Walker Cup underdog Britain-Ireland can win if we 'play our best:' Lewis

tom lewis
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Tom Lewis excelled at the British Open, then remained an amateur specifically to play in the Walker Cup.
PA Sport

Series: Other Tour

Published: Friday, September 09, 2011 | 6:06 p.m.

The United States starts as the strong favorite for the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen this weekend, but Britain and Ireland's star Tom Lewis believes an upset could be in the cards.

"We just have to respect them and play our game,” said Lewis, the 20-year-old who led the British Open after a record-breaking 65 in July. "If we can play our best, then we'll come away with a win. If we don't, it's just going to be a struggle."


The U.S. Walker Cup team is going for its fourth win a row after breaking a three-match winning streak by Britain-Ireland.

The Welwyn Garden player resisted the temptation to switch to the professional ranks straight after what happened at Royal St. George’s.

"Walker Cup was my main goal as an amateur and it would have been silly to have turned," he added. "I had a struggle a couple of weeks after the Open, so I'm pleased I stayed. If I had turned pro then I would have made a big mistake.

"I thought about it definitely, but then I only had one good round. From leading after one round to finishing 30th isn't good enough,” he explained. "Certain things benefited me by turning and certain things benefited me to stay an amateur."

He is expected to make his European Tour debut in Austria in two weeks, hoping to achieve what Rory McIlroy did in 2007 by earning enough from a few invitations to bypass the qualifying school.

The American line-up this weekend includes six of the world's top 10 amateurs.

"Obviously, they are always going to be strong,” Lewis said. “Their country is 50 times the size of ours."

With Sunday being the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in America, U.S. Captain Jim Holtgrieve said that his side will wear special hats and he will also be reading them a letter from former President George Bush.

"The hat was designed with a few of my golfing friends from the United States who lost two sons and lost several employees,” he said. “It's a special day and the team is obviously aware of it."

Lewis leads the home side off in both foursomes and singles on the opening day, and each time he will face last year's U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein -- the player he beat for the leading amateur prize at the British Open.