In defeating the USA 16-10 to register back-to-back victories for the first time since 1984, a trio of Scots played influential roles at Foxhills Resort, Surrey. Greig Hutcheon, an Aberdonian, holed the match-winning putt after Glasgow’s Chris Currie had staged a recovery to halve the match that retained the trophy.
Masterminding the triumph was Captain Albert MacKenzie, another son of Aberdeen. Inevitably, MacKenzie made it clear the success was not solely down to his compatriots. Every member of his 10-strong team, vice-captains Cameron Clark and Martyn Thompson and numerous backstage staff, played their parts in a comprehensive victory.
That appeared an unlikely scenario after the USA won Saturday’s foursomes 3 and 1 to go into the singles a point adrift of their hosts. A close contest looked in the offing, especially as it has ‘previous’ in that respect.
The match at Slaley Hall in England four years ago ended all square and its successor in 2015 at CordeValle, California, resulted in Great Britain and Ireland prevailing by a point. However, the Americans who were left reeling after Great Britain and Ireland reprised the 7.5–2.5 singles victory they registered at Slaley Hall.
Robert Coles, Matthew Cort, Andrew Raitt, Phillip Archer, Greig Hutcheon and David Higgins all won their matches, as did Damien McGrane after trailing Brown by two holes.
The comeback kid, however, proved to be Currie. Three down at the turn, Currie went up the 18th a hole to the good after halving the 17th. His hopes of taking his tally to four wins, a defeat and winning the contest for the hosts were thwarted when his approach felled Coles’ caddy and his par was eclipsed by Rod Perry’s birdie.
Currie said: “I was three-down at the turn but got a couple of birdies and managed to put him under pressure coming down the stretch. He made a great birdie on the last to halve the match, which I thought was the right result. It was certainly a game of two halves and I’ll take that. It was another half point to where we had to be.”
That meant it fell to Hutcheon on the 17th to claim the half point needed for victory and deliver the coup de grace match-wise. Hutcheon said: “I hit a great second shot in – one of the best I’ve hit all week but it went too long and I’ve left myself the tricky chip. I managed to knock it down. But I’m glad no-one told me the putt was for the official victory because I might have missed it! I managed to roll it in. It is absolutely brilliant. At my age, I’m never going to get in a Ryder Cup team, so it’s absolutely the next best thing.
“As for Albert – he’s been fantastic. He has done all sorts this week. There have been messages, joke presents, team talks. He has been a great captain. It’s a great honour for me coming from the same neck of the woods – we’re both Aberdeen fans. To hole the putt that won the Cup is great.”