US lifts Walker Cup, routing Britain and Ireland

Updated 15 September 2013
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US lifts Walker Cup, routing Britain and Ireland

SOUTHAMPTON, New York: Nathan Smith won the deciding point in the United States’ 17-9 victory over Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup on Sunday, beating England’s Nathan Kimsey 4 and 3 in the fifth singles match at historic National Golf Links of America.
The United States, ahead 8-4 entering the final day in the biennial amateur event, split the four morning foursomes matches and won seven of the 10 afternoon singles matches.
The US leads the series 35-8-1. In 2011, Britain and Ireland won 14-12 at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland.
“It’s something I have been wanting for a long, long time, particularly after we lost in 2011,” US captain Jim Holtgrieve said. “I was hoping I would get a mulligan for ‘13 and when I knew it was going to be at National Golf Links, which is where it all started, I wanted so bad to come here. Yes. I wanted to win, but I wanted to do something good for golf and this, to me, was truly good for golf.”
The 35-year-old Smith, a four-time US Mid-Amateur champion, won the par-3 13th and par-4 14th with pars and ended the match with a halve for bogey on the par-4 15th.
“This ranks at the top of the list,” said Smith, who has played in the Masters four times. “I never wanted a point so much in my life. This means the most. I’m happy for Jim. Nobody deserves it more than him and loves the game of golf and put more hard work into a team than him.”
Alabama teammates Bobby Wyatt and Justin Thomas, 45-year-old South Carolina high school teacher Todd White, California’s Michael Kim, Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge and Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers also won singles matches.
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick and Callum Shinkwin and Ireland’s Kevin Phelan won their singles matches. Fitzpatrick, a freshman at Northwestern, won the US Amateur last month.
“They adapted to conditions a little bit better,” Britain and Ireland captain Nigel Edwards said. “The greens changed and there were very, very severe pin positions. They holed out a little bit better and I would say the short shots into the green, the distance control, that’s where they outdid us. When they did hit it over the back they got up and down and we didn’t.”
Wyatt beat England’s Neil Raymond 4 and 3; Thomas routed England’s Max Orrin 6 and 4; White topped Wales’ Rhys Pugh 4 and 3; Kim beat England’s Garrick Porteous 4 and 2; Niebrugge pounded England’s Jordan Smith 6 and 5; and Rodgers edged Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan 1 up.
“They all focused together,” Holtgrieve said. “They all played together. They all worked together and they helped each other with their games. There were no individuals. It was a team.”
Fitzpatrick beat California’s Michael Weaver 3 and 2; Shinkwin edged Alabma’s Cory Whitsett 2 up; and Phelan beat Max Homa, the NCAA champion as a senior at Cal, 2 and 1.
In the morning foursomes, Whitsett and Wyatt beat Kimsey and Orrin 2 and 1, and Homa and Kim also earned a point for the United States, topping Porteous and Pugh 1 up. Fitzpatrick and Raymond beat Weaver and White 3 and 2, and Moynihan and Phelan topped Rodgers and Niebrugge 2 up.
Wyatt led the US with 3½ points and Kim was 3-0.
The 2015 matches will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.


Liverpool and Alan Kennedy look to rerun history against Real Madrid in Kiev

Updated 24 min 59 sec ago
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Liverpool and Alan Kennedy look to rerun history against Real Madrid in Kiev

LIVERPOOL: With eight minutes of the 1981 European Cup final remaining, Liverpool left-back Alan Kennedy made one of his trademark bursts forward, broke into the Real Madrid penalty area and drove home a left-footed finish to settle a tense, tactical battle.
Unlikely, unforgettable, he had the historic distinction of being the matchwinner in two finals, having also netted the decisive penalty in the shoot-out victory over AS Roma three years later.
“So proud,” reflected Kennedy. “It was a wonderful time to be a Liverpool player.”
On Saturday, the Reds meet Real again in Kiev to contest European club football’s most prized trophy.And the memories of that Paris triumph will never fade for the 63-year-old, nor will being part of a lauded Liverpool team.
“That was their mentality and Liverpool were rightly the top team in Europe,” Kennedy, who also lifted five League titles for the Reds during his eight-year stay at Anfield, said. “It was a great era, great times, but the be-all and end-all for any footballer, should be about winning trophies.”
Liverpool’s strength and focus was emphasized in that Parc des Princes showpiece. Before kick-off they had to cover up sponsor’s logos on their shirts to appease UEFA and TV broadcasters. They had concerns about the fitness of influential striker Kenny Dalglish and Kennedy himself after a broken wrist had sidelined him six weeks earlier.
“I think when you put obstacles in the way of that Liverpool team, the better they played,” he told Arab News. “We had issues with TV rights, about the state of the pitch, issues about the fitness of players, me included, but we went out to play the game and win.”
Formidable foes, Bob Paisley’s side dominated Europe in much the same way Zinedine Zidane’s side are doing at the moment. On Saturday they will seek to become the first side to win three European Cups on the bounce since Bayern Munich in 1976.
“Real Madrid are the champions and fantastic in the competition with their history,” said Kennedy. “You have to respect what they have done.
“Everyone expected Liverpool to be in contention for all the trophies too and that’s what we wanted, to push ourselves to as many finals. We wanted to win everything. Maybe we were a bit greedy, but we felt we could do it.
“I don’t think we were arrogant, although our play suggested we were good at what we did. We played a system that was attack all the time no matter if we were under the cosh or defending.
“It was a great team, everyone knew their jobs, we didn’t change for anyone. We were single-minded about winning. We had set the standards and were under pressure to win every game.”
As favorites, Real will be under similar pressure as they seek a 13th title. And Kennedy believes that his former club can claim a sixth European Cup and their first since the famous 2005 triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul when they came back from 3-0 down.
“I know it will be a great game, difficult to call,” he said.
“But I would be saying to the Liverpool players that you can win it, you are good enough to win it. Go out and play the same way you
have all season. If they do, I think they will win it.
“They may concede, but they should not change their style.”
And nor should they, as attack has been the best form of defense for Liverpool this season. In Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, there is a frontline blessed with pace, panache and potency.
Salah, rightly, has received accolades — including the PFA and Football Writers Player of the Year awards — after a stunning debut season following his £36.9 million ($49 million) arrival from Roma.
A landmark 42 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League — and ability to create chances have seen the Egyptian ranked alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
But, for Kennedy, there can be no comparison to Dalglish, arguably the greatest Kop king.
“Kenny was special, a different type of player, always on the shoulder of the defender,” he added. “Salah comes in from the wing and scores spectacular goals. Liverpool play to his strengths as he is forever getting into the box and the right position.
“For me, Kenny, over 10 seasons, was Liverpool’s top player at that time, fantastic, and it’s difficult to put them side by side. Salah’s been wonderful, but never had a season like this before.”
Madrid’s talisman Ronaldo has. Another 43 goals for the five-time Ballon D’Or winner shows he remains a force at 33.
“I’ve always had utmost admiration for Ronaldo,” said Kennedy. “He has this ability to score in finals and show how good he is. One chance, he takes it.
“But that’s been the same with Salah too. The goals he has scored, he seems to see what comes ahead. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.”