GB&I win St Andrews and Jacques Leglise trophies in Sweden

Great Britain and Ireland had double cause for celebration after winning both the St Andrews and Jacques Leglise trophies at Barsebäck in Sweden.

The GB&I men’s team defeated their counterparts from the Continent of Europe 14-10 to win the biennial St Andrews Trophy for the first time since 2008, while the under-18 GB&I team edged out a close match by 12 ½ to 11 ½ to retain the Jacques Leglise Trophy they won at Royal St David’s in Wales last year.

Trailing by 10-6 going into the afternoon singles, the Continent of Europe knew they had to produce something special to defend the St Andrews Trophy and they got off to the ideal start when Portugal’s Joao Carlota won the opening game by 2&1 against the previously unbeaten Ashley Chesters.

They led in several matches for much of the afternoon but Ireland’s Paul Dunne settled the nerves with a 4&3 win over Mathias Eggenberger from Switzerland. Amateur Champion Bradley Neil and Irishman Gary Hurley were able to produce late flourishes to win their games against Slovenia’s Tim Gornik and Daniel Berna from Spain to seal a memorable victory for GB&I.

In the morning foursomes, Chesters and Ryan Evans won by 3&1 against Carlota and Berna. Dunne and Hurley swept to an emphatic 5&4 win over Dutchman Darius van Driel and Finn Albert Eckhardt. Neil and Grant Forrest eagled the par 5 16th on their way to winning another point for GB&I and Graeme Robertson and Nick Marsh won with a par on the 18th to make it four points out of four for GB&I.

“It was great to get a win today. They came at us very strongly in the afternoon but I have a lot of faith in our players,” said Nigel Edwards, Captain of the GB&I St Andrews Trophy team. “Especially in the games coming down to the closing holes they really performed. They performed very well under pressure and they deserved their victory.”

The Jacques Leglise Trophy match was keenly poised after the morning foursomes. England’s Marco Penge and Ashton Turner led the way with a 4&3 win over Dutchman Vince van Veen and Spain’s Klaus Ganter. Wins for GB&I Captain Ewen Ferguson and Bradley Moore and Rowan Lester and George Burns gave the side momentum and when the top match finished all square GB&I took a slender one point lead going into the afternoon singles.

Swedes Marcus Kinhult and Oskar Bergqvist overturned the deficit with early wins against Haydn McCullen and Tim Harry, respectively, but Ferguson restored parity with his 2&1 win against Adam Blomme. GB&I moved ahead with wins from George Burns and Bradley Moore, who defeated Italy’s Federico Zuckermann by 5&4, but Italy’s Stefano Mazzoli won the last with a birdie to edge out Marco Penge and keep the Continent of Europe within a point of GB&I. Spain’s Klaus Ganter brought them another point but Lester dashed hopes of a comeback with a 2&1 win over the Czech Republic’s Vitek Novak to seal a 12 ½ - 11 ½ win for GB&I.

“We are really delighted to win,” said Peter McEvoy, Team Manager of the GB&I Jacques Leglise Trophy team. “It is becoming an increasingly difficult task to beat the Continent of Europe team. The standard of golf being played at the boys’ level these days is extremely high.

“We won the match by a single point in the end so it was very close. We are thrilled with ourselves because to beat a team of their quality is a fantastic achievement.”