Rónán MacNamara at the Old Course
Regardless of what transpires on Sunday afternoon Liam Nolan and Mark Power were thrilled to be involved in a special moment for Irish golf as they combined to steamroll their way to a morning foursomes win.
The win was GB&I’s first and only win of the morning session as USA won 3-1 but crucially the hosts are still in front by the minimum at St Andrews heading into the afternoon.
The pair looked like falling two down after 7 holes to Austin Greaser and Dylan Menante but a par save on 7 for a miraculous win and another par to halve the ninth kickstarted the match before they roared home with four birdies in a row from the eleventh to claim a stunning win.
“This is really special. I was delighted when I heard I was playing with Mark this morning,” beamed Nolan who has won both of his matches this weekend. “We’ve played so much together, and we know each other’s games inside out and we’re really close friends, as well. We really feed off each other out on the course, and to play the way we did, especially on the back nine there, was amazing.
“A couple bad breaks and really scrambling to stay 1-down. To get that putt on 9 and the whole crowd lining the back of the green was a really big momentum boost and really kicked us on to play some really good golf on the back nine.”
“Yeah, it was unreal. Liam and I have played together for Ireland the last two, three years. We have a great record, and we know each other’s games inside out, and we just love playing with each other,” added Power who won both of his foursomes matches alongside John Murphy in 2021.
“We don’t care if one of us hits a bad shot. It’s just a challenge to try and recover, get back in play. We just have free rein, really, and we just love getting stuck into a match, and it doesn’t matter how it’s done, we just get it done.”
The pair played alongside each other in this summer’s European Team Championships of which Kilkenny’s Power top scored for Ireland as they won a bronze medal. There was quite a lot of needle in this match and it was nip and tuck for a while with both sides releasing bellowing roars and fist pumps on the greens.
This proved to be GB&I’s strongest foursomes pairing by far as they fed off each other and dragged each other along.
For Power, who will turn professional after the afternoon singles, it has already been a memorable week having raised the flag for Ireland in the opening ceremony and now he has a special all-Irish Walker Cup win to bow out on at the Old Course.
“Oh, it was unreal. I played with John Murphy at the last Walker Cup, and I just thought that was it, but getting out there with Liam, we’re such good friends, and we’ve played home internationals before, European team championships together. To get to do it in the Walker Cup is pretty special, and to get a win like that, four birdies in a row on that back nine, it was some of our best golf,” he smiled.
Galway’s Nolan has enjoyed every moment of his Walker Cup debut so far and will be looking to make it a hat trick of wins over world number ten Greaser this afternoon.
“Yeah, I remember playing in the Europeans last year in St George’s with Mark, and we were in the room together, and this is a long time before any Walker Cup teams, but he told me he builds Walker Cup players. Yeah, I’m glad that’s come true, and playing with Mark really does a lot for your confidence, and the all-Irish pairing is amazing.
“When you have home crowd out here with you and you’re hitting close wedge shots and you’re holing putts, you’ve got to get the whole place going because we still have the evening session to go, and you want a really strong wave of momentum going into that.”
“It was a joke, but look what’s happened, so…” giggled Power.