Walker Cup: U.S., GB&I split opening foursomes; on to singles
John Pak and Isaiah Salinda (USGA/Chris Keane)
John Pak and Isaiah Salinda (USGA/Chris Keane)

John Pak and Isaiah Salinda have a secret handshake, and the chances are good that the fans packed around the ropes at the Walker Cup will see it a lot this weekend at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England. So far, the two have made a strong pairing for the Americans. They put the first point on the board in Saturday morning foursomes.

Pak and Salinda, out in the second match of the morning, were down early to Scotsmen Sandy Scott and Euan Walker. The crucial stretch came at Nos. 11-3, when the Americans won three holes in a row to go from tied to 3 up. GB&I bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12, but the Americans birdied the par-3 13th. There wasn’t enough time left for the home team to fight back after that.

A 2-and-1 victory out of Pak and Salinda was a familiar number. All four morning matches ended in that margin.

At the top of the lineup, U.S. Amateur winner Andy Ogletree and runner-up John Augenstein, who have made tough though unlikely pairing, fell to Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell, who birdied two of the first three holes out of the gate.

Given that strong GB&I start, the morning could have gone much worse for the Americans. But in the back half of the lineup, Brandon Wu and Alex Smalley were able to combine for a point even though Stewart Hagestad and Akshay Bhatia, playing ahead of them, could not.

With the score tied 2-2, the team went on to the afternoon’s singles matches.

Saturday singles

2:45 p.m.: Cole Hammer (U.S.) vs Alex Fitzpatrick (GB&I)

2:55 p.m.: Steven Fisk (U.S.) vs. Euan Walker (GB&I)

3:05 p.m.: Andy Ogletree (U.S.) vs. Sandy Scott (GB&I)

3:15 p.m.: John Augenstein (U.S.) vs. Conor Purcell (GB&I)

3:25 p.m.: John Pak (U.S.) vs. James Sugrue (GB&I)

3:35 p.m.: Isaiah Salinda (U.S.) vs. Conor Gough (GB&I)

3:45 p.m.: Alex Smalley (U.S.) vs. Caolan Rafferty (GB&I)

3:55 p.m.: Brandon Wu (U.S.) vs. Tom Sloman (GB&I)

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ABOUT THE The Walker Cup

The Walker Cup Match is a biennial 10-man amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland and selected by The R&A. It is played over two days with 18 singles matches and eight foursomes (alternate-shot) matches.

The first United States Walker Cup Team, which in 1922 defeated the GB&I side, 8-4, at the National Golf Links of America, is considered among the best teams ever and included Francis Ouimet, Bob Jones, Charles “Chick” Evans and Jess Sweetser. Many of the game’s greatest players have taken part in Walker Cup competition, including U.S. Open champions Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth for the USA and Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose for Great Britain and Ireland.

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