St Andrews Trophy victory for GB and I

Great Britain and Ireland have won the St Andrews Trophy for the fifth consecutive time and the 24th time in 27 matches, beating the Continent of Europe by 13 1/2 points to 10 1/2 at Kingsbarns, near St Andrews. Scoring
After dominating the first day's play sweeping the opening foursomes 4-0, the GB&I team never looked in much danger of losing out over the two days. A 3-1 victory margin in the second day's foursomes extended the overnight lead to five points going into the final singles, meaning that the home team needed just two points out of eight to record a victory. In the end, it was far closer than expected, with Europe winning the final singles matches 5-3.
"We made it – just!" grinned GB&I team captain Colin Dalgleish, after talking of the importance of building international friendships through sport.
"Next time we'll play foursomes all four sessions!" he joked, referring to the team's 7-1 aggregate in the alternate shot format.
Foursomes were indeed the key. In the second day's matches there were safe GB&I victories in the first and fourth games out, with Sam Hutsby and Dale Whitnell beating Stephan Gross and Jesper Kennegard 3&2 and Wallace Booth and Shane Lowry beating Alexandre Kaleka and Benjamin Hebert by the same margin. In the first match, Hutsby and Whitnell were down early on, but came back with birdies on the 10th, 14th and 16th to take the match, while in the fourth game Booth and Lowry were never behind after winning the fourth.
The second match out, in which Dutch pair Reinier Saxton and Tim Sluiter took on Ireland's Jonathan Caldwell and Scotland's Callum Macaulay, looked like being a comfortable win for the Continent. Saxton and Sluiter were looking comfortable at dormie three-up, but an eagle on the 16th for the GB&I team was followed with wins on the next two holes, and suddenly what seemed a certain point for the Continent became a half for both teams.
The third match followed suit, though Andrea Pavan and Jorge Campillo have been neck and neck with Matt Haines and Chris Paisley throughout the day, making a half a more expected.
Going into the singles matches, it looked like a foregone conclusion yet the Continent of Europe team did its best to make it a contest. Match by match it looked as if the GB&I team were losing their grip. First, Stephan Gross went ahead of Callum Macaulay, and although Sam Hutsby went ahead of Jorge Campillo and Wallace Booth took an early lead against Tim Sluiter, the rest of the matches went the Continent's way.
Star performer was Benjamin Hebert, the 2007 European Amateur Champion, who played stunning golf against Dale Whitnell to win 6&5, getting to five under par for his 13 holes in the process. Behind him, Jesper Kennegard beat Chris Paisley 3&2 and Andrea Pavan beat Steven Uzzell 4&3, while Bjorn Akesson did his part by recovering from a deficit against Matt Haines to win one up.
Yet it was all in vain thanks to the efforts of the Scottish pair of Wallace Booth and Callum Macaulay. First, Wallace Booth completed his comfortable 5&3 victory with a pair of birdies on the 14th and 15th against Tim Sluiter, and a few minutes later Callum Macaulay secured the winning point. Macaulay had kicked into gear against Stephan Gross with an eagle on the 9th, and followed it with three back nine birdies to win 3&1 and secure the St Andrews Trophy for the home side.
That left only Alexandre Kaleka and Shane Lowry to finish a match which turned into an epic tussle, with Lowry twice overturning a two-hole advantage for Kaleka before birdieing the 17th to square the match heading to the last. In the end, the Kaleka holed a brave 10ft downhill putt to earn an honourable half.