SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Great Britain & Ireland struck quickly Friday morning, capturing three of the first four fourball matches to stake a 3-1 lead over the United States in the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle.
It marked the first time since 1994 that Great Britain & Ireland had dominated the opening-day’s first session of matches in the premier international competition for PGA Club Professionals.
“It’s part one of five,” said GB&I Captain Jon Bevan of Wales, referring to the number of sessions in the PGA Cup over three days. “It’s one down and four to go, but the great thing is that I have a team of players here who all believe in each other. They are all reliable, solid individuals – it’s just me that’s struggling to stay calm!”
America’s bid to retain possession of the Llandudno International Trophy got off to a slow start as a pair of Englishmen, Michael Watson and Cameron Clark, bested a pair of Metropolitan Section aces, Matt Dobyns and Ben Polland, 3 and 2.
“They played really nicely. Really the story was the putting,” said Dobyns. “They made some putts outside of 20 feet and we didn’t do that, and that's how the match went as it did.”
The Scottish duo of Graham Fox and David Dixon won the morning’s second match, 2 and 1, at the expense of Bob Sowards and Jamie Broce, both of whom call Ohio home. The match opened with halves on each of the initial five holes and Broce’s eagle at the 540-yard sixth hole gave the American tandem their first lead.
Fox’s birdie on the seventh hole, however, turned the tide as the Scots won five of six holes to go 4 up.
“Graham hit a great shot on No. 7, and it kind of stalled us,” said Broce, who later conceded that their opponents “definitely scored the ball better than we did.”
It took all 18 holes, but Sean Dougherty and Omar Uresti posted America’s lone point in the best played match of the morning, winning 1 up over Lee Clark and Paul Hendriksen. Dougherty and Uresti combined on five birdies and a pair of eagles.
“Pars weren’t very good out there today. You had to make birdies,” said Dougherty.
Uresti added, “I made a couple of bombs. He (Dougherty) hit a couple of good wedge shots and then made some good 12-footers. It was a little bit of everything. We ‘brother-in-lawed it’ pretty well.”
Thanks to seven birdies from Jason Levermore and Gareth Wright, GB&I won the final match of the morning, 3 and 2, over Alan Morin and Grant Sturgeon.
The storyline rang familiar according to Morin, who lamented that they “had plenty of chances, but just kept burning the edges. They converted more of their birdies than we did.”
Despite the deficit, U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski remained upbeat. “We know things can turn around quickly, we’ve seen it happen at so many different competitions.”
Friday Morning Four-Balls
Michael Watson, Dorset, England & Cameron Clark, West Midlands, England def. Ben Polland, Manhasset, N.Y. & Matt Dobyns, Glen Head, N.Y., 3 and 2
Graham Fox, Glasgow, Scotland & David Dixon, Somerset, England def. Bob Sowards, Dublin, Ohio & Jamie Broce, Ottawa Hills, Ohio, 2 and 1
Omar Uresti, Austin, Texas & Sean Dougherty, Leawood, Kan. def. Lee Clarke, Nottinghamshire, England & Paul Hendriksen, Devon, England, 1 up
Jason Levermore, Essex, England & Gareth Wright, Peeblesshire, Scotland def. Alan Morin, Royal Palm Beach, Florida & Grant Sturgeon, Port Chester, New York, 3 and 2
Morning Session Total: Great Britain & Ireland 3, USA 1