The next chapter in Australia’s rich Eisenhower Trophy history will be written this week with Connor McKinney, Hayden Hopewell and Harrison Crowe determined to tear up the World Amateur Team Championship in Paris.
Australia has won the event four times – second only to the United States of America – the most recent of which came in Mexico in 2016 where Cameron Davis, Harrison Endycott and Curtis Luck starred, and the current crop are well-placed to follow in their footsteps.
McKinney, Hopewell and Crowe have all had brilliant year’s so far with six victories between them and a host of other eye-catching performances.
The trio have been touring the United States and Europe during the northern hemisphere and West Australians Hopewell and McKinney will look to carry on their good form from the US Amateur earlier this month making the Round of 16 and the Round of 32 respectively.
In June, McKinney won the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy by shooting 65 in the last round at the Old Course to go with his Australian Amateur title which he won at Cranbourne in April.
Crowe had an extremely fruitful home season by winning the NSW Open against professionals after claiming the Australian Master of the Amateur and the NSW Amateur, while Hopewell was runner-up twice on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia at TPS Murray River and the WA Open.
He followed up those performances by going undefeated for his home state at the Australian Interstate Teams Matches at Sorrento Golf Club in May, and it is clear that all three Australian representatives relish the big stage.
The host venues for this week’s 72-hole stroke play are familiar with grand occasions with Le Golf National and Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche also staging the women’s tournament last week – the Australian team of Kirsten Rudgeley, Kelsey Bennett and Maddison Hinson-Tolchard finished in 14th place.
Le Golf National also hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup, and will host the golf competition at the 2024 Olympic Games, and both courses are set to provide a strong test for the players.
“Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche is going to be a bit firmer than Le Golf National will be,” McKinney said.
“It’s important to be careful with the runouts and really knowing where you want to hit the ball. Overall I think we’re good enough to adapt to the different setups. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Despite the different questions the courses will ask of the players, the overall strategy remains the same: attack.
“I think as a team we need to stay aggressive,” Crowe said.
“You’re not going to win this week trying to play conservative and plot yourself around. I think you’ve got to go out there and take control of the golf courses. Stick to your game plan and make sure you’re staying aggressive and confident. Go hunt some birdies out there as a team.”
Hopewell agrees with his teammate.
“You’re still visualising and hitting the same shot but the game plan changes a bit depending on the course,” he said. “You’ll play a little differently but still commit to the same shots.”
The Australians will begin their campaign on Wednesday 31 August at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche, teeing off on the 10th hole at 4pm, 4.11pm and 4.22pm AEST alongside the Czech Republic and Thailand teams.