Kearney impressed by PGA Cup venue

SAN MARTIN, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Captain Jon Bevan poses with his Great Britain & Ireland team prior to the start of the 27th PGA Cup at CordeValle on September 16, 2015 in San Martin, California.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney was impressed by the venue as the Great Britain & Ireland’s PGA Cup team put CordeValle’s Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout under the microscope ahead of their bid to regain the Llandudno Trophy, writes the PGA.

Jon Bevan’s side walked the back nine of the California course en masse to plot strategies ahead of the contest, paying particular attention to the greens.

At 7,252 yards, CordeValle might be generous off the tees but failure to put the ball in the right place on the greens can leave virtually impossible putts.

Kearney for one has been impressed with the track which next year will host the US Women’s Open.

“It’s very generous off the tee but the greens are sloping and it’s really tough to make birdies out there, it really is,” he said.

“I think it is going to be solid shooting that is going to win matches out there, guys that can be consistent, really goring it out. It’s tough to shoot fireworks out there.”

Enmore Park’s David Dixon echoed Kearney’s sentiments with the European Tour winner placing a premium on strategy.

“The greens are crucial. You’ve got to have the ball in the right spot. If you don’t think smart you’ll end up losing holes,” he said.

Team spirit in the GB&I camp has been high all week with Dixon’s steady stream of one liners and laid-back approach complementing his easy, big-hitting style.

“I’m not really one of those guys who gets revved up, I am on the inside because I want to win but I don’t show too much emotion and keep things level. Playing for nine other guys, every shot counts. I love it.

“I used to let emotions get the better of me but you learn as you get older that the percentage of bad to good shots normally outweighs the good so you have to work smart. It’s about making a score, not hitting a glory shot.”

One man enjoying the week is Jason Levermore after an inauspicious start to his PGA Cup career when paramedics met him off the plane at San Francisco after he’d been laid low by a bout of food poisoning.

The Channels head pro is showing no ill effects and remains his upbeat self with total confidence in his own ability.

“I think all the players do have a belief, me personally, I do think if we play well we’ve got every chance of a win. I don’t think anyone in our team thinks they are any better than us. We know what we are capable of.”

For team captain, Bevan, the looming Friday fourballs mark the end of months of pain-staking preparations.

His stress levels and caffeine intake have rocketed since arriving in America but the Rhos on Sea Golf Club pro wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Everything is where we want it to be,” he said.

“There are a few great sayings but ‘winners truly believe’ suggests that if you approach anything with the right attitude, whatever is facing you, you can get the better of.

“The team know what is coming, from tee to green they’ve been very impressive and around the greens have got better each day. 

“The pressure and stress has built but I love it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Since we’ve been here I’ve had so little sleep but there is plenty of coffee to keep me going and I’m very proud to be in this position.”

The 2015 GB&I PGA Cup team

  • Cameron Clark (Moor Hall) 
  • Lee Clarke (Beeston Fields) 
  • David Dixon (Enmore Park), 
  • Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf), 
  • Paul Hendriksen (Ivybridge), 
  • Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), 
  • Jason Levermore (Channels), 
  • Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre), 
  • Gareth Wright (West Linton) 
  • Alex Wrigley (Hartlepool).

The US team

  • Michael Block (Arroyo Trabuco), 
  • Jamie Broce (University of Toledo), 
  • Stuart Deane (University of Texas), 
  • Matt Dobyns (Fresh Meadow), 
  • Sean Dougherty (Oakwood Country Club), 
  • Alan Morin (The Falls Country Club), 
  • Ben Polland (Deepdale), 
  • Bob Sowards (New Albany), 
  • Grant Sturgeon (Winged Foot)
  • Omar Uresti (PGA Life Member).