Anything can happen in 18-hole match play and probably will. So goes the old adage. It proved true in the 43rd Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen.
The Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team paid scant regard to the World Amateur Golf Ranking by upsetting a much stronger United States team.
The 10-man GB&I team might have been weaker on paper, but they upset the form book with a 14-12 victory to win the match for the first time since 2003, and the eighth time in the match’s history.
US captain Jim Holtgrieve turned up in Scotland with the world’s top four players in Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Rodgers and Peter Uihlein. Harris English and Chris Williams began the match as the number six and ten players respectively to give Holtgrieve six of the world’s top ten. It was arguably the strongest US Walker Cup team ever.
GB&I captain Nigel Edwards counted two players in the world top 10 in then world number five Andy Sullivan and Tom Lewis, seventh on the WAGR table. Yet Edward’s men stole the show.
Paul Cutler was the star of the GB&I team. The world number 25 won three and a half points out of four. However, 17-year-old Welshman Rhys Pugh turned out to be the surprise package. He won three points out of three to help the GB&I cause.
Pugh survived a birdie barrage from Rodgers in the opening singles. Rodgers birdied the first five holes, and six of the first seven to race to a three-hole lead. Yet Pugh should maturity beyond his years to take the match 2&1.
Pugh, who is just starting his first year at East Tennessee State University, moves up 12 places on this week’s WAGR table to number 63.
Sullivan and English swap places on this week’s ranking. English moves up to fifth to give the Unites States the top five players in the world.
England’s victory in the Women’s Home Internationals gives proof to the theory that youth dominates the women’s amateur game.
England won the round robin competition against Ireland, Scotland and Wales with a team that included five teenagers aged from 15-19.
Hillside Golf Club in Lancashire, England, venue for this year’s Amateur Championship, provided a stern test for the best amateurs of the British Isles. England came out on top to win the tournament for the first time since 2007.
The home side defeated Scotland and Wales by identical 6-3 scores, and then defeated Ireland 8-1 in the deciding match to take the title.
The England team of Holly Clyburn, Charlotte Ellis, Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Bronte Law Lauren Taylor, Kelly Tidy and Charlotte Wild took bragging rights among the four nations and helped improve their world ranking status into the bargain.
Fifteen-year old-Hull is the leading English woman on the World Amateur Golf Ranking at number 20. Taylor, who this year became the youngest winner of the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship at age 16, improves her ranking by five spots to 27. Both girls play their golf at Woburn, Ian Poulter’s home course.
Clyburn moves nine places on the WAGR table to 30th. Tidy leaps up 33 places to 81st. Law moves 52 spots to 86th.
Hull and Taylor aren’t the only Woburn golfers to shine on this week’s WAGR table. Harriet Beasley moves 415 places on this week’s WAGR to world number 1451 after winning the European Universities Championship in Slovenia. Beasley not only has Hull and Taylor to draw inspiration from, but former five-time Amateur Champion and former R&A secretary Sir Michael Bonallack. Beasley is Bonallack’s granddaughter.
You could say success runs in the family.