USA ROMPS TO WALKER CUP WIN
11 September 2017
The United States won back the Walker Cup from Great Britain & Ireland following an unprecedented 19-7 runaway victory at Los Angeles Country Club in California.
The match was tied at 2-2 after Saturday’s morning foursomes, but the home side dominated that afternoon’s singles to open an 8-4 lead. They then won Sunday’s foursomes 3-1, and the final singles matches 8-2 to secure a comfortable win.
Three of the home team’s players – Collin Morikawa, Doug Ghim and Maverick McNealy – won all four of their matches, a first in Walker Cup history – to lead the United States to comfortable win in the biennial amateur matches.
Eighteen-year-old Norman Xiong, the youngest player in the competition, also came close coming away with a perfect record from his four matches, before halving his singles match with England’s Scott Gregory. Xiong had been two up with two holes to play before the Hampshire caught him.
It was a big turnaround from two years ago, when GB&I won 161/2-91/2 at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The 19 points for the Americans matched the most ever in Walker Cup history. That came in 1993, when the United States won 19-5 at Interlachen.
Morikawa beat British Amateur champion Harry Ellis 2&1 to cap his perfect weekend. “It’s something special. and you can’t really explain what it is,” Morikawa said. “I wasn’t really nervous on the first tee, in the first shot for the US on Saturday morning, but you just kind of are excited and thrilled that you can get out there and hit a tee ball for your country.”
Morikawa teamed up with Xiong to win foursomes matches Saturday and Sunday mornings. Both won their singles matches Saturday afternoon.
Morikawa was two down after three holes, before winning four conseuctuve holes to take control. It helped, too, when Ellis bogeyed the par-3 11th.
“I’ve never really gone undefeated in one of these team events, and just to have some momentum to know that I can do it against these guys, these guys are the best players around the country and the entire world, really,” he said.
Morikawa and Xiong got the rout going Saturday morning when they beat Ellis and Alfie Plant 8&7 in a foursomes match, the largest margin for an 18-hole match at the Walker Cup.
Ghim beat Matthew Jordan 3&1 in Sunday’s singles, and McNealy beat Plant 4&2. Ghim and McNealy teamed up to beat Jordan and Robert MacIntyre in a morning foursomes match. They also paired up to win a foursomes match Saturday, as well as their singles matches.
The United States went into the afternoon singles matches needing only 21/2 points to win, and it got them quickly. Braden Thornberry crushed Paul McBride, 6&5, and with Xiong assured of halving his match, Stewart Hagestad won 2&1 against Hampshire’s Jack Singh Brar to clinch the victory.
The rest of the matches contributed to the huge victory margin. The Americans won seven of 10 singles matches Sunday, with two being halved.
GB& & Ireland manager Andrew Ingram said the Americans were “superb all week. Today’s been a bit of a hedgehog day. We couldn’t get going. We couldn’t get anything moving forward.”