PERTHSHIRE, Scotland (Sept. 23, 2014) — Austin Connelly called it a once in a lifetime putt and compared it to that of his fellow Texan Justin Leonard’s famous stroke at Brookline in The 1999 Ryder Cup after the young American produced a moment of magic which helped the USA to a 7½ - 4½ lead at the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup.
On a day in which tournament attendance records were smashed at The Blairgowrie Golf Club in Scotland, where more than 3,000 spectators came out in force, the Americans showed why they are on course for a fourth successive victory in the event with a hugely impressive display of character.
Having emerged from the morning foursomes with a 4 – 2 advantage, the Europeans looked to be turning the tide midway through the afternoon foursomes but Brian Whitcomb’s USA mounted a superb comeback.
Sam Burns and Andrea Lee set the tone early on as they overhauled a three-hole deficit to win on the 18th hole courtesy of a superb clutch birdie putt from Lee but it was Connelly who was the star of the show.
There were echoes of the 18 year old’s fellow Texan Leonard 15 years ago as he holed a monstrous 90-foot downhill putt from the back of the green to seal a crucial point alongside Hannah O’Sullivan, especially important given Germans Alexandra Försterling and Max Schmitt both had close birdie putts as they chased a half.
“That Justin Leonard putt actually crossed my mind walking up to the green,” said the 2014 FootJoy Invitational winner, a friend of Ryder Cup player Jordan Spieth. “Just because of the length and the situation.
“It was like nothing I've experienced, watching that go in. I really can’t describe it, just amazing. I came down and just wanted to get a visual of what line it needed coming in to have a chance and just do my best to get the pace right and by some miracle it went in.
“I have never done that in this kind of situation. There is no situation like this! This for us is a really incredible experience.
“I knew Hannah or I had to make one putt because Alex (Försterling) had been putting great so I knew she would make her putt. It was huge for us, the more matches you have under your belt going into the singles, the better. I'm very confident we can do it now.”
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