Sunday Foursomes: Here's What Happened
September 10, 2017 | LOS ANGELES, Calif.
By USGA And R&A staff
It was a tall order for the Great Britain & Ireland team – in order to make a dent in the 4-point lead the USA built up on Saturday, they needed to come out on Sunday morning with a good performance in the foursomes matches. Unfortunately for them, the result was the opposite, as the USA took 3 out of 4 points to extend their lead to 11-5 heading into the final session of 10 singles matches. Here’s a summary of the action.
Collin Morikawa/Norman Xiong def. Connor Syme/Paul McBride, 2 up
The dynamic duo of Morikawa and Xiong, both southern California kids soaking up the Walker Cup experience, notched another victory by building a lead on the front nine and holding on after the GB&I side pulled all square on the 14th hole. It was the second foursomes victory for the Morikawa/Xiong side in as many days, and they each improved to 3-0 in this Walker Cup.
Key Moments: The USA held a 2-up lead through the par-3 11th but GB&I side got one back on No. 12 when Morikawa found the front greenside bunker with his approach shot, which led to a double bogey. The USA’s wayward second shot on the par-5 14th led to a bogey, while GB&I two-putted from 42 feet for a winning par to square the match. However, GB&I missed the green to the left on the par-4 16th, while Morikawa hit an 190-yard, 5-iron to within 7½ feet, a putt that Xiong converted for birdie to regain the lead. On No. 18, McBride hit his approach shot into the back of the left greenside bunker, leading to a bogey and conceded winning par for the USA.
Quotable: Morikawa said, “We can wipe off those bad shots really quickly. So Norman hit a great drive on 16 and I hit a pretty good shot and it came down that Norman had to make a putt. And he told me when we were walking up to the green that he was going to make it, and I knew he was going to make it. You don't want to give the other guys that chance to tie the hole.”
Jack Singh Brar/Scott Gregory defeat. Braden Thornberry/Doc Redman, 2 up
For the second day in a row, Gregory and Singh Brar won their foursomes match, and Singh Brar improved to 3-0 in the 46th Walker Cup Match, the only GB&I player with an undefeated record.
Key Moments: Thornberry and Redman took their only lead of the match with a par on No. 5, but lost three of the next four holes to turn 2 down. They cut GB&I’s lead to 1 down after a winning par at the 13th, but the turning point came at the par-5 14th. Singh Brar missed his third shot into the greenside bunker, leaving Gregory short-sided, blasting downhill to the hole. When it looked like the Americans may have a chance to square the match, Gregory holed his bunker shot for birdie. Thornberry was unable to convert his birdie putt and GB&I had a two-hole advantage once again. The Americans pulled to within one when GB&I bogeyed No. 16, but both teams bogeyed No. 17 after their approaches found the front bunker and Gregory hit a spectacular 5-iron to No. 18 for a conceded birdie – after Thornberry missed his par putt – for the final margin.
Quotable: Gregory, on his holed bunker shot on No. 14: “Jack wasn’t very happy to miss the approach, but when I got up there, I rather fancied the shot. When it got on the green it was going to be downhill and fairly straight to the hole. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to be pretty good, but to see it go in … I’m looking forward to seeing the highlight reel.”
Will Zalatoris/Cameron Champ def. David Boote/Jack Davidson, 6 & 5
Zalatoris, the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, and the long-hitting Champ won the par-5 first hole with a birdie with a nice 6-foot birdie putt and didn’t really look back, as they never trailed in the match. It was the first time that Zalatoris and Champ were paired together all week, including the practice rounds. But clearly they found a winning chemistry.
Key Moments: The USA side won five consecutive holes starting on No. 3 – four with pars and the birdie on 6. GB&I won both of its holes with pars (Nos. 2 and 9); their lone birdie was conceded on the ninth hole after USA failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker. It was the first Walker Cup point for Champ, who lost in foursomes and singles yesterday.
Quotable: “He made a bunch of really tough putts today for birdie on 1 and 6 that were memorable and when you're just hitting a bunch of greens it wears on opponents like this, especially when you only have one ball in play,” said Zalatoris. “It was a lot of fun today.”
Champ added, “Our games are very similar, so I think for us it just worked out really well because we obviously switched partners and I was playing the evens, he was playing the odds, and we're both long hitters, good iron players and putters, so it just worked out great.”
Will Zalatoris and Cameron Champ race to a big victory to pick up the first point for the USA team. https://t.co/76GrbsBTbh— The Walker Cup (@WalkerCup) September 10, 2017
Doug Ghim/Maverick McNealy def. Matthew Jordan/Robert MacIntyre, 3 & 2
Ghim and McNealy, who were winners in Saturday Foursomes, 5 and 4, once again had the upper hand in the alternate shot format on Sunday morning. The duo won the first hole of their match, birdieing it for the second straight day, and never trailed, capitalizing on a series of miscues around the green by Great Britain & Ireland to grow their lead and once again close out their match early. McNealy, who was winless in 2015, is now 3-0 this weekend.
Key Moments: Ghim made a 12-foot par putt to halve No. 2 after being forced to pitch out of a fairway bunker; MacIntyre’s tee shot went into the trees on No. 5, leading to a bogey and giving the USA a 1-up lead; Jordan and McIntyre three-putted for bogey on No. 9, missing a 5-foot putt to win the hole, after USA found themselves in a greenside bunker and made bogey; McNealy made a 50-footer from just off the green for birdie on No. 12, and after that Jordan matched from 20 feet to keep the USA 3 up; Jordan missed a 6-foot putt for par on No. 13, while McNealy converted from 4 feet to extend the lead to 4 up.
Key quote: McNealy, on the support from the home fans: “It’s awesome, it’s so much fun. The support of the LACC membership has been absolutely phenomenal. Having people 5, 6, 7 deep in some places is just so much fun and it’s a total adrenaline rush and confidence boost when you make a putt.”