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US starts Walker Cup as strong favourites

The United States start strong favourites for the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen this weekend, but Britain and Ireland's star man Tom Lewis believes an upset could be on the cards.

Lewis, the 20-year-old who led the Open after a record-breaking 65 in July, said: "We just have to respect them and play our game.

"If we can play our best then we'll come away with a win. If we don't it's just going to be a struggle."

The Welwyn Garden player resisted the temptation to switch to the professional ranks straight after what happened at Sandwich.

"Walker Cup was my main goal as an amateur and it would have been silly to have turned," he added.

"I had a struggle a couple of weeks after the Open, so I'm pleased I stayed. If I had turned pro then I would have made a big mistake.

"I thought about it definitely, but then I only had one good round. From leading after one round to finishing 30th isn't good enough.

"Certain things benefited me by turning and certain things benefited me to stay an amateur."

He is expected to make his European Tour debut in Austria in two weeks, hoping to achieve what Rory McIlroy did in 2007 by earning enough from a few invitations to bypass the qualifying school.

On an American line-up which includes six of the world's top 10 amateurs Lewis stated: "Obviously they are always going to be strong - their country is 50 times the size of ours."

Part of the preparations by USA captain Jim Holtgrieve involved standing in the shower.

"We've got good rain pants that don't leak!" said Holtgrieve, a friend of Corey Pavin, whose Ryder Cup team last year had to be given replacements for their raingear.

"When I got the suit I did stand in the shower and it does work perfectly."

With Sunday being the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in America, Holtgrieve added that his side will wear special hats and he will also be reading them a letter from former president George Bush.

"The hat was designed with a few of my golfing friends from the United States who lost two sons and lost several employees. It's a special day and the team is obviously aware of it."

PA Media