Irish trio crucial in GB&I St Andrews and Jacques Leglise double

Great Britain and Ireland with the St Andrews Trophy. Picture courtesy The R and A

Gary Hurley and Paul Dunne and boy wonder Rowan Lester played a huge role as Great Britain and Ireland had double cause for celebration after winning both the St Andrews and Jacques Leglise trophies at Barsebäck in Sweden on Saturday.

With Hurley and Dunne unbeaten in singles and foursomes, just as they were in Ireland's Home Internationals victory, the GB&I men’s team defeated the Continent of Europe 14-10 to win the biennial St Andrews Trophy for the first time since 2008.

St Andrews Trophy scoring

Jacques Leglise scoring

In the under-18 clash for the Jacques Leglise, Lester from Hermitage holed the winning putt as Great Britain and Ireland edged out a close match by 12 ½ to 11 ½ to retain the 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 Greystones' Dunne settled the nerves with a 4&3 win over Mathias Eggenberger from Switzerland.

Amateur Champion Bradley Neil and West Waterford star 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.

It was a particularly memorable week for Hurley, who made an albatross on the par-five 16th and then birdied the 17th on Friday as he beat the Finn Albert Eckhardt 3 and 1.

In the morning foursomes, Chesters and Ryan Evans won by 3&1 against Carlota and Berna as Dunne and Hurley swept to an emphatic 5&4 win over Eckhardt and Dutchman Darius van Driel.

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.

Great Britain and Ireland with the Jacques Leglise Trophy. Picture courtesy The R and A

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 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.

Nigel Edwards, Captain of the GB&I St Andrews Trophy team, said: “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. Especially in the games coming down to the closing holes they really performed. They performed very well under pressure and they deserved their victory.”

Peter McEvoy, Team Manager of the GB&I Jacques Leglise Trophy team, added: “We are really delighted to win. 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.”