GB&I reclaim Walker Cup at Aberdeen

2013 08 Walker Cup

Nigel Edwards' side prevail over the elements and strong US team

Home win: The GB&I side and captain Nigel Edwards (back centre) celebrate victory at Royal Aberdeen

The leading amateurs of Great Britain & Ireland stood firm amidst testing conditions at Royal Aberdeen to reclaim the Walker Cup from their American counterparts.

The 14-12 victory, which ends a series of three victories in a row for the United States, is the first GB&I win since 2003 and came against a formidable US side that included six of the world's top 10 amateur players.

Though Nigel Edwards' charges started the week as underdogs, GB&I went into the final afternoon singles with a commanding 10½ -5½ lead after winning three of the Sunday morning foursomes.

However, a typically resilient tilt from the US made for a tense finish with GB&I not reaching the elusive 13 ½ points needed to win back the trophy until England's Steven Brown claimed a half point in the sixth match.

Brown's crucial half sparked jubilant scenes on Aberdeen's 18th green as the Englsih Amateur champion was swamped by teammates and captain Edwards.

"I don't know what to think at the moment, it's just fantastic," a delighted Edwards said.

"The boys have been awesome all week. They've got a fantastic team spirit. We were not given much chance but I wasn't going to let my team think that they didn't have a chance.

"We always knew that this match wasn't going to be played on paper but around this golf course. I felt that we had a really good group of guys who would do the job."

The home side dominated throughout and held a 7-5 lead after Day 1. Wins in three of the four morning singles left them needing three points from the final 10 singles matches.

Despite the US winning the final session 6½ -3½ , GB&I held on to win. Edwards admitted to feeling the pressure but remained confident of victory.

"The Americans got off to a great start out there but our boys in the middle have done a great job all week. Yesterday afternoon when it looked a bit tough, they dug in and pulled out the stops. We've holed putts at the right time and we've manned up.

"We were close in Chicago in 2005 and then County Down in 2007, there was one point in it then which is one putt basically. It feels fantastic to win it back and we're going to enjoy it."

Speaking shortly after securing the winning half point, Brown revealed he had tried to stay focussed on his own singles game rather than the ebb and flow of the entire match.

"It's unbelievable, I'm just so happy. I didn't know it was coming down to me. I tried not to look because I didn't want it to make any difference but just that we won. We were all happy that we got picked but we all wanted to be on a winning Walker Cup team. To win is just unbelievable.

The 24-year-old also revealed that team spirit had been crucial to reclaiming the trophy.

"I didn't just want to win myself. I didn't care if I won four points or one point or no points if we won. That's all that mattered. We're a team. The team spirit has been unbelievable all week. We've been in it together and to actually win as a team is unbelievable."

Speaking afterwards, GB&I players paid tribute to their captain. Lytham Trophy winner Jack Senior, who holed a long putt from off the green for a vital half point on 18, said Edwards had fostered a positive mentality while laying the groundwork for the match.

"Preparation was unbelievable. I mean, his comments and everything, he just makes you feel so special, and makes you want to go out there and win for him. You don't want to go out there and win for yourself, you want to go out and win for your team. It's an unbelievable experience."

Scotland's Michael Stewart, who won his afternoon singles match against Pat Rodgers, added he had been privileged to play under Edwards.

"It's just that we've got the respect for Nigel, he's played in this event and he's done so well. We hang on every word he says really. The motivation in the team room has been great. It's just a pleasure playing with him as a captain."

The next Walker Cup match is scheduled for September 7-8 2013 at The National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York - the venue of the first ever Walker Cup.

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