The Irish trio of Thomas Mulligan, Mark Power and Kevin LeBlanc took two and a half points from three in the singles to help Great Britain and Ireland save some pride and claim the final session in the Jacques Leglise Trophy at Prince’s
it was too little too late as the Continent of Europe won the Jacques Leglise Trophy for the first time since 2012 with a 13½-11½ win in Kent — their 11th win since the fixture between the two teams was rejuvenated in 1977.
GB&I have won the Jacques Leglise Trophy on thirty-seven occasions but it was not to be this time as the Continent of Europe took the first three sessions.
Leading their opponents 8½-3½ at the start of the second day, the Continent of Europe won three of the morning foursomes matches to increase their advantage to 11½-4½ lead going into this afternoon’s singles.
Adrien Pendaries, who contributed a maximum four points for the Continent of Europe in the match overall, defeated Harry Goddard in a convincing 3&2 win to put his side 12½-4½ up and within touching distance of winning the match outright.
However, GB&I’s playing captain Marco Penge kept his team’s hopes alive after matching former Boys Amateur Champion Marcus Svensson’s birdie at the last with his own birdie putt from short range to win by one hole.
Former Junior Open champion LeBlanc won four holes in a row between the 10th and 13th to beat Jonathan Goth-Rasmussan 4&3, while fellow countryman Power picked up another point for GB&I shortly after, overcoming Boys Amateur Championship runner-up Alejandro Aguilera Martin by 2&1.
The Continent of Europe did not have to wait much longer to win the match outright though, Edgar Catherine’s encounter with Mulligan finishing all-square to give the visitors the vital half point to take them past the 12½ point mark and into an unassailable winning position.
Alex Fitzpatrick, brother of Europe’s Ryder Cup team member Matthew, won by 3&2 against Pontus Nyholm, birdieing the 16th to close out his match. He finished the event as one of the home side’s top contributors with 3½ points.
Charlie Strickland’s dual against Boys Amateur Champion Falko Hanisch went the distance, with the Englishman going 1up on the 17th after the German could only manage a par, and he sealed his victory by one hole with a halve on the 18th.
The penultimate match between Toby Briggs and Maximilian Schmitt was halved, before Jamie Stewart’s two hole success in the final game against Kristoffer Reitan resulted in a 13½-11½ final score in favour of the Continent of Europe.
In the morning foursomes, Schmitt and Hanisch continued their excellent form with a convincing 5&4 win against Toby Briggs and Power.
The match was a closely contested encounter in the early stages but Schmitt and Hanisch grasped control of proceedings after winning five holes in a row from the 8th and a bogey five at the 14th from Briggs and Power handed the German duo the victory.
Penge and Fitzpatrick survived a fightback from Swedish pairing Svensson and Nyholm to narrowly win by one hole but French pairing Pendaries and Catherine secured another point for the Continent of Europe with a hard fought one hole victory against Charlie Strickland and Harry Goddard.
Aguilera Martin and Reitan, who were four holes down to LeBlanc and Stewart at the 10th, produced an epic comeback to win on the final hole, with the Spaniard holing a magnificent long-range putt to give Stevens’ side a 3-1 result at the conclusion of the morning’s play.
Jeroen Stevens, non-playing captain, The Continent of Europe
“I’m very happy for the boys, I think we deserved the win. It was a stressful afternoon after such a good morning but we had good results to get the one and half points we needed to win the trophy.
“The boys looked like they hadn’t won at the end because they expected to win by a bigger margin but once the prize ceremony takes place they will realise that they have done something special and they will be very glad about the result.”
Peter McEvoy OBE, Chairman of The R&A Boys Selectors, Great Britain and Ireland
“We’re very disappointed to lose but we lost to a very good side. We came back to win the singles 7-2 this afternoon, which adds to the frustration as it shows what we could have done if we had played our best golf earlier than we did.
“However, The Continent of Europe deserved to win, they have many high quality players in their team that you will hear about in the future and they outplayed us in the first three sessions.”
The 2017 Jacques Leglise Trophy will be played at Ballybunion’s Old Course in Ireland from 1-2 September next year.