University of North Carolina men’s golfers David Ford, Austin Greaser and Dylan Menante combined for two wins and a draw in singles competition Sunday at the Old Course to help the United States come from behind for a 14.5-11.5 victory over Team Great Britain & Ireland in the 2023 Walker Cup.
Ford defeated Alex Maguire 3&2, Greaser beat Liam Nolan 3&1 and Menante tied Matthew McLean in the afternoon matches.
The U.S. had won three of the four points Sunday morning in foursomes (Greaser and Menante were all square through 10 but lost their match when Nolan and Mark Power made birdies on four straight holes on the back nine). The hosts went into the afternoon’s 10 singles matches with an 8.5-7.5 lead.
The U.S. took the lead early in the afternoon behind the play of Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent, Tennessee’s Caleb Surratt, Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad and Arizona State’s Preston Summerhays, who went out first and won their matches. Alabama’s Nick Dunlap, who won the U.S. Amateur last month, was in the second pairing behind Surratt and stormed back from a three-hole deficit to earn a half-point by winning the 15th, 16th and 18th holes at the Home of Golf.
Menante, a fifth-year senior from Carlsbad, Calif., who tied for fourth in the 2023 NCAA Championship, had a three-hole lead early today, but broke a deadlocked match with a nervy 8-footer for par on the 17th hole, the famous road hole. McLean birdied the 18th to halve the match with Menante, but the half-point put the U.S. on the doorstep of victory.
Within minutes of each other, Greaser went 2 up with two holes to play and his fellow Tar Heel teammate Ford went 3 up with three to play thereby guaranteeing both players at least a half-point, which was enough for the U.S. to win the Walker Cup.
Ford, a junior from Peachtree Corners, Ga., further cemented the U.S. victory by rolling in a 12-footer on the 16th hole to officially secure the win. That putt came just moments before Greaser won the 17th hole to win his match over Nolan, who had beaten Greaser 1 up with a birdie on the 18th hole on Saturday. Greaser is a graduate student from Vandalia, Ohio.
The 2023 victory is the fourth straight for the U.S. in the Walker Cup, which the U.S. now leads, 39-9-1.
Ford, Greaser and Menante were the sixth, seventh and eighth Tar Heels to play in the Walker Cup, the preeminent amateur team event in the world.
“The Walker Cup at St. Andrews was truly an amazing experience for all involved, particularly the players from both sides,” says UNC head coach Andrew DiBitetto. “Both teams were fantastic and put on a show. Simply being a part of a Team USA at the Walker Cup is unique and special. For the U.S. to top it off with a win and have some clutch play from our Tar Heels in critical spots is icing on the cake. They just created memories that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. I’m ecstatic for Team USA and especially for Austin, Dylan and David.”
The U.S. is 9-0 in Walker Cups which include Tar Heels in the lineup, previously winning in 1953, 1955 and 1959 with Harvie Ward, 1973 and 1979 with Marty West, 1981 with Frank Fuhrer, 1985 with Davis Love III and 1991 with Tom Scherrer.
Menante also earned a point on Saturday when he teamed with Sargent for a 3&2 win in foursomes (alternate shot) over Power and Barclay Brown. Sargent, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, was the only player on either side to win all four of his matches over the two days.
Next up for the Tar Heels is the start of the 2023-24 collegiate season September 15-17 at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational. Carolina is ranked No. 1 in the preseason by both Golf Channel and the Golf Coaches Association.
The Tar Heels will return to St Andrews in October for the St Andrews Links Collegiate, a four-team event featuring the men’s and women’s teams from UNC, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Vanderbilt.