Austin Eckroat (right) set the tone for the American with a 7 & 6 win over GB & I’s Mark Power in the singles
The United States retained the Walker Cup with a 14-12 win over Great Britain and Ireland at Seminole Golf Club, Florida.
GB & I were 7: 5 behind overnight, but won the foursome 2: 1: 1: 1 on Sunday to close the gap in front of the last 10 singles.
Austin Eckroat destroyed Mark Power 7 & 6 and Pierceson Coody defeated Alex Fitzpatrick 3 & 1 to extend the lead in the US.
Joe Long and Matty Lamb won to give GB&I hope, but Cole Hammer secured the US 13th point to keep the trophy.
And Stewart Hagestad, who played in his third Walker Cup, won five holes in a row from the ninth to beat Ben Jones 4 & 2 and take the 14th point.
GB & I were big underdogs for the 48th edition of the biennial amateur team competition. They have only won twice on American soil in an event that was first held in 1922 and all 10 Americans were counted among the top 30 best amateurs in the world while the visitors only had two.
Players on both teams were knocked down by “gastrointestinal issues” on the eve of the competition, but Covid-19 was quickly ruled out given all the tests conducted.
Long was one of the GB&I players affected and he was only fit enough to play in the final singles, but he won his match on the 18th hole and when Lamb followed a moment later, GB&I took four points out of the remaining six games with a shift in momentum in their favor.
However, GB & I’s Barclay Brown made the final mess to give Quade Cummins a half, and Ricky Castillo and Hammer added key points when the US took control.
“This is the pinnacle of amateur golf and it’s very special to be part of a victorious Walker Cup team,” said Castillo, who beat Irishman John Murphy 2 and 1 and won all four of his games.
Angus Flanagan took a 30-foot putt on the last to win his singles match, while Jack Dyer, a late replacement for the injured Sandy Scott who would have been the visitor’s top-ranked player in seventh place, also won his match the 18th.
“It’s been a good weekend,” said GB&I captain Stuart Wilson. “We fired the Americans with a few light shots, but we did them all credit.”
Wilson’s US counterpart Nathaniel Crosby said, “It was such an even competition. I thought the windy conditions with firm, fast greens might suit GB&I, but we have tremendous talent. A lot of these guys are going pro next week so they are PGA Tour will be well served. “
It was the first of four team events to be held in Conwy, Wales, August 26-28, 2021 with the women’s amateur equivalent, the Curtis Cup. The Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup will follow in September, both of which will be held in the USA.
Saturday foursome (USA first)
Cole Hammer and Davis Thompson beat Alex Fitzpatrick & Barclay Brown 1UP
Quade Cummins & Austin Eckroat lost to Mark Power and John Murphy 1UP
Mac Meissner & Ricky Castillo beat Jack Dyer & Matty Lamb 2UP
Stewart Hagestad & William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan & Jack Bolton 1UP
Result: US 2-2 GB & I.
Pierceson Coodybeat Alex Fitzpatrick 2UP
Davis Thompson lost to Mark Power 3 & 2
Ricky Castillo beat Ben Schmidt 5 & 3
William Sleeve beat Ben Jones 4 & 3
Quade Cummins lost to Matty Lamb 2 & 1
Austin Eckroat beat Angus Flanagan 1UP
John Pak lost to Barclay Brown 2 & 1
Cole hammer beat John Murphy 3 & 1
Result: US 7-5 GB & I.
Pierceson Coody & John Pak lost to Mark Power and John Murphy 1UP
Ricky Castillo & William Mouw beat Alex Fitzpatrick & Barclay Brown 1UP
Davis Thompson & Cole Hammer with Angus Flanagan & Ben Schmidt
Stewart Hagestad & Tyler Strafaci lost to Matty Lamb & Jack Dyer 6 & 5
Result: US 8½-7½ GB & I.
Austin Eckroat beat Mark Power 7 & 6
Pierceson Coody beat Alex Fitzpatrick 3 & 1
John Pak lost to Joe Long 1UP
Davis Thompson lost to Matty Lamb 2UP
Quade Cummins tied with Barclay Brown
William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan 1UP
Ricky Castillo beat John Murphy 2 & 1
Tyler Strafaci lost to Jack Dyer 1UP
Cole hammer beat Ben Schmidt 4 & 3
Stewart Hagestad beat Ben Jones 4 & 2
Bottom line: US 14-12 GB & I.