SURREY, England – We call it a “drubbing” over here. That’s what Europe handed the United States in the final singles session of the Palmer Cup at Walton Heath.
Europe won the final session 8.5–1.5 to win the match 18.5–11.5.
Years from now, people will probably look at the score and think this U.S. team wasn’t very good. The scores don’t reflect the closeness of these two sides. This was a good American team. Chalk this result up to the vagaries of match play golf.
There was nothing to separate the teams over the first three sessions. They entered the singles tied on 10 points apiece, and then Andrew Coltart’s team went out and dominated the final session.
Although Coltart was hoping the last singles matches would go his way, he wasn’t prepared for the margin of victory.
“You normally expect the United States to be strong in singles so this score is a surprise,” Coltart said. “It just comes down to a fantastic performance right through the whole team. They really dealt a bit of blow to the Americans.
“It’s been an incredible experience for me again,” Coltart said. “It’s always an honor and a privilege to be associated with anything connected to Mr. Arnold Palmer, but it’s the players that have made this a great event once again. They’ve been a great bunch of lads. They’ve all got on with each other, and everyone has played a big part in what’s been a fantastic win.”
Europe got off to a flyer in the final session. The omens looked good on the very first hole of the first match when Scotland’s James Ross won the hole with a par in his match against Brandon Hagy.
Ross raced to a 3-up advantage just after four holes simply by playing much steadier golf than Hagy. Four straight pars was good enough for that 3-up lead.
After three putting the first, Hagy found bushes and trees of the tee at the short par-4 third and had to take a penalty drop. He then failed to get up and down at the fourth after short siding himself with his approach.
It was just the start Coltart was looking for. What he wasn’t looking for was the suspension in play due to the threat of lightning that came just before noon.
“That’s just what we didn’t want,” Coltart said. “The last thing I want is for these guys to stop, and then sit and think they’re in a good position.”
Instead it was the Americans who struggled after the break. Ross continued in the same vein by beating Hagy, 3-and-2, to give Europe the momentum.
From then on it was like watching the collapse of an American house of cards. The parity that had existed through the first two days disappeared as if it had never existed.
Grant Forrest defeated Trey Mullinax in the match behind Ross. Paul Dunne salvaged a win over Robby Shelton on the final hole after blowing a 3-up advantage. Dunne bunkered his tee shot and could only splash out on to the fairway. However, he got up and down for par while Shelton three-putted.
The newly crowned No. 1 amateur in the world, Ollie Schniederjans gave the USA some hope with a 5-and-4 win over England’s Louis Tomlinson, but it was short lived. Jack MacDonald defeated Bryson Dechambeau 2-and-1 and Thomas Detry bettered Jack Maguire, 4-and-3 to give Europe five of the ten points.
Europe’s win was sealed at that point since Spain’s Jon Rahm was dormie against Wyndham Clark through 16 holes to guarantee the half point needed to win the Palmer Cup for the eighth time.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a final session where Europe has been so dominant, not in the Ryder, Solheim, Walker or Curtis Cups,” Coltart said. “It’s been an amazing day.”
The U.S. leads the series 9-8-1. Next year’s match is at Rich Harvest Farms.
Final Palmer Cup singles results (Europe first)
James Ross def. Brandon Hagy, 3 and 2
Grant Forrest def. Trey Mullinax, 3 and 2
Paul Dunne def. Robby Shelton, 1 up
Louis Tomlinson lost to Ollie Schneiderjans, 5 and 4
Jack McDonald def. Bryson Dechambeau, 2 and 1
Thomas Detry def. Jack Maguire, 4 and 3
Jon Rahm def. Wyndham Clark, 4 and 2
Erik Oja def. Anthony Maccaglia, 3 and 2
Ricardo Gouveia def. Stewart Jolly, 3 and 2
Pep Angles halved with Rico Hoey