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GOLF: Jordan walks tall despite cup loss
HE returned from the United States without the trophy and suffering from a bad case of jet-lag, but Jordan Smith had no hesitation in labelling his Walker Cup experience as “awesome.’’
The 20-year-old from Derry Hill was defeated in both his singles outings in amateur golf’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup as the host nation regained the prize against his Great Britain & Ireland side on Long Island last weekend.
The US team produced dominant performances in both singles schedules, turning an 8-4 lead after day one into a 17-9 victory at the National Golf Links of America on Sunday.
While there was disappointment at GB & I’s failure to hold on to the trophy they won two years ago in Scotland, nothing could take away from Bowood player Smith’s enjoyment of featuring in one of golf’s prestige occasions.
“It was amazing and an awesome experience,’’ he told the Gazette & Herald. “We were looked after really well over there and I really enjoyed the whole thing.
“Our team spirit was great and we all got on well and were cheering each other on. It was a shame we couldn’t bring the cup back home, but the American team played very well.
“We don’t know what really happened (in the singles). For some reason, they just played a lot better than us but it was a really tough course.
“Some of the slopes on the greens and around them were really difficult. It was set up really firm and fast.’’ Smith had a titanic struggle with opponent Corey Whitsett in the Saturday singles, the match going all the way up the 18th before the American player eked out a one hole victory.
The Wiltshire county player then came up against an inspired rival, Jordan Niebrugge, who birdied six of the first eight holes on Sunday, to win 6&5.
“The first one was a really good match and I got on with Cory well,’’ said Smith, who is 13th on the amateur golf world rankings.
“But in the second match, I didn’t play how I wanted to, although Jordan played really well.’’ Smith was followed around the course by parents Martin and Emma and Bowood coach Simon Shanks.
He added: “I think they enjoyed the event. Mum was quite emotional throughout the whole thing.’’
- More from Smith on his future in next week’s Gazette & Herald
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