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Honours even after enthralling first day at Royal St George's
Despite some treacherous conditions, the Simpson Cup 2015 is firmly in the balance as it finished 3-3 after Tuesday's fourball matches...

Even the harshest of UK autumn weather couldn't separate Team GB and Team USA, as a remarkable first day of the Simpson Cup finished with matters firmly on a knife edge at 3 -3 after the fourball matches at Royal St George's Golf Club on Tuesday.

As America's Jonathan L. James so aptly put it: "They warned me about the wind, they warned me about the rain, they even warned me about the cold. But no one warned me about the ice!"

Indeed, heavy rains caused a delay of nearly 90 minutes on Tuesday morning, and conditions hardly improved throughout the day. However, in the face of the elements, the standard of golf was something to behold, as the 24 injured and disabled Servicemen put on an exhibition at the classic old Links.

Team GB captain Jason Evans, perhaps still seething from his team's defeat at Congressional last year, got them off to the perfect start, as he and partner Tony Lownds put the first points on the board against his USA counterpart TJ Brooks and James; Lownds holing a 12-foot putt for a fine birdie at the difficult 17th hole to round off a 2&1 win.

"We really kept it steady today, and we knew it was important to get some early blue on the scoreboard," commented Evans after their success. "The way all the guys fought and scrapped today was fantastic. Conditions like these are particularly challenging for all of us, and every point was a real battle. 

"We're determined to win this Cup back, so hopefully we can seize the initiative and get over the line tomorrow. I think we're in for a great finish either way."

Despite the early setback, Team USA responded in match two, as the power team of Tim Lang and Andrew Bachelder had a bit too much for Paul Swain and Mike Browne, eventually emerging with a 3&2 triumph.

The exchange of blue and red continued in matches three and four, with the experienced duo of Dave Ward and Ian Bishop adding to their impressive Simpson Cup records with a hard-fought 2&1 win. Behind them the most resounding victory of the day took place. Team USA's Shawn Whitmore, who sank the winning putt in 2014 at Congressional, stormed the back nine with partner Mike McCombs, as they converted a slender one-hole advantage at the turn into a 5&3 thrashing of debutants Kushal Limbu and Tony Boyd.

The ding-dong pattern of points appeared to be continuing in the fifth fourball, as GB's Jack Smith and Rob Hansen reached the 14th tee with a commanding three-hole lead. However, the wheels seemed to come off somewhat, as the American pairing of Mike Stafford and vice-captain Steve Ogletree snatched three holes on the spin.

Smith steadied the ship with a crucial par save on the 17th to make it dormie one, but the testing finishing hole produced a grandstand finish, as Stafford holed a clutch putt for par from 10 feet to snaffle an unlikely half point for his side.

"Goodness, the nerves were there on that last putt!" the relieved 44-year old remarked afterwards. "I knew how much was riding on it, but I was confident about the line, and just believed that if I made a good stroke it would drop. Thankfully, it surely did!"

It meant all eyes were on the final foursome; a see-saw contest in which the lead changed hands on no fewer than eight occasions. Nathan Blewer and Andy Stevens stood on the 18th tee one up, and with a vital overnight advantage for their team in sight. However, they rather made a mess of the final hole, and a quite brilliant chip from Ken Gestring to two feet was sportingly conceded by the two Englishmen (rather in contrast to the level of sportsmanship on display at the weekend's Solheim Cup), thus securing a dramatic half point that leaves the contest as a whole perfectly in the balance going into the final day.

"I'm really proud of the way the boys rallied at the end today," said an elated skipper Brooks in the warmth of the clubhouse afterwards. "The spirit they showed in some pretty rough conditions was quite something. To take that kind of late momentum into tomorrow has given us a great boost, so hopefully we can go out there and get the job done."

The 12 singles matches commence at 08:40 on Wednesday, with Team USA needing six points to retain the Cup, For Team GB, 6.5 points or more will be the order of the day if they are to regain the coveted trophy on home soil.

For Wednesday's tee times, please click here and then scroll down the page.