Saturday, September 16, 2017

MacKenzie upbeat as GB and I lead by a point with Sunday singles to settle PGA Cup

Macc Pic

Scottish skipper Albert MacKenzie’s optimism after his Great Britain and Ireland team saw a three-point lead trimmed to one was at odds with the colours of the umbrellas unfurled to combat the rain that fell on Foxhills on the second day of the PGA Cup at the Foxhills Resort, Surrey.
Those hues could have reflected the moods in the opposing camps.
The black number sported by Great Britain and Ireland’s players and officials was anything but a jolly brolly.
By contrast, the red, white, blue and star-studded rain repellent held aloft by the Americans mirrored the vibrancy and feelgood factor in the visiting camp.
But for MacKenzie, a Scot from Hopeman, Morayshire and always an upbeat character, his glass was half-full as opposed to half empty.
“This afternoon, the Americans came out of the blocks quickly and it looked as if we were going to struggle to perhaps even get anything out of the session,” he said.
“So, to finish with a point from this afternoon, which gives us a one-point advantage going into the singles, it’s a wonderful place to be. 
“If someone had said to us, after losing 3-1 on Friday morning, you’ll be a point ahead going into the singles, we wouldn’t have played the next three sessions. I’d have been delighted to accept that position.”
Prior to their recovery in the foursomes, the USA were in something of a pickle after losing the morning four-balls by the same margin. 
Indeed anything less than a victory in the afternoon session would have left them facing not so much a mountain but tall order to negotiate to regain the Llandudno Trophy they lost in such memorable and historic circumstances in CordeValle, California, two years ago.
All of which suggested a missed opportunity for the hosts in their bid to post back-to-back victories for the first time since 1984.
Rob Coles, in tandem with his captain, was similarly bullish after he and Andy Raitt had won Great Britain and Ireland’s solitary point in the foursomes.
“Would we have taken a lead like 8.5 to 7.5 going into the singles if asked at the start of the week?” he asked after he and Raitt had beaten Adam Rainaud and Rich Berberian juniot by two holes.
 “Absolutely. Ask the Americans if they’d like to be in that position and they would snap your hand off. We’re a point nearer than they are.”
That point means the hosts need to harvest four-and-a-half from the 10 singles matches to retain the trophy as the result of drawing the match or five to win it outright.
Coles, who takes on Josh Speight in the singles, goes into the encounter seemingly in fine fettle. 
His win with Raitt in the foursomes was his third in a row, following victory in Friday’s foursomes with the same partner and then in the morning four-balls when paired with Greig Hutcheon.
Scot Chris Currie also won three of his matches before his 100 per cent record ended when he and Phillip Archer succumbed 3 and 2 to Josh Speight and Rod Perry.
Reflecting on his earlier successes, Currie was quick to cite the influence of his partners.
“I’ve been very, very lucky to have three great partners in my matches so far,” he said. “These guys have allowed me to play well.”
Come day three, partners will be redundant and it will be a case of every man for himself in what has the makings of a tense and thrilling denouement.


Damien McGrane (Ireland) v Mark Brown (USA)

Robert Coles (England) v Josh Speight (USA).

Chris Currie (Scotland) v Rod Perry (USA)

Matthew Cort (England) v Jamie Broce (USA)

Andrew Raitt (England) v Dave McNabb (USA)

Christopher McDonnell (England) v Rich Berberian (USA).

Greig Hutcheon (Scotland) v Paul Claxton (USA)

Garry Houston (Wales) v Omar Uresti (USA)

Philip Archer (England) v Matt Dobyns (USA)

Davie Higgins (Ireland) v Adam Rainaud (USA)



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