The United States staged a superb fightback to beat Great Britain and Ireland and retain the Walker Cup at St Andrews.
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland: Gordon Sargent lived up to his billing as the No. 1 amateur in the world by winning all four of his matches at St. Andrews as the United States rallied to win the Walker Cup for the fourth straight time. That’s right, the cup is heading back to American soil.
Great Britain & Ireland had a three-point lead going into the final two sessions on the Old Course. They appeared to be in command and had their sights set on taking the cup back from the USA squad. However, the US had a different agenda. The Americans won three of the four-morning foursomes, and they poured it on during the 10 singles matches.
Then, The Americans won six of the 10 matches and halved two others to complete a rally in which they outscored GB&I 10-4 over two sessions.
GB&I led by three points after the opening day, but the USA won Sunday morning’s foursomes 3-1 to reduce their deficit and then took seven points from the 10 singles matches to win by 14.5 to 11.5
England’s Jack Bigham and Ireland’s Mark Power were the home side’s only winners in the singles, with Bigham beating Nick Gabrelcik 3&2 and Power making birdies on the 17th and 18th to defeat Ben James and claim his third victory of the weekend.
The visitors had been odds-on favorites to secure a fourth consecutive victory in the biennial contest for the top male amateur golfers, with eight of the 10-man side ranked in the world’s top 10.
World No. 1 Gordon Sargent led from the front and completed a perfect 4-0 record with a victory over John Gough on the 18th, as Gough crucially hit his tee shot out of bounds on the previous hole to fall behind.
GB&I captain Stuart Wilson said, “We’re obviously disappointed. We had a nice lead this morning that we kind of let slide quite a bit in the foursomes, but I think where the guys will be hurting the most is that they’ll know they haven’t turned up this afternoon and acquitted themselves in the way we know they can.
“We always thought it was going to be a tight match, and everything went our way yesterday. Six matches went up in the last, and we got four and a half points out of them, but all the momentum seemed to be with the US side today. To be fair to the players, they are a great team, and this event is the Ryder Cup of match-play amateur golf. They handled the conditions a lot better than our guys.”
US captain Mike McCoy, who was a player on the last American side to lose the Walker Cup in 2015, said: “It’s pretty special, it’s certainly the pinnacle of my golfing life. After the morning session, I felt a lot better, like we were really back in the tournament and had a chance to win this thing.
“Last night I was pretty concerned as mornings are historically not our strong suit, but the guys played great, and I think the morning was what made the day.”