David Russell is backing his Great Britain & Ireland side to come out fighting on Saturday after finishing the opening day of the 2022 PGA Cup 5.5 – 2.5 behind the United States at Foxhills Club & Resort.
Both teams claimed two points as the opening fourball session on Friday finished level, but it was Suzy Whaley’s side who opened a three-point lead in the 30th staging of the competition.
Reflecting on the afternoon session, David (DJ) Russell said: “It was very close for a long time. We seemed to have the upper hand in the early stages and then pendulum swung a bit. They hit some really good shot towards the end.
“A half point in the foursomes is a little bit sore, but there’s still a long way to go so plenty of time for us to get back from that.”
David Higgins teamed up with Ashley Mansell to claim Great Britain & Ireland’s first point of the day. It came at a time when Russell’s side were 2-0 down in the morning fourballs, but the scoreline was level heading into the afternoon foursomes.
Simon Thornton and Adam Keogh won their match thanks to a stunning 20ft putt from Keogh on hole 16, which was met with a reserved fist pump.
In the afternoon session, Russell opted for geographical partnerships, with Scotsman Greig Hutcheon and Paul McKechnie playing alongside each other, and Thornton was paired with his Irish counterpart Higgins.
But it was the Americans who got the upper hand, winning three of the foursome matches and snatching half a point from Hutcheon and McKechnie in match two.
The Scots looked odds on to earn Great Britain & Ireland’s only point of the afternoon as they approached the first tee one ahead. But with a gallery of fans looking on, Jared Jones and Wyatt Worthington II birdied the par 5 18 to give the visitors a healthy lead going into day two.
“I think generally the lads are playing okay,” Russell continued: “It was just a case of the Americans holing a few more putts than we did so hopefully tomorrow that can change.
“It changes so quickly with the fourballs and the foursomes. You do go through periods in the match where it looks like it’s all done and dusted.
“That’s the wonderful thing about this format, the emotions change so quickly so we’re not too depressed. The lads are playing nicely and hopefully they can pick themselves up and do the business tomorrow.”
Reflecting on her team’s strong performance, PGA of America Captain, Whaley, added: “I’m incredibly proud of my team. They came out and fought so hard.
“I’m really thrilled with how they’ve played. We can’t control what GB&I does on the golf course, but we can control what we do and they did that really well today.
“I’m one of those strict coaches. I’ll look at it tomorrow and it’s zero, zero. It’s a long way until Sunday evening so we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. It’s always great to be up, but I really want my team to think about tomorrow as we’re starting zero, zero and trying to get the job done again.”
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