Great Britain & Ireland's club professionals fell five points behind their USA counterparts in the PGA Cup at Slaley Hall in Northumberland yesterday and are now facing a monumental task in their efforts to avoid a fourth successive defeat in the biennial contest.
Repointing Hadrian's Wall with a broken trowel would probably be an easier undertaking to be honest. After the second session of foursomes and fourballs, the USA lead 10½ to 5½ and require just 2½ points from today's closing series of 10 singles ties to retain the Llandudno Trophy.
Earlier in the afternoon, and unbeknown to the GB&I players at the time, their Scottish captain, Russell Weir, was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure for dangerously high sugar levels and was expected to be kept in overnight.
On the course, meanwhile, the home side tried their best to lift morale after a confidence-crushing end to Friday's opening round of matches in which the USA whitewashed the fourballs 4-0 to gain a healthy 6-2 lead.
GB&I were right up against it, with yesterday's salvage operation spearheaded by the Aberdonian pairing of Greig Hutcheon and Scott Henderson. In the morning foursomes against Matt Dobyns and Ryan Polzin, they were four down after eight, and still two down with four to play, but engineered a spirited rally as the Americans crumbled on the run-in, taking the 15th, 17th and 18th to win by a hole.
The morning session ended 2-2, although the GB&I duo of Benn Barham and Dan Greenwood, up since the second hole against Rod Perry and Jeff Sorenson, tossed away a full point with an ugly bogey on the 18th and had to settle for a halved match.
Hutcheon and Henderson were ruthless, though. In the first fourballs encounter with JC Anderson and Kelly Mitchum, Hutcheon birdied six of his first seven holes, while Henderson pitched in with birdies at the fifth and ninth, as they romped into an eight-hole lead at the turn. For nine holes, they had a better ball of 28. It was sizzling stuff and eventually they closed out a 6&5 victory.
With that point on the board, things were looking good down the order too, and, as the last three matches approached the final five holes, the hosts were up in two and all square in the other.
Fortunes can fluctuate quickly, though. Graham Fox and David Callaway succumbed to a late brace of American birdies and lost 3&2, while Nick Brennan and Gareth Wright lost by a similar margin in the anchor match. Barham and Greenwood were all square playing the 18th against Dobyns and Polzin and in a good position to steal a full point but Greenwood left his first putt woefully short, trundled the second past the cup and was forced to hole a nervy three-footer to halve the hole in a bogey five to claim a half point. The USA had taken another step to victory.