Watson chuffed with spirited performance
By ECG Newsdesk
Great Britain and Ireland retained the St Andrews Trophy after finishing level at 12 ½-12 ½ with the Continent of Europe at Prince’s in Kent.
Trailing their opponents 8-4 at the start of the second day, Craig Watson’s side won three of the morning foursomes and halved the other to reduce the Continent of Europe’s lead to a single point at 8½ -7½ going into the afternoon’s singles.
Ireland’s Stuart Grehan led from the first hole against Luca Cianchetti and was comfortable against the Italian for the entire duration, closing out the match with a birdie on the 15th hole for a 4&3 win to put GB&I back on level terms at 8½ -8½.
The 2016 Amateur champion Scott Gregory edged GB&I in front for the first time after beating JereonKrietemeijer by two holes to make it 9½ -8½, only for the visitors to take the lead again after a 2&1 win for Sweden’s Robin Petersson over Grant Forrest, followed by Stefano Mazzoli’s victory by one hole against Irishman Jack Hume.
The Euros lead was stretched to two points shortly after when Frenchman Victor Veyret picked up three holes in a row from the 14th to seal a 3&2 success against Jamie Bower.
Connor Syme and Matthias Schwab halved their match for a share of the spoils to leave the Euros needing only one point to win the match outright.
However, Alfie Plant pulled a point back for GB&I with a 4&3 win over Mario Galiano and, after Robert MacIntyre and Guido Migliozzi halved their match, the destination of the trophy came down to the result between David Boote and Ivan Cantero Gutierrez.
The Welshman retained his composure and secured a par on the 18th to beat the Spaniard by one hole, gaining the crucial point to secure a 12 ½-12 ½ final score and ensure that GB&I retained the trophy as holders following their victory at Barsebäck in 2014.
In the morning’s foursomes, Grehan and Gregory convincingly beat Italians Cianchetti and Mazzoli 5&4 to gain a vital point in the first foursome, before Scottish duo Forrest and Syme notched up an additional point for the home side shortly after, defeating Schwab and Migliozzi 4&3.
GB&I was victorious in the third match in the morning after Hume and Boote won by one hole versus Veyret and Petersson. The final foursome, featuring English pair Plant and Bower against Spain’s Galiano and Cantero Gutierrez, was halved.
The event was Craig Watson’s first real test as GB&I captain before next year’s Walker Cup.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the result, especially after the 4-0 result in the first session,” said Watson. “It was always going to be difficult.”
“We got off to a good start and the boys dug in well with a tremendous performance after being four-down and knowing we had to take something into the afternoon. We continued where we left off and the boys were brilliant.”