3rd September 2023
USA won the 49th Walker Cup match at St. Andrews beating Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) by 14.5-11.5.
The USA dominated Day 2 winning 10 of the 14 points that were available. USA won the morning Foursomes 3.0-1.0 before also taking the afternoon Singles 7.0-3.0.
The USA Team (Photo: Oisin Keniry /R&A / R&A via Getty Images)
The match had echoes of the 2019 clash at Royal Liverpool G.C. where GB&I started well and led going into the the final Singles only to lose that key series badly (USA won that Singles 8-2).
USA have now won the last four Walker Cup matches and have improved their overall match record to W39, L9, H1. Their most recent loss came in 2015 at Royal Lytham when this year’s captain Mike McCoy was a playing member of the USA team.
After picking up the trophy McCoy said “This is a great feeling. I tried to put a lot of effort into this for two years and tried to do anything I could that would help make the team successful. I learned a little bit about what made each of them tick, and it just worked out. But there was a lot of effort by a lot of people to make this happen.”
Having lost his second Walker Cup match a disappointed GB&I captain Stuart Wilson said “The Americans just handled the (windier) conditions slightly better than us, and to be fair to the boys, without being too harsh, I’m sure they’ll be quite disappointed in the way they played themselves. They tried their hardest, but they didn’t turn up with their “A” games this afternoon I would say in some matches.”
In a statistical anomaly GB&I, who have nine successes to their name, have never won a Walker Cup match with a Scottish captain in charge. 2023, with Stuart Wilson in charge was that nation’s 16th attempt.
GB&I will next battle the odds again in September 2025 when they travel to Cypress Point G.C. in California for match number 50.
Gordon SARGENT was the star man winning all four of the games he played in with Mark POWER, unbeaten on Sunday, outstanding for GB&I.
Caleb SURRATT and Preston SUMMERHAYS also made a difference on Day 2 winning both of the games they were involved in in style.
Stewart HAGESTAD, who won both of his Singles today, became the first man since Jay Sigel (1977-87) to play on four consecutive winning teams.
Barclay BROWN was the only player on either side not to be involved in a winning game.
Here is my assessment of the individual player performances over the weekend:-
Here’s the detailed hole-by-hole scores for each game (which should be viewed in the context of match play games with concessions) alongside some of my own observations from being out on the course all day:-
USA came out fighting on Sunday morning winning the second Foursomes series 3.0-1.0.
Day 2 Foursomes – Course Information (Graphic: The R&A)
Day 2 Foursomes – Hole Locations (Graphic: The R&A)
* Due to the strong winds Hole 11 was changed to 12 On / 15 Left when the holes were being cut.
GB&I 1.0 – 3.0 USA
Cloudy skies greeted the players on Sunday morning. The breeze was much stronger and gusting close to 30mph at the far end of the course.
The greens were running at an average speed of 10 ft 3″, 3″ slower than yesterday.
John GOUGH and Matt MCCLEAN both looked a little weary on the course this morning and their play was generally untidy.
The American’s, Caleb SURRATT and Ben JAMES, certainly didn’t require their very best golf to take the first point of the day.
Surratt & James v. Gough & McClean Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)
Game 2 got off to an inauspicious start with both Connor GRAHAM and Gordon SARGENT spinning their approaches on the 1st hole back into the Barry Burn. Sargent’s was inexcusable given he was playing into the green after the 16 year old Scotsman.
Despite the poor start the players settled down and it proved to be a highly competitive encounter.
Nick DUNLAP‘s 10ft birdie on the 3rd gave USA the early initiative.
On the 4th hole Graham holed from 25 feet for a birdie only to see Sargent immediately follow him from a similar distance.
The 5th was halved in birdie 4’s after both pairs two putted from distance before USA doubled their advantage on the 6th when the Scots three putted.
The holes around the turn were halved, albeit Calum SCOTT holed a tricky 12 footer on the 10th green, after Graham had driven into the right fairway bunker, to keep the American’s honest.
The two Scottish lads were fighting for their lives and eventually they were rewarded for their efforts.
On the short par 4 12th Graham again holed out from 8 foot only to see Sargent follow him in from slightly closer.
On the 13th Dunlap pulled his drive into a gorse bush which resulted in a bogey and on the 15th Sargent fell for the sucker pin and ran into the hidden bunker at the back of the green when a more cautious approach would have served him better when playing to the back hole location. When Dunlap left the ball in the bunker GB&I found themselves All Square with three holes to play.
Dunlap quickly got things back on track on the 16th for the Americans with a superb approach to a tight front right pin. Sargent, who had putted magnificently all morning, confidently delivered the birdie from 6 feet. USA 1Up with two to play.
On the 17th GB&I had great opportunity to get back level. Sargent left his approach short of the green on the left hand side whilst Graham arrowed his iron to 6 feet. Dunlap played a delightful chip that ran out close before Scott just missed his birdie putt to the left.
Both pairs drove to the edge of the 18th green and long putted to 10 feet (USA) and 5 feet (GB&I). Sargent again stepped up and in front of the large gallery holed without issue.
Sargent looked every inch the best amateur player in the world this morning with a superb display of hitting and clutch putting. The two Scottish lads played very well and a half wouldn’t have flattered them by any means.
Dunlap & Sargent v. Graham & Scott Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)
The GB&I pair of James ASHFIELD and Alex MAGUIRE will be regretting some poor approaches and missed short putts on the front nine which enabled the USA pairing of Preston SUMMERHAYS and Nick GABRELCIK to quickly build up a 3Up lead in Game 3.
Despite a valiant fight back on the back nine the American’s saw the game out quite comfortably.
Summerhays & Gabrelcik v. Ashfield & Maguire Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)
The only good news on a disappointing morning for GB&I was delivered by the all-Irish pairing of Liam NOLAN and Mark POWER.
Four birdies, albeit the 13th clearly a conceded one, turned their game against Dylan MENANTE and Austin GREASER right round.
Greaser struggled on the greens and no doubt Nolan, who will face him again in the Singles, will be testing his putting out fully this afternoon.
Menante & Greaser v. Nolan & Power Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)
Day 2 Singles – Course Information (Graphic: The R&A)
Day 2 Singles – Hole Locations (Graphic: The R&A)
A determined Caleb SURRATT made few mistakes on his way to getting the better of home favourite Calum SCOTT, who played well again without receiving any reward for his efforts.
Barclay BROWN had a disappointing Walker Cup and his finish this afternoon halted any momentum GB&I were trying to build up behind him. His capitulation from a 3Up with 4 holes to play position was most unexpected from one of our more experienced players. U.S. Amateur champion Nick DUNLAP has also struggled this week so he will have been pleased to finish the match off with a battling half.
Dunlap v. Brown Scorecard (Photo: The R&A / Golfbox)
An inspired Stewart HAGESTAD putted the lights out against a combative Connor GRAHAM who again played with a lot of heart and never once let his head drop.
Gordon SARGENT and John GOUGH played out a tight game with the Englishman edging the front nine before Sargent wrestled the advantage from him. Gough holed his second shot into the par 4 6th hole for eagle but later hit his drive on the 17th out of bounds to hand the initiative to the Alabama man.
Gough will be turning pro tomorrow and making his debut in the Horizon Irish Open at The K Club.
Preston SUMMERHAYS despatched an inconsistent James ASHFIELD 4&3 in the fifth Singles game not giving the Welshman any encouragement throughout.
Matthew MCCLEAN required all his match play skills to fight back and secure a half against Dylan MENANTE in Game 6, albeit some shaky putting late on prevented him notching up a win.
Having not featured in the two Foursomes sessions and having lost a close match with Gordon Sargent yesterday Jack BIGHAM was delighted to leave St. Andrews with a point to his name.
The Englishman finished in style playing the 16th perfectly and holing a nice putt to end proceedings against Nick GABRELCIK.
Mark POWER bowed out from amateur golf with a superb victory against Ben JAMES. He played the final three holes magnificently well as James refused to go quietly.
After James had holed from further way on 16 Power missed his own 6 foot birdie putt to move back to All Square. Unaffected he played an outstanding approach into 17 to move back into the lead and a brave drive down 18, just like yesterday afternoon, enabled him to again finish with a birdie and a 1 Hole victory.
Power, like Gough, is planning to turn pro tomorrow and will be debuting in next week’s Irish Open at The K Club.
Austin GREASER proved to be too good for Liam NOLAN and an exceptional back nine, with no sign of the putting woes that had afflicted him earlier in the day, saw the American run out a 3&1 winner.
David FORD secured the point that won the Walker Cup in his game against Alex MAGUIRE as both players traded birdies coming down the home stretch.
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