the USA (15) as well as total medals (25 USA, Australia 13).

Cole Hammer of United States of America, plays his tee shot at the 10th hole on the O'Meara Course during practice.[/caption]

HOST NATION – Ireland is playing in its ninth World Amateur Team Championship with its first appearance in 2002. Before that players from Ireland had been on the Great Britain and Ireland team. Its bronze-medal tying finish in 2016 was its best.

FIRST TIME IN WATC – Iraq, Liechtenstein and Lithuania are making their first appearances in the Eisenhower Trophy competition while Armenia (2016 and 2018), Ghana (2014 and 2018), Haiti (2016 and 2018) and Moldova (2016 and 2018) are making their second appearances.

OLDEST AND YOUNGEST – Roger Saint Fort, 63, of Haiti, is the oldest player in the field and 13-year-old George Inalegwu, of Nigeria, is the youngest.


Captain Francisco Alemen has competed in the WATC twice and will be captaining his first team. In 1989, he won the Argentine Amateur Championships and was runner up in 1990, 1992, and 1997. Alemen currently works as the leading golf analyst of ESPN in Spanish for Latin America.


Min Woo Lee, 20, defeated Noah Goodwin, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final to win the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur. He became the fourth international champion of the Junior Amateur. His sister, Minjee, won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior and owns four LPGA Tour victories. They are the first brother-sister tandem to win USGA junior championships. Min Woo reached the Round of 32 in the 2018 Australian Amateur and was the 2017 runner-up in the same event. He won the 2018 South Australian Amateur by six strokes on March 22. He also finished third at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur in New Zealand.

David Micheluzzi won the 2018 Australian Masters of the Amateur at Royal Melbourne.


Niklas Regner, 19, captured victory in the 2017 Austrian Match Play Championship. He is also a two-time national ski champion (2012 and 2015) and won the bronze medal in slalom at the World Junior Championship in 2013.


Alan De Bondt, 21, is competing in his second WATC. He is the 2016 Dutch Junior Open and the 2013 Belgium Champion.

Adrien Dumont de Chassart, 18, is also competing in his second WATC. Last year he captured titles at the French Boys Championship, the Belgium International Amateur and the Belgium International Boys.


Jarryd Dillas, 33, who is playing in his eighth Eisenhower Trophy, is in reinsurance operations analyst. In 2016, he won the Bermuda Match-Play title for the fifth time enroute to capturing his country’s Order of Merit.


Captain Roberto Gomez will make his 14th appearance at the WATC, where he as competed as a player 12 times. He was honored at the 2006 WATC in South Africa for his 12th participation as a player. Gomez is also a four-time Brazilian Amateur Champion, winning in four different decades.


Vladi Marinov, 21, will be a junior at West Texas A&M University, where he is a psychology major. He is competing in his second WATC, after representing Mexico in 2016. He was named NJCAA All-Region and All-District in 2018 at Eastern Arizona College.


Garrett Rank, 29, of Canada, is a National Hockey League game official. He competed in this year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and advanced to the Round of 64 at the U.S. Amateur in August.

Greg Redman, 45, is captaining his first WATC team. Redman works as a sports physiotherapist in Canada and represented Canada for 10 years in kayak paddling at the international level.


Justin Hastings, 14, is competing in his first WATC. In 2017, he became the youngest player to win the Cayman Island Amateur Championship and earlier this year he became the youngest player in history to have competed in and make the cut at the Latin American Amateur Championship.


Captain Gabriel Morgan will be making his seventh WATC appearance, representing Chile as a player in 1992 and 1996. He has won the Chilean Open once and the Chilean Amateur Championship twice. Morgan’s son, Gabriel, and daughter, Sofia, are both competing in this year’s WATC.


Andy Zhang, 20, just finished his sophomore season with the University of Florida where he earned All-SEC first-team honors after becoming the 24th player in program history to win the SEC individual championship. He was second in the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur in New Zealand. He competed in the U.S. Junior Amateur four times and in 2012 was the youngest golfer to compete in the U.S. Open, at the age of 14.


Captain Camilo Sanchez serves as the president of the Colombian Golf Federation and CEO of a graphic design and printing agency. He won the Donovan Cup in 1973 and the Open Colombia “Scratch” Division in 1981. This will be his first WATC appearance.

Ivan Camilo Ramirez, 20, finished T-4th at this year’s NCAA Championships and led Texas Tech to a 3rd place team finish. Throughout his career he has captured 15 first-place finishes including the South American Junior Championship and the International South American Junior Golf title.


Paul Chaplet, 19, won the 2016 Latin America Amateur Championship by posting a one-stroke victory over Venezuela’s Jorge Garcia with a 72-hole score of 3-under 285. Chaplet’s win earned him a Masters Tournament invitation as well as berths in The Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur.

Captain Manuel Jimenez, 59, is competing in his 14th Eisenhower Trophy, 13 times as a player. Jimenez’s first was in 1986. This is his ninth time serving as captain. He is the chairman of the board of directors of La Nacion, a newspaper.


Ivan Vučemil, 25, is competing in his second WATC. He won the Eurpean University Sport Games in 2016 and is a two-time winner and two-time runner-up of the Croatian Amateur Open Golf Championship.


Lubos Klikar, 56, is serving as captain for the fourth WATC and the first since 2012. Klikar is the sports director at the Czech Golf Federation and attended Prague’s Charles University.

Petr Hruby, 17, won back-to-back Doral Public Junior Classics in 2018 and 2017. He is verbally committed to University of Washington. 


John Axelsen won the 2017 and 2018 Danish International Amateur Championship. He was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team and finished inside the top-25 six time in his first season at the University of Florida. He was selected to two Junior Ryder Cup European teams in 2014 and 2016. Axelsen won the Dansk Golf Union Elite Tour Men's Finale three times (2016, 2015, 2013)

Nicolai Hojgaard, 17, won the 2018 European Amateur Championship and competed at the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. His twin brother, Rasmus, won the individual title in leading Denmark to victory in the boys division of the Junior World Golf Cup in Japan earlier this year. Both played in last week’s European Tour event – Made In Denmark.


Robert Guerra, 51, is the general secretary of the Dominican Golf Federation and is serving as team captain. His son, Juan Jose Guerra, is a college golfer at Nova Southeastern. The 19-year-old earned Division II All-America honors last year.


Mitch Waite, 23, tied for second at the 2018 European Amateur Championship and placed third at The Amateur Championship.

Matthew Jordan, 22, is currently ranked fifth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He represented Great Britain & Ireland at the 2017 Walker Cup, held at the Los Angeles Country Club. Jordan won the 2018 Lytham Trophy and the 2017 St. Andrews Trophy, while finishing runner-up at the 2017 Scottish Amateur.


Sami Valimaki won the Portuguese International Amateur Championship and finished third in the German International Amateur Championship in 2017. He has competed in the St. Andrews Trophy and the European Amateur Team Championship this year.


Jeremy Gandon was the medalist at the Big 12 Championship and was named to the All-Big 12 Tournament team in his junior season at Kansas State University. He earned an individual bid into the 2018 NCAA Pacific Regional, the 10th individual regional bid in school history. In the classroom, he was named a GCAA All-America Scholar and a first-team Academic All-Big 12 performer.


Allen John, 30, tied for second at the Porsche European Open, making birdies on four of his final eight holes. John has just 5 percent of his natural hearing and has relied on hearing aids since he was two. He played his collegiate golf at Georgia State from 2008 to 2011.

Hurly Long, 23, set the course record at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, shooting a second-round 11-under 61 in the 2017 Carmel Cup. Long, who recently graduated from Texas Tech University, surpassed Tom Kite and David Duval, who had previously shot 10-under 62s during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. In his senior season, Long captured one individual title and helped the Red Raiders advance to the match-play quarterfinals in the NCAA Championship. Long was a member of the USA team that claimed the 2018 Palmer Cup at the Evian Resort Golf Club in July.


Alejandro Villavicencio, 38, stopped playing golf for four years as a teenager and became a Central American and national champion in jet ski racing. Villavicencio, who is a restaurant owner, later became a professional golfer but was reinstated as an amateur eight years ago. He won the 2013 and 2015 Central America Amateurs. This is his fourth WATC appearance.


Maurice Pasha Brandt, 57, served as team captain as Haiti competed in the WATC for the first time in 2016, participating this year as a player. Brandt, who is an interior decorator and designer, was voted 2015 PGA Tour Volunteer of Year for his work at the WGC Cadillac Championship.


Matthew Cheung, 22, has lived on three different continents. He was born in Hong Kong and lived there for eight years before moving to Australia for a nine-year period to attend school. In 2016, he helped Oklahoma City University to the NAIA championship and was the national runner-up. Earlier this year, Cheung placed second at the Western Australia Amateur Classic.

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2018 Eisenhower Trophy
John Murphy of Ireland, plays his third shot from a greenside bunker at the fourth hole on the Montgomerie Course during practice round at the 2018 World Amateur Team at Carton House Golf Club in Dublin, Ireland on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (Copyright USGA/Steven Gibbons)
USGA Museum

John Murphy of Ireland during practice.[/caption]


Robin Dawson was the runner-up at the 2018 Amateur Championship as well as the European Amateur.

John Murphy was the winner of the 2018 St. Andrews Links Trophy


Stafano Mazzoli, 21, is a senior on the Texas Christian University team. As a junior, he was named All-Big 12 and was 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup selection and Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist. He captured the 2015 European Amateur and played in the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Lorenzo Scalise, 23, just finished his sophomore season at the University of Tennessee, where he was an All-SEC first-team selection and captured victory at the 2018 NCAA Yale Spring Invitational. Last year Scalise won the Italian Amateur.


J.J. Micallef, 26, is competing in his third WATC. He won the Malta Open once (2012) and finished runner-up seven times. In 2017 he captured the Cyprus Amateur Open title and finished second in his title defense earlier this year. Micallef is the co-franchise owner of a Remax Real Estate branch in Malta.


Alvaro Ortiz, 22, just finished his senior season with University of Arkansas golf team, where he won the Aggie Invitational in 2016. His brother, Carlos, led Mexico to a runner-up finish in the 2012 WATC. In 2014, Carlos was chosen Tour Player of the Year and earned his PGA Tour card. Alvaro is playing in his third WATC.

Raul Pereda, 22, just finished his senior season with Jacksonville State where he had six Top-10 finishes and was named All-Atlantic Sun first-team.  He earned Gold Medalist honors at the 2017 University Games in Taiwan.


Alexsei Coica, 42, competed on Moldova’s national swim team in the 100-meter butterfly and 200- and 400-meter individual medley. Coica, who caddies part-time at San Francisco (Calif.) Golf Club, owns a flooring company. He competed in the 2012 U.S. Amateur and was runner up in the 2017 Northern California Golf Associations’ Public Links.


Nordin van Tilburg, 18, is making his first appearance at the WATC. Last year, he captured the National Championship title in the Netherlands.


Daniel Hillier, 20, co-medalist of the 2018 U.S. Amateur, won the New Zealand Amateur Championship in 2015 and 2017 and the Australian Boys amateur Championship in 2016. Hillier won the Jennian Homes Charles Tour Harewood Open in 2015, a professional event.

Denzel Ieremia, 22, is a redshirt senior at Iowa State University, where he led the team in top-10 finishes (7) this past season. He placed runner-up earlier this year at the National Invitational Tournament and in 2016 he won the Pine Tree Intercollegiate.


Viktor Hovland, 20, won the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship, defeating Devon Bling, 6 and 5, and the first Norwegian. He earned first-team All-America and All-Big 12 Conference honors in his sophomore season at Oklahoma State University and helped the Cowboys win the 2018 NCAA Championship. He had eight top-10 finishes, including a tie for third in the Big 12 Championship. Hovland, who tied for 11th in the NCAA Championship, was a member of the losing 2018 Palmer Cup International Team.


Luis Fernando Barco, 23, won both the Mexican Amateur and the International Amateur earlier this year. In 2016 Barco qualified for the U.S. Amateur for the second consecutive year and competed for Peru in the Pan Am Games, placing 12th.


Pedro Lencart won The R&A’s Boys Amateur Championship in 2017 and in 2016, he won the Junior Open Championship, also previously won by Patrick Reed.


Saleh Al Kaahbi, 24, is in the Qatar armed forces. He is playing in his fifth WATC. Ali Al Sharani, 24is also competing in his fifth WATC, and is a two-time Gulf champion.


Captain Vladimir Simeunović has been a member of the Serbian Mountain Rescue Service for 11 years. He has also been a member of Serbia’s National Karate Team for 7 years, competing in the World Championship once and two European championships. This will be his first appearance in the WATC.

Branimir Gudelj, 20, is a Russian Amateur Champion, a two-time Serbian Amateur Champion, and a four-time Croatian Amateur Champion. He competed in the 2016 WATC.


Gregory Foo, 24, will be playing in his third WATC. He served for two years in the Army as a part of his Compulsory National Service in which we trained to become a paratrooper and jumped out of airplanes.

Donovan Lee, 17, won the 2018 Singapore Junior Open by shooting a 65 in the final round to get into a playoff. This will be his first attempt at the Eisenhower Trophy.


Rastislav Antala, 45, is captaining his fifth WATC team, after competing in 2002. Antala owns his own restaurant in Slovakia and played his collegiate golf at Purdue University.


Jovan Rebula, the 2018 Amateur champion, is a junior at Auburn University where he earned four top-10 finishes last season and earned a spot on the Arnold Palmer Cup International Team, becoming the first golfer to represent South Africa in the event. He is the nephew of World Golf Hall of Fame member Ernie Els. This is his second time competing in the WATC.

Matt Saulez, 21, is the 2018 All-Africa Stroke Play Champion and South Africa Stroke Play runner-up. He caddied for Rebula in the final of the Amateur Championship. He won the best all-around sportsman award in high school and was ranked the No.1 player in South African Golf Digest Rankings.


Perry Cohen, 23, was born in the United States and lived there his entire life, however; his dad is South African and mother is Swiss, so he was able to travel a lot as a child. Cohen was runner-up at the German International earlier this year.


Captain Guzman Etcheverry has captured the Republic of Uruguay Open title four times. He competed in the 1998 WATC and captained the team in 2010. 

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2018 Eisenhower Trophy
Teammates Collin Morikawa, (left), and Justin Suh of United States of America, walk towards the seventh tee on the O'Meara Course during practice round at the 2018 World Amateur Team at Carton House Golf Club in Dublin, Ireland on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (Copyright USGA/Steven Gibbons)
USGA Museum

Teammates Collin Morikawa, (left), and Justin Suh of United States of America.[/caption]


Cole Hammer, 18, advanced to the semifinals in this year’s U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Junior Amateur and won the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Garrett Barber. Hammer was the third-youngest player to compete in a U.S. Open when he played at Chambers Bay in 2015. He is freshman at the University of Texas and was co-medalist at the 2018 U.S. Amateur.

 Justin Suh, 21, earned first-team All-America honors and was the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year as a junior at the University of Southern California, after winning the 2018 Pac-12 individual title.

 Collin Morikawa, 21, was named the 2018 Golfweek Men’s Player of the Year, while also earning first-team All-America and first-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors as a junior at the University of California. He broke a 14-year-old single-season NCAA record by posting a 68.68 stroke average in 2017-18 and captured two individual titles. He was a member of the victorious USA Team at the 2017 Walker Cup.Team.


David Amm, 19, captained the Zimbabwe Golf Team at the African Amateur Golf Team Championship last year where they finished runner-up. Amm captured a victory earlier this year at the Zimbabwe Junior Stroke Play and the Zimbabwe Match Play. This is his second appearance at the WATC.

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