Walker Cup 2011: GB&I beat USA at Royal Aberdeen
Great Britain and Ireland's indomitable spirit saw them to a famous victory as they won the Walker Cup for the first time in eight years and only the eighth occasion in the history of the match.
Cast as the underdogs seemingly by all bar the team and its inspirational captain Nigel Edwards, the home side upset the formbook and secured their 14-12 win with three matches still on the course.
"Fantastic, they are a very special bunch of guys," said a jubilant Edwards. "Our preparation and desire to win probably gave us the edge. I told my players that they all deserved to be here."
- Lewis lost to Henley 4&2
- Sullivan lost to Spieth 3&2
- Senior halved with Smith
- Stewart bt Rodgers 3&2
- Hodgson lost to Uihlein 2&1
- Brown halved with Barber
- Pugh bt Kraft 2&1
- Dunbar lost to Williams 1 hole
- Byrne lost to English 2&1
- Cutler halved with Cantlay
- Final score: GB&I 14-12 USA
GB&I took a 10½-5½ lead into Sunday's final singles but despite holding the initiative, many of the matches still had the potential to swing either way. The nervy situation meant that Jack Senior's brilliant birdie putt from the front of the final green to snatch an unlikely half against Nathan Smith was crucial.
"Emotions were seriously running high when it went into the hole," Senior admitted after taking his side to within one-and-a-half points of the decisive 13½ needed for victory.
Michael Stewart's 3&2 win over Patrick Rodgers steadied home nerves and he was among several heroes, included the outstanding 17-year-old Rhys Pugh, who made it three wins out of three when he beat US amateur champion Kelly Kraft 2&1.
And moments after Stewart's win GB&I's Steven Brown parred the last to force a half against Blayne Barber to secure the trophy.
The foundations for this astonishing victory over a USA side containing the top four amateurs in the world were laid in a windswept morning session when Great Britain and Ireland came within a putt of a clean sweep of foursomes victories.
Two-time American junior champion Jordan Spieth holed from 16ft at the last to claim an unlikely half with Rodgers against Lewis and Stewart after the home pair had led the match by four holes with just six to play.
Although failing to convert such a healthy advantage into a full point left the home pair frustrated, they inspired the rest of their team by leading the top match from the second hole onwards.
- Lewis/Stewart halved with Spieth/Rodgers
- Senior/Sullivan bt Uihlein/English 3&2
- Cutler/Dunbar bt Kraft/Barber 2&1
- Byrne/Pugh bt Cantlay/Williams 5&3
- Match score: GB&I 10½-5½ USA
Paul Cutler stretched his 100% record to three matches as he and fellow Northern Irishman Alan Dunbar claimed a 2&1 victory over Kraft and Barber.
The world's top amateur Patrick Cantlay, playing with Chris Williams, fell to the youngest player in the match, Pugh, and Scot James Byrne 5&3.
American skipper Jim Holtgrieve would have expected more from Cantlay, as well as the pairing of Peter Uihlein and Harris English, a formidable-looking combination that failed to yield a point in either foursomes when their challenge ran out on the 16th green against Jack Senior and Andy Sullivan.
England's Tom Lewis claimed one-and-a-half points from a possible four, but the 20-year-old, who led after the first round of the Open in July, lost both of his singles matches, including a 4&2 defeat by Russell Henley to end his amateur career.