Continent of Europe retain Jacques Léglise Trophy with ease

Continent of Europe retain Jacques Léglise Trophy with ease
 BALLYBUNION, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 2: The winning Continent of Europe boys golf team with the Jacques Leglise Trophy on September 2, 2017 in Ballybunion, Ireland. The Continent of Europe defeated GB and Ireland 15 and a half to 9 and a half to retain the trophy. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

BALLYBUNION, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 2: The winning Continent of Europe boys golf team with the Jacques Leglise Trophy on September 2, 2017 in Ballybunion, Ireland. The Continent of Europe defeated GB and Ireland 15 and a half to 9 and a half to retain the trophy. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

The Continent of Europe crushed Great Britain and Ireland 7-2 in the singles and retained the Jacques Léglise Trophy with a comprehensive 15½-9½ victory at Ballybunion.

Leading their opponents 6½-5½ at the start of the second day, the morning foursomes were tied 2-2 to give the Continent of Europe a single point advantage at 8½-7½ going into this afternoon’s singles matches.

This year's Boys Amateur champion Pedro Lencart Silva extended the visitors’ lead to two points after securing an impressive 5&4 victory over GB&I captain Mark Power. 

A superb eagle three on the par-five fifth gave the 2016 Junior Open winner a one hole advantage which he extended on the sixth with a birdie to go 2up.

Despite bogeying the seventh, the Portuguese won a third consecutive hole after Power could only make double bogey and he was four up by the turn after winning the eighth hole. 

Lencart Silva picked up another hole on the 13th to move five up, and he closed out the match on the 14th after matching Power’s par to halve the hole.

Eduard Rousaud Sabate chalked up another notable win for the Continent of Europe with a 6&4 victory against Luke Harries. The Spaniard struck early in the match after making a birdie on the opening hole to go one up but the 2017 Welsh Boys Amateur champion won the 2nd hole to return the match to all square.

The pair traded holes between the 3rd and 5th before Sabate embarked on a four-hole winning run to be four up at the turn. 

After picking up wins on the 10th and 11th holes it was only a matter of time before Sabate sealed his victory and despite Harries rallying to win a hole back on the 13th, the Spanish youngster made sure of the point after winning the 14th to put his side 10½-7½ up.

Sabate’s compatriot Alejandro Aguilera edged the Continent of Europe to within a point of retaining the trophy at 11½-7½ after defeating Darren Howie 6&5.

Aguilera stormed into the lead at three up after Howie bogeyed the opening three holes. The Scot steadied the ship to halve the fourth, fifth and sixth but contrived to lose three consecutive holes to leave Aguilera 6up.

The 2016 Boys Amateur runner-up picked up another hole on the 11th to move seven up, and although Howie pulled one back by winning the 12th, the match was concluded on the following hole after it was halved in five.

Debutant Robin Williams collected GB&I’s first point of this afternoon’s singles after the 15-year-old secured a two-hole win against Sweden’s David Nyfjall to reduce the deficit to 11½-8½.

However, the joy was short-lived for the home side, and Norwegian Markus Braadlie ensured the Continent of Europe would retain the Jacques Léglise Trophy as its current holders after beating Thomas Plumb 4&3 to reach the vital 12½ point mark. 

The outright win was confirmed shortly after by Matias Honkala after the Finn put the Continent of Europe 13½-8½ up courtesy of an excellent 3&2 win against Alex Fitzpatrick.

Rasmus Hojgaard notched up the Continent of Europe’s sixth point of the afternoon singles to nudge his side further ahead at 14½-8½. The Dane produced a two hole triumph in his match against Ben Jones after winning the 17th and 18th.

Last year's Boys Amateur champion, Falko Hanisch defeated Toby Briggs 3&2 to increase the Continent of Europe’s lead to 15½-8½. The German won three holes in a row from the 13th, and the match finished on the 16th after both players made birdie to halve the hole. 

Charlie Strickland salvaged some pride for GB&I after beating Adrien Dumont de Chassart 3&1 to leave the final score 15½-9½.

Key Quotes

Jeroen Stevens, non-playing captain, The Continent of Europe:

“The players played impressive golf, and we won seven out of nine points this afternoon which is more than I hoped for, so I am very happy with this result.

“The halved matches in this morning’s foursomes gave us a boost and belief we could win. We won them both on the 18th, and they made a big difference.

“It feels great to have won for a second time. The players have done a great job, and it’s a privilege for me to watch such great golf from both sides. But if I can choose, I always prefer to be the winning captain.”

Stuart Wilson, Chairman of The R&A Boys Selectors, Great Britain and Ireland:

“The Continent of Europe were very strong this afternoon, and they played some great golf to win, especially their course management, in difficult weather conditions.

“We didn’t make the most of two opportunities in both foursomes sessions where we could have snuck our noses ahead. It would have been a great lift had we got those points, but they played better golf.”

It is the twelfth time The Continent of Europe has won the Jacques Léglise Trophy since the boys international match between the two teams was rejuvenated in 1977. 

GB&I have won the Jacques Léglise Trophy on 28 occasions.

The 2018 Jacques Léglise Trophy match will be played at Kytäjä Golf in Finland from 31 August - 1 September. 

Scores