Overton Wins Twice, U.S. Leads at Walker Cup
Aug. 13, 2005
WHEATON, Ill. - Former two-time Indiana men's golf All-American Jeff Overton won both of his matches, leading the United States to a 6.5-5.5 lead over Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) after the opening day of the 40th Walker Cup Match on Saturday. The event is being hosted by the Chicago Golf Club, the oldest 18-hole golf course in the U.S., and it is set up as a par 70 with a yardage of 6,782.
The Walker Cup is contested by male amateur players, one team from the United States and one team from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The teams consist of no more than 10 players and a captain. The Match is conducted every two years, alternately in the U.S. and Great Britain/Ireland.
Overton teamed with former Pepperdine star Michael Putnam to down Oliver Fisher and Matthew Richardson, 2 and 1, in the morning foursomes matches. The GB&I team held a 1-up advantage through 10 holes before the Americans evened things up with a par at No. 11.
It remained all square until Overton and Putnam ran off four consecutive birdies beginning at the par-3 13th to take a 2-up lead. The squads went on to halve the 17th, giving the U.S. the victory.
"We (Overton and Putnam) have played a lot of tournament golf together, and we really enjoy each other's company," Overton said. "On hole 11, we said we can't keep this up, we've got to make some birdies."
In the afternoon, the Evansville, Ind., native knocked off a feisty Nigel Edwards, a Walker Cup veteran and the golf coordinator for the Welsh Golfing Union, 5 and 4. Overton, who never trailed in the match, went 1 up after nearly driving the par-4, 328-yard fifth hole. He followed with a chip to within five feet and drained the putt to go 1 up.
Overton then birdied No. 6, in what may have been the turning point of the match. After pushing his drive into the deep rough and leaving his approach short of the green, Overton decided to putt from off the green and sank a 50-footer for birdie. Edwards, who was on the green with a birdie attempt, slipped his effort past the whole, falling two shots back.
"It (No. 6) was a big turning point," Overton said. "He looked like he was going to win the hole after my drive, but I walked out with a three, and he walked out with a four. It was definitely a big turning point in the match."
Holding a 3-hole edge heading into No. 12, Overton sank an eight-footer to build a 4-up lead. The duo matched par 3s at the 13th before Overton's putter struck again at No. 14. Sitting 20 feet below the hole, the 2005 Big Ten champion calmly rolled his final putt of the day in the hole, clinching the victory after Edwards left his 15-footer short.
"The putter really felt good today," Overton said. "The greens are rolling great, and the golf course is in perfect shape. It was an awesome day. This is a great event, and I had a great time out there."
Overton, the second Hoosier to ever participate in the Walker Cup (Randy Leen, 1997), is now 4-1-1 in international play this summer. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year compiled a 2-1-1 mark as the United States defeated Europe at the Palmer Cup in June.
The second and final day of action commences on Sunday morning, starting with foursomes matches at 7:30 a.m. Singles matches will kick off at 12:30 p.m. as the U.S. attempts to win its first Walker Cup since 1997. The Golf Channel will show live action from the event from 4-6 p.m. (EDT). Click here to follow all of Sunday's action live at iuhoosiers.com.
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