TEAM EUROPE MAKE UP 2PT LEEWAY TO LEAD AT HALFWAY STAGE
The Continent of Europe came back from a 4-2 mid-afternoon deficit, to lead 6.5 to 5.5 at the halfway stage of the two-day Vagliano Trophy match at Malone Golf Club, Belfast. That is a repeat of the scoreline two years ago at Chantilly.
Vagliano Trophy - Afternoon Singles
"I'm quite happy with our position although it's a pity that Olivia Mehaffey's putt for a birdie on the last green of the last match lipped out," said Elaine Farquharson-Black, the GB and I captain. "If you had offered me this scoreline before the start of play I would have taken it. We were strong at the top and at the end of our line-up today, but we hit too many slack shots, missed too many fairways."
Here at Malone the foursomes were shared 2-2 on a warm but very wet morning. The sun came out in the afternoon when the Continentals shaded the singles 4.5-3.5.
GB and I began the singles action in great style with world No 1 Leona Maguire winning by 2 and 1 over France's Celine Boutier, whom she displaced as world amateur No 1 earlier this year. They are team-mates at Duke University, North Carolina and Boutier won the British women's open amateur championship at Portstewart, also in Northern Ireland,a couple of weeks ago. The Irish player was two up after six holes but Boutier won back the eighth before seven holes in a row were halved. Maguire holed a 10ft birdie putt for a 3 to go two up at the 16th and a half at the the next ended a classic singles tie between two quality players.
GB and I went 4-2 up overall with a 2 and 1 win by Bronte Law over Germany's Olivia Cowan, daughter of a Liverpool-born pro in that country. All square after 12 holes, Bronte Law got decisive wins at the 13th and 17th. That was as good as it got for GB and I on the opening day.
Hayley Davis, two down at the turn, went down by 4 and 2 to Luna Sobron Then Nicole Jimenez Martin of Spain levelled it at 4-4 overall by beating Alice Hewson by 3 and 1. The match was all square at the turn but Jimenez won the 10th, 12th and 13th.
Chloe Williams lost by 3 and 2 to Albane Valenzuela who was two up at the turn, before winnng the 10th and 11th. Team Europe surged 6-4 ahead with a 3 and 1 win by Nuria Iturrios over Gemma Clews. Iturrios was three up after seven holes but Clews reduced her deficit to one by winning the 10th and 13th. Valenzuela put the match out of her opponent's reach by winning the 15th and 17th.
GB and I were in a position to win both the final singles and make it 6-6 at the end of the day. Charlotte Thomas, two up by winning the 14th and 15th, then lost the 17th but was conceded the 18th by Madelene Sagstrom, ranked No 3 in Europe.
Olivia Mehaffey playing the girl who beat her in the semi-finals of the recent "British" - Linnea Strom, was two up after 13. The Swedish player hit back with gains at the 14th and 16th to set up a nail-biting finish infront of a big gallery on the 18th. Tthe match was halved when Mehaffey's putt for a birdie lipped out.
Vagliano Trophy - Morning Foursomes
The first-morning foursomes honours were shared, with GB and I and Team Europe locked together at 2-2 going into the afternoon singles.
The all-Ireland pairing of world No 1 Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey drew first blood for GB and I by beating the French partnership of Celine Boutier, recent winner of the British women's open amateur championship at Portstewart and Justine Dreher. Maguire and Mehaffey won the first and were never in arrears after that. Boutier and Dreher squared it at the second, but went one down again at the third before getting back on level terms by winning the fourth. After a series of halves, Maguire and Mehaffey won the seventh, ninth and 11th to take a three-hole lead they preserved through halves from the 12th to the 16 inclusive for a 3 and 2 victory.
Team Europe's Noemi Jimenez Martin and Luna Sobron from Spain levelled it at 1-1 by beating Bronte Law and Chloe Williams by two holes ... but it was close. After a tight first 10 holes, it was all square on the 11th tee but Team Europe made their winning move by taking first, the 11th and then the 13th for a two-hole lead. Holes 14 to 16 were halved before Law and Williams won the 17th to be one down. Jimenez and Sobron won the 18th for a two-hole victory.
Meghan MacLaren and Alice Hewson put GB and I back in the lead with a grandstand finish for a one-hole victory over Albane Valenzuela and Nuria Iturrios. Team Europe were one up after six holes. Then followed a sequence of nine halved holes until MacLaren and Hewson squared the contest by winning the 16th and birdieing the par-5 17th to lead for the first time in the match. A half at the 18th saw MacLaren and Hewson confirmed as winners by one hole.
Team Europe won the last of the four morning foursomes to make it 2-2 at lunch. The all-Spanish pair of Linnea Strom and Madelene Sagstrom beat Hayley Davis amd Charlotte Thomas by 2 and 1 after a ding-dong struggle with only one hole in it either way for the first 16 holes. Strom and Sagstrom won the 15th to show ahead for the second time in the match. After a half at the 16th, Team Europe won the 17th for a 2 and 1 victory.
TEAM EUROPE TAKE 6-3 GRIP ON JUNIOR VAGLIANO TROPHY
The Continent of Europe ended the opening day of the Junior Vagliano Trophy match with a 6-3 lead, reversing Team GB & I's winning margin of 2-1 from the morning foursomes.
Junior Vagliano - Afternoon Singles
GB and I's only afternoon winner was Scot, Hazel MacGarvie who beat Isabella Holpfer 2 and 1 after a match which had swayed first this way, then the other. MacGarvie won the 10th and 11th to turn a one-hole deficit into a one-hold lead and she was not fazed by being pulled back to all square again by the Austrian at the 13th. The Scot promptly regained the advantage by winning the 14th and after halves at the 15th and 16th, she clinched a 2 and 1 victory by winning the 17th.
Fellow Scot Shannon McWilliam lost the lead-off singles on the 18th green to Agathe Laisne. McWilliam was three down at the turn but dug deep against her French opponent to win the 12th, 13th and 16th. The Scot's birdie at the long 17th was not enough to win the hole - Laisne got an eagle 3 to square the game and then won the 18th as well for a two-hole victory.
Emily Price lost by 5 and 4 to Frida Kinhult who won the 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th to go from one up to shaking hands on the 14th green. Mairead Martin lost by 4 and 3 to Mathilde Claisse who wonn the 12th 13th and 14th holes on her way to victory.
Annabel Wilson lost by 3 and 2 to Emma Spitz who was three up at the turn, having won the third, fourth and fifth.
Hollie Muse lost by 2 and 1 to Julia Engstrom after trailing most of the way. Engrstrom was two up after five holes and three up after seven. Muse three times cut her deficit to two holes and won the 16th to be only one down. Engstrom responded to the challenge by winning the 17th for a 2 and 1 win.
Junior Vagliano Morning Foursomes
Great Britain & Ireland led 2-1 after the morning foursomes in the Junior Vaglian Trophy match.
Agathe Laisne and Frida Kinhult gave Team Europe a winning start by beating Hollie Muse and Shannon McWilliam on the 18th green in the opening tie. In a tight match, the GB and I pair never led but were only once two down. All square after 17, victory went to Laisne and Kinhult who won the 18th.
GB and I cancelled out that loss with a 5 and 4 success for Mairead Martin and Annabel Wilson over Isabella Holpfor and Mathilde Claisse in the second foursomes. The Irish girls took an grip on the outcome by winning the first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth holes to be four up at the turn. Holes 10 to 13 were halved beofre Martin and Wilson ended the contest by winning the 14th.
The go-ahead win for GB and I came from the final foursomes pairing of Emily Price and Hazel MacGarvie who won by one hole against Emma Spitz and Julie Engstrom. Price and McGarvie were either square or one down on the outward half. Spitz and Engstrom went ahead for a third time with a gain at the 11th but Price and MacGarvie played the inward half better than they had the first nine. They squared it a the 14th and then took the lead for the first time at the 16th. Halves at the 17th and 18th gave GB and I their one-hole victory.