Irish grit unable to halt USA's victory march
THE pluck of the Irish wasn't enough to save the Walker Cup as the US romped to a comfortable 17-9 victory at The National Golf Links of America on New York's windswept Long Island.
Fittingly, Waterford's Kevin Phelan and young Dubliner Gavin Moynihan were the last men standing for the Great Britain and Ireland team at the conclusion of a match in which the Americans simply putted the lights out.
After teaming up with Moynihan to give the visitors a glimmer of hope with a fantastic fightback to win yesterday morning's final foursomes game, Phelan capped a fine personal performance with a 2&1 win over Max Homa.
The American even threw in a spectacular hole-in-one at the sixth but Phelan (22) was unflappable as he saw it out. The Waterford Castle man now goes on to European Q-School with two wins from his three games at the Walker Cup.
Moynihan, at 18 the event's youngest player, took GB&I's only victory in Saturday's singles when he beat Patrick Rodgers 2&1 and he found himself in another titanic battle, losing his fourth confrontation with Rodgers in two days on 18... they each won two and lost two.
By coming back from four down through seven to beat Rodgers and Jordan Niebrugge two-up to square the morning foursomes session 2-2 yesterday, Phelan and Moynihan gave the visiting team a morale boost.
Yet GB&I still trailed 10-6 going into the final singles session and needed to take seven points from 10 to retain the trophy. It was a forlorn hope and America won four of the first five games to clinch their 35th victory in 44 Walker Cups. Nathan Smith beat Nathan Kimsey 4&3 to clinch the match.
England's US Amateur winner and World No 1 Matthew Fitzpatrick and fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin were, along with Phelan, GB&I's only winners in yesterday's 10 singles, which heavily underscored American superiority in that department.