Walker Cup victory for GB & I

Despite being given the underdog tag, Great Britain & Ireland pulled off the incredible 14-12 upset over a stacked American team at the Walker Cup in Scotland.

After taking a 7-5 lead on Saturday, the team's first day one lead since 1995, it appeared the final day of matches was setting up to be a down-to-the-wire affair.

Then Great Britain & Ireland came out firing on all cylinders with their foursomes pairings as they disposed off the highly ranked Americans in a gritty display of teamwork, winning three of the four morning matches.

The foundations for the home team's victory over an American side containing the top four amateurs in the world came within a putt of a clean sweep of foursomes victories. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Rodgers halved their top-order match against Tom Lewis and Michael Stewart to deny Great Britain & Ireland taking all four encounters.

Following the morning foursomes it seemed like a GB&I victory was a foregone conclusion.

Instead of cutting into the two point GB&I lead, the US team found themselves 10.5 to 5.5 with only the afternoon singles remaining. A monumental comeback of colossal proportions was needed.

The Americans stormed out of the gates, with Russell Henley and Jordan Spieth winning the first two matches. Henley accounted for Tom Lewis, 4&2, and with Spieth defeating Andy Sullivan, 3&2.

As the momentum that seemed to be shifting in the American's favour, it came suddenly to a stop at the hands of Jack Senior's putter.

The entire week for the US was summed up in one match late in the day that led you to believe a historic comeback wasn't in the cards, as Nathan Smith clawed his way back to 1-up going to the 18th hole against Senior.

Needing a point in his match against Senior, Smith watched the Englishman hole an improbable 35-foot birdie putt from just off the green to secure a half point for GB&I.

The damage to a US recovery had been done and the half would prove critical to the home side.

Michael Stewart's 3&2 win over Patrick Rodgers steadied the home team and he was among several outstanding performances over the weekend, including 17-year-old Rhys Pugh, who made it three wins out of three when he beat 2011 US Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, 2&1.

Steven Brown halved the sixth order match with Blayne Barber, the same result as the 10th order match between Paul Cutler and Pat Cantlay.

Other American wins in the afternoon singles came from Peter Uihlein's 2&1 win over Stiggy Hodgson, Chris Williams' 1-up victory over Alan Dunbar and Harris English won his match against James Byrne, 2&1.

Despite having a distinct disadvantage on playing the testing links of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club and contesting under blustery conditions, the reason the US lost wasn't due to a lack of local knowledge or knowing how to combat the elements to play to the demands of links golf.

Instead, it had everything to do with the American side taking only 1.5 out of a possible 8 points from the foursome matches.

A statistic of this nature will hurt any team's chances and the result reflected how members of the Great Britain & Ireland team play with their pride on their sleeves. The home side gelded well and played as an adhesive unit of strength over the two days, despite the Americans looking the far stronger team on paper in the world ranking stakes.

It was the first time since 2003 Great Britain & Ireland has secured the Walker Cup and in the process they rocked the overwhelming barrow full of media attention that had literally written the team off at the hands of the Americans earlier in the week.

"Did I expect to be sat here winning? Yes, absolutely," were Nigel Edward's, the Great Britain & Ireland Captain, remarks at the media conference after the presentation.

"I had a quiet look at the things people had said and written, but I told the boys, from the outset that they did not need worry about anyone else. All they needed to do was focus on themselves and they are very special and they proved that this week. They did a great credit for themselves and their families and their countries."

Want video tips delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to iseekgolf.com newsletters.

iSeekGolf is Australia’s largest golf tee times website.
To book a tee time at an iSeekGolf venue, visit iseekgolf.com/teetimes


More Articles from Anthony Powter