Saturday, September 17, 2011


Gary Brown and John Wells in action for GB and I in the PGA Cup match in California.

Great Britain and Ireland’s quest to regain the PGA Cup was dented on the first day after the United States swept to a commanding 6-2 lead at CordeValle, California.
The hosts edged a tightly contested morning fourball session 2 ½ - 1 ½ but surged ahead with a devastating display in the afternoon foursomes, routing Russell Weir’s team 3 ½ - 1/2.
Battling duo David Shacklady and Simon Edwards, out first, salvaged a half point on the last hole but GB and I require a huge change in fortunes on day two to haul themselves back into the match.
The last three pairings in the foursomes were emphatically dispatched 6 and 5, winning just one of 39 holes combined.
Weir, a veteran of eight PGA Cup appearances himself, will need to draw on all his experience to galvanise his side but insisted there was still a long way to go and believes the half point gleaned by Edwards and Shacklady could be crucial.
“That could help the momentum tomorrow, as I say it’s a long dance, there’s still 18 points to play for,” said.
“We’re not panicking, anything can happen in golf. The Americans are always strong, a few wee things happened that went against us today and hopefully we can turn that round. It is going to be difficult but it can be done.”
Edwards and Shacklady, who went down 2 and 1 at the hands of David Hutsell and Mark Sheftic in the morning four-balls, were upbeat after pegging back Brad Lardon and Sonny Skinner.
Mossock Hall pro Shacklady sealed the fightback with a brave three wood over water to find the par five 18th in two while Lardon’s approach bounced into the water.
“That was harder than hitting the opening tee shot, it was horrible but we had to go for it and it was just fortunate they got into a bit of trouble,” said Shacklady.
“It’s been a tough day but we came up against two strong sides. The general consensus is that the lads feel they haven’t holed their fair share of putts, that can’t continue, at some point that is going to change.”
Team-mate Edwards from Windermere Golf Club added: “We will regroup tonight and come out all guns blazing tomorrow and try and hole some putts.”
Ganton’s Gary Brown and Cherry Burton’s John Wells displayed true Yorkshire grit in the morning four-balls after coming from two down with four to play to win by one hole against Danny Balin and Scott Erdmann, the match turning on the back of a bunker shot by Brown on the 15th splashing out to two feet on a downhill slope.
“Scrap and grit, that’s all that got us through that,” said Wells. “They played better than us early doors and should have been four or five up.
“We didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance then Gary made that up and down on 15 and that turned the match.”
Minchinhampton’s Stuart Little and Exeter’s Chris Gill grabbed the other half but were disappointed to share the points after being one up on the 18th tee.
The day got worse when they lost to Balin and Scott Erdmann in the foursomes.
“We got off to a poor start, they got their momentum up and we never really got on the front foot and got battered,” said Little.
“But we’ve got two more days of golf and we know that is a lot in golf and a lot can happen.”
His partner Gill added: “It’s never nice to play poorly or get beaten but if you’re going to do it it’s best to do it on the first day of the tournament.
“Team spirit and morale is still good and maybe it is just America’s day to day.”
Rob Giles (Greenore) and Craig Goodfellow (Carlisle Driving Range) out last in the morning were denied a half in the fourballs when Rob McClellan birdied the 18 and America maintained the momentum in the afternoon to seize the initiative.
Giles stressed the need for improvement: “We made hard work of it for ourselves and it’s a hard game to play anyway so losing holes to pars isn’t good enough and they are good players.”

US names first
David Hutsell and Mark Sheftic bt Simon Edwards (Windermere) and David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) 3 and 2
Mike Small halved with Chris Gill (Exeter) and Stuart Little (Minchinhampton)
Danny Balin and Scott Erdmann lost to Gary Brown (Ganton) and John Wells (Cherry Burton) 1 hole.
Rob McClellan and Marty Jertson bt Craig Goodfellow (Carlisle Driving Range) and Robert Giles (Greenore) 1 hole.
USA 2½ Great Britain and Ireland 1½


Sonny Skinner and Brad Lardon halved with Edwards and Shacklady.
Hutsell and Sheftic bt John Kennedy (Wexham Park) and David Mortimer (Galway) 6 and 5.
Balin and Erdmann bt Gill and Little 6 and 5.
McClellan and Jertson bt Goodfellow and Giles 6 and 5.

USA 31/2 Great Britain & Ireland 1/ 2

Day One Total: USA 6 Great Britain and Ireland 2

Issue date: 16 September 2011

Image of Gary Brown, left, and John Wells attached for free use courtesy of Scott Halleran at Getty Images…/

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