LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND – The Great Britain & Ireland team didn’t simply use the same foursomes pairings as they did on Saturday morning; they repeated the same strong performance. Under sunny skies and in front of an enthusiastic gallery, GB&I won three of four matches over the United States team for the second consecutive day to take a 10-6 lead into the Sunday singles matches at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.
Match 1: Ashley Chesters/Jimmy Mullen (GB&I) def. Beau Hossler/Denny McCarthy (USA), 3 and 2
How They Won: The English duo shot the equivalent of 2 under par over 16 holes by keeping most of their tee shots in the fairway and making three birdies on the inward nine.
First Blood: The Americans won the opening two holes. McCarthy sank a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 1 and Hossler, who earned first-team All-America honors at the University of Texas last year, won the second hole with a 7-foot par putt.
Turning Point: With USA clinging to a 1-up lead, GB&I won holes 8 through 10 to pull ahead for good. Chesters played a pivotal role, converting a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth and then making another birdie putt on No. 10.
Clinching Moment: After McCarthy’s tee shot came to rest well right of the drivable par-4 16th, the Americans were left with a difficult up and down for birdie. Chesters sank a 4-foot birdie putt to win the match.
Best Shot: Chesters, who is No. 7 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR)™ and is the oldest player (26) on the GB&I squad, once again showed his skill for recovery shots on the par-5 seventh hole. He played his team’s fourth stroke from deep rough, high into air and the ball stopped within 3½ feet. It allowed GB&I to halve the hole.
Best Team Effort: USA twice sliced GB&I’s 2-up lead in half on the inward nine but the Englishmen answered both times by winning the following hole.
Winning Words: “Driving is the key around here,” said Mullen, who has accounted for three points through Sunday’s foursomes. “If you are in one of the fairway bunkers, it’s bogey. I was pretty sure they were in the fairway bunker (on hole 15) and I felt pressure on that tee shot. I thought if you hit the fairway here we probably are going to win the hole and I managed to do that.”
Match 2: Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley (GB&I) def. Mike McCoy and Scott Harvey (USA), 1 up
How They Won: The GB&I side rebounded from a 2-hole deficit through 13 holes but won the 14th through 16th holes with steady play to take a 1-up edge to the closing hole.
First Blood: A stress-free par on the fourth hole – Hurley drove in the fairway, followed by a Dunne approach to 30 feet and a Hurley first putt to concession distance – was enough to win the first hole as the Americans could not get up and down from the greenside bunker.
Turning Point: With the USA holding a 2-up lead, both teams reached the 14th green in regulation. Great Britain and Ireland two-putted from 40 feet but a three-putt by the USA began the run of three winning holes in the next four.
Clinching Moment: Both sides had long birdie putts on the home hole, with the USA team needing to make theirs to earn a half-point. They didn’t, and Dunne calmly dropped his 3-foot putt to secure the victory.
Best Shot: Working with a short-sided hole location, Hurley executed an explosion shot from the deep bunker on the sixth hole that landed softly and stopped just 18 inches from the hole to give GB&I a conceded par.
Best Shot II: The USA took four strokes (including an out-of-bounds drive by Harvey) to reach the third green. With the all signs pointing to GB&I taking the hole, McCoy sunk a 60-foot, wide-swinging bogey putt. The hole was halved after GB&I couldn’t convert a par-saving up-and-down from a greenside bunker.
Best Team Effort: For the second day in a row in morning foursomes, Hurley drove into the left greenside bunker on the short par-4 16th. From an awkward stance, Dunne blasted out to eight feet and Hurley made the birdie to keep the match at all square.
Winning Words: “We knew if we stayed patient and kept giving ourselves chances, we’d put a bit of pressure on them,” said Dunne. “Both of us had a lot of putts today that we kind of mis-read and shaved a lot of edges. So it was nice to get a couple of good breaks toward the end.”
Match 3: Cormac Sharvin/Jack McDonald (GB&I) def. Hunter Stewart/Lee McCoy (USA), 2 up
How Match Was Won: the GB&I side took a four-hole advantage through 6 holes, the Americans unleashed a barrage of birdies to bring the match back to square on 13. After costly dropped shots on 15 and 16, a birdie on 17 couldn’t save Stewart and McCoy when Stewart drove his tee shot on 18 into the gorse and the Americans conceded the hole to hand the point to GB&I.
First Blood: The GB&I side took command early when Sharvin placed his opening tee shot on the par-3first hole to three feet as McCoy failed to make par.
Turning Point: Despite Stewart’s beautifully placed 5-iron from 173 yards to 10 feet that set up McCoy’s successful birdie putt on 17, Stewart’s drive into the gorse on the closing hole proved too costly and sealed the Americans’ fate.
Best Team Effort: Sharvin and McDonald have been a brilliant pairing for Captain Nigel Edwards’ GB&I side, carding only pars and birdies in the foursomes with the exception of a double bogey on the 6th on Saturday before a decisive 5-and-4 victory over Jordan Niebrugge and Robby Shelton.
Shot of the Day: Sharvin, 22, the Brabazon Trophy English Open Stroke Play winner, delivered a sublime tee shot to 3 feet on the tricky par-3 first hole, avoiding all seven deep bunkers surrounding the green.
Winning Words: “When the guys got it back to all square obviously we were going to be up against it on the way in,” said Sharvin. “We just stuck to our game plan and played conservatively and kept making pars and not dropping shots and that’s been the key to our game the last few days.”
Match 4: Bryson DeChambeau/Robby Shelton (USA) def. Gavin Moynihan/Jack Hume (GB&I), 3 and 2
How Match Was Won: The Nos. 4 (DeChambeau) and 9 (Shelton) players in the WAGR played the equivalent of 4 under par over 16 holes, sealing the victory when Shelton, 19, holed a 4-foot birdie putt.
First Blood: Irishmen Moynihan (28 in WAGR) and Hume (39) took a quick 1-up lead when the latter drained a 30-footer for birdie at the par-3 first. It was the only hole they won.
Turning Point: DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion, and Shelton never looked back after winning Nos. 8 and 9 to take a 1-up lead that they would not relinquish. The duo won the par-4 eighth with a two-putt par and the ninth when Shelton converted a birdie from 10 feet following DeChambeau’s 7-iron off the tee.
Top That: The Americans thought they might win the par-5 seventh when Shelton drained a 45-footer for birdie, only to see Hume match it with a 27-footer.
Shot of the Day: DeChambeau, 21, left his partner in a bind on No. 10 after sending his approach from an awkward uphill lie well over the green. The ball caromed over the public-access road and next to the forward tee for the 11th hole. Shelton, however, played a brilliant recovery shot to 12 feet and DeChambeau converted the par putt to halve the hole.
School Chums: The match gave Shelton a chance to face Moynihan, his former University of Alabama teammate who left school midway through his sophomore season last fall. Both were part of the same recruiting class in 2013. “It was really cool,” said Shelton. “I was so glad I got to play him.”
Winning Words: “We were playing well all day,” said DeChambeau, a senior at Southern Methodist, University. “We knew if we kept hitting fairways and greens that we would eventually beat them. And it’s obviously what we did.”