Kevin Phelan in action.
3 September 2012
Continent of Europe win St Andrews & Jacques Leglise Trophy Matches
The Continent of Europe recorded a famous first St Andrews Trophy win on Great Britain and Ireland soil after a determined team performance at a windswept Portmarnock Golf Club north of Dublin.
Alex Godillot's side had it all to do after trailing Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) 7-5 heading into the final day. They won the morning foursomes 3-1 to level proceedings before edging a dramatic singles session 4½-3½ to secure victory, 12½-11½. It was a double celebration for Europe as the under-18 stars from the Continent also defeated their GB&I opponents to win back the Jacques Leglise Trophy 13½-10½.
This was only Europe's fifth win in the biennial St Andrews Trophy compared to the GB&I tally of 24 since the competition began in 1956. However, Alexis Godillot's European side arrived in Ireland as defending champions after their 2010 win in Italy and they made full use of some good fortune and fine play on a testing final day.
The winning point came from Moritz Lampert against Ireland's Kevin Phelan in the final match and the German closed out the match in style. Needing just a half point to retain the title and a win to secure overall victory, Lampert was one up playing the 17th where his approach just ran off the back off the green. Phelan found the green but missed his par putt and the stage was set. Lampert kept his composure and rather than the drama extending to the 18th, he holed from 20 feet for birdie and sealed the famous win.
"I'm very happy and a bit surprised for we have never won on British (and Irish) territory," said Godillot, who played on the European team the last time the event was played at Portmarnock back in 1968. "It was a very close contest and for once we had a bit more luck than the British and Irish, especially coming down the final few singles matches."
Europe enjoyed some fortune when two of the GB&I leading lights failed to convert late advantages into wins. Amateur Champion Alan Dunbar was unlucky with a couple of poor lies but finished with two double bogeys to lose on the 18th to Sweden's Robert Karlsson. Recently crowned European Amateur Champion Rhys Pugh was three up with four to play but could only manage a halved match against Spain's Jacobo Pastor in the middle order. In between there were narrow wins for the English trio of Craig Hinton, Garrick Porteous and Neil Raymond but Europe countered with wins from Manuel Trappel, Edouard Espana and Lampert in the bottom matches.
After a thoroughly convincing 4-0 clean sweep in the morning foursomes, Europe's Jacques Leglise side wasted little time closing out the overall match after they won the top two singles matches. Gary Stangl's side went into the singles 11-5 ahead and only needed one-and-a-half points from the eight. Two points quickly came when Italy's Giulio Castagnara defeated Irish Amateur Champion Gavin Moynihan by one hole, while fellow Irish teammate Alex Gleeson lost 2&1 to Spain's Mario Galiano.
Although the contest was already decided there was a strong GB&I showing in the rest of the matches. Max Orrin had been six up through eight holes but had to wait to the 17th to close out his match 2&1 against Renato Paratore. Toby Tree was a convincing 5&4 winner over Sweden's Hannes Ronneblad, Boys Amateur Champion Matthew Fitzpatrick defeated Romain Langasque 2&1, while Ashton Turner dug deep to deny Austria's Matthias Schwab at the 18th. Scotland's Bradley Neil turned his match around against Victor Tarnstrom to win by two holes and the bottom match between Harry Ellis and Dominic Foos was halved.
"I am happy that we finally made it. It was closer than we thought in the end," said Stangl. "It was great that our first two guys won their points to get the job done. I'm really delighted and so happy for the team."
Full results from the final day’s play at Portmarnock can be found on RandA.org.