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Americans trail in Walker Cup

New Bedford native Peter Uihlein came out on top in his singles match, defeating Tom Lewis of Britain and Ireland. New Bedford native Peter Uihlein came out on top in his singles match, defeating Tom Lewis of Britain and Ireland. (Ian Macnicol/Getty Images)
Associated Press / September 11, 2011

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Rhys Pugh, Steven Brown, James Byrne, and Paul Cutler helped Britain and Ireland take a 7-5 lead over the United States in the Walker Cup, winning consecutive matches yesterday at Aberdeen, Scotland.

Britain and Ireland took a 3-1 lead in the morning foursomes in the two-day amateur competition, but the Americans went ahead, 4-3, when New Bedford native Peter Uihlein, Jordan Spieth, and Harris English won the first three singles matches in the afternoon. After heavy rain, the 17-year-old Pugh started the rally.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in these boys,’’ said Britain and Ireland captain Nigel Edwards. “They’re a great bunch of lads and they’ve proved it this afternoon. They’ve knuckled down and done the job.’’

Top-ranked Patrick Cantlay earned the last point for the Americans, beating Michael Stewart.

The competition concludes today with four foursomes and 10 singles matches.

There was a bit of controversy after the morning session, when Jack Senior used his brother, Joe, as his caddie in teaming up with fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan to beat Kelly Kraft and Russell Henley.

Joe Senior is a professional golfer and is not allowed to partake in the event, but organizers allowed the result to stand because the infraction wasn’t brought to their attention until after the match.

Edwards called it “a bit of a mishap’’ and praised US captain Jim Holtgrieve for not making it an issue.

“We chatted about it. Jim was great about it,’’ Edwards said. “It was a mistake, and I can assure you, from my point of view, that it was never intended. It was one of those things.’’

Senior then used a different caddie for the singles, losing to Spieth.

Cantlay also earned a point for the United States in the alternate-shot matches, teaming with Chris Williams to beat Steven Brown and Stiggy Hodgson, 5 and 3.

In singles, Uihlein topped Tom Lewis, 2 and 1; Spieth edged Senior, 3 and 2; English beat Sullivan, 2 and 1; and Cantlay topped Stewart, 2 and 1.

For Britain and Ireland, Pugh beat Patrick Rodgers, 2 and 1; Brown topped Henley, 1 up; Byrne stopped Nathan Smith 2 and 1; and Cutler edged Kraft 2 and 1.

The United States has won three straight Walker Cups to take a 34-7-1 series lead.

LPGA - Defending champion Yani Tseng shot a 4-under-par 67 and Amy Yang had a 64 to share the second-round lead at 9 under in the NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.

Taylor Leon (67) was a stroke back, and former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis (69) was 7 under along with US Solheim Cup teammate Cristie Kerr (66), Inbee Park (65), and Jin Young Pak (68).

European - US Open champion Rory McIlroy birdied four of his last eight holes to move within three shots of the lead at the KLM Open at Hilversum, Netherlands.

McIlroy finished with a 2-under 68 and is in eighth place after the third round. James Kingston and Garry Orr each had a 66 and are tied for the lead.