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Great Britain and Ireland Rallies To Win Third Consecutive Walker Cup Match, 12½ - 11½


| Sep 7, 2003 | Ganton, North Yorkshire, England

(USGA/John Mummert)

Reigning Welsh Amateur champion Stuart Manley won his singles match and fellow countryman Nigel Edwards halved the last match Sunday, giving Great Britain and Ireland a record third consecutive victory over the USA in the Walker Cup Match at Ganton Golf Club, 12½ to 11½.

Manley assured that GB&I would keep the Cup when he closed out Trip Kuehne of Dallas, Texas, in the second last match with a winning par on the 16 th hole, 3 and 1. For good measure, Edwards parred the last hole to halve his match with American Lee Williams of Alexander City, Ala., minutes later, giving GB&I an extra half point.

Great Britain and Ireland rallied to win five of the eight afternoon singles matches and halve another after being two points behind heading into the eight afternoon singles matches. Along the way, Englishman Gary Wolstenholme, the 43-year-old reigning British Amateur champion, improved his team record to 3-1-1 and his individual mark to 9-8 in his fifth consecutive Walker Cup competition. He started his team’s comeback by winning two points Sunday and now is 9-8 in his career

The Walker Cup Match is contested between two 10-man squads of amateur golfers, one from the United States and the other from Great Britain and Ireland, with a team point is awarded for each win.

After splitting the morning four foursomes (alternate shot), the GB&I stormed out to win the first three singles matches to start the afternoon, taking a 10-9 lead. Wins by Wolstenholme and 19-year-old Michael Skelton of England were one-sided, but countryman Oliver Wilson ’s scrambling par 4 on the final hole saved an important point when he edged Bill Haas of Greer, S.C., 1 up. He needed a rescue approach shot from the left woods and then chipped to the green and holed a 10-footer for par.

“That match was probably pretty key,” said USA captain Bob Lewis . “ Bill hit some great putts that just didn’t for in for him. We had so many close matches and we didn’t get enough putts to go when it counted. We didn’t do well out of the box in the afternoon and I thought we were pretty strong up there.”

Matt Hendrix of Aiken, S.C., and Brock Mackenzie of Yakima, Wash., won the next two matches to finish, putting the USA back in front. Hendrix ’s match was never in doubt. He won five of the first nine holes and closed out Stuart Wilson of Scotland, 5 and 4. Mackenzie ’s win was nearly as sure. He built a 3-up lead and then re-grouped to win the 16th and 17th holes with pars, beating Ireland ’s Colm Moriarty, 3 and 1. Mackenzie finished 3-0 for the USA squad and was the only player on either squad to go undefeated and untied.

“I’d trade everything I did to get that Cup,” said Mackenzie. “I played well this whole week. I just felt so good about my golf game that I didn’t mind the pressure.”

David Inglis of Scotland reeled off six birdies in seven holes and was the equivalent of 7-under-par when he closed out American Ryan Moore of Puyallup, Wash., 4 and 3, leaving the two teams tied again at 11-11.

The last two matches decided the outcome.

In a see-saw battle, Williams held a slim 1-up lead before Edwards chipped in for birdie to win the short par 4 14th hole. Williams bounced back to win the 15 th with a routine par, but then Edwards pulled square by holing a 60-foot putt for birdie on the long par 3 17 th and stayed there when the two halved the last hole.

Kuehne lost the first two holes to 24-year-old Manley and never could recover, although he pulled to within 1 hole down with four holes to play. He recovered from a greenside bunker to birdie and win the 14 th, but gave the hole back at 15 when he bounced through the green into heavy rough. He found trouble and lost holes 16 and 17 as well.

In the morning foursomes (alternate shot), Mackenzie teamed with Matt Hendrix Sunday for the one USA win and that pushed the Americans to a 9-7 advantage. Two other American foursomes earned half points. They were Casey Wittenberg of Memphis, Tenn., and Adam Rubinson of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Williams and George Zahringer of New York, N.Y. The losing team was Haas and Kuehne, each of whom had been unbeaten in two matches apiece on Saturday.

Top point-winners for the U.S. were Mackenzie (3-0), Hendrix (2½ -½), Haas (2-2), Kuehne (1½ -2½), Rubinson (1½ -2½) and Wittenberg (1½ -2½). Edwards (3½ -½) and Wolstenholme (2-2) led GB&I.