U.S. dominates foursomes, leads PGA Cup
SAN MARTIN, Calif. — The U.S. continued its domination of foursomes play Saturday and assumed control of the 25th PGA Cup at CordeValle.
A day after the U.S. won 3.5 of a possible four points in the alternate-shot format, it went 3-1 on Saturday. That gave the team of U.S. club and teaching professionals an overall lead of 10.5-5.5 in the biennial Ryder Cup-style competition.
The only time the U.S. PGA Cup team has performed better in foursomes came in 2003 at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., when it won all eight matches.
In Saturday afternoon’s foursomes opener, Rob McClellan, the head professional at Butler (Pa.) Country Club, and Marty Jertson of Phoenix, Ariz., were 2 down after four holes but managed to go ahead for good with a par at the ninth en route to a 2-and-1 win. Of the five holes McClelland and Jertson won, four were with pars.
They were followed by Maryland’s David Hutsell, the reigning PGA Professional National Championship, and Merion Golf Club’s Mark Sheftic, who were 1 up through 15 but lost the last three. With the match all square through 16, England’s Gary Brown hit a shot from 117 yards to 3 feet, and partner John Wells made the par-saving putt to win the hole. At the par-5 18th, Sheftic tried to reach the green in two hit but instead found a water hazard short of the green.
“We just hung in there,” said Brown. “We knew how important our game was. We were in some tough spots, to be honest, but if we all play well in singles tomorrow, you never know.”
The U.S. pairing of Faber Jamerson, general manager at Falling River Country Club in Appomattox, Va., and Mike Small, the head coach of the men’s golf team at the University of Illinois, never trailed in their foursomes match. They were 3 up through eight holes and, despite playing 15 holes in the equivalent of even par, won handily, 4 and 3, against the English team of Christopher Gill and John Kennedy.
In the last foursomes match, the U.S. pairing of Sonny Skinner, from Sylvester, Ga., and Brad Lardon of College Station, Texas, were the equivalent of 3 over par but still managed to take 3-up leads at two different times. They defeated England’s Stuart Little and Ireland’s David Mortimer, 2 and 1.
Earlier on Saturday, GB&I won 2.5 points in the four-ball matches to narrow its four-point deficit after Day 1.
The PGA Cup concludes Sunday with 10 singles matches. The U.S. has never lost (10-0-2) on U.S. soil and leads in the series, 16-5-3.
“I think we’re going to be in a pretty good situation going into tomorrow,” said Hutsell, “but every point’s going to mean something. I think if we stay aggressive and keep our eye on the prize, we’ll be just fine.”