U.S. builds 8-4 lead after Day 1 at Walker Cup

RSS

LOS ANGELES – Southern Californians Collin Morikawa and Norman Xiong teamed up for a record-setting victory in the morning foursomes and then won their afternoon singles matches to help the United States take an 8-4 lead over defending champion Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup on Saturday at Los Angeles Country Club's North Course.

Morikawa and Xiong beat Harry Ellis and Alfie Plant 8 and 7 in the morning, the largest margin for an 18-hole match at the biennial amateur tournament that started in 1922.

Xiong, at 18 the youngest player in the matches, then beat Connor Syme 2 and 1 after rallying from three holes down after six. College golf's top freshman last season at Oregon, he won five of the last 11 holes.

Morikawa, who plays at California, beat Paul McBride 3 and 2.

Braden Thornberry, the 2017 NCAA individual champion from Mississippi, sealed his 2-up win over Harry Ellis, the 2017 British Amateur champion, with a remarkable 6-iron shot from 200 yards that stopped a foot from the hole. Ellis conceded. Thornberry won four of the last five holes.

Americans Maverick McNealy and Doug Ghim also teamed for a win in foursomes and then won their singles matches.

The United States needs 13 1/2 points to regain the cup. The matches conclude Sunday.