Great Britain & Ireland soars in Singles to win its second consecutive PGA Cup

By
Bob Denney
PGA of America

Series: News Feature

Published: Sunday, September 17, 2017 | 6:49 p.m.

OTTERSHAW, Surrey, England (Sept. 17, 2017) – Captain Albert MacKenzie, in his best Scottish burr,  professed that “the template” was the ticket to his Great Britain & Ireland team retaining the Llandudno International Trophy, the prize in the 28th PGA Cup.

MacKenzie’s troops listened and then went out and performed in historic fashion. Great Britain & Ireland kicked into a collective second gear on the back nine at Foxhills Club & Resort Sunday, with nine of its 10 team members scoring in singles, on the way to a 16-10 victory over the United States in the 28th PGA Cup.       

It was the most points that GB&I had scored against the U.S. since the PGA Cup – the premier international competition for PGA Club Professionals - began in 1973. It was GB&I’s first successful defense of the Llandudno International Trophy since 1984, and its singles performance matched the best GB&I Sunday of 2013, dominating 7½ - 2½.

Rich Berberian Jr. of Hooksett, New Hampshire, the 2016 PGA Professional Champion and PGA Professional Player of the Year, was the lone American to win a singles match. He went 7-under par through 15 holes, including a pair of eagles, to down England’s Chris McDonnell, 4 and 3.

“I think the journey has a been a most enjoyable book, a most enjoyable read,” said MacKenzie, who served as Vice Captain in GB&I’s 2015 victory in the United States and narrowly missed qualifying three times for a PGA Cup berth. “The final chapter thankfully has a happy ending. I couldn’t have wished for more out of the guys. I asked them to come here and leave nothing behind. I’m a very happy team captain.”

The U.S. Team began the final session needing six points to reclaim the trophy, while GB&I was just focusing in to tally 4 ½ on a cool, partly cloudy day. For a fraction of the day, it appeared that the U.S. had the tools to mount a charge.   

The American’s lead trio of Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, New York; Josh Speight of Locust Hill, Virginia; and Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida, built leads early before putting woes became overwhelming and GB&I gained its momentum. Perry was the only member of the group to get on the scoreboard with a halved match against Scotland’s Christopher Currie.

Brown, the PGA Head Professional at Tam O’Shanter Club in Glen Head, New York, remarkably was 2 up over Ireland’s Damien McGrane through three holes despite pulling his opening tee shot into the woods to start a bogey-bogey-par stretch. McGrane rallied to win, 3 and 2.

Speight was 1 up standing on the 13th tee before England’s Robert Coles won the 15th and 16th holes and closed out a 1-up triumph by making a 12-foot birdie ahead of Speight, who had a tap-in birdie on the 18th green.     

Perry was 3 up through 11 holes against Scotland’s Christopher Currie, but managed a half-point for the group after halving with Scotland’s Christopher Currie. That match also resulted in GB&I securing the trophy with the minimum 13 points.

“We know before we arrived that we were going to be pitted against extremely talented teams. We knew they are stacked with good players  with a lot of experience on their home turf. So we have to play our absolute best golf. Anything less than that is not going to win,” said Perry, who made his second PGA Cup appearance and both overseas. “That is what we have to shoot for going forward. We gave it our best.”

The remainder of the afternoon was a methodical GB&I point parade. Twenty minutes after Perry’s match, Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon parred the 17th hole to ensure at least a halve with Paul Claxton of Claxton, Georgia, and an outright Cup triumph.   

“I hit a great second shot in – one of the best I’ve hit all week, but it went too long and I left myself the tricky chip,” said Hutcheon. “I managed to knock it down. But I’m glad no one told me it was for the official victory because I might have missed it!  it is absolutely brilliant. At my age, I’m never going to get on a Ryder Cup team, so it’s absolutely the next best thing.”

England’s Matthew Cort downed Jamie Broce of Indianapolis, 2 and 1; Andrew Raitt of London beat Dave McNabb of Newark, Delaware, 4 and 3; reigning PGA Professional Champion Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas, halved with Wales’ Garry Houston; Ireland’s David Higgins closed out Adam Rainaud of Chester, Connecticut, 3 and 2; and England’s Phillip Archer rolled home a 12-foot birdie at 18 to defeat Matt Dobyns of Glen Head, New York, 1 up, and give GB&I its record 16th point.

A two-time PGA Professional Champion and PGA Head Professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, New York, Dobyns made his third PGA Cup trip. He capped the day with six birdies, six pars, and six bogeys.    

PGA of America President and U.S. Captain Paul Levy witnessed his team’s momentum wane on the back nine.  “GB&I came out and deserved the victory,” he said. “I congratulate Captain Albert and his team. They deserve the Cup.

“Today, our putting was giving us a challenge. You look at where we started slipping and it was mostly putting. It wasn’t like we were hitting the ball poorly. We just make the putts. It was the tale at the end of the tape.”

Levy, who served as Captain for the first time after two previous PGA Cup trips assisting past team leaders, said that this year’s Cup was memorable in many ways.   

“What a great experience,” he said. “These are people who will be your friends the rest of your life. There are great guys as well as being great PGA Professionals. Albert (MacKenzie) became a friend for life the last five days – a friend that I will have until the day I die. I think that says it all. He was a great leader and a great Captain.”

Berberian was making his rookie Cup appearance and his first trip overseas. He turned around his match with McDonnell by driving the 324-yard 10th green (for the second time of the weekend) and making a 15-foot eagle putt. He wasn’t finished, as he hit a 224-yard 3-iron to the par-4 14 hole and rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt.   

“It’s kind of funny the way these work,” said Berberian. “It’s almost like whatever happens in the first nine holes is pointless, because it’s almost always going to flip. When the teams are pretty equal, it’s almost seems like who gets on the board first, you are almost better off losing the first few holes and give him the momentum, get it away from you and get it back at the turn.

“I was excited to be out here and play good golf. I haven’t played this much golf in a while. I love match play and best-ball it doesn’t get better than that. I think that you get better with age and time.”         

MacKenzie said that he’s had over 250 conversations with 2015 GB&I Captain Jon Bevan about preparing for this year’s PGA Cup. Though Bevan and two members of his 2015 team were in Sunday’s gallery, the work and preparation was all MacKenzie’s handiwork.

“We had a good template in place,” said MacKenzie. “I’ve given this my all for the last year. It was always going to be the most enjoyable experience. But I can now sit back and fondly remember what happened this week. I can move the corners of my mouth north and hopefully they will stay there for many, many moons to come.”

The U.S. is 17-7-4 in the PGA Cup, and now 6-6-1 on the road.

28th PGA Cup
Foxhills Club & Resort
Longcross Course – Sept. 15-17
Ottershaw, Surrey, England

 
Sunday’s Singles
 
Damien McGrane, Kells, County Meath, Ireland (GB&I) def.
Mark Brown, Oyster Bay, N.Y. (USA), 3 and 2
 
Robert Coles, Romford, Essex, England (GB&I) def.
Josh Speight, Locust Hill, Va. (USA), 2 and 1
 
Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla. (USA) halved with
Christopher Currie, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland (GB&I)
 
 
Matthew Cort, Leicester, Leicestershire, England (GB&I) def.
Jamie Broce, Indianapolis, Ind., 2 and 1
 
Andrew Raitt, London, England (GB&I) def.
Dave McNabb, Newark, Del. (USA), 3 and 2
 
Rich Berberian Jr., Hooksett, N.H. (USA) def.
Chris McDonnell, Chichester, West Sussex, England (GB&I), 4 and 3
 
Paul Claxton, Claxton, Ga. (USA) halved with
Greig Hutcheon, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (GB&I)
 
Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas (USA) halved with
Garry Houston, Wrexham, Clywd, Wales (GB&I)
 
Phillip Archer, Warrington, Cheshire, England def.
Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y. (USA), 1 up
 
David Higgins, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland (GB&I) def.
Adam Rainaud, Chester, Conn. (USA), 3 and 2     
 
Great Britain & Ireland 7½     United States 2½
 
Final Total:   Great Britain & Ireland  16, United States 10

 

  Great Britain & Ireland – Captain: Albert MacKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

  W

  L

  H

  Pts

  Robert Coles, Romford, Essex, England                                     

  4

  1

  0

  4

  Christopher Currie, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland     

  3

  1

  1

3.5

  Andrew Raitt, London, England                                                 

  3

  1

  0

  3

  David Higgins, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland                          

  2

  2

  1

  2.5

  Damien McGrane, Kells, County Meath, Ireland                          

  2

  2

  1

  2.5

  Matthew Cort, Leicester, England                                               

  2

  2

  0

  2

  Phillip Archer, Warrington, Cheshire, England                             

  2

  2

  0

  2

  Greig Hutcheon, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland                 

  1

  1

  1

  1.5

  Gary Houston, Wrexham, Clwyd, Wales                                    

  1

  2

  1

  1.5

  Chris McDonnell, Chichester, West Sussex, England                 

  1

  2

  0

  1

 

 

 

 

 

  United States    Captain: Paul Levy

 

 

 

 

 

  W

  L

  H

  Pts

  Rich Berberian Jr., Hooksett, N.H

  3

  2

  0

  3

  Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla.           

  2

  2

  1

  2.5

  Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y.        

  2

  2

  1

  2.5

  Jamie Broce, Indianapolis, Ind.       

  2

  3

  0

  2

  Adam Rainaud, Chester, Conn.

  2

  3

  0

  2

  Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas             

  1

  1

  2

  2

Mark Brown, Oyster Bay, N.Y.        

  1

  2

  0

  1

Paul Claxton, Claxton, Ga.              

  1

  2

  0

  1

Josh Speight, Locust Hill, Va.         

  1

  3

  0

  1

Dave McNabb, Newark, Del.

0

3

0

0

Overall Results
Friday Morning Four-Balls

 
Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla. & Jamie Broce, Indianapolis, Ind.  (USA) def. Greig Hutcheon, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland & Damien McGrane, County Meath, Ireland (GB&I), 3 and 2
 
Rich Berberian Jr., Hooksett, N.H. & Adam Rainaud, Chester, Conn. (USA) def. Robert Coles, Romford, Essex, England & Chris McDonnell, Chichester, England (GB&I), 2 and 1
 
Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y. & Mark Brown, Oyster Bay, N.Y. (USA) def. Phillip Archer, Warrington, England & Andrew Raitt, London, England (GB&I), 2 up
 
Chris Currie, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland  & David Higgins, Killarney, Count Kerry, Ireland (GB&I) def. Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas & Paul Claxton, Claxton, Ga. (USA), 3 and 2
 
USA 3, Great Britain & Ireland 1
 
Friday Afternoon Foursomes
 
Matthew Cort, Leicester, Leicestershire, England &
Garry Houston, Wrexham, Clwyd, Wales def.
Dave McNabb, Newark, Del. &
Josh Speight, Locust Hill, Va., 2 up
 
Robert Coles, Romford, Essex, England &
Andrew Raitt, London, England def.
Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla. &
Jamie Broce, Indianapolis, Ind., 3 and 2
 
Phillip Archer, Warrington, Cheshire, England &
Christopher Currie, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland def.
Rich Berberian Jr., Hooksett, N.H. &
Adam Rainaud, Chester, Conn., 2 and 1
 
Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y. &
Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas
Halved with  
David Higgins, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland &
Damien McGrane, Kells, County Meath, Ireland
 
Great Britain & Ireland 3 ½    United States  1/2
 
Day 1 Total:  Great Britain & Ireland 4½    United States 3½
 
Saturday Morning Four-Balls
 
Christopher Currie & David Higgins (GB&I) def.
Rod Perry & Jamie Broce (USA), 4 and 3
 
Rich Berberian Jr. & Adam Rainaud (USA) def.
Matthew Cort & Garry Houston (GBI), 5 and 3
 
Chris McDonnell & Damien McGrane (GB&I) def.
Matt Dobyns & Mark Brown (USA), 2 and 1
 
Robert Coles & Greig Hutcheon (GB&I) def.  
Josh Speight & Dave McNabb (USA), 2 and 1
 
Great Britain & Ireland    3      United States  1  
 
Saturday Afternoon Foursomes
 
Paul Claxton & Jamie Broce (USA) def.
Matthew Cort & Garry Houston (GB&I), 1 up
 
Adam Rainaud & Rich Berberian Jr. (USA)  def.
Robert Coles & Andrew Raitt (GB&I), 2 up
 
Rod Perry & Josh Speight (USA) def.
Phillip Archer & Christopher Currie (GB&I), 3 and 2
 
Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y. & Omar Uresti,  Austin, Texas (USA) def.
David Higgins, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland & Damien McGrane, Kells, County Meath, Ireland (GB&I), 4 and 2
 
United States 3    Great Britain & Ireland 1                     
          
Day 2 Total:  Great Britain & Ireland   8 ½       United States  7 ½