Lewis seeks first blow as British battle the odds

 

Royal Aberdeen

Among the many messages of support read out by Nigel Edwards in his call to arms to the British and Irish Walker Cup team here last night, was one from the world No 2, Lee Westwood, urging his young countrymen not to be "overawed by the opposition".

That really did not need saying to Tom Lewis, who is so thrilled to be leading the way in this morning's opening foursomes and this afternoon's singles.

The 20-year-old showed at the Open his love for the spotlight in shooting a first-round 65, the lowest by an amateur in 151 years of the Championship. Since then Lewis's fame has only grown, meaning when the 43rd edition of the "pure" version of the Ryder Cup tees off he will be the focal point of home hopes.

"Tom is frightened of no one," said Edwards, the Welshman who won two matches and lost two matches as a player. Lewis merely nodded, before explaining his delight at his standard-bearing role. "Hopefully, I can go out on top and get a few points on board with Mikey and it will build some confidence throughout the team," said Lewis.

Mikey is Michael Stuart, the runner-up in the Amateur Championship. The 21-year-old from Troon actually beat Lewis on his way to the final at Hillside and is of a similarly positive disposition. The pair will take on Peter Uihlein and Harris English at 9am in the all-important first encounter. As Lewis pointed out, this could be a momentum setter; as could be the first singles at 1.45pm which pitches Lewis against Uihlein, the 2010 US Amateur Champion who won all four of his games at Merion two years ago.

Uihlein is the son of Wally, the Titleist supremo who holds such an influence in the game after the advent of the turbo-charged golf ball. Uihlein and Lewis have a bit of previous, although it was not a head-to-head rumble. At Sandwich in July, the latter pushed the former closest in the battle for the Silver Medal, awarded to the leading amateur in the Open field.

But this is about more than Uihlein and Lewis. In Patrick Cantlay, Jim Holtgrieve, the US captain, boasts a 19-year-old who has shot a 60 on the PGA Tour – at the Travelers Championship in June – and who is undisputably the finest amateur in the world. With six members of the world's top 10 it is little wonder some are talking up the US team as one of the strongest in the match's 89-year history.

But then gale force winds are predicted to sweep across this classic links and that may level the playing field somewhat (if it isn't blown to kingdom come, that is). The Americans may not agree, but, suspensions apart, the conditions will give this enthralling two-day dust-up its flavour. Holtgrieve is evidently determined not to make the same mistake as Corey Pavin, last year's Ryder Cup captain, who chose the waterproofs and then watched in horror as they leaked in the Celtic Manor tempest. "I've worn them in the shower to test them," admitted Holtgrieve, who actually played with Pavin in the Walker Cup 30 years ago. "They worked perfectly. I'm a very good friend of Corey's and I wasn't going to do the same."

A few of the European Ryder Cup winners may snigger at that revelation, but last night it was only their words of inspiration being heard. Luke Donald, the world No 1, sent his support as did Darren Clarke, the Open champion. But perhaps Rory McIlroy's message was the most welcome. The Ulsterman played in the 2007 match as a teenager alongside Edwards and remembers the experience fondly – despite the one-point loss.

"I'm jealous," McIlroy told them. "Here I am stuck in Holland and you guys are about to have one of the best weekends of your life." For the record, McIlroy shot a 65 at the £1.8m Dutch Open. Strange thing, envy.

Walker Cup Schedule

This morning: Foursomes (GB&Irl first): 9am T Lewis & M Stewart v P Uihlein v H English; 9.10 J Senior & A Sullivan v R Henley & K Kraft. 9.20 P Cutler & A Dunbar v N Smith & B Barber. 9.30 S Brown & S Hodgson v P Cantlay & C Williams. Afternoon: Eight singles: 1.45 Lewis v Uihlein. 1.55 Senior v Spieth. 2.05 Sullivan v English. 2.15 R Pugh v P Rodgers. 2.25 Brown v Henley. 2.35 J Byrne v Smith. 2.45 Cutler v Kraft. 2.55 Stewart v Cantlay. Tomorrow: Morning: Four foursomes. Afternoon: 10 singles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test