Paul Swain was the hero of the hour once more as Team GB put in a dominant performance in the final day singles to win the Simpson Cup at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.
The Ryder Cup style event is contested between injured Servicemen and veterans from the United States and Great Britain. Last year Team GB won the inaugural event (11.5-6-5) at TPC Sawgrass in Florida and this time around Ian Bishop’s side triumphed 13.5-4.5.
The contest was in the balance in the early stages, especially as the sides were tied 3-3 after the opening day Four ball matches. However, Team GB upped their game in the singles as the leaderboard displayed a considerable amount of blue, representing Team GB victories.
Bishop’s men set out their stall early by winning the top four matches. The writing on the wall came for the visitors when Jack Smith put in a late show to come from two down with two to play to secure a halved match with Vietnam veteran John Bircher (71).
In the end the only red representing an American singles win came from Denis Oliverio, who defeated Greig Phillips 5&4.
The bottom five matches all went Team GB’s way and at one point several of the home players could have secured the all-important winning point. In the end came down to Swain, who has form, having sank the winning putt 12 months ago.
“At Sawgrass I didn’t know it was down to my match, this one I had an inkling because everyone was gathering around the green,” explained Swain, who defeated Joshua Peyton 5&3.
“I had a long putt on the 15th, lagged it up to four feet and managed to keep my cool and hole it. It’s a great feeling. I got the winning point but that’s irrelevant, it was a real ream effort.”
Bishop was proud of his team’s performance. He also put up a good showing of his own by winning 3&2 against Casey O’Brien, the lowest handicapper on show this week (6).
“The lads have done fantastically well. Obviously it was tight after the first day. On paper the singles pairings looked fair, but we played great,” said a delighted Bishop just before the winning presentation. “The score maybe doesn’t reflect how close it was but it shows how well our boys played.”
The American captain Chris Bowers was magnanimous in defeat. “Sure, it’s heart-breaking for us but the British boys played great and deserved the win. I couldn’t have asked for any more from the boys. They played their hearts out but came up a little short,” said Bowers.
And as for Swain what did captain Bishop have to say? “Dave Onions could have won it for us but we let our poster boy secure the winning match!” And in was in that spirit this annual team match has been played from start to finish.
“We’re all great friends and now we’re going to take the American boys out for a well deserved beer,” added the winning captain.
Perhaps American Jason Leap, who lost to MahendraPhagami 2&1 in the top match, summed it up best when he simply said: “I lost the match but gained a friend today”.
Next year the Simpson Cup returns to the United States and will be played at Congressional Country Club in Washington in October 2014. The Simpson Cup helps raise funds and awareness for the On Course Foundation, a charity set up to facilitate injured Servicemen and veterans through golf, via tuition and employment within the golf industry.
Simpson Cup www.simpsoncup.com