Overton Clinches U.S. Victory at Walker Cup
Aug. 14, 2005
WHEATON, Ill. - Playing in the final match of the afternoon, former two-time Indiana men's golf All-American Jeff Overton sank a five-foot par putt at No. 17 and halved the 18th to defeat Nigel Edwards, 1 up, and seal the United States victory at the 40th Walker Cup Match. Overton's victory gave the U.S. a 12.5-11.5 victory over Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) and landed the Walker Cup in the States for the first time since 1997.
On the 18th, with members of both teams gathered around the green, Edwards had a 30-foot putt that slid just underneath the hole. Overton followed with a putt from 15 feet that stopped just short of the hole, and Edwards conceded the par putt and the match, as the U.S. team rushed the green and mobbed Overton, celebrating their first Walker Cup victory in eight years.
"It was unbelievable," Overton said of securing the victory. "(U.S. teammate) Michael Putnam and I have waited to turn pro because of this moment right here, and man, was it worth it. This was the ultimate experience."
Overton did not make it easy, dropping the first three holes to Edwards before mounting a furious rally starting at the fifth. The Evansville, Ind., native faced a 20-footer for birdie with Edwards sitting 12 feet away. Overton rolled his putt in, while Edwards left his putt short, making it a 2-up contest.
The 2005 Big Ten champion went on to win the sixth and eight holes, erasing the 3-down deficit as they entered the par-4 ninth hole, where he drilled another 20-footer for birdie to take his first lead of the day.
Edwards squared the match with par at the 11th, but Overton's putter struck again on No. 12. He hit his approach to 15 feet and knocked in the birdie putt to regain a 1-up lead he would never relinquish.
"There were two enormous putts," Overton said. "I made my putt on the fifth and put enough pressure on him that he missed. The same thing happened on 12. Those two putts were probably the two biggest putts of the whole tournament."
An Edwards' bogey made it 2-up through 14, but he recovered with a birdie at 15 to slice his deficit back to one. After both golfers birdied the par-5 16th, Overton hit his approach to the right of the green on 17 before chipping to five feet and setting up the dramatic putt.
"I knew the putt on 17 was in. I never had a doubt," Overton said.
Overton also defeated Edwards on Saturday, 5 and 4, giving him a 3-1 record and a team-high three points for the weekend. He finished the summer with a 5-2-1 record in international play. 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.
Earlier on Sunday, Overton teamed with Putnam for the second straight day. However, the duo ran into a redhot team of Gary Lockerbie and Robert Dinwiddle, who earned a 5-and-3 victory after playing 6-under-par for the 16 holes.
Ironically, the last time the U.S. won the Walker Cup was the only other time a Hoosier participated on the team. Randy Leen helped the U.S. to an 18-6 victory in 1997.
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