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Americans Rally in Saturday Singles at Walker Cup
After falling behind to the team of Great Britain and Ireland in Saturday morning's opening foursomes (alternate-shot) matches, the Americans rallied in the afternoon singles on the first day of the 44th Walker Cup.
The biennial match that pits the top amateurs assembled in 10-man teams is being held at the historic National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.
In Saturday morning's foursomes (alternate-shot), the GB&I forged a 2½ to 1½ lead. The GB&I's tandem of Nathan Kimsey and Max Orrin halved their match with Corey Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt.
Reigning U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick and Neil Raymond edged 2013 U.S. Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge and Nathan Smith, while GB&I's Garrick Porteous and Rhys Pugh had an easier time of it against Michael Weaver and Todd White in a 3 and 1 win.
The only foursomes match of the day taken for the Americans - by a 2 and 1 margin - was by Patrick Rodgers and Justin Thomas over Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan.
But it was a different story in the afternoon as the Yanks won the first five singles matches. Wyatt beat Raymond 2-up; Max Homa got past Max Orrin 5 and 3; Michael Kim beat Callum Shinkwin 2 and 1; Whitsett forged a 1-up victory over Jordan Smith; and Niebrugge won 3 and 1 over Fitzpatrick.
In the final two matches, GB&I earned one and a half points as Kimsey halved with Thomas and Moynihan beat Rodgers 2 & 1.
The Americans enter the final day with an 8 to 4 lead. The 2013 Walker Cup will conclude Sunday with four foursome matches in the morning and 10 singles in the afternoon.
USA captain Jim Holtgrieve was impressed with his team's play in the afternoon, which he feels is attributable to their camaraderie. "They're really good friends. They fought for each other and you could just feel it after we were down after the morning that GB&I played well. I think one group was 5- or 6-under par. But these guys are just - they're going to fight back, and my gosh, they fought back today and they fought back with really good courage."
GB&I captain Nigel Edwards doesn't think his squad is out of it heading into Sunday. "We got more points in the morning, so this afternoon we didn't get going really. America was in control most of the way. We didn't hole putts, shaving the edges a lot. Having said that, 8 to 4 . . . is not an insurmountable lead. We're good at foursomes, we're good players. We're good at singles, so game on (Sunday)."
Two years ago at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland, GB&I extended their 7 and 5 lead after Saturday's matches by winning three of the four Sunday morning foursomes - and a halve - to go into the afternoon's singles with a five-point lead. The Americans won 6½ points in Sunday's singles, but GB&I still won the 43rd Walker Cup, 14 to 12.
For scoring details, visit http://www.usga.org/WalkerCup/ChampEventScoringIndex.aspx?eid=2147495184&year=2013&id=21474859152.