They ran them close but in the end, the USA team proved that bit too strong for a valiant GB&I side eventually beaten 14-12 by the Stars and Stripes at the 48th Walker Cup Match at a devilishly difficult Seminole.
Serious underdogs heading into the week, and that was before a bout of food-poisoning ripped through the team room, GB&I could leave Florida with their heads held high despite coming up just short in the Sunday singles.
The USA entered the day with a 7-5 lead, which was trimmed to 8½–7½ after the GB&I Team took 2½ out of 4 points in the morning foursomes session. Irish pair John Murphy and Mark Power once again combined to great effect, taking their second point together with a 1UP win against Pierceson Coody and John Pak.
It looked like it would be much more comfortable than that for the Irish duo who raced out of the gate with a birdie-birdie-eagle opening but the match was all square down 18 until Murphy struck a stunning 5-iron approach to the heart of the final green where Power lagged up a winning point for another sweet victory.
“I mean, we’ve known each for so long,” Murphy said of the partnership. “It’s just great to be out there with a friend in such a big moment. We just had such a good time all day. Even when we were losing holes or dropping shots, we just said, let’s just enjoy every moment of this. Let’s stay present and make good swings and enjoy it all while we’re here, and that’s what we did, and thankfully it paid off in the end.”
“I’d rather have no one else than John by my side,” Power added. “We just tried to keep everything as simple as possible. It’s obviously a huge occasion, but for us we want to just enjoy it.
“I think this morning the start we got off to was just incredible, and we just tried to feed off that all day. Obviously Pierceson and John, great players, they came back at us, but the shot he hit into the last, that 5-iron, it’s pretty hard to describe how impressive that was, so definitely going to give credit to my Cork man here.”
Unfortunately the Irish pair’s powers waned in the afternoon. A long week, their afternoon singles matches proved a step too far with a tired looking Power going down 7&6 in the first match while Murphy battled hard before going down 2&1 to Ricky Castillo. The USA won the session 5½-4½, winning the tie 14-12 overall; the pre-tournament favourites claiming their third straight Walker Cup trophy.
“It was such an evenly matched contest and our guys were really fired up,” said USA captain Nathaniel Crosby. “I’ve been blessed to be part of their lives here for a few years and it’s been so great.”
Crosby’s opposite Skipper, Stuart Wilson of GB&I was proud despite the disappointing result. “It’s been a great weekend of golf,” he said. “It’s the Walker Cup after all. The guys have come out fighting and tried to acquit themselves as best they can. But hats off to the USA Team and Nathaniel for pulling the victory off.”
Southern Californian Ricky Castillo was the only player on either side to post a 4-0 record at Seminole for the week having taken the scalp of Murphy on Sunday. “It’s incredible,” said the 20-year old. “I mean, this is the pinnacle of amateur golf, and to be a part of this team and be a part of a winning Walker Cup team is pretty special, especially going 4-0. I couldn’t be more excited right now.”
- Full scoring HERE