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Seeing Stars Again: USA Wins Walker Cup Match Third Straight Time

By Beth Murrison

| Sep 13, 2009 | Ardmore, Pa.

(USGA/John Mummert)

Rickie Fowler and Peter Uihlein both went a perfect 4-0 to lead the United States of America to a 16½-9½ victory over Great Britain and Ireland at the 2009 Walker Cup Match, which concluded Sunday at the par-70, 6,846-yard Merion Golf Club.

It was the third consecutive win for the Americans, who now hold a 34-7-1 all-time record in the Walker Cup, a men’s amateur team competition played every other year, with one squad from the USA and the other representing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Wales.

In Sunday morning’s foursomes (alternate shot), the USA team won three of the four matches for the second consecutive day to build its lead to 11-5 heading into the afternoon’s 10 singles matches.

Cameron Tringale’s 8-and-6 victory over Luke Goddard gave the USA its 13th point and assured the Americans would retain the Walker Cup. Uihlein then earned a 3-and-1 win over Stiggy Hodgson to claim the Cup outright for the USA.

“It was a great week,” said Uihlein, who played in his first Walker Cup. “It’s definitely something I will never forget. We had a great team. We all get along great and we all just meshed well and played well together.”

Having a teammate like Fowler was a huge boost for the Americans. Fowler, who earned the first point of the afternoon for the USA squad with a 2-and-1 victory over Matt Haines, continued his stellar play in the Walker Cup. In 2007, he was 3-0-1 in leading the Americans to victory.

For Fowler, who will turn professional immediately following the Match, the success at Merion was a perfect way to end his amateur career.

“The whole reason I waited around [to turn pro] was for this weekend,” said Fowler. “The days leading up to it and the practice we had was just an awesome experience, and to go 4-0 and get the Cup back, it can’t get any better. It’s going to be tough to top this weekend.”

USA Captain George “Buddy” Marucci, who also captained the Americans to victory in 2007, credited Fowler for his excellent play and leadership throughout the Match.

“I don’t know if anybody has played for the U.S. the way Rickie has played in the last two Walker Cups,” said Marucci, the 2008 USGA Senior Amateur champion who also played in the 1995 and 1997 Walker Cup Matches.

Also undefeated for the USA were Morgan Hoffmann (2-0-1) and Bud Cauley (3-0-1). Hoffman won his Sunday singles match, 1 up, over Wallace Booth, while Cauley halved with Chris Paisley. Brendan Gielow added the final point for the USA with a 4-and-3 win over Dale Whitnell.

GB&I Captain Colin Dalgleish thought his team was capable of a comeback, but the Americans proved too much to handle.

“We got off to a great start in the morning in the foursomes, and that fell away and the lead became pretty much too much of a mountain to climb,” said Dalgleish, who was serving as the GB&I captain for a second consecutive Match. “Albeit, at one stage this afternoon, the board was looking very good for us, and it would have been just possible to maybe take eight points out of this afternoon and even to tie the Walker Cup, but then it kind of ran away from us again.”

For Marucci, who has been a member at Merion for close to 20 years, the victory was particularly satisfying.

“I don't know that there's anything greater in golf for a person like myself than to captain the team, and to do it at home and to have 10 great guys and to win,” said Marucci, who did not defend the USGA Senior Amateur title he won a year ago so he could captain the USA team at Merion. “I just don't know that there's anymore‑‑ I don't know that there's another chapter in the story.”