Walker Cup win first for U.S. since 1997

WHEATON, Ill. -- Jay Overton gave the United States its
first Walker Cup victory since 1997, beating Nigel Edwards 1-up in
the deciding match in the Americans' 12½-11½ triumph over Britain
and Ireland on Sunday at historic Chicago Golf Club.
"I'm so proud of my team," U.S. captain Bob Lewis said. "The
players acted like a team. It's the way you want to dream about
going out as a captain."
Overton, the Big Ten champion this year as senior at Indiana,
two-putted from 20 feet on the 18th hole to secure the title after
Edwards missed a 25-foot birdie try.
"I don't even know what to think yet," Overton said. "Michael
Putnam and I waited all summer to turn pro to play in this. Man, it
was worth it."
Britain and Ireland had won the last three matches in the
biennial competition, topping the United States 12½-11½ in 2003 at
Ganton Golf Club in England.
Overton, 3-1 in the two-day competition, sealed the victory
after Britain halved two matches and won a third at the 18th hole
to stay alive.
Oliver Fisher, the youngest player in Walker Cup history at 16,
made an 18-foot birdie putt to halve his match with Putnam, and
Robert Dinwiddie holed a 25-foot birdie chip to earn another
half-point against Matt Every. Lloyd Saltman then made a 20-footer
for birdie to beat Kyle Reifers 1-up.
"To make that putt shows some guts," Putnam said. "I had two
really good matches with him. For a 16-year-old, he's pretty
Overton was watching the scoreboard closely.
"You start thinking about it a little bit," said Overton, who
lost the first three holes against Edwards before rallying for the
Brian Harman and Lee Williams also won singles matches for the
United States. The 18-year-old Harman, the youngest player in U.S.
team history, routed Rhys Davies 6 and 5, and Williams beat Gary
Lockerbie 4 and 3.
"I'm a gamer. I will always be there," Harman said. "I played
my heart out and that's what can happen."
In the other singles matches, six-time Walker Cup player Gary
Wolstenholme beat Anthony Kim 1-up, and Matthew Richardson topped
John Holmes 5 and 4.
The teams split the morning alternate-shot matches.
Kim and Harman beat Saltman and Richie Ramsay 4 and 2, and
Holmes and Nicolas Thompson edged Fisher and Richardson 2 and 1.
Harman hit the shot of the day in the morning matches, a
245-yard 3-wood that stopped within a foot on the par-5 16th hole.
"Anthony said I should hit it to the middle of the green,"
Harman said. "I told him I have to go right at it. As soon as I
hit it, I said, 'Go in."'
For Britain and Ireland, Davies and Edwards beat Every and
Williams 2 and 1, and Lockerbie and Dinwiddie defeated Overton and
Putnam 5 and 3.
The 44-year-old Wolstenholme broke the British and Ireland
scoring record with his singles victory. He has scored 10 points,
one more than Michael Bonallack.
"It crossed my mind as I stood over that last putt,"
Wolstenholme said. "Fortunately, despite the jitters, I managed to
pull through. Being the point leader was an ambition of mine, but
hopefully that's not the end of it."

The matches, first played in 1922, are named in honor of
former USGA president George Herbert Walker, President Bush's
great-grandfather. The 1928 matches also were played at Chicago
Golf Club, with playing captain Bobby Jones leading the United
States to an 11-1 victory. ... The 2007 matches will be played at
Royal County Down in Ireland and the 2009 event is set for Merion
in Ardmore, Pa.