Horschel And Fowler Knock Off GB&I's Top Duo
Newcastle, N. Ireland -- Billy Horschel and Rickie Fowler beat Great Britain and Ireland's top team of Lloyd Saltman and Rhys Davies, 4 and 3, to earn the United States its lone win in the opening foursomes session of the Walker Cup Match at Royal County Down.
After Saturday morning foursomes, the score stands at 2-2.
As Walker Cup rookies, Horschel, 20, and Fowler, 18, faced down veterans Davies and Saltman, who had a combined record of 4-2-1 at the 2005 Match.
"We had a job to do and we went out and did it,” said Horschel of getting the first points on the board.
In workmanlike fashion, Horschel and Fowler ground out pars that proved tough to beat. With the stroke-play equivalent of 3 over par through nine holes, Fowler and Horschel held a 2-up lead thanks to steady long-iron play from the Fowler and clutch putting from Horschel. They took that 2-up lead early on at the 212-yard par-3 4th hole when Fowler put a mid-iron to 12 feet and Horschel made the birdie putt.
"Come on!" Fowler shouted with a fist-pump after the birdie.
Meanwhile, Saltman and Davies didn’t make any putts to speak of. Six times they faced must-make putts inside 10 feet. They made only one; that a par-saver on the 11th
Another missed putt at the 13th by Davies gave the Americans an near insurmountable 4-up lead with five holes to play. The match ended when the Americans parred the 15th.
“There was no real spark from either of us and we didn’t give ourselves many chances on the greens,” said Saltman. “They holed some putts at crucial times and it was just one of those mornings.”
One of those crucial putts came from Fowler at the 13th – a 25-footer from just off the green that was good enough to win the hole when Davies followed with his miss.
Horschel and Fowler have tall orders again Saturday afternoon, with Horschel facing local favorite Rory McIllroy and Fowler going back out against Saltman.
David Normoyle is a writer whose work has appeared previously on www.usga.org.