Waterford Castle’s Kevin Phelan produced a sensational short game magic to grab a crucial singles win and help Great Britain and Ireland take a 7-5 lead over the Continent of Europe into the final day of the St Andrews Trophy at Portmarnock.
And it was a similar story from 17-year old Gavin Moynihan from The Island, who chipped for birdie at the 17th en route to a crucial half with Austrian Matthias Schwab that left the home side just 7-5 behind in the Jacques Leglise Trophy.
After sharing the foursomes 2-2, the GB & I St Andrews Trophy team was struggling in the afternoon singles before Phelan and English pair Neil Raymond Ben Taylor all won on the 18th to give the home side a 5-3 win in the session and a crucial two-point lead over the title holders.
“At one point didn’t look very good,” said GB & I captain Nigel Edwards. “But I’m really pleased that the boys at end came through very strong. We were only up in two of the eight singles at one stage.
“There hadn’t been a lot happening so it was nice to see some putts going in from 14 onwards. It’s abut finding fairways and putting the Continentals under pressure now. We have to keep doing that, put them under pressure and play as well as can do.
“There will be a lot of tight flags tomorrow so playing to the middle of the greens is good or even the opposite sides of the green.
“There’s a lot of fight in this team, they’re a great bunch of lads. A two-point lead now, we’ll take that.”
Amateur champion Alan Dunbar lost his singles to Edouard Espana of France after a great comeback from four down with four to play.
He won the 15th, 16th and 17th in par-par-bridie figures but drove into trouble at the 18th and went down by two holes.
European Amateur champion Rhys Pugh was also beaten, going down by 3 and 2 to Manuel Trappel of Austria, the 2011 European champion. However, the tail wagged spectacularly for Edwards on a testing day at the north Dublin links.
A fresh breeze, gusting over 20 mph for much of the day, made the course a demanding test for most and Phelan was pleased to get on the board in the singles.
All square with three to play against Germany’s Moritz Lampert, he holed a 50 footer to win the 16th in birdie before getting up and down from 50 yards for a half at the 17th and just short of the green at the last, crucially draining a 12 footer there for a one-hole win.
“I was delighted to get the win,” Phelan said. “The short game was good at the end there and I made a few good up and downs, which is always important in matchplay.”
In the Jacques Leglise Trophy, GB&I lost the foursomes 2.5 to 1.5 and the singles 4.5 to 3.5 to finish the day 7-5 down.
However Moynihan’s half point from a game that was followed by more than 200 supporters, could prove to be priceless today.
“I didn’t produce by my best, so I’m just very, very happy to get a half in the end,” said Moynihan, who was a 5 & 4 winner with Castle’s Alex Gleeson in the foursomes. “The 17th was probably the best chip I’ve ever had. We didn’t quite have our best stuff today so to be only 7-5 down is not a bad result.”
England’s Max Orrin certainly did produce his best stuff as he went out in 32 and was six under when he beat Spaniard Mario Galiano 6 and 5.
And Continental captain, Gary Stangl knows it will not be easy to win back the trophy, explaining: “We need five and a half points to win tomorrow but we know it is quite tough out there against the GB&I team. Their captain Peter McEvoy has a lot of experience so we need to be careful before predicting anything.”
St Andrews Trophy (GB&I Names First)
A Dunbar and N Raymond lost to E Espana and M Lampert 2&1.
C Hinton and B Taylor bt R Karlsson and T Sorensen 2&1.
R Pugh and G Porteous bt M Trappel and MSchneider 5&4.
N Kimsey and K Phelan lost to C Pigem and J Pastor 3&2
(Foursomes Result: GB&I 2; Continent 2).
R Pugh lost to M Trappel 3&2.
C Hinton bt J Pastor 4&2.
A Dunbar lost to E Espana 2 holes.
G Porteous bt T Pulkkanen 6&5.
G Robertson lost to C Pigem 3&2.
N Raymond bt M Schneider 3&1.
K Phelan bt M Lampert 1 hole.
B Taylor bt R Karlsson 2 holes.
(Singles Result: GB&I 5, Continent 3).
Overall: GB&I 7; Continent 5.
Jacques Leglise Trophy (GB&I Names First)
Foursomes: G Moynihan and A Gleeson 5&3.
T Tree and M Orrin lost to V Tarnstrom and H Ronneblad 1 hole.
A Turner and P Kelly lost to M Schwab and D Foos 3&2.
H Ellis and M Fitzpatrick halved with M Galiano and G Castagnara
(Foursomes Result: GB&I 1.5; Continent 2.5).
G Moynihan halved with M Schwab.
N Bradley lost to H Ronneblad 4&2.
A Gleeson lost to D Foos 3&1.
T Tree lost to R Paratore 3&2.
M Orrin bt M Galiano 6&5.
A Turner bt K Subregis 4&3.
P Kelly lost to R Langasque 1 hole.
M Fitzpatrick bt V Tarnstrom 5&3.
(Singles Result: GB&I 3.5; Continent 4.5)
Overall: GB&I 5; Continent 7.
St Andrews Trophy
Foursomes (GB&I names first)
8:20 R Pugh and G Porteous v M Trappel and M Schneider,
8:20 C Hinton and B Taylor v R Karlsson and T Sorensen,
8:40 A Dunbar and N Raymond v E Espana and M Lampert,
8:50 N Kimsey and K Phelan v C Pigem and J Pastor.
(8 singles from 13:50).
Jacques Leglise Trophy
Foursomes (GB&I names first)
7:30 G Moynihan and A Gleeson v G Castagnara and R Paratore,
7:40 T Tree and M Orrin v M Schwab and D Foos,
7:50 A Turner and P Kelly v V Tarnstrom and H Ronneblad,
8:00 H Ellis and M Fitzpatrick v R Langasque and K Subregis.
(8 singles from 12:30).