The Continent of Europe holds an 8-4 lead over Great Britain and Ireland after the first day of the St Andrews Trophy at Prince’s.
The visitors won all of the morning foursomes to take a 4-0 lead going into the afternoon’s single matches, and despite a number of strong performances, the home side were unable to reduce the deficit during the second half of the day, leaving them a tall order going into day two.
GB&I captain Craig Watson said, “It finished 8-4, but it looked a bit more promising for us earlier this afternoon after the scores around the twelfth and thirteenth. They played quite well though.
“I was disappointed to lose the foursomes 4-0, but these things can happen in foursomes if you don’t quite gel straight away, it’s difficult.
“We’re obviously disappointed to have come out this afternoon only four each as well so the players will be a wee bit down but once we give them a wee shake they’ll be fine and raring to go for tomorrow.”
Irishman Jack Hume posted his side’s first point on the board with an emphatic 5&4 win over Guido Migliozzi in Match 2. The South African Amateur Stroke Play Champion won four holes on the front nine, losing the par 4 5th , before bogeys by Migliozzi on 12 and 14 handed Hume the match.
This year’s Amateur Champion Scott Gregory (pictured) followed suit shortly after, beating the Netherlands’ Jeroen Krietemeijer 3&2 to record GB&I’s second point of the afternoon. The 21 year-old, who featured in The 145th Open at Royal Troon last week, made a crucial eagle on 15, before birdieing the 16th, to close out the contest against the Dutchman.
Nevertheless, Continent of Europe hit back in Match 3 when Ivan Cantero Gutierrez defeated Grant Forrest 2&1. The Spaniard made a vital birdie on the 15th to take a one hole advantage and he sealed the win on the par 3 17th after the Scotsman made a bogey 4.
Two wins in quick succession in the bottom half of the draw moved GB&I to within a point of their opponents; Ireland’s Stuart Grehen delivering a superb performance to beat Italian Luca Chianchetti 6&4, before Connor Syme registered a 5&4 success against Chianchetti’s compatriot Stefano Mazzoli.
Matthias Schwab responded for Continent of Europe, winning three holes in a row from the 15th to claim a 3&1 victory over David Boote.
Despite a valiant comeback from Alfie Plant, who was 5 down at the turn, Spain’s Mario Galiano held on to take a win by one hole on the 18th to extend his team’s lead to three points.
Scotland’s Robert MacIntye led Robin Petersson for the majority of Match 6, and was 4-up at one stage, only to lose six of the last eight holes to give the Swede a win by one hole and Continent of Europe a fourth point of the afternoon.
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GB&I found the going tough during the morning foursomes, losing all four matches.
Schwab and Migliozzi posted an excellent 4&3 win over Hume and Boote in the opening match to claim the first point for the Continent of Europe.
Two of the opening three holes were traded before Schwab and Migliozzi took control of the contest, winning the 4th and 5th holes to go 2-up.
A birdie on the challenging 10th hole further increased their lead to three holes, before the match was wrapped up on the 16th following a bogey five from the home side.
Galiano and Cantero Gutierrez won the second match by two holes against Gregory and Grehen. The Spaniards won four of the last six holes to ensure a second point for the visitors.
Frenchman Victor Veyret and Sweden’s Petersson recorded a 2&1 win over English pairing Plant and Jamie Bower, before Italians Mazzoli and Chianchetti triumphed in the final match of the morning, beating Connor Syme and Robert MacIntyre 2&1 to ensure a clean sweep for Continent of Europe.