Southampton, N.Y. – The United States of America dominated singles play for the second consecutive day and defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 17-9, to win the 44th Walker Cup Match at the 6,995-yard, par-72 National Golf Links of America, the site of the inaugural Match in 1922.
“It’s something I have been wanting for a long, long time, particularly after we lost in 2011,” said USA captain Jim Holtgrieve of winning the Cup. “I was hoping I would get a mulligan for ‘13 and when I knew it was going to be at National Golf Links, which is where it all started, I wanted so bad to come here. Yes. I wanted to win but I wanted to do something good for golf and this, to me, was truly good for golf.”
In winning seven of the 10 afternoon singles matches Sunday, the USA captured 13˝ of the possible 18 points in the singles sessions over two days. The host team has won four of the last five Matches and has not been defeated on home soil since the USA lost in 2001.
Nathan Smith, 35, playing in his third Match, clinched the 14th point and the Match for the USA with a 4-and-3 decision over Nathan Kimsey. He is one of two mid-amateur players (25 years and older) on the USA Team and has won four U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships and played in four Masters Tournaments.
“This ranks at the top of the list,” said Smith of winning the clinching point. “I never wanted a point so much in my life. This (Match) means the most. I’m happy for Jim (Holtgrieve). Nobody deserves it more than him and loves the game of golf and put more hard work into a team than him.”
Before Smith clinched the Cup victory, the other mid-amateur, 45-year-old high school teacher Todd White, won his match over Rhys Pugh, GB&I’s star in their 2011 victory in Scotland, for the team’s 13th point.
Bobby Wyatt, one of three USA Team members from the University of Alabama’s NCAA Division I championship squad, won his foursomes and singles matches on Sunday and was undefeated for the Match. He was the team’s top point-getter with 3˝.
Also recording an undefeated mark for the USA was Michael Kim of the University of California-Berkeley, who was the low amateur at the 2013 U.S. Open Championship. Kim was 3-0 with two singles wins and one foursomes victory.
Wyatt and Alabama teammate Justin Thomas won the first two matches of the Sunday singles session handily as the USA captured four of the first five matches.
“They all focused together,” Holtgrieve said. “They all played together. They all worked together and they helped each other with their games. There were no individuals. It was a team.”
“They adapted to conditions a little bit better – the greens changed and there were very, very severe pin positions,” GB&I captain Nigel Edwards said of the USA. “They holed out a little bit better and I would say the short shots into the green, the distance control, that’s where they outdid us. When they did hit it over the back they got up and down and we didn’t.”
The morning foursomes (alternate-shot) matches were split at 2-2 for a 10-6 USA lead entering the afternoon singles and the Americans needing just 3˝ more points to clinch victory.
University of Alabama teammates Wyatt and Cory Whitsett snagged one of the morning foursomes points with a 2-and-1 win over Kimsey and Max Orrin.
The other USA foursomes win was by Max Homa and Kim, who edged Pugh and Garrick Porteus, 1 up.
The GB&I wins came from the teams of 2013 U.S. Amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick and U.S. Amateur co-medalist Neil Raymond, and Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan.
Fitzpatrick and Raymond topped Michael Weaver and White, 3 and 2. Moynihan and Phelan beat Patrick Rodgers and Jordan Niebrugge, 2 up, recovering from a 4-down deficit with 11 holes to play.
Fitzpatrick finished as the top scorer for GB&I with a 3-1 record.
The USA is a perfect 6-0 in Matches held in New York state and holds a 35-8-1 lead in the series.
The Walker Cup Match is a men’s amateur team competition played every other year, with one squad from the USA and the other representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The 45th Walker Cup Match will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England, Sept. 12-13, 2015.