Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf

Britain and Ireland lead Walker Cup

A great start and then a storming finish gave underdogs Britain and Ireland a 7-5 lead over the star-studded Americans after the first day of the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen.

The home side, beaten in the last three matches, took the first three foursomes in the morning.

There was then an American fightback to lead 4-3 but, after some torrential rain, 17-year-old Welshman Rhys Pugh, English champion Steven Brown, Scot James Byrne and Irishman Paul Cutler all won singles that went at least to the 17th.

Cutler was the only double winner of the day, but perhaps pride of place went to Pugh. The baby of Nigel Edwards' side beat world number three Patrick Rodgers 2&1.

"It was like playing in a dream," he said. "He was five under after five (and three ahead), but I stayed patient and came back in the end."

The day was not without controversy, however.

Jack Senior teamed up with fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan to beat American champion Kelly Kraft and Russell Henley, but it then emerged that his caddie, his brother Joe, is a professional golfer - not allowed under Walker Cup rules.

That could have turned a 3-1 lunchtime lead into 2-2 if the game had been awarded to the visitors, but it was decided that because it came to light after the completion of the match the result would stand.

While Senior teed off again with a different caddie, Royal and Ancient Club chief executive Peter Dawson said: "We are quite satisfied there was no advantage gained and the US captain (Jim Holtgrieve) was the first to say that. It's been in the rules of the competition for a long, long time, but Jack was unaware."

The last point of the day went to the Americans, world number one Patrick Cantlay getting the better of Michael Stewart. There are 14 points to play for on the second day - four foursomes again, but 10 singles rather than eight.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph