Jack’s the lad as GB&I take 10-6 lead

JACK McDONALD and Cormac Sharvin produced another “Stirling” effort as Great Britain & Ireland moved tantalisingly close to a Walker Cup win at Royal Lytham.

Great Britain and Ireland's Jack McDonald during the fourballs on day two of the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, Lytham St Annes. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 13, 2015. See PA story GOLF Walker Cup. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

The home side triumphed 3-1 in the morning foursomes on the final day to take a 10-6 lead at the Open Championship venue.

It meant they needed just three-and-a-half points from the ten afternoon singles to repeat wins at Nairn, Ganton and Royal Aberdeen in the last 16 years.

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On a sunny day on the Lancashire coast, McDonald and Sharvin, who were room-mates at Stirling University, proved their 5&4 win on the opening morning had been no fluke.

They raced into a four-hole lead over Hunter Stewart and Lee McCoy, the world No 5 and No 6 respectively, before the Americans produced a birdie blitz to square matters with six to play.

The GB&I pair then edged in front again as pars proved good enough to win both the 15th and 16th before Stewart set up a hole-winning birdie for the visitors with a superb approach from a long way back to five feet at the 17th.

It was a pity that the match ended in an anti-climax as the Americans conceded after Stewart had carved their drive deep into the gorse on the right-hand side of the fairway.

But the win was a vital one for GB&I as they turned what looked as though it could have been a 3-1 defeat in the session into victory by that margin.

“They put up a great fight,” admitted Barassie star McDonald after being mobbed by jubilant spectators. “But we stuck to our gameplan and that paid off down the stretch.”

Irishman Sharvin, who still has a year left at Stirling University, revealed the pair had only played together once before prior to this week.

“But we lived together, practised together and are really good friends,” said the 22-year-old from Ardglass.

“The key to our success over the past two days is that we’ve only dropped shots at one hole - the sixth yesterday.

“We’ve gelled really well. With Jack’s driving and my iron play, we’ve given ourselves a lot of chances.”

English duo Ashley Chesters and Jimmy Mullen led the way again with a 3&2 win over Beau Hossler and Denny McCarthy.

And there was also a victory for Irish pair Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley as they came from two down with five to play to win on the last against Mike McCoy and Scott Harvey.

With all ten players involved in the final singles, McDonald was up against Lee McCoy again, Ewen Ferguson faced Hossler and Grant Forrest tackled Harvey.