Walker Cup: USA's Ogletree-Augenstein struggle, but it's all square after foursomes

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Walker Cup: USA's Ogletree-Augenstein struggle, but it's all square after foursomes

Amateur

Walker Cup: USA's Ogletree-Augenstein struggle, but it's all square after foursomes

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HOYLAKE, England – The United States bounced back from an inauspicious start in the 47th Walker Cup to enter the afternoon singles with some momentum. In a replay of the match at Los Angeles Country Club two years ago, the U.S. battled to a 2-2 draw in the opening foursomes session.

It could easily have been 3-1 Great Britain & Ireland.

The U.S. Amateur Championship final duo of Andy Ogletree and John Augenstein found out on the very first hole that losing holes to par is never good in foursomes golf. U.S. Amateur runner-up Augenstein got the contest under way by hitting the first tee shot into the left-hand rough. The man who beat him at Pinehurst then hit their approach shot out of bounds en route to a double bogey to go one down with one played against GB&I pair Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell.

SCORES: Walker Cup

The American twosome lost the second hole to a birdie only to hand the fifth hole to the GB&I side by taking another bogey. They did it again three holes later to be four down after eight.

“We knew going out first it was important to get points on the board early, and we started really strongly,” Purcell said

A big comeback was needed against a very steady GB&I pair, and the visitors nearly pulled it off. They fought back to two down with two to play, but a steady GB&I par at 17 saw Fitzpatrick and Purcell win 2&1.

“They were always going to come back at us at some point, but we just kept playing good golf and got a point on the board,” Fitzpatrick said.

Things didn’t look too good in the match behind either. The pair of John Pak and Isaiah Salinda struggled early against the all-Scottish pair of Sandy Scott and Euan Walker. Pak and Salinda were one down after four holes but played steadier golf over the next 13 holes to run out 2&1 victors.

Two and one was the same score by which English pair Harry Hall and Conor Gough defeated Stewart Hagestad and Akshay Bhatia.

Brandon Wu and Alex Smalley proved to be America’s strongest pair. They showed that anything close to par golf is good in foursomes. They didn’t drop a shot around Royal Liverpool, made two birdies and ended the session as 2&1 winners over Englishmen Thomas Plumb and Tom Sloman.

U.S. captain Nathaniel Crosby will take consolation that his side battled back. Only one team in the last 11 matches, the 2013 U.S. team at the National Golf Links, has lost the opening session and gone on to win.

“We got off to a little bit of a slow start. As we say, it was a little bit slow out of the paddock this morning,” Crosby said. “We’ve had trouble in the past with alternate shot, so a 2-2 start is a reasonable start, especially after being down early.”

TV coverage

There is no live TV coverage of the 2019 Walker Cup, but there will be highlight shows at Golf Channel at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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