Selection for the GB&I team in one of the most prestigious amateur competitions in the world would undoubtedly be the high point in the Horsham player’s already impressive CV.
Penge, who is currently playing in Australia for five weeks, has said that the Walker Cup is his main aim, but the 18-year-old has a number of strong ambitions for 2017. He said; “I’d like to finish the year in the Top 50 in the WAGR (World Amateur Golf Rankings) and make the 2017 Walker Cup team. It’s also my aim to represent England in the men’s team in the Home Internationals and European Teams Championship.”
On the Walker Cup, Penge added; “It’s something I have always wanted to achieve so it would be great to make the team and represent GB&I in America. There has been a lot of history in the event and a lot of great players have played in it, for example Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.”
2016 was a very successful year for Penge and included victory in the Sunningdale Foursomes and a record-breaking round in the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin. Such successes provided Penge with some key learnings. He said; “One thing I learnt from last year is that when you’re playing well it is important to note down what the reasons are for why you’re playing well. Otherwise you keep playing and playing and then when things don’t go to plan you get stuck.”
To gain further experience, Penge travelled to Australia at the turn of the year to take part in a number of tournaments, including the Australian Master of the Amateurs. He said; “I was happy with my performance as I played a lot of good stuff. If only the putts had dropped it would have been a completely different story. The standard was insane and I was up against the best players in the world so it was tough.”
Of his time in Australia so far, Penge added; “The heat is so different to back home! We had to play the last round in 40 degree heat this week and when you’re on the course for five hours it is not easy. You have to eat and drink so much to stay focussed and to think correctly. Also, once you have been travelling for over 26 hours it takes time for your body to feel normal and re-group! I just want to give it the best go I can and make sure I enjoy the time here, because a lot of people would love to be in my position. Five weeks is long time to be away from home and play an event every week. If you don’t enjoy it and have fun it will be a long five weeks!”