Great Britain and Ireland leads after first day of the 2013 Jacques Leglise Trophy

Great Britain and Ireland took a firm grip on the Jacques Leglise Trophy when they won four and halved one of the eight afternoon singles to lead the Continent of Europe 7 ½ - 4 ½ going in to the final day of the annual match at Royal St David’s in North Wales.

Peter McEvoy, the Chairman of The R&A Boys’ Selectors, was delighted with his team’s efforts but understandably cautious. “Both teams played well in difficult conditions and I’m happy with our lead,” he said. “But we take nothing for granted and I’m sure Europe will put up a fight tomorrow.”

After winning the morning foursomes 3-1, GB&I were quickly pegged back when Germany’s Dominic Foos (Pictured right with Ewen Ferguson) won the first of the afternoon singles 8 & 7 against Ewen Ferguson and his morning foursomes partner, Italian Renato Paratore, won his match against the Carris Trophy winner Ben Amor 6 & 4.

At that stage there were six of the singles matches still out on the course and it looked bright for the Continent of Europe but then GB&I won four in a row.

Ireland’s Robin Dawson claimed his second win of the day when he beat Spain’s Ivan Cantero 4 & 3, England’s Marco Penge won 4 & 2 against Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura, Bradley Neil (Pictured Left) had a one hole victory over Paul Elissalde from France, and Scotland’s Connor Syme defeated another Frenchman, Romain Langasque, 5 & 3 to open up a four point lead for the home side.

Spain’s Mario Galiano stemmed the tide for the European team when he holed a 25ft putt to halve his match with England captain Ashton Turner, then Germany’s Michael Hirmer claimed a vital third singles win for Europe in a tight match with Scot Robert MacIntyre.

MacIntyre was two up on no less than four occasions, the last time at the 13th. Hirmer, who was the runner-up in the recent Boys Amateur Championship, won the 14th and 15th with pars, however. They halved the 16th, then Hirmer holed a 40ft putt across the green to go ahead for the first time at the 17th, and they halved the 18th.

It was a big disappointment for recently crowned Boys Amateur Champion, Ewen Ferguson, in the opening singles when he lost the first nine holes to German number one Foos, and the match 8 & 7. Foos birdied five, seven, eight and nine and, although he lost the tenth, he halved the 11th for a convincing victory.

Paratore (Pictured right) was always in control against England’s Ben Amor. He won the second, third and fourth to go three up, then Amor pulled one back with a birdie at the fifth, but that was to be his only win. Paratore birdied the ninth, won the 12th when Amor conceded and won the match with a par at the short 14th.

Dawson, the Irish Boys’ Open Amateur Champion, claimed GB&I’s first singles point in a match which he led from the first with a winning par. A par was good enough to win the third and birdies at the fifth and eighth had him four up at the turn. Cantero pulled one back with a birdie at the 12th but Dawson won the 14th with a par and then closed out the Spaniard with a par at 15.

Fairhaven Trophy winner Penge was all square with Ventura after 11 but the English player won four of the next five holes with pars and took the match 4 & 2.

After losing the first hole, Connor Syme was in command against Langasque. He won the second with a birdie to get back to level and had three more birdies to be three up at the turn. He won the 11th with a par, lost the 13th to a par but then won the 14th and 15th with pars to take the match.

Neil, who represented Scotland in the recent Men’s Home Internationals, was two down after 11 against Paul Elissalde but won 12 and 13 with pars to get back to all square. He won the 17th when Elissalde got into trouble and then they both parred the 18th for the Scot to claim his second point.

Turner was two up after five against Galiano (Pictured left), who won this year’s Copa Baleares, but the Spaniard pulled level by halfway.  He went one up at the 10th, lost the 11th to a birdie, went one up again at the 12th, but then lost the 13th. Turner, who won this year’s Bernard Darwin Salver, regained the lead with a winning par at the 14th but then had to concede at the 16th. Turner looked best placed to win when Galiano found a greenside bunker off the tee at the short 18th and splashed out to 25ft past the hole with his opponent 20ft away. But the Spaniard holed his putt and Turner had to settle for a half.

In the morning foursomes, Ferguson and Neil won 5 & 4 against Foos and Paratore, Moore and Dawson won by one hole against Ventura and Hirmer and MacIntyre and Syme won 3 & 2 against Langasque and Manifacier. Galiano and Cantero notched up a point for the Europeans with a 4 & 3 win against Turner and Penge.

Tomorrow’s final day of the Jacques Leglise Trophy will see four morning foursomes and eight singles in the afternoon.

The foursomes draw (GB&I names first): 9.00am - Turner and Penge v Paratore and Foos; 9.10 – Ferguson and Neil v Galiano and Cantero; 9.20 – Moore and Dawson v Elissalde and Langasque; 9-30 – MacIntyre and Syme v Ventura and Manifacier.

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