Great Britain and Ireland’s Walker Cup team won back the Walker Cup this weekend with a record 16.5 to 9.5 victory.
Leading 10-6 after the second morning’s foursomes GB and I needed just 3 and a half points to win. Early starters Ashley Chesters. Cormac Sharvin and Jimmy Mullen won while Paul Dunne brought home half a point to make it five wins from the last six on home soil. Captain Nigel Edwards led his side to an overall tally of 16.5 to 9.5, a record winning score.
I’m delighted with the victory,” said GBI captain Nigel Edwards. “We had a very strong front and we had strength throughout the team. I said last night to the team that as long as the lads keep doing what they have been doing all week, playing their own games, their short games are fantastic, which is probably what has given us the edge.
“Some of the bunker shots have been exceptional but also the standard of play here has been fantastic.”
USA Captain John “Spider” Miller was philosophical in defeat “I don’t think we handed them anything. I think they went out and played well, very well, and they won it”.
“I’d feel bad if we were three-putting and giving them holes. I think our guys played well. They just played very well. They outplayed us and earned it.”
Since the Walker Cup matches began in 1922 Great Britain and Ireland have won just 9 times out of 42 matches, but the USGA must be concerned that the momentum is clearly with the GB and I teams. The overall picture in golf team events is not good for the Americans and this loss is not good for morale. Some odd decisions were taken by their captain, such as sitting down NCAA and US Amateur champion Bryson de Chambeau, probably the hottest amateur golfer in the world.
The home side were better at putting and more experienced at playing on links land. I did, however, worry about Paul Dunne in the Saturday foursomes trying to play back handed out of a grassy ditch instead of asking for a drop. It looked like a Van de Velde moment and made me question his temperament for having such a brainstorm. But he settled into the match and brought in 1 and a half valuable points. Jimmy Mullen’s 4 points were won from a rock solid confidence, though he admitted to being incredibly nervous on the first tee. Within this group was Ashley Chesters, the amateur who had remarkably led this year’s Open Championship after 54 holes. And not even in the team were the prodigious Sam Horsfield, who withdrew, and fantastic English and Welsh amateurs Ben Taylor and David Boote, such is the strength in depth of the Great Britian and Ireland side.
Exciting win for the home side and another pause for thought for the USGA in America.