USA takes momentum into Walker Cup singles despite one-point deficit

AP Photo/Jon Super

USA takes momentum into Walker Cup singles despite one-point deficit

Amateur

USA takes momentum into Walker Cup singles despite one-point deficit

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HOYLAKE, England – The United States takes momentum into the crucial singles session of the 47th Walker Cup despite trailing Great Britain & Ireland 8½-7½. Nathaniel Crosby’s team took the second foursomes session 2½-1½ to put the visiting team in a strong position with 10 singles matches still to play.

The strong pairing of Brandon Wu and Alex Smalley led the United States from the front in Sunday’s foursomes. They came from two down after three holes to defeat Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell 2&1.

The GB&I pair birdied the second and third holes to go two up early. They still had that advantage after seven holes, but the USA duo didn’t make many mistakes over the next 10 holes to put a valuable point on the board.

“We got off to a little bit of slow start, but I told Brandon on eight, ‘We’re still in this.’” Smalley said. “We played really steady after eight, I have a lot of trust in this guy and he’s been a great partner the past couple of days.”

The USA needed to come out strong on day two after trailing 7-5 overnight. Crosby switched his lineup slightly to go with arguably his strongest pair in the first foursomes match.

SCORES: Walker Cup

“Leading off, putting that first point on the board for the day was important,” Wu said. “We wanted to set the tone for sure and we were a happy we could do that.”

Crosby’s team could have entered Sunday morning with an 8-4 deficit, but John Pak earned a valuable point on Saturday evening when he won the final two holes against British Amateur champion James Sugrue to come from one down to win one up. It meant the USA was only two behind, and on a little bit of a high.

“I felt like we had the momentum coming into today, with how strong we finished yesterday,” Smalley said.

The teams split the last two foursomes matches 1-1. Stewart Hagestad and Akshay Bhatia defeated English pair Harry Hall and Conor Gough 3&2, while world No. 1 Cole Hammer and Steven Fisk lost 5&3 to Tom Sloman and Thomas Plumb.

The U.S. team looked like it would win Sunday’s foursomes 3-1 at one point. Andy Ogletree and John Augenstein held a three-hole lead against the Scottish twosome of Texas Tech’s Sandy Scott and Euan Walker after seven holes. They were still one up after 16 but bogeyed the 17th to allow the Scots to square the match.

“To come away with something is good because we were three down at one point, and to get it back to a halved match is pleasing,” Scott said.

“Anytime you can get something is useful.”

Historically, the United States has been stronger in singles. So, with 10 points to play for, Crosby’s team has a strong chance of defending George Herbert Walker’s trophy.

There is no live TV coverage of the Walker Cup, but there will be a highlight show on Golf Channel at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.

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