Team USA clinches Walker Cup victory at Royal Liverpool

Richard Martin/R&A via Getty Images

Team USA clinches Walker Cup victory at Royal Liverpool

Amateur

Team USA clinches Walker Cup victory at Royal Liverpool

By

HOYLAKE, England – History shows United States Walker Cup players enjoy playing singles rather than foursomes golf. It proved the difference in the 47th match.

The USA successfully defended the trophy won two years ago in Los Angeles with a 15½–10½ victory at Royal Liverpool. A dominant performance in the final singles session ultimately decided the destination of George Herbert Walker’s trophy.

There was a touch of déjà vu about the final session. Team USA won the singles matches by the same 8-2 score as two years ago.

“I let them just go play. They are very talented guys who believe in themselves,” said U.S. captain Nathaniel Crosby. “Their talent came to the surface. I could not be more excited for them and me – I’ve not won anything in about 38 years.”

Golf historians should not overlook John Pak’s performance at Royal Liverpool. His Saturday singles victory over British Amateur champion James Sugrue was crucial for the U.S. team. He won the final two holes to come from one down against the Irishman to win 1 up. The USA went into Sunday trailing 7-5 instead of 8-4, which provided a huge momentum boost.

SCORES: Walker Cup

The visitors built on the momentum Pak gave them to prove they can play foursomes golf too. They took the second alternate shot session 2½-1½ to go into their preferred format trailing by just a point.

The United States team poses with the Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Photo: Jan Kruger/R&A via Getty Images

It meant Crosby’s side needed 5½ points to retain the cup, and six points to win it outright. They won eight of the 10 matches to lift the Walker Cup for the 37th time.

Crosby couldn’t have asked for a better start from his 10-man team in the deciding singles matches. Six of his team began their matches by winning the first hole. That set the tone for the rest of the day, with GB&I having to play catchup in most matches.

“It was a tough course the way it was set up,” GB&I captain Craig Watson said. “If you were ahead, early pars were enough to stay ahead because birdies were going to be few and far between, and the American boys did that very well.”

Pak, a junior at Florida State, put the first point on the board for the USA on Sunday afternoon by beating Scotland’s Euan Walker 2&1 to level the score at 9½-9½.  The Scotch Plains, New Jersey native would probably have been voted MVP if such a thing existed. He won three points out of three.

Stanford grad Isaiah Salinda put the next U.S. point on the board when he came from two holes down after 11 holes to defeat the effervescent Alex Fitzpatrick by two holes in the first match on Sunday afternoon.

The United States team celebrates its Walker Cup victory at Royal Liverpool on Sept. 8, 2019. Photo: Jan Kruger/R&A via Getty Images

It meant the home team had to win five of the remaining eight matches. It proved too tall an order for the GB&I side. Only Texas Tech player Sandy Scott and England’s Tom Sloman managed to do that.  Otherwise, the scoreboards were mostly in red numbers signifying U.S. dominance.

“It’s been a fantastic week. The lads will probably learn a lot from this disappointment today,” said GB&I captain Craig Watson.

John Augenstein will go down in the record books as the man who earned the winning U.S. point. After wins for Pak, Salinda, Stewart Hagestad, Alex Smalley and Cole Hammer, Augenstein’s 4&3 win over Thomas Plumb took the USA to 13½ points and victory.

Crosby’s side is the first U.S. team since a 2007 Walker team at Royal County Down that included Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson and Kyle Stanley to win away from home. Before that you have to go back to 1991 at Portmarnock to find a U.S. win on foreign soil.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home