NEWCASTLE, N. Ireland (Sept 9, 2007) -- Great Britain & Ireland's dramatic fight-back in the final series of singles matches came to an end when Jonathan Moore fired a superb long-iron into the par-five 18th and holed from less than four feet for an eagle and a one-hole win over Nigel Edwards to give the United States the extra point they needed for outright victory in the 2007 Walker Cup. The final outcome was USA 12 1/2 - GB&I 11 1/2.
An elated Moore said: “It’s unbelievable. I hit a four-iron from 252 yards, but I never dreamed it would get that close. It came off perfect. This was the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m just really thankful.”
The classic links of Royal County Down resounded with the cheers of 10,000 spectators as GB&I battled almost impossible odds in their attempt to make up the four point deficit after the Americans swept the board in the morning foursomes. Their target was six and a half points and they came so close with victories for Rory McIlroy, Rhys Davies, Lloyd Saltman, Jonathan Caldwell and David Horsey and a fighting half from Daniel Willett.
Buddy Marucci, the USA captain, said: "These are just great matches. It's wonderful golf. It's so great for the game. It was a great performance from the GB&I team. I just feel so fortunate to have won on foreign soil. I have to give alot of credit to our guys."
GB&I team captain Colin Dalgleish said: "I'm gutted for the team. I said to them whatever happened today I would be proud of them. This morning cost us big time. To lose the foursomes 4-0 was an absolute killer. The US played very well this morning so credit to them. Coming back from four points down is a tough shout but we made a very good run at it and we just ended up losing by a point. The US team were great and we congratulate them whole-heartedly."
Rory McIlroy led the way with an emphatic 4 and 2 victory over Billy Horschel, opening his round with an eagle three at the 539-yard first hole. He was never behind and three birdies in a five-hole spell from the 12th put the first point on the board for GB&I.
"It's a great way to go out and hopefully the guys behind can do the job and get the cup back on these shores," he commented as he stepped off the green. We said in the team room to just remember what happened at Nairn in '99 and the Belfry in the Ryder Cup in 2002. If you can get some good points on the board early it feeds through the team. I'm happy that I managed that today."
Close behind came Rhys Davies, recovering from one down after eight and taking control of his match with Rickie Fowler with a string of three birdies from the 11th to go three up. He matched Fowler's birdie at the 16th for a 3 and 2 result.
Next up was Lloyd Saltman, one up after an eagle at the first and never behind throughout his match with Trip Kuehne. He won the 16th with a birdie and secured a half in four at the next to win by 2 and 1.
"We knew it was crucial after the foursomes," he said. "The team has played really hard and I just wanted to get out and do my bit for them."
Daniel Willett, who has played some of the best golf over the two days, came back from a one-hole deficit to Colt Knost and was two up with seven to play. But the winner of this year's US Amateur and Public Links Championships is a hard man to beat and he holed a succession of vital short-range putts to claw back to all square.
But the current NCAA champion, Jamie Lovemark from California, quickly overcame his first hole loss to a Jamie Moul birdie and pulled steadily away in a four-birdie run to win by 4 and 3, leaving the United States just half-a-point shy of the 12 points needed to retain the trophy they won two year's ago in Chicago.
Jonathan Caldwell held a slender one-hole advantage for most of his encounter with Kyle Stanley but was pulled back to square at the 13th and fell behind when the American holed a monster putt for a two at the short 14th. But Kyle dropped shots at the next two holes to allow Caldwell back into the lead with strict par figues and he won the last when his opponent found trouble for a two hole win that took the GB&I total within a point of the Americans.
That was when Jonathan Moore stepped up to the mark with his 18th hole eagle to bring America victory.
Still out on the course at that point was the final game between David Horsey and Webb Simpson, a match in which the American led most of the way, but Horsey made five birdies in his final eight holes to win by one up.
* story courtesy Royal & Ancient G.A.
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