Scott Verplank and team captain Jay Sigel scored singles victories and combined to win a foursome match yesterday, but the United States was held even, 6-6, by the team from Britain and Ireland on the first day of the 30th Walker Cup amateur golf competition.
The British had a 2 1/2-1 1/2 lead after the morning foursome matches, playing extremely well in the constant rain that drenched the Pine Valley Golf Club in southern New Jersey.
The rain subsided for the eight afternoon singles matches and the United States players started performing better, taking 4 1/2 points to 3 1/2.
The final 12 matches, four foursome and eight singles, will be played today.
Verplank, who became the first amateur to win a PGA Tour tournament less than a month ago, defeated Garth McGimpsey of Northern Ireland, 2 and 1, in a matchup of the U.S. and British Amateur champions. Minutes earlier, Sigel -- four under par -- closed out Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, 5 and 4.
In the morning, Verplank and Sigel combined to defeat Montgomerie and George Macgregor, 1 up.
Sam Randolph defeated Paul Mayo of Wales, 5 and 4, and Duffy Waldorf downed David Gilford of England, 4 and 2, for the other U.S. singles successes.
Randy Sonnier and Britain's John Hawksworth halved their singles match.
Peter McEvoy of England was the star for the British-Irish team. He combined with Peter Baker to win a foursome match and then won, 2 and 1, over Bob Lewis. Macgregor beat NCAA champion Clark Burroughs, 2 up, and Sandy Stephen defeated Jerry Haas, 2 and 1.
In 29 previous Walker Cups, the United States won 26 and tied one. The British last won in 1971, and never in the United States.