Convincing opening victories for England and Scotland at Boys Home Internationals
The breeze stiffened in the afternoon but so too did the English and Scottish resolve as both nations enjoyed wins on the opening day of the Boys Home Internationals at County Louth Golf Club in Ireland.
Defending champions England were favourites coming into the event and after a strong 4-1 win against Ireland in the morning foursomes they defeated the hosts 9.5-5.5 after their closely contested singles (5.5-4.5 in England’s favour).
Scotland, meanwhile, had the luxury of heading into their singles with an even greater advantage after their 5-0 whitewash of Wales in the foursomes. That said, Scotland didn’t get it all their own way as Leighton Smith’s Welsh side fought hard in the singles (5.5-4.5 to Scotland) but eventually lost by the same margin as Ireland, 9.5-5.5.
It means England will take on Wales in tomorrow’s (Wednesday) first round of matches (from 8am) with Scotland to lock horns with Ireland.
Greig Marchbank got the first singles point on the board for Scotland with his 2 and 1 win over Henry James. However, a couple of Welsh wins quickly followed from Evan Griffith and Delon Hau, while Greg Tickell – in for Gareth Roberts from the morning foursomes – halved with Jamie Savage to ask the question of Scotland.
There was a remarkable win for Tim Harry, who aged 14, is the youngest player competing this week and his one hole win over Ewan Scott put another point on the board for Wales.
That said, Scotland’s tail wagged and the win was sealed for Barrie Douglas’s side when Alasdair McDougall and Bradley Neil both came through their matches.
“For a while this afternoon it looked quite precarious,” said a relieved Douglas. “The pivotal point for us was the Anthony Blaney match against Otto Mand. Anthony was three down with four holes to play and won all four to turn his match around.
“Our tail end was very strong and finished well. Alasdair (McDougall) was always up in his match and Bradley was four under for his round when he won 3 and 1 against Jack Davidson in the bottom match.”
Reflecting on the earlier Wales whitewash Douglas simply had to remind his team “not to become complacent” in the singles.
Earlier in the afternoon, one of the standout encounters involved England’s Toby Tree and Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan in the top match, the two home nation players selected for September’s Junior Ryder Cup at Olympia Fields in Illinois.
Both players shared plenty of birdies but it came down to the putting and Moynihan, this year’s Irish Amateur Open champion, won 2 and 1.
“There were lot of birdies, I had six in all. It was a tough match and could have gone either way. I’m delighted with the win,” said 17-year-old Moynihan.
“I guess you could say it was honours even after they got us in the morning foursomes.”
“I putted very well all afternoon. The key moment for me was the swinging right to left birdie putt I holed from 20 feet on the 14th. That was crucial.
“Toby and I both know each other well, we have played on a lot of teams together and are looking forward to the Junior Ryder Cup in a few weeks,” added Moynihan, who also became the first Irishman to win the prestigious McEvoy Trophy this year.
England captain Derek Hughes was quick to point out several notable performances, particularly from the younger contingent.
“I knew it was going to be a battle and Ireland, as they always do, put up a tremendous fight,” said Hughes, whose side won last year’s event at Royal St David’s.
“My younger players who made their debut today, the likes of Bobby Keeble, Jack Singh Brar (who won both his matches) and Rob Burlison, came through for us and I’m really pleased for them. It was a huge team effort from top to bottom.”
“But the job is only a third done, there’s still a lot more golf left to play,” added Hughes.
Click here for the full results from today and tomorrow's matches.