It was a European onslaught Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Cup, paving the way to a fourth consecutive blowout for the home team at the annual event.
Thanks to a dominant performance in the first day of singles, Europe upped its margin on the United States from two to six on Saturday at Formby (England) Golf Club, expanding its 6-4 lead to a 13-7 advantage with one day to go.
Europe won six and lost only two singles matches Saturday to increase its margin and boost its odds for redemption after an 18-12 defeat to the U.S. at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., in 2015. The year before that, the Europeans won 8.5 of 10 Sunday singles point to romp to an 18.5-11.5 win at Walton Heath Golf Club in England. And in 2013, the U.S. dominated in a 20.5-9.5 triumph at Wilmington (Del.) Country Club.
Overall, the home team has won each of the last five Palmer Cups.
In order for the Americans to avoid extending that streak, they will need a massive turnaround in Sunday singles.
Europe has led from the start in this year’s contest. The home group jumped out ahead in Friday morning foursomes with a 3.5-1.5 score. The U.S. squad got a little closer in Friday afternoon four-ball play, cutting the deficit to 6-4, and appeared to be holding its own in the first half of the Saturday singles draw.
Among the first six matches in Saturday singles, Europe won three, the U.S. won two and the other match was halved. Antoine Rozner (5 and 4 over Will Gordon), Sam Horsfield (2 up over Will Zalatoris) and David Boote (4 and 3 over Michael Johnson) got the job done for the Europeans in those matches. The Americans could thank Nahum Mendoza III (3 and 2 over Matthias Schwab) and Rico Hoey (2 and 1 over Lars van Meijel) for keeping the early results relatively close.
That is until the last four matches finished. The Europeans swept three of those – Robin Sciot-Siegrist, 2 and 1 over Derek Bard; Robin Petersson, 6 and 5 over Doug Ghim; Stuart Grehan, 2 and 1 over Charlie Danielson – and overall earned 3.5 of the remaining four points to jet out to their six-point margin.
For the Europeans, departing college seniors Antoine Rozner (Missouri-Kansas City) and Sciot-Siegrist (Louisville) have been the team’s aces, as both boast 3-0-0 records for the week. Boote and Adrian Meronk, at 2-0-1, have been Europe’s next-best scorers.
Only one American, Zach Wright, is undefeated, at 1-0-2. His two points have been matched on the U.S. side by Hoey and Mendoza (both 2-1-0).
Sunday, the final day of the tournament, will consist of 10 more singles matches. The Europeans need only 2.5 points from those 10 to reclaim the Palmer Cup.
Tee times for Sunday’s singles matches are below.
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SUNDAY SINGLES (U.S. player first)
*All times local
9 a.m.: Nahum Mendoza III vs. Antoine Rozner
9:12 a.m.: Rico Hoey vs. Sam Horsfield
9:24 a.m.: Alistair Docherty vs. Adrian Meronk
9:36 a.m.: Zach Wright vs. Robin Petersson
9:48 a.m.: Charlie Danielson vs. David Boote
10 a.m.: Will Zalatoris vs. Mathias Eggenberger
10:12 a.m.: Doug Ghim vs. Matthias Schwab
10:24 a.m.: Will Gordon vs. Robin Sciot-Siegrist
10:36 a.m.: Derek Bard vs. Lars van Meijel
10:48 a.m.: Michael Johnson vs. Stuart Grehan