US hit back to take commanding lead
Published 08/09/2013 | 10:56
The United States will head into the final day of the Walker Cup with an 8-4 advantage after crushing Great Britain and Ireland in Saturday's afternoon singles.
It had looked promising for the visiting side when they established a two and a half to one and a half advantage after the morning foursomes but they were blown away following the change of format.
The US were victorious in six of the eight singles with only Nathan Kimsey and Gavin Moynihan avoiding defeat for GB&I.
Kimsey claimed a half from his clash with Justin Thomas while Moynihan enjoyed a 2&1 victory over Patrick Rodgers.
The afternoon struggles were in stark contrast to a morning session which GB&I edged.
The first match was halved with GB&I winning the next two before the United States won the final foursome of the session.
The first match-up saw home pair Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt refuse to let the visiting duo of Kimsey and Max Orrin capitalise on the one up lead they held on six occasions.
Instead each time Whitsett and Wyatt came back to tie including on the 18th hole when Orrin hit his eagle putt 12 feet past the hole with Wyatt sinking a two-foot birdie to win the hole and halve the match.
Next up was Sheffield's Matthew Fitzpatrick, who became the first Englishman since 1911 to win the US Amateur Championship - propelling him to number one in the world amateur golf rankings - and also win the Silver Medal at July's Open Championship at Muirfield.
He was partnered by Neil Raymond and they went one up against Jordan Niebrugge and Nathan Smith at the par-four fifth, a lead they held until the 15th.
The GB&I duo won the par-five 18th when Raymond hit an eagle attempt to three feet and Fitzpatrick calmly rolled the ball in for a one up victory.
Raymond told www.usga.org: "To go out in foursomes over here and get the first solid point on the board was very important. I was just really happy to get it done.
"I believe in my ability, and obviously believe in the world number one [Fitzpatrick] over here."
The visitors moved further ahead when Garrick Porteous and Rhys Ough defeated Michael Weaver and Todd White, three and one.
Victory was clinched at the 372-yard 17th. Welshman Pugh hit his wedge approach shot to four feet.
Weaver also hit a fine wedge approach to seven feet, but White missed the birdie attempt.
Porteous' birdie was conceded and GB&I claimed victory.
Pugh said: "It gets my [competitive] juices flowing playing for Great Britain and Ireland.
"It's an honour and brings the best out of me."
The hosts then hit back in the final match of the session, Rodgers and Thomas defeating Moynihan and Kevin Phelan two and one.
The United States took a lead they never relinquished on the 15th before Rodgers recorded the clinching birdie on the 17th, hitting a 111-yard wedge to six feet.