PGA Cup: GB&I make history with final putt on final hole
Club professionals from across GB&I came together to make history in epic fashion this weekend as for the first time they won the PGA Cup on American soil.
GB&I had won the Llandudno Trophy just five times in 26 attempts, but former Rhos-on-Sea professional Jon Bevan and his team refused to let that stop them, claiming a 13½ to 12½ victory at CordeValle, California.
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“All week I’ve been calm, which suggests to me that I had total belief in my guys while respecting the talent of the opposition,” said Bevan. “I’m proud of every one of them. They gave everything and they have left everything in CordeValle. There’s nothing left.
‘They gave everything and they left everything in CordeValle. There’s nothing left’ “It gets rid of that thing that we’re not competitive or this event doesn’t mean anything. Our PGA pros are a class above, as are the US guys. We’ve watched the highest standard of golf here.”
With the scores tied, the event came down to the final match between Dublin’s Niall Kearney and Alan Morin, of Florida. Morin parred the final hole, but Kearney got up and down for birdie to spark scenes of delight – which included throwing captain Bevan into a pond.
“That is probably the best putt I’ve holed in my career,” said Kearney, who helped the visitors to a 5½ to 4½ victory in the final singles session, despite being down in five of the top seven matches at some stage.
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The afternoon turned when Clydeway’s Graham Fox holed a 45-footer at the 11th to punctuate a burst of five consecutive birdies.
Fox said: “We’ve all tried our guts out this week and I said to assistant captain Albert MacKenzie, ’tell the other guys I’ve birdied five holes in a row’, because if I could do it, so could they.”
Just hours after the Solheim Cup controversy over a conceded putt left players on both teams in tears, a similar situation unfolded in a singles match between Enmore Park’s David Dixon and Texas-based Stuart Deane.
Dixon, a former European Tour winner, thought he’d been conceded a three-inch putt on the 13th and picked his ball up, but Deane said that hadn’t been the case.
However, unlike at the Solheim Cup, US captain Allen Wronowski stepped in to defuse the situation, and immediately decided to conceded the 14th hole without it being played.
“We always say that someone will walk away without the trophy, but the ultimate winner always has to be golf,” said Wronowski, who was well aware of the incident at the Solheim Cup.
Dixon, who went on to win 4&3, said the incident had angered him. He added: “It was a blatantly deliberate act of bad sportsmanship as the referee had already said the hole had been halved in 4s. Fair play to the US team captain for giving the hole back – that was really cool – but it was much to Deane’s disgust.”
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GB&I had gone into the final day trailing 4½ to 3½ and were denied the lead after the morning session by Onion Creek Omar Uresti, who finished birdie-birdie-eagle.
However, Bevan’s team weren’t to be denied and 5½ points from a possible 10 on the final day saw them clinch the biennial competition for only the second time since 1986.