GB Regains Simpson Cup With Famous Victory

An inspired Team GB turned the tide of three successive defeats to regain the Simpson Cup at the Old Course at St with an impressive 11.5 - 7.5 victory over Team USA following a brilliant display in the Wednesday singles.

The Brits came into Wednesday with a slender one-point lead, having got the edge over their American counterparts in the Tuesday fourball matches for the first time in seven years. And they flexed their muscles in the singles once again, seeing off an early sea of red to eventually get the job done with room to spare.

Central to this was a captain's performance from Ian Bishop, and a remarkable effort from the four rookies in the team. In fact, the quartet of debutants amassed seven points out of seven over the two days, which provided the platform for Great Britain's charge to glory.

"Absolutely buzzing - so, so proud of my team this week," a delighted Bishop gushed amid wild celebrations afterwards. "Everyone has played their part, and definitely a special mention goes to the rookies, who were sensational.”

“We've taken it on the chin the last few years, so we were desperate to win the Cup back at such a special venue. I'm just delighted that we've got over the line."

Indeed, it marks the first GB triumph since a narrow victory at Royal St George's in 2015, and it also leaves the overall series delectably poised at 4-4. A much needed shot in the arm for the Brits, but the Americans also were integral to a spectacle which will live long in the memories of all those involved.

"Congratulations to Team GB, they were terrific this week, and deserved winners of the Simpson Cup," USA captain Mike Stafford offered graciously. "We gave it everything, and our guys battled hard today. I guess it just wasn't enough, but it's been a privilege for us to be here at the Home of Golf representing our country.”

“It's been a great advert for this event, and we can't wait to lock horns again next year."

Earlier, the day had actually started swimmingly for Team USA, as the first three men out on the course all won the first hole. Captain Stafford had clearly front-loaded his lineup with a lot of experience, and the first point of the day was recorded by Ken Gestring, who proved too strong for Liverpool's John Devlin (5&3). This was quickly cancelled out by GB's Tony Lownds, who prevailed 5&4 over Steve Ogletree in group three.

But the USA again hit back with victory in the opening group - a titanic duel between Cardiff's Dave Hughes and California's Jake Nelson. No fewer than seven birdies were notched up between the duo (both 3 handicappers), but Nelson managed to carve out a 2-up lead on the back nine, and he never relinquished it, eventually closing the deal 3&1.

It briefly restored parity in the overall score too, although that was about as good as it got for the visitors, as a deluge of blue was to follow. First up was Scot Chris Paterson, who, after a blistering start, eventually wrapped up his match against Todd Tongue (4&2). That was quickly followed by Merseyside's Simon Jones, who completed an extraordinary week with a resounding 8&7 win in the penultimate group.

Simon Bankes was next in the queue for the hosts, winning his game 3&2, while both Rob Hansen and Matt Arnold saw off late fightbacks from their American opponents to record wins of 2&1 and 3&2 respectively. It left the Brits within touching distance of regaining the Simpson Cup, although American debutant Scott Allen provided some defiance, winning his game against the experienced Dave Ward (4&2). Fellow rookie John Goudie also got his first Simpson Cup point, as he saw off Cornwall's Greig Phillips 2&1 in a tight match.

But the host nation weren't to be denied, and, fittingly, it was left to captain Bishop - a Simpson Cup ever-present, who felt the pain of three successive defeats as much as anyone - to finish the job for his team. And he did so emphatically, sealing a 4&3 triumph over Jesse Williamson.

Cue the celebrations, and a joyous home side could revel in a first Simpson Cup victory for four years. That said, there were still a couple of matches left out on the course, the last of which was none other than Kate Surman - the first female to qualify for the event. She went on to win her game against double-amputee Nick Thom (3&1), and departed the final green to wild celebrations with her teammates.

What a performance, what a match, and what an incredible week it has been! These two teams really have captured the hearts and minds of the St Andrews massive, who in turn have been the most welcoming hosts. It's been a memorable occasion for all involved, and we can't wait to do it all over again in 2020. With the series now even at 4-4, it sets things up beautifully for another thriller!

 

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