Scotland in contention but Ireland remain favourites

ScotlandScotland have given themselves a chance of winning the 2010 Boys Home Internationals, after an impressive 10 – 6 defeat of Wales, today at Southerness Golf Club. They built on a three-point lead, which they had established in the morning foursomes, winning five of ten singles games this afternoon to win by four.

The singles did not go according to plan early on, with Wales taking two and a half of the first four points on offer to reduce the morning deficit by a third. Scotland’s early points came courtesy of a half for 2010 Scottish Boys Champion Grant Forrest, and a 4&3 victory for Conor O’Neill.

But from there Scotland would turn the screw, registering four wins in a row to take the match out of Wales’ reach. Victories came for Scott Gibson, 4&3; Jack McDonald, 2&1; Paul McPhee, two holes; and Jamie Lynch, 4&2. It was a remarkable turnaround for the Scots, who had suffered at Irish hands yesterday after putting in, by their own admission, a poor performance.

“The difference between today and yesterday was night and day,” explained Scotland’s non-playing Captain Stuart Wilson, who won the Amateur Championship at St Andrews in 2004. “Today we went out and won games. We didn’t rely on our opponents slipping up – we must have been under par in the majority of the foursomes matches this morning.

“It was a quiet bus on the way home yesterday, but they were buzzing on the range just now. It’s great to see, and it’s encouraging for tomorrow.”

IrelandStill favourites to win the event, however, are Ireland, whose half with England today leaves them with one and a half points out of two. The trophy will be theirs should they win tomorrow’s match against Wales.

Having led 4 – 1 after the foursomes, Ireland looked in command and likely to finish the day with two wins from two. Indeed, victory by two holes from Dermot McElroy and Chris Selfridge in the second and third matches of the afternoon, respectively, seemed to sew the match up – they had six points, only needing two from seven to emerge triumphant.

But Jack Hume’s one-hole win over Jack Heasman in game seven would produce Ireland’s last full point of the day. England’s Toby Tree, Callum Shinkwin, Nathan Kimsey, Oliver Carr and Colin Walsh all chalked up victories leaving the result of the match, and potentially the Championship, in the balance.

IrelandSo it fell to game 10, between Ireland’s Gary Hurley and Greg Eason of England, which lay all-square on the tee of the par-five 18th. Big-hitting Eason would drive long, and way right, while Hurley pierced the fairway with a super drive, which he followed up with a four-iron into the right greenside rough. Eason’s drive had round the 16th fairway, some 60 yards off line. He took advantage of his fortune, finding the green with a sweetly struck six-iron.

A tricky chip was well-played by 17-year-old Hurley, finishing up six feet from the hole. Eason’s 40-foot putt meanwhile was less well executed, leaving four feet for a birdie four. Hurley held his nerve, holing for birdie to the rapturous cheers of his team-mates. And Eason did the same to halve the match – a thrilling end to the day.

Tomorrow, Scotland will play England in the first match of the day, before Ireland take on Wales in Match Two.

Full scores and stories will be available on RandA.org throughout the day.