SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Great Britain & Ireland evened up the 27th PGA Cup, 6-6, by winning 2½ of the four points available in Saturday morning’s four fourball matches.
GB&I’s Gareth Wright and Jason Levermore pocketed the first point of the morning, defeating Michael Block and Stuart Deane, 3 and 2. One down after 10 holes, GB&I birdied 5 of the next 6 holes close out the match.
Niall Kearney’s birdie on the final hole continued the momentum for GB&I in Match #2, as Kearney and Alex Wrigley edged Matt Dobyns and Ben Polland, 1 up. Kearney’s birdie on 16 was also pivotal, as GB&I’s lone 20-somethings won two of the final three holes to steal the point.
”Alex was carrying me for the first nine holes and I managed to find a bit of game at the end,” said Kearney in a modest tone. “He was brilliant out there. (Holes) 16 and 18 were big, but Alex got us to that point.”
With the Scottish duo of Graham Fox and David Dixon massaging a 3-up lead with just three holes left in the morning’s third match, Omar Uresti took matters into his own hands. Uresti closed birdie–birdie-eagle on holes 16-18 to salvage a much-needed half point for the USA. The comeback was not complete, however, until Uresti buried an 18-foot eagle putt on 18.
“It was determination and a little extra focus,” said Uresti, a PGA Life Member. “Sean hit a nice drive on 18, freeing me up to hit a nice drive. I was 238 (yards) to the hole into a slight breeze. Graham (Fox) laid up and David (Dixon) hit into the bunker. I said, ‘All right, I’ve got to knock it on the green.’ It was actually pretty good distance for my cut 3-wood. It landed perfectly on the right fringe. I hit the putt where I wanted to.”
“Omar has been an incredible asset to the team, not only what he brings with experience, but also the team spirit and excitement,” said PGA Honorary President and U.S. Captain Allen Wronowski. “That was a huge lift for our team. You could just see our people walking taller.”
Uresti’s three-hole charge kept him and his playing partner Sean Dougherty undefeated on the week at 2-0-1.
In the fourth and final match of the morning, Alan Morin and Grant Sturgeon won easily, 4 and 2, over Michael Watson and Paul Hendriksen. Six Sturgeon birdies rendered hole wins.
Already two up, the Morin-Sturgeon tandem carded four consecutive birdies on Holes 8-11 to take firm control of the match. The result signaled sweet redemption for Morin and Sturgeon, who lost their lone match on Friday.
Sturgeon confirmed the sense of relief, “I just wanted to get on the board. We were the only two guys who didn’t get at least a half-point yesterday. Today, we got up (early) and then took advantage of it and kept moving forward.”
The last time the PGA Cup was tied, 6-6, after Saturday morning play was 2007 at The Oconee Course at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia.
Saturday Morning Fourballs
MATCH #1: Gareth Wright & Jason Levermore (GB&I) def. Michael Block & Stuart Deane (USA), 3 and 2
MATCH #2: Niall Kearney & Alex Wrigley (GB&I) def. Matt Dobyns & Ben Polland (USA), 1 up
MATCH #3: Omar Uresti & Sean Dougherty (USA) halved with Graham Fox & David Dixon (GB&I)
MATCH #4: Alan Morin & Grant Sturgeon (USA) def. Michael Watson & Paul Hendriksen (GB&I), 4 and 2
Morning Session Total: Great Britain & Ireland 2½, USA 1½
Overall PGA Cup Total: USA 6, Great Britain & Ireland 6