Great Britain & Ireland dominates in singles for 16-10 win at PGA Cup

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Great Britain & Ireland dominates in singles for 16-10 win at PGA Cup

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Great Britain & Ireland dominates in singles for 16-10 win at PGA Cup

OTTERSHAW, England – What a difference a week makes in biennial competitions between the United States and Great Britain & Ireland.

Last week the U.S. Walker Cup team trounced GB&I at Los Angeles Country Club. This week, GB&I turned the tables in the PGA Cup, the club professionals’ version of the Ryder Cup.

GB&I lifted the Llandudno Trophy for the second straight time with a 16-10 victory over the USA, to successfully defend the cup for the first time since 1984. Leading by a point overnight and needing just four and a half points to retain the cup, GB&I took the session 7 ½ – 2 ½.

Like the Walker Cup, the score line doesn’t accurately reflect the strengths of both teams. What had been an evenly fought contest for the first two days turned into a rout for GB&I.

“I’m absolutely thrilled by the way the guys stuck at the task,” GB&I captain Albert MacKenzie said. “They are 10 warriors and I’m so happy to have retained the PGA Cup.

“It’s just a wonderful end to a wonderful journey. We had one more task to do. We had to climb the final piece of the mountain and plant two flags on top and that’s what we did today, so I could not be happier.”

The 56-year-old Scot loaded his singles draw with former Tour players Damien McGrane and Robert Coles in the number one and two spots. Although McGrane was two down after three holes to Mark Brown, the 2008 Volvo China Open winner rallied to win 3&2 to set GB&I on the path to victory.

Coles was one down to Josh Speight after two holes but took the match by one hole to continue GB&I’s momentum. Andrew Raitt defeated Dave McNabb, 3 and 2, and Matthew Cort bettered Jamie Broce, 2 and 1, to leave GB&I needing just a half point to retain the cup.

Scotland’s Chris Currie earned that against Rod Perry. When Greig Hutcheon holed a four-foot putt on the 17th for a half against Paul Claxton to remain 1 up, it meant GB&I had won the match outright.

“We had a very strong structure to our singles matches,” Mackenzie said. “It was important to put experience and strength at the top. Although there was some red on the board early on, I was confident that Damien and Robert could turn their games around, which they did. Then for our Scottish gladiator Chris Currie to be 3 down after nine and come back and halve his match really set the tone.

“It was a very emotional few minutes on 17 when Greg knocked in that putt knowing we had won the cup.”

Rich Berberian Jr. was the only U.S. player to win a singles match. He beat Chris McDonnell, 4 and 3. He did it in style. One down after nine holes, the 29-year-old club pro from the Donald Ross-designed Vesper Country Club in Tyngsboro, Mass., finished eagle, par, birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie.

MacKenzie’s only remaining tasks after wiping away a few tears, were his victory speech and leading the celebrations.

“It’s not going to be bingo tonight, that’s for sure,” MacKenzie said when asked how he would celebrate. “It’s going to be a great evening to celebrate a great week. It’s been a wonderful experience. I was so thrilled to be given this opportunity and I’m so glad it’s ended the way it’s ended.”

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