NEWCASTLE, N. Ireland (Sept. 9, 2007)-- Billy Horschel of Grant, Fla., and Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif., don’t want this weekend to end.
Sunday morning they were again paired together in the first foursomes (alternate shot) match and again they came through over the tough 7,181-yard par 71 championship layout at Royal County Down Golf Club. The USA also won the other three foursomes matches to take a 10-6 lead over Great Britain and Ireland heading into the deciding afternoon of eight singles matches at the 41st Walker Cup Match.
After a slow start, Horschel and Fowler remarkably won seven consecutive holes over Irish pairing of Rory McIllroy and Jonny Caldwell for a 3-up lead after 13 holes. They closed out the match, 2 and 1. Both Horschel, 20, and Fowler, the youngest member of the 10-man American squad at 18, are 3-0 heading into afternoon singles.
“I can’t take these guys off the golf course,” captain Buddy Marucci said Saturday night after watching his youngsters play so well. “They have earned the chance to play all four matches.”
The other USA foursomes winners also played well down the stretch, a change from Saturday when the USA lost three singles matches on the 18th green.
Colt Knost of Dallas and Dustin Johnson of Myrtle Beach, S.C., edged Welshmen Rhys Davies and Nigel Edwards, 1 up. Trip Kuehne of Irving, Texas, and Jonathan Moore of Vancouver, Wash., defeated the Englishmen Jamie Moul and Daniel Willett, 4 and 2. And Chris Kirk of Woodstock, Ga., and Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., beat the English pairing of David Horsey and John Parry, 2 up.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Marucci after the morning round. “They played beautifully. We talked last night about staying more focused down the stretch and trying harder to not give holes back. We’re very fortunate.”
Each match is worth one team point. The USA needs just two of the eight remaining points to retain the Walker Cup. The last time the USA sweep all foursomes matches was 1997 when Marucci was a playing member of the USA team.
The last Walker Cup was played in 2005, with the USA winning by a point at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill. Prior to that, the GB&I had a run of three consecutive victories. The USA leads 32-7-1 in the biennial series history that was begun in 1922.
--Story courtesy USGA