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USA Reclaims The Walker Cup
10 Sep 2017
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for The Walker Cup, Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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Spider Miller (far left) and the USA Team Celebrate Victory (Wlodkowski, AGC)
Spider Miller (far left) and the USA Team Celebrate Victory (Wlodkowski, AGC)
LOS ANGELES, California (September 10, 2017) -- It wasn't meant to be easy. Winning, or tying the Walker Cup on foreign soil that is.

Today at Los Angeles Country Club, the Great Britain & Ireland team trailed USA 8-4 to start, but held out hope that their traditional advantage in foursomes competition might make things closer heading into afternoon singles, when all 10 players on both sides go out and play for the final ten points.

Related: Team USA Takes a Commanding 11-5 Lead
Related: USA Dominates In Walker Cup Saturday Singles
Related: Walker Cup Saturday Foursomes Recap
Related: TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: The 46th Walker Cup Match

Instead, USA took three of the four available points, with their single point gained by GB&I's Jack Singh Brar and Scott Gregory in a close battle with NCAA champion Braden Thornberry and US Amateur champ Doc Redman.

Now down 11-5 with ten available afternoon singles points, a hopeful Scott Gregory tried to stay positive.

"There are more points out there than we need, so we're going to give it our best."

Sunday Singles Match Highlights Indeed Gregory did just that. The 2016 British Amateur champion never gives up. Despite a distance disadvantage to many of his competitors, the steady player hung tough to the very end. Two down with two to play in his afternoon singles match against Western Am champ Norman Xiong, Gregory gave himself a chance by holing a 20-foot birdie putt to win No. 17, then got up-and-down from the left hand bunker (holing a clutch 8-foot slider) on No. 18 to tie the match.

"It will make the plane ride a little easier," he joked after holing the tying putt, knowing it was probably too little too late.

That half point scored by Xiong, as it turned out, was the clinching one for USA, as they had two points on the board already thanks to victories by Stewart Hagestad (over Jack Singh Brar) and Braden Thornberry, who won 6 and 5 over Paul McBride. Thornberry's convincing win gave USA their first singles point of the afternoon.

Spider Miller and a happy Scottie Scheffler
The thrill of victory for the U.S.
"The American's were amazing - what a team," said GB&I Captain Andrew Ingram. "I've got to take my hat off to them."

Asked about factors beyond the obvious disadvantages of playing so far from home, Ingram noted that the home course advantage was further heightened by the length of the course. The 7200 (approx) yardage oftentimes gave USA bombers like Cameron Champ, Norman Xiong, and even the tall and lanky mid-am Stewart Hagestad two clubs or more less into greens then their opponents. And they aren't just long, the Americans have amazing touch, and handled the lightning fast putting surfaces and "beachy" sand like the pros that many of them will become.

MATCH NOTES

* Although the 19-7 victory by USA was one of the most lopsided in Walker Cup history, it wasn't the biggest. In 1993, the USA won 19-5 at Interlachen before the competition was modified slightly to include a full 26 points.

Morikawa, Ghim, McNealy
Morikawa, Ghim, McNealy: Perfect 4-0
* Three USA players, Collin Morikawa, Doug Ghim, and Maverick McNealy, recorded perfect 4-0 records - no team on either side has ever done that in the previous 45 Walker Cups. Impressive stuff for two players that are returning to college (at Cal and Texas respectively) and one (McNealy) who is to begin his professional career at the Safeway Classic in three weeks, after earning his degree from Stanford.

* It should be noted that Ingram did a fine job standing in for Captain Craig Watson, who was forced to stay home due to the death of his sister. Watson will captain the GB&I team in 2019 at Royal Liverpool in England.

View results for The Walker Cup

ABOUT THE The Walker Cup

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland and selected by The R&A. It is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches.

The first United States Walker Cup Team, which in 1922 defeated the GB&I side, 8-4, at the National Golf Links of America, is considered among the best teams ever and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have taken part in Walker Cup competition, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.

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