/ Golf

GB&I impress to secure Walker Cup

Updated: Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 11:00

Paul Cutler (left) & Alan Dunbar - The Irish pair got special praise from captain Nigel Edwards after GB&I secured the Walker Cup
Paul Cutler (left) & Alan Dunbar - The Irish pair got special praise from captain Nigel Edwards after GB&I secured the Walker Cup

Great Britain and Ireland's amateur golfers regained the Walker Cup with a surprise victory over the United States at Royal Aberdeen on Sunday.

With Portstewart's Paul Cutler four up with four to play in the bottom singles, the win was guaranteed when 17-year-old Rhys Pugh beat United States champion Kelly Kraft and then English champion Steven Brown halved with Blayne Barber.

It ended a run of three successive defeats for Britain and Ireland and was their biggest margin since the 15-9 victory in 2001, when the team included current world number one Luke Donald and last year's US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

After taking a 7-5 overnight lead, the gap became five with another outstanding performance in the four morning foursomes.

Having dropped just one point in the opening session, Great Britain and Ireland did even better and would have completed a whitewash if only Tom Lewis - the 20-year-old from Welwyn Garden who created British Open Championship history with his 65 at Sandwich in July - and Michael Stewart had not halved from four up with six to play against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Rodgers.

A mere three points were needed from the 10 concluding games, but when Lewis lost to Russell Henley and Andy Sullivan to teenager Jordan Spieth there was still work to be done.

Stewart, one of the two Scots, beat world number three Patrick Rodgers 3 and 2, then Jack Senior, who two weeks ago reached the semi-finals of the US Amateur, sank a 35-foot putt on the final green for a half with Nathan Smith.

Pugh, who beat Rodgers on the first day, added the scalp of Kraft and the celebrations started when Brown won his final hole for a half against Barber.