- GB&I hit record points total to defeat USA at Lytham
- The match was over after four singles matches
- Paul Dunne holes putt for a half on 18 to secure win
Great Britain & Ireland reached a record 16.5 points as they dominated an arguably stronger USA team to clinch the 45th Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Holding a 10-6 lead after the Sunday morning foursomes, GB&I ensured any hopes their American opponents had of mounting a comeback were dashed as they came out of the blocks firing with three wins and a half in the first four matches to ensure they got the three-and-a-half points required for victory.
Ashley Chesters, who at 26 was the elder statesman of the GB&I team, led from the front in every session and defeated Open Championship Silver Medal winner Jordan Niebrugge 3&1 to set the tone.
"We have won and it’s great to get the trophy back" - Ashley Chesters
After a short break, the next two-and-a-half points came in very quick succession, with Cormac Sharvin beating Mike McCoy 4&3 in match four, Jimmy Mullen seeing off Denny McCarthy to 3&2 in match three, before all attentions turned to the 18th green, where Paul Dunne secured that all-important half in a ding-dong battle with world No.2 Maverick McNealy.
"Nigel obviously put me there to get some points early and I managed to do that for him," said Chesters, who along with Mullen, Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and Gary Hurley plans to turn professional.
"I have done it most of the year for England, I did it last year in the St Andrews Trophy for GB&I and I did it for Europe in the Bonallack Trophy so it is the same as that. I have got no problem going out first at all. We have won and it’s great to get the trophy back."
The confirmation of the win didn't signal an end to the action, though, as Scotland's Ewen Ferguson whipped the crowd into a frenzy, squaring his match with Beau Hossler with a chip in from off the green at the 17th hole. The Bearsden teenager had found himself 3DN through 13 holes, but managed to square the tie before losing on the last to an impressive birdie from the American.
Elsewhere, Grant Forrest and Hurley beat Scott Harvey and Hunter Stewart respectively, Jack McDonald halved his match against Lee McCoy, as did Jack Hume against Robby Shelton, while US Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau completed the biggest win over the two days in the final match, comfortably seeing off Moynihan 6&5.
The victory is GB&I’s fifth in the last six Walker Cups to be played on home soil. It also makes Nigel Edwards only the second GB&I captain to win the match twice, following in the footsteps of amateur golf legend Peter McEvoy.
"We wanted to do something very special," said Edwards. "But clearly, you can't always control the outcome, and certainly you can't control what the other team does.
"They're a great bunch of lads and they deserve the success" - Nigel Edwards
"I just kept reminding the players that it would have to be about them, about them as individuals. At times they had to be very selfish, but at times they had to be part of the team. When I was telling Grant and Ewen they weren't playing in the foursomes, that wasn't an easy conversation for me because they are both class players.
"It was a great week, a tremendous performance in every session. There were some matches where the players had to dig really deep and they proved crucial. They're a great bunch of lads and they deserve the success."
Meanwhile, US captain John 'Spider' Miller said he couldn't be disappointed with his team's efforts.
"I don’t think we handed them anything," he said. "I think they went out and played well, very well, and they won it. I’d feel bad if we were three-putting and giving them holes. I think our guys played well. They just played very well. They outplayed us and earned it.”
The Walker Cup :: Record win!
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