July 11, 2002
Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland -
Great Britain and Ireland jumped out to a quick start in the 2002 Palmer Cup presented by Pennzoil winning two matches in the morning four-ball competition. The United States rallied however, winning the third and fourth matches of the breakfast session.
Andy Smith and Justin Walters posted the first point for GB&I as they soundly defeated Ryan Hybl and Lee Williamson, 6 and 4. Despite making birdie on the first two holes, Smith and Walters trailed 1-down through the fifth hole. The GB&I duo turned things around shortly thereafter, and following a chip-in by Smith on No. 9, led 3-up.
"We,re excited to get the team off to a good start," said Walters. Smith echoed his comments, saying, "It's important to get momentum going early on - for us and the team."
While Smith and Walters spurred the momentum by running away with their match, the other faced difficult 18-hole matches.
Philip Rowe and Oliver Wilson defeated Brock Mackenzie and Nick Watney, 1-up to earn the second point for GB&I. The Englishmen never trailed in the match, but were never more than 2-up.
"It was tough going out there," said Rowe. "The entire match was just back-and-forth, back-and-forth."
GB&I led the final two matches 1-up through 15 holes and, it appeared that the Americans were in danger of being swept. However, both USA duos came back to win two of the final three holes and win their matches 1-up.
"We had a touch match," said D.J. Trahan. "Stuart (Wilson) played steady all day, and (Justin) Kehoe putted lights-out all day, which really hurt us the most. We just kept grinding it out and were able to turn it on at the end."
The Palmer Cup continues this afternoon with foursomes (alternate shot) matches. While the teams peppered the course with birdies this morning, some anticipate the scores to climb during foursomes.
"I expect the scores to be a little higher this afternoon," said Rowe, a four-time Palmer Cup player. "(Foursomes) is such a different game. It,s difficult to get into a rhythm in alternate shot format. You may play twelve holes before you pull your driver out of the bag."
- The Palmer Cup is the first official competition at this new links. The matches are part of Doonbeg's grand opening celebration, which included an exhibition between designer Greg Norman and Irishman Padraig Harrington on Tuesday.
- The last time the Palmer Cup was hosted by Great Britain and Ireland, Team GB&I defeated the U.S. 12.5 to 11.5.
-The United States has yet to win the Palmer Cup when GB&I hosts (tie in 1998, loss in 2000).
- This is the first time the matches have been contested in Ireland.
- The United States leads the series 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie.
Four-ball Matches Results
Doonbeg Golf Club, County Clare, Ireland
Thursday, July 11, 2002
Game 1 8 a.m. GB&I Philip Rowe and Oliver Wilson
def. USA Brock Mackenzie and Nick Watney, 1-up
Game 2 8:10 a.m. GB&I Andy Smith and Justin Walters
def. USA Ryan Hybl and Lee Williamson, 6 and 4
Game 3 8:20 a.m. USA John Klauk and Hunter Mahan
def. GB&I Geoff Harris and Stuart Manley, 1-up
Game 4 8:30 a.m. USA Bill Haas and D.J. Trahan
def. GB&I Justin Kehoe and Stuart Wilson, 1-up
Team Points: GB&I 2
courtesy of the GCAA