Great Britain and Ireland are level with the Continent of Europe after the first day of the Vagliano Trophy in Italy.
GB&I, who have not won the biennial competition since 2005, go into the second and final day at Bogogno Golf Club, tied on six points each with the Continent of Europe, who are bidding for six wins in a row. The morning foursomes were shared 2-2 and the singles 4-4.
GB&I’s Leona Maguire, number one in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM, recent winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship and Curtis Cup player, had to be content with two halved matches, first in the foursomes in partnership with WAGRTM No.13 Olivia Mehaffey, and then in her singles tie against Dewi Weber.
Maguire was three down in the initial stages but chipped away at her deficit, capping her fightback by squaring the match at the 17th and halving the last.
Star performer for GB&I was another Curtis Cup player, Alice Hewson, who was five-under-par in foursomes partnership with India Clyburn and three-under-par in registering a 3&2 singles win over Matilda Castren from Finland. Long-hitting Hewson was behind in the early stages but got her nose in front by the turn and stayed in the driving seat to go three up after the 15th.
Olivia Mehaffey defeated last year's youngest ever Ladies’ British Open Amateur Champion Julia Engstrom, now 16, by one hole. Mehaffey was two up after the 10th but had to dig her heels in to hold the talented youngster at bay. Engstrom squared the match by winning the 17th but Mehaffey kept calm to win the 18th for the match.
Despite recording five birdies, Gemma Clews lost by 3&2 to a brilliant performance by WAGRTM No.3, Albane Valenzuela, who had an eagle and seven birdies and was two up at the turn.
Following defeats for India Clyburn (3&1 by Morgane Metraux), and Annabel Wilson (3&2 by Linnea Strom (Sweden), The Continent of Europe led 5½-4½ with two matches to finish. Sophie Lamb, last year's British Women's Stroke Play Champion, halved with Puk Lyng Thomsen, who won the 14th and 15th to square the contest. The 17th was halved in birdie threes and the honours were shared after a half at the last.
With the score at 6-5 in favour of the Continent of Europe, it was left to the eldest of the GB&I team Maria Dunne, to bring match to all square. Up against WAGRTM No.18 Virginia Elena Carta, Dunne played well to lead the match almost from the start. Two up after eight, Dunne went three ahead after the 12th hole. Although her lead was cut back, the former Curtis Cup player was never under severe pressure and ran out a 2&1 winner to level the overall score at 6-6.
In the Junior Vagliano Trophy, the Under-16’s version of the competition, the Continent of Europe took the foursomes 2½-½ and the singles 4½-2½, to lead GB&I 7–2 at the halfway stage of the six-a-side match.
Lily May Humphreys was the only GB&I singles winner defeating Emilie Alba Paltrinieri by 3&1 after being three up at the 10th. GB&I’s Caitlin Whitehead fought back from two down after three to battle her way to a square match with Caterina Don.
“I am happy with the outcome of the first day. It really was a roller-coaster of a day in which we were behind at one stage, got on level terms, fell behind again but our tailed wagged to share the singles.
"I thought the general standard of play in the afternoon was very high, on both sides. There were a lot of putts holed. We came from behind at Malone Golf Club two years ago and got to within two points of catching Team Europe over the final singles. So 6-6 represents a much more promising scenario for GB&I. I am really looking forward to it."
Vagliano, Bogogno Golf Club, Milan, Italy
FIRST DAY SCORE: Great Britain & Ireland 6, Continent of Europe 6
GB & I names first
- Leona Maguire & Olivia Mehaffey halved with Linnea Strom & Julia Engstrom.
- Maria Dunne & Annabel Wilson lost to Matilda Castren & Morgane Metraux 7 and 6.
- Alice Hewson & India Clyburn bt Puk Lyng Thomsen & Dewi Weber 1 hole.
- Gemma Clews & Sophie Lamb halved with Virginia Elena Carta & Albane Valenzuela.
- Maguire halved with Weber
- Hewson bt Castren 3 and 2.
- Clyburn lost to Metraux 3 and 1.
- Mehaffey bt Engstrom 1 hole.
- Wilson lost to Strom 3 and 2.
- Clews lost to Valenzuela 3 and 2.
- Lamb halved with Thomsen
- Dunne bt Carta 2 and 1.
Junior Vagliano Trophy
Great Britain and Ireland 2, Continent of Europe 7
GB and I names first
- Euphemie Rhodes & Lily May Humphreys halved with Emilie Alba Paltrinieri & Alessia Nobilio.
- Ffion Tynan & Caitlin Whitehead lost to Bianca Fernandez & Garcia-Poggio 8 and 6.
- Sara Byrne & Carys Worby lost to Isabella Holpfer & Amanda Linner 2 holes.
- Humphreys bt Paltrinieri 3 and 1
- Byrne lost to Holpfer 6 and 4
- Tynan lost to Linner 3 and 1
- Whitehead halved with Don
- Worby lost to Garcia-Poggo 2 and 1
- Rhodes lost to Nobilio 5 and 4.