SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – The USA leads the 44th Walker Cup Match at the National Golf Links of America by 10-6 following the Sunday morning foursomes, which the two teams split, 2-2.
Cory Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt (USA) def. Nathan Kimsey and Max Orrin (GB&I), 2 and 1
How They Won: After taking a 2-up lead on the sixth hole with a 15-foot birdie putt by Kimsey, the GB&I team failed to make a birdie over the next 11 holes, which allowed Whitsett and Wyatt to come back and win despite inconsistent play of their own.
First Blood: After Orrin drove over the green on the 309-yard second hole, Kimsey nearly holed a pitch and the team was conceded a winning birdie.
Turning Point: On the 15th hole, the USA Team appeared to be in trouble after Whitsett hit the second shot over the green. But Orrin also hit an approach over the green into a difficult lie. The GB&I duo made double bogey to fall 1 down.
Clinching Moment: With Orrin studying a par putt on the 17th green, Wyatt sank a 20-foot birdie putt to win the hole.
Best Shot: After Wyatt nearly drove into a fairway bunker on the 17th hole, Whitsett faced an awkward lie in the rough, with the ball below his feet. He made crisp contact and hit a shot to 20 feet that set up Wyatt’s winning putt.
Best Team Effort: On the fifth hole, Kimsey drove into a fairway bunker, from which Orrin could only advance the ball 100 yards. Kimsey picked up his partner by hitting the third shot to 3 feet for a winning par that gave the GB&I duo the lead.
Winning Words: “It’s a great feeling anytime you can add one on the board. [The 15th hole] was definitely a turning point; we won that hole with a bogey. That’s just a gift. Fortunately, we were able to take that and run with it.” –Bobby Wyatt
Matthew Fitzpatrick and Neil Raymond (GB&I) def. Michael Weaver and Todd White (USA), 3 and 2
How they won: Behind strong putting from 2013 U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, the English duo shot the equivalent of two under par – with concessions – over the 16 holes, making just one bogey.
First blood: The Americans lost the fifth hole when they missed the green with their approach and three-putted for double-bogey 6 from 21 feet. Raymond’s approach was 45 feet short of the hole and the steady Fitzpatrick lagged the long birdie attempt to within concession range.
Turning point: With the match all square on the par-5 ninth green, White, 45, of Spartanburg, S.C., missed a 3-foot par putt. A superb lag putt from 40 feet by the 27-year-old Raymond stopped 6 inches short of the hole for a conceded 5, and GB&I never trailed again.
Clinching moment: The Americans three-putted the 16th green and the 18-year-old Fitzpatrick calmly holed his 2-foot par putt to seal the victory.
Best shot: One shining moment for the Americans came at the par-5 seventh, when White rolled in a 27-footer for eagle from just off the green to square the match.
Best team effort: Raymond called Fitzpatrick’s bunker shot from behind the 15th green “one of the best I’ve ever seen.” With little green to work with, the incoming Northwestern University freshman deftly stopped the ball 8 feet from the flagstick.
Winning words: “I was real happy with the way we played. Matt and I really played lovely out there. Apart from the one dropped shot at 11, it was pretty solid. It was just nice to get a point on the board early.” – Raymond
Max Homa and Michael Kim (USA) def. Garrick Porteous and Rhys Pugh (GB&I), 1 up
How They Won: After being 1 up after 16 holes, GB&I made unforced errors on the 17th and 18th holes. They three-putted the 17th, then bogeyed the par-5 closing hole after being near the green in two shots.
First Blood: Pugh made a 60-foot birdie putt on the second hole.
Turning Point: Homa and Kim squared the match when Pugh missed a 2½-foot putt for par on the 17th hole.
Clinching Moment: Homa sank a 5-foot putt for par on the final hole.
Best Shot: After Homa’s second shot on the opening hole went into a greenside bunker, Kim hit the flagstick with his explosion shot for a tying par.
Best Team Effort: On the 10th hole, both teams drove wildly. After Pugh drove far right into the treeline, Porteous had to play sideways, but the GB&I side recovered to win the hole.
Winning Words: “We talked yesterday about not letting the overnight lead get to us. We have a history of not playing well in foursomes, so to get the win and put another point up for the U.S. is pretty special.” – Michael Kim
Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan (GB&I) def. Patrick Rodgers and Jordan Niebrugge (USA), 2 up
How They Won: When the USA made a two-putt birdie from the front edge of the seventh green, it took a 4-up lead over the GB&I side. Moynihan and Phelan won Nos. 8 and 9 to halve the deficit, then pressured the USA on nearly every hole of the inward nine, finally pulling even with a hard-earned par on No. 16 when the USA was awkwardly bunkered off the tee. GB&I then birdied No. 17 to take its first lead and was conceded the clinching birdie on No. 18 when the USA again found bunker trouble off the tee.
First Blood: The USA won hole No. 2 when Rodgers made an 8-foot birdie putt, and took three of the next five holes to assume the 4-up lead.
Turning Point: After losing two straight holes to see its lead slip to 2 up, the USA seemed to steady itself with three consecutive holes halved in par. But on the par-3 13th, Phelan knocked a wedge to 3 feet, Niebrugge came up short in the front bunker, and the GB&I rally was on.
Clinching Moment: One down coming to No. 18, the USA’s Rodgers was bunkered off the tee. GB&I’s Phelan hit the par-5 green on the second shot. The USA was putting for par outside the GB&I side’s ball, which lay 3, when it conceded the match.
Best Shot: Phelan’s fairway wood approach into the wind to the 16th green, which set up a two-putt par and squared the match.
Best Team Effort: GB&I cut its deficit to 2 down to start the inward nine and put continuous pressure on the USA, with Phelan in particular hitting precise approach irons to wear the Americans down.
Winning Words: “We were 4 down and we hadn’t played that badly. Then Kevin started hitting them close; iron play is the strength of his game.” – Gavin Moynihan, on the GB&I’s rally from 4 down.