The United States take a 7-5 lead over Great Britain and Ireland into Sunday’s final day of the 48th Walker Cup after an intriguing opening day at Seminole Golf Club in Florida.
The morning foursomes finished 2-2, with Irish pairing Mark Power and John Murphy picking up GB&I’s first point after a sensational fightback.
Angus Flanagan and Jake Bolton won a second point in another tight match.
Power, Matty Lamb and Barclay Brown recorded singles wins in the afternoon.
GB&I are huge underdogs for the biennial amateur team competition. They have won just twice on American soil in an event that was first contested in 1922, and all 10 Americans are ranked inside the top 30 amateurs in the world, while the visitors have just two.
Players from both teams were struck down by “gastrointestinal issues” on the eve of the contest but Covid was quickly ruled out given all the testing that has taken place.
All four matches in the morning foursomes went to the 18th hole.
Power and Murphy were three down after 12 but won the next three holes to level their match with Quade Cummins and Austin Eckroat.
They then won the par-three 17th to take the lead for the first time in the match and halved the last to claim the point.
Flanagan and Bolton were two up with four to play but lost the 15th and 16th holes. However, Bolton holed a stunning par putt to win the 17th and they too halved the last.
In the first match out, Alex Fitzpatrick and Barclay Brown won three consecutive holes from the 14th to level their match with Cole Hammer and Davis Thompson but Hammer holed a 20-foot birdie putt at the last to win 1UP.
Jack Dyer and Matty Lamb lost three of the last five holes as they were beaten 2UP by Mac Meissner and Ricky Castillo.
There were eight singles matches in the afternoon session.
Fitzpatrick, younger brother of English professional Matt, lost the final two holes of his match with Pierceson Coody, while Hammer saw off Murphy 3&1 and Castillo cruised to a 5&3 win against Ben Schmidt.
William Mouw saw off Ben Jones 4&3 and Eckroat won two of the last three holes to squeeze past Flanagan.
But Power was never behind in his match and he closed out a 3&2 win on the 16th. Lamb was similarly dominant in his 2&1 victory. Brown won by the same margin, although his match with John Pak was not as straightforward.
Pak won three holes from the 11th to tie the match but Brown took the next two before closing out the win with a par on the 17th.
Sunday sees another round of foursomes, with 10 singles matches to follow. As defending champions, the US need 13 points to retain the trophy, while GB&I need 13Â½ to regain it.
US 7-5 GB&I
Saturday foursomes (US first)
Cole Hammer & Davis Thompson beat Alex Fitzpatrick & Barclay Brown 1UP
Quade Cummins & Austin Eckroat lost to Mark Power & John Murphy 1UP
Mac Meissner & Ricky Castillo beat Jack Dyer & Matty Lamb 2UP
Stewart Hagestad & William Mouw lost to Angus Flanagan & Jack Bolton 1UP
Pierceson Coodybeat Alex Fitzpatrick 2UP
Davis Thompson lost to Mark Power 3&2
Ricky Castillo beat Ben Schmidt 5&3
William Mouw beat Ben Jones 4&3
Quade Cummins lost to Matty Lamb 2&1
Austin Eckroat beat Angus Flanagan 1UP
John Pak lost to Barclay Brown 2&1
Cole Hammer beat John Murphy 3&1