Gannon predicts tight finish

By Brian Keogh

Irish great Mark Gannon is predicting another dramatic Walker Cup finale this weekend.

The County Louth man, who is one of the Great Britain and Ireland selectors, expects the matches to come down to the wire for the third time on the trot.

Since GB&I romped to successive 15-9 wins in 1999 and 2001, there was never been more than a point in it.

And Gannon expects more of the same this time around, despite the fact that the hosts have won four of the last six matches.

He said: "It is the best team we could have picked and like most of the last few Walker Cup matches it is going to be very tight.

"There will be very little in it and it could come down to the last few singles on Sunday afternoon."

Gannon watched the US squad in action when the touched down his home club on Sunday for a practice session.

And he expects them to take some beating at Royal County Down over the weekend with little or no wind forecast by the weathermen.

He said: "We had the American team here in County Louth on Sunday and a lot of them are very strong players.

"I think the fact that conditions are going to be good could give the Americans a slight advantage.

"It would be a different story if there was a strong wind blowing at Newcastle but the forecast is for light winds so far.

"It will come down to the wire and hopefully it will. It should be tremendously exciting on Sunday afternoon."

Great Britain and Ireland are 4-6 favourites with the bookies to win back the trophy with the US rated 7-5.

The odds on a tie are 9-1 and if that happens the US will retain the famous old trophy.

Great Britain and Ireland clinched a hat-trick of victories with a 12 1/2 to 11 1/2 win at Ganton in 2003.

But the US took the cup for the first time since 1997 when they won by the same margin in Chicago two years ago.

Since the Walker Cup was first played in 1922, the US leads the series 32-7 with one match halved.