LOS ANGELES – Connor Syme and Paul McBride were under a lot of pressure in the opening foursomes match of the 46th Walker Cup.
They had to try to repair the 8-and-7 hammering Norman Xiong and Collin Morikawa handed to teammates Harry Ellis and Alfie Plant. They were handicapped slightly because they had never played foursomes golf competitively.
Syme and McBride were strongest in practice rounds but that doesn’t always translate in competition. It did on this occasion.
The Great Britain & Ireland pair went up against Will Zalatoris and U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman. In a match that featured just two birdies, the GB&I pair was far steadier than the home duo.
Bogeys at the fourth and seventh from Redman and Zalatoris helped GB&I to a two-hole lead. A par at the 10th and a birdie at the 11th saw the visitors go 4 up with seven to play. That proved just too big a lead for GB&I.
Redman and Zalatoris gave themselves a slim chance by winning the par-5 14th hole with a birdie, but slim was all it was.
The end came at the 16th hole when Syme holed an 18-foot putt for bogey for a halve after both sides had found the left-hand fairway bunker.
“We’re out to win our point regardless,” Syme said. “Obviously seeing the guys lose early, I think our job was to try and win. When we got four up we never let it slip. I wasn’t even thinking how many holes were left, we were keeping our foot to the floor.”