Defending Champion Great Britain & Ireland strikes back to grab 7-5 lead in Day 2 of the 29th PGA Cup
By Bob Denney
PGA of America
AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 28, 2019) – Great Britain & Ireland wasted little time Saturday morning in flipping its fortunes around in the 29th PGA Cup. After going to bed Friday night trailing by two points, the defending champion in the international showcase for PGA Club Professionals powered to a 4-0 shutout of the Americans at Fazio Foothills Course.
In building a 7-5 lead, GB&I also made history for itself at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, becoming the first to register a session shutout on American soil. GB&I now needs six points to clinch a third consecutive Llandudno Trophy, which also would be a series first for the talented visitors.
The momentum swung quickly, with England’s Robert Coles and Alex Wrigley’s 7 and 6 rout of Ben Cook of Caledonia, Michigan, and Ben Kern of Round Rock, Texas.
It was a major rebound for Coles, a PGA Professional at Maylands Golf and Country Club in Essex, England, who was 4-1-0 in 2017. On Friday, Coles partnered with Alastair Forsyth to lose a three-hole lead to Cook and Kern. It resulted in a tied match.
“It was a tough day yesterday and we fell behind a little, but to get out there and really put one to them was fantastic,” said Coles. “We’re a step of the way closer but it was nice to contribute a point. Alex (Wrigley) was fantastic this morning so it’s nice to play with him.
“I think it’s a different game when you can get the shots in and put them under pressure. We played well on the front nine, I think we were nine-under-par through nine holes. We dovetailed well, Alex played great and I made some birdies, so it was good.”
The sour afternoon for the U.S. included a 3 and 2 loss by the previously unbeaten duo of Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio and Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska. They fell to England’s Jason Levermore and Richard Wallis, who closed the match with birdies on Holes 12, 14 and 15.
Reigning PGA Professional Champion Alex Beach of Stamford, Connecticut and Jason Caron of Greenlawn, New York, fell 1 up to England’s Matt Cort and Jordan Godwin. Cort, a PGA Teaching Professional at Beedles Lake in Leicester, England, is 3-0-0 through three sessions.
The Scottish pairing of Alastair Forsyth and Paul O’ Hara combined for 10 birdies on the way to a 1-up triumph, keeping Danny Balin of Irvington, New York and Marty Jertson of Phoenix, Arizona winless in two outings this weekend.
“There’s a lot of golf left,” said Jertson, the Vice President of Fitting and Performance for PING Golf. ”The first two days are like positioning and the singles have a lot of points out there. The golf is good out here!”
Said Balin, the PGA Head Professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, New York, “We had 10 birdies made on us and almost that many (eight, plus an eagle) yesterday. Not much you can do.”
Coles and Wrigley finished a combined 9-under-par. Wrigley, a PGA Teaching Professional at Hartlepool Golf Club in Durham, England, closed the match by holing out of a greenside bunker for eagle on the 259-yard, par-4 12th hole.
“To come out, win big and get a bit of a rest at lunch is important in this heat. It was a great morning,” said Coles.
The 29th PGA Cup features Saturday afternoon foursomes and closes with 10 singles matches on Sunday. The U.S. holds a 17-7-4 overall lead in the series, and has not won possession of the Llandudno Trophy since 2013.