September 19, 2015 - 9:14pm
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T.J. Auclair
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U.S. PGA Cup Captain Allen Wronowski (left) gathers his players in the team room following Saturday's play. The U.S. and GB&I are tied at 8-8 with only Sunday's singles matches remaining.

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- The 27th PGA Cup between the U.S. and Great Britain & Ireland was always going to be close here at CordeValle.

Going into Sunday's 10 singles matches, it couldn't be any closer. Through two days and four sessions, the sides are knotted at 8-8.

And when you talk about "close," the U.S. team couldn't be any closer.

U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski addressed his squad in the team room just behind the first tee at CordeValle as the final match ended Saturday evening. He made it a point to single out Alan Morin, who volunteered to sit out the afternoon Foursomes session, admitting to himself and his captain that his length -- or lack thereof -- might be a detriment to a teammate in the alternate-shot format.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Morin proves there's no "I" in team | Photos

"Golf is the purest game there is," Wronowski said. "You talk about the integrity, the honesty, the sportsmanship -- all those beautiful values. To have a player come over and say, 'I think we need to rethink what we're doing, and I think we need to make a change,' that's just amazing. You know how much he wants to play every match, but he was thinking about what we needed to do as a team. That's very selfless and quite commendable."

After Wronowski shared that with the team, Stuart Deane -- who notched the lone outright win of the afternoon (the teams split the foursomes session, 2-2) with teammate Michael Block -- chimed in with a little story about Morin, the cheerleader.

When Deane and Block had their lead cut to 1-up at the 12th hole, Morin rolled up in a cart and asked, "What's happening?"

Deane said they were giving charity to the GB&I team by way of a couple of miscues that opened a door.

Morin shot back with, "Well, this ain't a Pro-Am! Quit handing out charity!"

Deane said the pep talk -- while funny -- pumped him up. The U.S. then birdied three of the next five holes to win 2&1.

Omar Uresti, who holed a crucial eagle putt in the morning session for a halve, also jumped into the conversation and noted how his teammate -- Sean Dougherty -- got in his face when the two trailed 3-down. Next thing you know, the duo won the last three holes to salvage a halve.

In the team room, Uresti has been arguably the team's biggest cheerleader. He's undoubtedly the most accomplished player in the room, having made 351 starts on the PGA Tour. Where some might feel compelled to puff out their chest with those credentials, Uresti instead has made it a point to get his teammates to believe they can win on Sunday.

"I had obviously heard about Omar Uresti, but didn't know much about him until this week, except for his impressive resume," Wronowski said. "Having been around him now, I have to say he's one of the most impressive men I've ever met. He's been such an inspiration in the team room. I sat him this afternoon and he jumped in a cart and pumped everyone up out on the course. He's given our guys confidence and he's been an outstanding team leader."

Wronowski has a team not only invested in winning, but invested in one another.

"I feel really good about where we are and about how the players are playing," Wronowski said. "They're right there to pick each other up if someone needs it. Tomorrow they go off in singles and I like our chances. I really think we're going to win that trophy. This team deserves it. They've worked so hard, they've prepared so hard and they've played so hard. I would love to come out of here for these guys with a 'W.'"

U.S. PGA Cup team invested in winning... and one another
September 19, 2015 - 5:24pm
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Omar Uresti
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Omar Uresti holed an eagle putt from just off the green on No. 18 in Saturday's fourballs session to earn a crucial half-point for the U.S. PGA Cup team. At one point in his match, Uresti and his teammate, Sean Dougherty, trailed 3-down.

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SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- In match play, it's not over until it's over. Strange things can -- and will -- happen.

In Saturday morning's Fourballs session in the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle, U.S. teammates Omar Uresti and Sean Dougherty found themselves trailing 3-down with three holes to play.

Things looked grim and it seemed as though Great Britain & Ireland would grab another 3-1 win in Fourballs like it did on Friday.

Not so fast.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Morin proves there's no "I" in team | Photos

Uresti and Dougherty saved their best for the final three holes, finishing birdie-birdie-eagle to steal a half point from GB&I's Gareth Fox and David Dixon.

Uresti put an exclamation point on the halve when he holed an unlikely 15-footer for eagle from just off the back of the par-5 18th green.

You can see it here:


Watch Omar Uresti nail this eagle putt from off the green to snag a crucial halve for the U.S. in morning Fourballs. #PGACup

Posted by on Saturday, September 19, 2015


"I love it when he starts walking," Dougherty said of Uresti on No. 18, "because you know it's going in. I bet I've seen it seven times this week and that's when it's a good 6-7 feet from the hole too and it goes straight in the middle. My man is gritty."

Uresti kept the match alive when he made a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 16. Dougherty made a birdie from 5 feet on No. 17 to move the match to 18 where the magic happened.

"I knew I had to get it there and I hit it right where I wanted," Uresti said. "I felt like I hit it right where I needed to and it went in, so I was very happy. I haven't gotten that excited over hitting a putt in a long time."

Interestingly, Uresti says his putting has improved this week after a lesson with putting guru Dave Stockton -- a two-time PGA Champion and 1991 winning U.S. Ryder Cup Captain -- who visited the U.S. PGA Cup team on Tuesday.

"We just changed the way I walked into the ball," Uresti said. "It wasn't anything major with the stroke or anything, it was just the way that I approached the putt and set up walking into it. It was a minor adjustment, but it has helped a lot and I thank him for it. But it was minor. If you watched me putt before and you watched me putt now, you probably wouldn't be able to tell much difference."

Back in June at the PGA Professional Championship when Uresti was told he was still on the bubble for the U.S. PGA Cup team, his response was, "That's great! What's the PGA Cup?"

When it was explained to Uresti that the PGA Cup is the club professional version of the Ryder Cup, U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski said Uresti was the first call he received from any player on the team expressing his excitement to be heading to CordeValle.

Since then, Wronowski said Uresti -- a former long-time PGA Tour player -- has been a star amongst his teammates.

"This is just awesome," Uresti said. "I love being part of a team. This game is typically for individuals, but playing as a team makes it very special." 

Uresti, Dougherty rally for crucial half-point
September 19, 2015 - 4:58pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Alan Morin
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Alan Morin was scheduled to play in Saturday's Foursomes session until he convinced U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski to pull him from the line up in favor of a longer hitter.


SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Sometimes the biggest contribution an individual can make to a team is admitting they probably can't make a contribution.

Huh? Follow me for a minute.

Alan Morin, representing the U.S. in his second PGA Cup, was paired with Grant Sturgeon on Saturday morning in the Fourballs session. U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski also had that same duo penciled in to play together again in the afternoon alternate-shot session.

But that's when Morin put his team ahead of himself.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Saturday's photos | Saturday's Foursomes pairings

Ever the grinder and a tremendous player in his own right, Morin wasn't too proud to speak up and admit to Wronowski and Sturgeon that he probably wasn't the greatest fit for alternate shot.

The reason? The length of CordeValle's par 4s. Morin felt he'd be a burden to the much longer Sturgeon on the holes where Morin was to tee off for the team.

"It was incredibly unselfish of him to tell me that," Wronowski said. "What a team guy."

"I thought about it," Morin said. "I talked to Grant about it. Trust me, I want to be out there. I'm as competitive as any of the guys here and I want to be out there right now. But, after seeing the place for a couple of days and giving it a lot of thought, I told Allen on No. 8 during the morning session, 'Think about having someone else play with Grant in the alternate shot. I'm interested in winning this Cup. There is no 'I' in this team. I understand you want me out there, but there are several holes out here where length is a requirement off the tee and I don't have that. I can't give that to Grant in an alternate shot format.'"

And don't be mistaken, folks. Morin was no ball and chain before making this decision for Wronowski. He and Sturgeon snagged the lone full point for the U.S. team Saturday morning, defeating GB&I's Michael Watson and Paul Hendriksen, 4&2.

Taking Morin's spot on Saturday afternoon was Sean Dougherty. Dougherty and Omar Uresti rallied back from a 3-down deficit to pull out a halve in Fourballs action thanks to a 20-foot eagle putt Uresti holed from just off the back of the 18th green.

The Foursomes matches began Saturday afternoon with the two sides tied at 6-6.

After a quick lunch, Morin planned to jump in a cart and bounce from hole to hole to cheer on his teammates.

"This is more important than me playing right now," he said. "The prize at the end of the road is winning the Cup. If I have to sit out to get us a point, then I'll gladly sit out. It's not a problem."  

Alan Morin proves there's no 'I' in team
September 19, 2015 - 3:36pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Here are the tee times and pairings for Saturday afternoon's Foursomes (alternate shot) session of the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif.:

1:15 p.m. PT: Bob Sowards/Jamie Broce (USA) v. Gareth Wright/Jason Levermore (GB&I)

1:40 p.m. PT: Michael Block/Stuart Deane (USA) v. Lee Clarke/Alex Wrigley (GB&I)

1:55 p.m. PT: Matt Dobyns/Ben Polland (USA) v. Graham Fox/David Dixon (GB&I)

2:10 p.m. PT: Sean Dougherty/Grant Sturgeon (USA) v. Cameron Clark/Niall Kearney (GB&I)

PGA Cup: Saturday afternoon Foursomes pairings and tee times
September 18, 2015 - 9:19pm
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Allen Wronowski
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
U.S. PGA Cup Captain Allen Wronowski was a happy man after his team took 3 1/2 of a possible 4 points in Friday afternoon's Foursomes session.

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.

RELATED: PGA Cup scoreboard | Block, Deane set tone for U.S. rally | Photos

"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." 

Wronowski ecstatic over Friday's PGA Cup rally
Michael Block and Stuart Deane
Michael Block and Stuart Deane, after their big win Friday afternoon, will go out first for Team USA on Saturday.
By John Dever and T.J. Auclair
SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Here are the tee times and pairings for Saturday morning's Fourballs (better ball) session of the 27th PGA Cup:

7:30 A.M. PT: Michael Block/Stuart Deane (USA) v. Gareth Wright/Jason Levermore (GB&I)
USA: After sitting out Friday morning, Block and Deane set the tone for the United States’ afternoon revival by winning, 4 and 3, over the Scottish duo of Fox and Dixon. 

GB&I: At 1-0-1, Wright and Levermore were Captain Bevan’s only undefeated duo on Friday. To achieve this, they had to play their final five holes in Afternoon Foursomes in 6-under-par to salvage a half-point.

7:45 A.M. PT: Matt Dobyns/Ben Polland (USA) v. Niall Kearney/Alex Wrigley (GB&I)
USA: Dobyns and Polland went 0-1-1 on Friday, but only after an extraordinary closing stretch from Wright and Levermore. The Met Section duo finished 1-2 (Dobyns first, Polland second) at the PGA Professional National Championship in June.  

GB&I: After sitting out Friday’s Morning Fourballs, Kearney and Wrigley dropped a 3-and-1 decision to Omar Uresti and Sean Dougherty in Afternoon Foursomes. These rookies will aim to post their first point on behalf of GB&I.

8:00 A.M. PT: Omar Uresti/Sean Dougherty (USA) v. Graham Fox/David Dixon (GB&I)
USA: Captain Allen Wronowski’s undefeated tandem combined to card a pair of eagles and 10 birdies on Friday. They won both matches despite twice losing the first hole.    

GB&I: The Scots, Fox and Dixon, are paired again for the third consecutive session. On Friday, Dixon closed out their Morning Fourball match by holing a 20-foot birdie putt.

8:15 A.M.: PT: Alan Morin/Grant Sturgeon (USA) v. Michael Watson/Paul Hendriksen (GB&I)
USA: Morin and Sturgeon sat out on Friday afternoon after dropping their Morning Foursomes match, 3 and 2, to Levermore and Wright. The loss was the first in Morin’s five career PGA Cup Matches. He is now 3-1-1.

GB&I: Watson won the first match of the PGA Cup on Friday morning, but sat out Afternoon Foursomes. Hendriksen, meanwhile, won a pair of holes (4, 9) with birdies during his Morning Fourball setback, which went the distance.


PGA Cup: Saturday Morning Fourballs pairings and tee times