The United States retained the Walker Cup after winning the 2019 edition of their bi-annual clash with Great Britain & Ireland 15.5-10.5 at Royal Liverpool.
Ninty-eight years after the Walker Cup was first formed in 1921 at the same venue, the best amateurs from across both sides of the Atlantic went head to head across two days on the links of Hoylake.
America won on that occasion 9-3 and their modern-day contemporaries repeated the feat with a dominant come-from-behind victory to retain the Walker Cup which they already held after a one-sided 19-7 contest at Los Angeles Golf Club in 2017.
The victory means it is now success in six of the last eight Walker Cups for the American side with Nathaniel Crosby the victorious captain at Royal Liverpool. It was also a first US victory away from home since 2007, when a team featuring the likes of Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel won at Royal County Down.
Great Britain & Ireland, captained by Craig Watson, had used home advantage to earn a 7-5 lead after the opening day on Saturday—the morning foursomes shared 2-2 before the hosts won the afternoon singles 5-3.
The lead was reduced to one point after the four morning foursomes matches on Sunday’s second and final day, which the United States edged 2.5-1.5. That left the scores intriguingly poised at 8.5-7.5 heading into the final eight singles matches.
All 10 teams members featured in those singles matches, and it was the Americans who dominated things in winning eight and losing just two of those head to heads to retain the Walker Cup with a five-point victory.
Sandy Scott, playing in the third match, and Tom Sloman, out last in what would have been seen as a potentially decisive game, collected Great Britain & Ireland’s only two victories in those singles with 4&3 and 2-up successes respectively.
But it was an impressive display of golf from the American amateurs in those singles matches, the most comprehensive being Cole Hammer’s 6&5 victory over Conor Purcell in the ninth match as the world number one ranked amateur showed his potential.
In total, the United States team—featuring seven players inside the top 20 world rankings compared to three from the GB&I line-up—won the final day 10.5-3.5 as they turned the tables dramatically on the hosts after being second best on the opening day.
“I am very excited,” United States captain Nathaniel Crosby said after the win. “We were a crazy mix of personalities, but all blended well. It was almost too much fun, but after yesterday we sobered up and really focused today, and it was an amazing afternoon.”
John Pak, who led the United States team out in the Sunday singles, scored a 2-up win over Alex Fitzpatrick—the brother of European Ryder Cup star Matthew—to finish with an unbeaten 3-0 record for the week.
There was also an impressive contribution from 17-year-old talent and world number five Akshay Bhatia, who won two points on the final day to bely his young years.
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