Great Britain and Ireland have won the Walker Cup for the first time since 2003. The home side triumphed by 14 points to 12 over the windswept links at Royal Aberdeen.
Nigel Edwards‘ side survived a late singles surge by team USA to clinch the Cup for only the eighth time since it was first played for back in 1922.
GB&I took a 10.5-5.5 lead into the final afternoon’s singles but getting over the finishing line proved tough. Although the home team needed to secure just three points from the 10 singles matches, the situation looked rocky as the first two GB&I players, Tom Lewis and Andy Sullivan lost out to Russell Henley and Jordan Spieth respectively.
Scotland’s Michael Stewart steadied the ship somewhat with a 3&2 victory over Patrick Rodgers before Jack Senior’s contest with career amateur Nathan Smith provided a crucial turning point. One down coming into the final hole, Senior holed a huge birdie putt from off the front of the 18th green to earn a valuable half and grant GB&I some much needed breathing space.
Stiggy Hodgson was in control against Peter Uihlein but then lost his way on the run for home and succumbed by 2&1.
17-year-old Rhys Pugh then scored a superb 2&1 victory over US Amateur champion Kelly Kraft. The young Welshman won three matches from three over the two days and his final singles victory meant the home side needed just half a point more to win.
Steven Brown from Wentworth provided that half minutes later when his par on the tough 18th hole was enough to come back from one down with one to play against Blayne Barber.
“Fantastic, they are a very special bunch of guys,” said an overjoyed team captain Nigel Edwards. “Our preparation and desire to win probably gave us the edge. I told my players that they all deserved to be here.”
In the remaining matches on the course, Northern Ireland’s Alan Dunbar lost out to Chris Williams by one hole and home favourite James Byrne lost by 2&1 to Harris English. Paul Cutler of Ireland halved with Patrick Cantlay.
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