SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- "You know, I was never much of a morning guy. I always liked the afternoon better."
That's what U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski had to say when the scoreboard at the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle began to bleed red in the afternoon Foursomes session after the Americans were toasted -- 3-1 -- in the morning Fourballs by the Great Britain & Ireland squad.
Fortunately for Wronowski and his team, that scoreboard never stopped bleeding. The U.S. rallied from a two-point deficit to win the afternoon session 3 1/2-1/2 and will take a 4 1/2-3 1/2 lead into Day 2.
"We know going into something like this that both teams are really loaded, there's lots of talent, lots of great players with strong resumes and you're going to have these back and forth, give and takes," Wronowski said. "Looking at this morning -- our team didn't play bad, GB&I just played better. They made a few more putts; hit a few better shots. That's where you have to say, 'this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.'"
It is a marathon, but the U.S. team was sprinting like Usain Bolt in the afternoon alternate-shot session.
Rookies Michael Block and Stuart Deane, after sitting out for the morning session, earned the first afternoon point with a 4&3 win over GB&I's Graham Fox and David Dixon.
Moments after that, the duo of Bob Sowards and Jamie Broce snatched the second p.m. point for the U.S. with an 8&7 trouncing of GB&I's Cameron Clark and Lee Clarke, which included an unthinkable, alternate-shot 29.
"That's mind-boggling," Wronowski said. "To have our guys shoot a score like that... it sends a message to the team and gets them pumped up to play better."
The tandem of Matt Dobyns, a two-time PGA Professional Champion (PPC), and Ben Polland, runner up to Dobyns in the PPC in June, had a 1-up lead with two holes to play Friday afternoon and had a chance to make it a clean sweep for the U.S.
After matching birdies with GB&I's Jason Levermore and Gareth Wright on the par-3 16th, Polland and Dobyns made a mess of No. 17, starting with a pulled tee shot from Polland that the pair couldn't recover from.
Up at the par-5 18th, GB&I were just off the green in two shots, while Polland was facing a tricky 15-footer for birdie to salvage a halve for the U.S.
With incredible poise, Polland knocked it in like it was nothing.
The halve allowed the U.S. to keep the momentum instead of giving GB&I something positive to take into Friday evening.
"To go from a 1-up lead to even to possibly losing, especially when you have a two-time Professional Champion and the runner-up, and all the sudden they get beat? That would have been tough," Wronowski said. "Ben Polland has ice water in his veins. That was just the greatest putt that he made there on 18."