Walker Cup

United States of America storm to Walker Cup victory at home of golf

The R&A
02 Sep 23
3 mins

The United States of America has won the 49th Walker Cup after defeating Great Britain and Ireland 14½-11½ at St Andrews.

The Americans rekindled memories of their last away win at Royal Liverpool in 2019 with another stunning second day singles display to reverse a three-point overnight deficit and secure victory at the Old Course. Mike McCoy’s team trailed 7½-4½ going into day two, but handled the windy conditions over the links superbly to triumph against Stuart Wilson’s GB&I side. It was the fourth consecutive win for the USA in the biennial international match and they now lead the overall series 39-9-1. A total of 14,320 fans attended the weekend’s match at the home of golf. “They just played hard, right to the bitter end,” said a delighted McCoy, whose side featured eight of the top-ten players on the World Amateur Golf Ranking®. “I had a lot of confidence in them. Nick Dunlap fighting through to get that half point was huge and, of course, Caleb (Surratt) led us off. They all played great. “All the credit to Stuart and his team, they really fought hard as well. It was, I think, an epic Walker Cup.”


It was a morning that belonged to the visitors in the foursomes. McCoy’s side were desperate for a fast start and they achieved it in the sunny and breezy conditions. At one point over the opening nine holes, they were up in all four matches. The USA eventually secured the session 3-1, with only the Irish duo of Liam Nolan and Mark Power victorious for GB&I after their 4&3 triumph included four birdies in their last five holes against Dylan Menante and Austin Greaser. In the opening match, Caleb Surratt and Ben James triumphed 2&1 against John Gough and Matthew McClean. A key moment came at the 12th when Gough found a gorse bush with his drive and the lost ball saw GB&I trail by two holes. When the USA duo birdied the next, they stood firm to close out the tie. Preston Summerhays and Nick Gabrelcik were also 2&1 victors against James Ashfield and Alex Maguire, helped by a three-up lead established in the opening six holes as the home team struggled. GB&I were back to one down after the USA bogeyed the par-5 14th, but their bridie at the 16th proved decisive.

Gordon Sargent - United States of America

"Obviously the difference between one half point and one full point is a big deal. To go 4-0 is really special, and it definitely means a lot.”

Vital morning for the USA

Gordon Sargent was vital to the one-hole win for the Americans in match two, inflicting a first defeat on Calum Scott and Connor Graham. He secured his third win of the weekend to highlight why he is the world’s number one male amateur golfer. The 20-year-old holed vital six feet putts at the 16th and 18th as he and US Amateur champion Dunlap celebrated in front of a huge crowd on the final hole. “After the morning session, I felt a lot better, said McCoy. “I felt like we really were back in the tournament. We held on during the morning match and we had a chance to win this thing. “Last night I was pretty concerned. The morning’s historically are not our strong suit. The guys played great. Really the morning I think was the thing that made the day.”

Dominant singles

Surratt drew the USA level at 8½-8½ after defeating Scott 3&2 in the first singles match. The American edged ahead early in the match, winning the 2nd hole and was three -up by the 14th after clinching it with a birdie. Despite dropping a hole back with a bogey on the 15th, Surratt showed his class to see the match out with another birdie at the next hole. Stewart Hagestad nudged the away team ahead for the first time in the afternoon session after beating Graham 3&2. The Walker Cup veteran held off the advances of the Scottish debutant to close out the encounter with wins on the 15th and 16th holes to give the USA a 9½- 8½ lead. The USA then turned up the heat t shortly after as Dunlap fought back from being three down through 14 holes to take Barclay Brown down the last after winning the 15th and 16th, before securing a dramatic half point with a birdie on the 18th. Summerhays secured a full point after a convincing 4&3 performance against Ashfield to put his side 11-9 ahead overall. Sargent and Gough slugged it out in a close contest than swung back and forth with both players holding narrow leads throughout – the highlight coming on the 6th when the Englishman holed out from the fairway for an eagle two.

Mike McCoy - United States of America

“After the morning session, I felt a lot better. I felt like we really were back in the tournament. We held on during the morning match and we had a chance to win this thing."

Bigham hope

The match crucially swung the American’s way again on the 17th after Gough went out of bounds and lost the hole after a double bogey. The two players then matched each other with birdies at the 18th to give Sargent a narrow one-hole win and ensure a perfect 4-0 record in the match overall. “Just to get off to a good start individually and just kind of keep the momentum rolling was huge,” said Sargent. “Then yeah, obviously the difference between one half point and one full point is a big deal. To go 4-0 is really special, and it definitely means a lot.” Jack Bigham hauled GB&I back to within two points at 12-10 after an impressive 3&2 victory against Gabrelcik, before McClean and Menante halved their match to give both sides a share of the spoils. It was left to David Ford to win the match overall for the USA, draining a birdie putt on the 16th to seal a 3&2 win against Maguire to give his side an unassailable 13½-10½ lead. Power restored pride for the home side after coming out on top against James by one hole, but it was left to Greaser to put the icing on the cake with a 3&1 victory over Nolan. The USA won the singles 7-3 leave the final score 14½-11½. “We’re obviously disappointed,” said Wilson. “We had a nice lead this morning that we kind of let slide quite a bit in the foursomes. But I think the guys will be hurting the most because they'll know themselves and I'm sure they'll be feeling like they haven't turned up this afternoon in the way we know they can.

Home disappointment

“We always knew it was going to be a tight match. Like I say, everything went our way yesterday; six matches went up the last, and we got four-and-a-half points out of them. But you see all the momentum seemed to be on the US side today and things seemed to be going their way. Their players, to be fair, are a great side and they handled the conditions a lot better than our guys.” Irishman Power, who also played at Seminole in 2021, added, “That US team is unbelievably talented. We all knew how highly ranked they were and we tried to block it out, but I think they really showed their class this afternoon. “We gave it everything. Everyone wanted to do it for each other. Management, players were giving it everything.  We felt like we gave ourselves the absolute best chance to get it done. Unfortunately we just didn't quite have everything this afternoon. But it’s been an unbelievably memorable week. I'll take so much from this, my last amateur event.” For McCoy, he will always look back on a special week. “These are the guys who did it,” said the Iowa native. “I just drove the sunscreen around. Who thought we were going to need it?  It's pretty special. It's certainly the pinnacle of my golfing life.” The 50th Walker Cup Match is being held at Cypress Point, California in the USA in 2025, with Lahinch in Ireland staging the 2026 contest.