It was a day for heroes at CordeValle, California as Great Britain & Ireland’s PGA Cup lions roared back into contention against the might of America.
Jon Bevan’s team nicked the Saturday morning fourballs 2.5-1.5 and then under a scorching sun shared the foursomes to tie the match 8-8 going into the Sunday singles.
Among those to shine was Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney who bagged two points while Jason Levermore and Gareth Wright are unbeaten in four matches.
But there was plenty on the line as the third session neared its climax. Trailing in three matches as they hit the turn in the foursomes, GB&I displayed the kind of grit and determination exhibited by their captain in his PGA Cup playing days.
As a result they head into the Sunday singles with a realistic chance of making history with a first win on US soil.
Channels pro Levermore and Wright (West Linton) posted the first half point of the afternoon with another coming from Clydeway Golf’s Graham Fox and Enmore Park’s David Dixon. The latter had been dormie three in the morning fourballs and let that slip so were especially determined to make amends.
“We were fighting all the way, we had a couple of putts that didn’t run and we thought here we go again but I holed a good putt on 10 and that gave us momentum,” said Fox.
“It was a high standard match, it was a really important half. It was nice to not see another win go up against us.”
Dixon added: “We just didn’t give up. I didn’t know what to expect in the PGA Cup but it gets you’re blood flowing and makes you fight like mad. I’ve never fought so hard.”
Moor Hal’s Cameron Clark and Kearney also rose to the challenge with a 2&1 victory against Sean Dougherty and Grant Sturgeon. Clark did it in style too by holing a 50 foot putt on 16.
“After yesterday, we were licking our wounds, so just to go out and play well was important,” said Clark.
“This afternoon was just huge as we were a bit down in the team room after yesterday.”
In the other match Beeston Field’s Lee Clarke and Hartlepool’s Alex Wrigley went down 2&1 to Mike Block and Stuart Deane.
Afterwards Bevan reiterated his faith in his team.
“We set out this morning to win the day – which we managed to do – so we are back in the game,” said Bevan.
“We’re in a position of having a chance after two days. I’ve never stopped believing.
“We fully expected what our guys would give us today without underestimating what was coming our way.
“We’re good, the opposition are powerful and I’ve still got faith. The boys are getting stronger every day. There is still a lot of work to do but today was a small victory in an epic battle.”
In the morning fourballs, GB&I had wrestled back the momentum by winning the session 2.5-1.5 to leave the match perfectly poised at 6-6 going into the foursomes.
It was the perfect riposte after the disappointment of losing the Friday foursomes when they gleaned a solitary half point.
The PGA Cup, USA v Great Britain & Ireland, CordeValle, California, September 18-20
Overall Match Score after two days USA 8 GB&I 8
Day Two results: (Saturday, September 19)
Saturday Morning Fourballs (US first)
- M Block & S Deane lost to G Wright & J Levermore 3&2
- M Dobyns & B Polland lost to N Kearney & A Wrigley one hole
- O Uresti & S Dougherty halved with G Fox & D Dixon
- A Morin & G Sturgeon bt M Watson & P Hendriksen 4&2
Session Result USA 1½ GB&I 2½
Saturday Afternoon Foursomes
- B Sowards & J Broce halved with G Wright & J Levermore
- M Block & S Deane beat L Clarke & A Wrigley 2&1
- M Dobyns & B Polland halved with G Fox & D Dixon
- S Dougherty & G Sturgeon lost to C Clark & N Kearney 2&1
Session Result USA 2 GB&I 2
Day One results (Friday September 18)
Friday Morning Fourballs
M Dobyns & B Polland lost to M Watson & C Clark 3&2
Jamie Broce & Bob Sowards lost to Graham Fox & David Dixon 2&1
O Uresti & S Dougherty 1 beat L Clarke & P Hendriksen by one hole
A Morin & G Sturgeon lost to J Levermore & G Wright 3&2
GB&I 3 USA 1
Friday Afternoon Foursomes
- M Block & S Deane beat G Fox & D Dixon 4&3;
- M Dobyns & B Polland halved with J Levermore & G Wright
- O Uresti & S Dougherty beat N Kearney & A Wrigley 3&1
- B Sowards & JBroce beat C Clark & L Clark 8&7
Session result USA 3½ GB&I ½
End of day one result USA 4½ GB&I 3½