Irish trio help GB&I take a two point lead after day one of the 47th Walker Cup

Niall O'Shea
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Irish trio help GB&I take a two point lead after day one of the 47th Walker Cup

Conor Purcell, James Sugrue and Caolan Rafferty pictured at the opening ceremony at the 2019 Walker Cup. Picture: Niall O'Shea / IrishGolfer.ie

It’s advantage GB&I after day one in Royal Liverpool with the hosts holding a 7-5 lead after a great day in Hoylake. The sun shone from early morning in Liverpool and with just a light breeze, the weather had very little impact on the golf.

The weather did impact the crowds, with a large Liverpool crowd adding to the large number of supporters for the GB&I team.  There was a large Irish crowd surrounding the first tee at 8.30am and Conor Purcell and Alex Fitzpatrick were first out for the home side.  The duo set the tone by putting the first point on the board for GB&I when they won on the 17th after a solid display of golf. All four matches finished on the 17th green with the morning session score line reading 2-2.

Sugrue and Rafferty sat out the morning foursomes but they were in action in the afternoon singles. At one stage it looked really good, Rafferty was four up for a spell and Sugrue had a two hole lead. Sugrue’s opponent John Pak had levelled the match by the turn, and while Sugrue went one up three times on the back nine he couldn’t shake off the American. The match was level after 17, when Sugrue found two bunkers, and Pak won the match on the 18th with a 10 foot birdie. Rafferty also had a shaky finish, he saw his four hole lead reduced to a single hole on the 16th.

The Dundalk man rallied and won the 17th to claim a 2&1 win. Purcell was up against it in his match against John Augenstein, the American was two up after five, and when Purcell levelled it on the ninth, he found himself two down on the 12th tee. Purcell fought again to level the match on the 14th, but Augenstein went again and when he won the 17th that gave the American a 2&1 win.

Overall the Irish trio were two from four after the opening day. Tomorrow morning Rafferty and Sugrue will again sit it out, while Purcell is again top of the list alongside Fitzpatrick.  They’re out at the earlier time of 8am, meaning the first of the ten singles matches will start at 1.15pm.

A happy Craig Watson, captain, Great Britain and Ireland said “It was a pretty good day. It could have been better but we knew the Americans were going to come back to us. We’re looking forward to tomorrow though. No matter what happens in the foursomes tomorrow, we still have to play in the singles. The boys will be up for it.”

Day 1 Results

Foursomes:

Alex Fitzpatrick and Conor Purcell vs. John Augenstein and Andy Ogletree (GB& wins 2&1)

Sandy Scott and Euan Walker vs. John Pak and Isaiah Salinda (USA wins 2&1)

Conor Gough and Harry Hall vs. Akshay Bhatia and Stewart Hagestad (GB&I wins 2&1)

Thomas Plumb and Tom Sloman vs. Alex Smalley and Brandon Wu (USA wins 2&1)

Score:

Great Britain and Ireland 2-2 United States of America

Singles:

Alex Fitzpatrick vs. Cole Hammer (GB&I wins by two holes)

Euan Walker vs. Steven Fisk (GB&I wins by two holes)

Sandy Scott vs. Andy Ogletree (GB&I wins by one hole)

John Augenstein vs. Conor Purcell (USA wins 2&1)

James Sugrue vs. John Pak (USA wins by one hole)

Conor Gough vs. Isaiah Salinda (GB&I wins by two holes)

Coalan Rafferty vs. Alez Smalley (GB&I wins 2&1)

Tom Sloman vs. Brandon Wu (USA wins 4&2)

Score:

Great Britain and Ireland 7-5 United States of America

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