Britain and Ireland set pace at Walker Cup


ABERDEEN, Scotland – Britain & Ireland won four straight singles matches to hold off a comeback by the United States and take a 7-5 lead going into the final day of the Walker Cup.

The hosts had taken a 3-1 lead after the morning foursomes in the contest between leading amateurs, but the Americans went ahead 4-3 when Peter Uihlein, Jordan Spieth and Harris English won the first three singles in the afternoon.

After heavy rain, 17-year-old Rhys Pugh of Wales started the fight back for the home team, with Steven Brown, James Byrne and Paul Cutler also adding wins.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in these boys,” Britain & Ireland captain Nigel Edwards said. “They’re a great bunch of lads and they’ve proved it this afternoon. They’ve knuckled down and done the job.”

Top-ranked Patrick Cantlay earned the last point for the Americans, beating Michael Stewart, after also winning his foursome.

There was a bit of controversy after the morning session, when Jack Senior used his brother Joe as caddie in teaming up with fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan to beat American champion Kelly Kraft and Russell Henley. Joe Senior is a professional golfer and is therefore not allowed to partake in the event, but organizers allowed the result to stand since the infringement wasn’t brought to their attention until after the match had been completed.

Edwards called it “a bit of a mishap” and praised his U.S. counterpart Jim Holtgrieve for not making it an issue.

“We chatted about it. Jim was great about it,” Edwards said. “It was a mistake, and I can assure you, from my point of view, that it was never intended. It was one of those things.”

Senior then used a different caddie for the singles, losing to Jordan Spieth.

Holtgrieve said he never considered lodging a protest over the illegal caddie.

“When they approached me and told me about it, it was not an issue for me at all,” he said. “That gentleman did not hit any golf shots. He did not affect the outcome of the match. Common sense says that it was the right thing for us to do.”

Sunday’s final day includes four foursomes and 10 singles.