Ben Schmidt from Rotherham Golf Club has been talking about his involvement in the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) squad for this weekend’s Walker Cup against the United States of America.
From Tommy Fleetwood to Justin Rose, the Walker Cup has witnessed many stars of the game, and selection to play in the historic match is often regarded as the highlight of an amateur’s career.
Talking to the England Golf podcast Ben Schmidt said: “Yeah, really looking forward to it and really proud to be part of that team. I can’t wait to get out there.
“It’s a really big point in my career. Obviously I’ve done quite a bit through the amateurs and it’s been hard this past year and a bit now with Covid, [not] playing events, but I’ve done pretty well in quite a few events and I just feel like I am ready now for being part of this team and competing. I feel like, in an amateur career, for me it is the pinnacle, if you can get in that team and be part of it.”
At 18, Schmidt is the youngest of the ten man squad and one of eight English team members. 2019 was his breakout year, winning the Justin Rose Telegraph event and the Brabazon Trophy. His first overseas event was in the US Amateurs that year.
Ben added: “I put a lot of work in and the year before I had some good finishes and managed to win the Westwood Trophy so I felt like it was getting there. Going into 2019 and starting off with the win at the Brabazon in May and that was it then, after that I just sort of bounced off each event and performed throughout the whole season.
“It was just a really, really good year for me and I just enjoyed everything. Everything seemed to flow that year and going into 2020 I was going to some events out of the country, like Australia, and had some good finishes and a win in there as well, which was nice. Then Covid started to come around and put things on hold but we’ve come out of lockdown and played a few games in the UK, and my game is still in a part were its pretty good considering the amount of time I’ve had off.
“You get to the stage now where I’ve played the start of this year, the Jones Cup again, and then had quite a lot of time off, but my game, in my head, I’m still positive and still feel like its in a good place. A decent finish in the Jones Cup which has then led on to being part of the Walker Cup squad now and to compete against the US which I’m really looking forward to, I can’t wait.”
With UK courses closed during the Covid pandemic, the Rotherham Golf Club member has been able to keep practicing overseas at courses in the warmer climates of Spain and Dubai. Also selected to play in the Home International series in April, that event was postponed.
On his team’s chances of beating the American team at Seminole, Florida, Ben added: “The GB&I team is a really strong team. I think we all get on well and we are all great players. I think if we turn up and everyone has the right mindset, and everyone has the right game, then there is no reason why GB&I cannot win the Walker Cup this year. I 100% believe that.”
The 48th Walker Cup will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Mix on May 8 and 9.
Images: England Golf