Norman Xiong is pumped after holing a birdie putt on No. 16
right on top of Paul McBride's huge par save for GB&I (Wlodkowski, AGC)
LOS ANGELES, California (September 10, 2017) -- And so it goes. The alternating "win at home, lose away" trend at the Walker Cup is looking to be continued, with Great Britain and Ireland falling so far behind that it's going to be nearly impossible to keep the Cup.
Needing at least three points of the four available in morning foursomes play, the GB&I got "flipped" in the format they usually excel in, losing three of the four matches and falling behind 5-11 heading into afternoon singles matches. They will need to win 8 of the 10 to retain the Cup. Here is a rundown of the morning's action:
Morikawa/Xiong def. Syme/McBride — 2-up
Collin Morikawa and Norman Xiong pushed their foursomes record to 2-0, defeating the Scottish-Irish duo of Connor Syme and Paul McBride 2-up on the 18th hole.
GB&I trailed in the match after making bogey on the 493-yard par-4, where they went one down to the all So-Cal duo. On the par-5 14th hole, Xiong found the left rough with his tee-shot and Morikawa left his shot in the rough, forcing Xiong to pitch out sideways. The match was now even.
The USA team had their revenge when Xiong rolled in a birdie on the long par-4 16th -- after a brilliant Morikawa approach to a back-right hole location -- to take back the advantage, just after watching Paul McBride roll in a 28-foot par saving putt to force USA's hand.
“It’s exciting,” offered Xiong of his perfect stroke. “That’s kind of what your here for. You should expect those things. It kind of got me going and that’s why I reacted that way after I made it.”
USA entered the 17th 1-up, halving the hole with bogeys, then closing out the match on the 18th where Morikawa took advantage of Xiong's length by hitting a short iron approach safely onto the right side of the green, while the GB&I team was short-sided in the left bunker.
Both Xiong and Morikawa are 3-0 in the event.
Singh Brar/Gregory def. Thornberry/Redman — 2-up
England’s Jack Singh Brar and Scott Gregory brought home the only point of the morning for the GB&I team.
Never trailing in the match, Singh Brar and Gregory took advantage of the par-3s on the front nine to establish their lead, making a two putt par after finding the back right portion of the green on the nearly 300-yard Par 3 seventh hole to go one up. Gregory, the 2016 British Amateur Champion stuffed a tee shot on the par-3 9th hole which his partner Singh Brar -- who putted incredibly all day -- was able to convert to push their lead to two up.
Thornberry and Redman fought hard to recover, taking three holes on the back nine, but every time something seemed to go right for the pair, their GB&I counterparts had the answer, stopping the US from gaining any momentum, with the most notable instance occurring on the 14th.
Just after losing No. 13 to the Redman and Thornberry, Scott Gregory holed a green-side bunker shot for birdie, flipping the script on a hole that the US looked like they would take to square the match.
“Obviously jack wasn’t happy to miss the shot,” Gregory recounted, “…but we sort of got up there and it was one of those weird ones where, although it was downhill to the hole, I sort of fancied the shot.”
The match ended on the 18th, where Gregory played first and left his partner a 25-foot uphill putt which he would two-putt to win the hole and the match.
It will take an incredible afternoon for the GB&I team to retain their cup.
“I think we go out and get some points on the board early, try and get a lot of GB&I scores going and put them under a bit of pressure,” said Gregory. “It’s not going to be easy, but we have done it at Medinah in the Ryder Cup, so we’ll try to do it again”
Champ/Zalatoris def. Boote/Davidson — 6&5
Cameron Champ and Will Zalatoris took a point for the US team in what was the most lopsided match of the morning. Zalatoris and Champ took a commanding lead after winning five holes in a row on the front nine.
Wake Forests Zalatoris spoke for the pair after the round.
“I think, if anything, we just kept playing our game and just let them make mistakes while we just played really solid.”
The GB&I team of David Boote and Jack Davidson never got their rhythm in the quirky foursomes format, posting bogey or worse on six of the thirteen holes played and ultimately making for an easy win for the bomber Champ and his partner Zalatoris, who’s Walker cup record is now 2-1 after beginning with a loss in foursomes yesterday.
Ghim/McNealy def. Jordan/McIntyre — 3&2
The duo of Doug Ghim and Maverick McNealy continued to roll this morning making a total of four birdies and adding some incredibly tricky pars on their way to defeating their opponents, Matthew Jordan and Robert McIntyre, on No. 16 as they halved the hole with pars.
McNealy and Ghim, who both plan to turn professional in the coming months, are showing why they are ready to step out of the amateur ranks, and are now 3-0 in this year’s Walker Cup.
ABOUT THE The Walker Cup
The Walker Cup Match is a biennial 10-man
team competition between the USA and a team
composed of players from Great Britain and
and selected by The R&A. It is played over two
with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes
The first United States Walker Cup Team, which
1922 defeated the GB&I side, 8-4, at the
Links of America, is considered among the best
ever and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones,
“Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the
greatest players have taken part in Walker Cup
competition, including U.S. Open champions Jack
Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the
and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin
for Great Britain and Ireland.
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