Walker Cup: Great Britain and Ireland storm out of the blocks

GB&I take a 3-1 lead into the singles as Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley lose out

Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin on the first green in the opening foursomes of the 2015 Walker Cup. Sharvin would partner Jack McDonald to a 5&4 win over Jordan Niebrugge and Robby Shelton. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin on the first green in the opening foursomes of the 2015 Walker Cup. Sharvin would partner Jack McDonald to a 5&4 win over Jordan Niebrugge and Robby Shelton. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

 

A wicked, swirling wind whipped across the old links here but didn’t hamper the British and Irish team in the first session - of foursomes - in the Walker Cup, as Nigel Edwards’ men claimed a 3-1 advantage over the United States in their quest to regain the famed trophy.

Of the four foursomes matches, only one went the USA’s way as the vaunted pairing of Beau Hossler and Denny McCarthy trumped Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley. The Irish duo - a formidable pairing who had been unbeaten in nine matches stretching across European Team Championships and Home Internationals in recent years - were on the wrong end of 3 and 1 result to the Americans who turned the match back in their favour with hat-trick of wins on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes.

“Gary and myself, we’d take a loss for a 3-1 team lead. It’s an unsuccessful morning for us but it is a team game so we will look on it as a positive . . . . it’s unfortunate to lose but great to see the other lads play so well and take the lead as a team,” said Dunne, who shot to stardom at the Open where he led into the final round and who is marking his swansong to the amateur game before turning pro.

Overall, it was a hugely successful start for the Britain and Ireland team with Ashley Chesters and Jimmy Mullen setting the tone with a 3 and 2 win in the opening match over Maverick McNealy and Hunter Stewart.

The most impressive performance of all, though, came from the Irish-Scottish pairing of Cormac Sharvin and Jack McDonald who were 5 and 4 winners over Jordan Niebrugge and Robby Shelton; and, in the bottom match, Gavin Moynihan and Jack Hume were 3 and 2 winners over the McCoy, Lee and Mike.

Hume rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on the 16th to close out the match and give Britain and Ireland the advantage heading into the afternoon session of eight singles.

“Singles is key, we did terrible the last time,” admitted Moynihan, who is the only survivor from the 2013 match in New York where the USA inflicted a 7-1 thrashing on the visitors in the opening singles session. “It’s good to go out and do well, it’s a good position to get into,” added Moynihan, who fulfils the role of anchorman on the team playing Niebrugge in the final singles of the afternoon.

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